Friday, May 26, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Winning Ugly is Still Better Than Losing Ugly (Part 2)

Zombie face vector graphics

perrypawnpusher - IlToscano,, 2017

Adopting a "Come and get me" attitude, I decided to let my opponent do the attacking. After all, he is playing against a refuted opening. Piece of cake, right?

16.h3 Be6 17.b3 Rhf8 18.Bd2 Rae8 19.O-O-O Kd7 20.Rhf1 Kc8

So, who is the Jerome Gambit "expert"? Black has developed all his pieces and has even castled-by-hand on the Queenside. He clearly is better.

It was hard for me to be patient (keep the psychological onus on my opponent) and keep the position as closed up as possible. With his next move, my opponent indicated he wanted to move on the Kingside.

21.Kc2 Nh5 22.Ng5

Starting my own incursion. Plus, I had been reading James Schuyler's Your Opponent Is Overrated, and he had been writing about the "superfluous piece" - and I decided that my Rook on d1 fit that category, so I thought a Rook exchange would help a bit.

22...Rxf1 23.Rxf1 Bg8 

So, the "extra" White Rook has "disappeared" from d1, and Black only has one developed Rook, instead of two. Actually, I'm not sure how much that matters - and see my 26th move.

24.c4 h6 25.Nf3 Ng3 26.Rd1

Black's Knight goes back to its old post, White's Knight goes back to its old post, and White's Rook goes back to its old post. So, what are we going to do next?

26...g5 27.Bc3 Be3 28.Re1 Bf4 29.Bd2 Bxd2 30.Kxd2 c6 

I couldn't figure out what to do with my dark-squared Bishop, and it seemed less effective on the a1-h8 diagonal than Black's Bishop on the c1-h6 diagonal, so I wound up trading them off. At least Black's remaining Bishop is limited by my pawn wall.

31.a3 Kd7 32.b4 a6 33.a4 Kc7 34.a5 Nh5 

Oh, bother, not again.


Either the Kingside will get closed up again, or a few pawns will get exchanged. Despite my earlier decisions, I took some comfort in the age-old recommendation: When ahead in material, exchange pieces; when behind in material, exchange pawns.

35...g4 36.Nd4 Nf4 37.Rf1 Nxg2 38.Rg1 Nf4 39.Rxg4 Ne6 40.Nf5 h5 

The Kingside is closed up again. If anything, it is more open to White's pieces infiltrating.

41.Rg6 Kc8 

An oversight. My opponent had taken several "vacations" from play, and may have come back to the board mixing up variations in his head. Or maybe he figured there wasn't much to the Jerome Gambit, so why sweat it...

42.Nxd6+ Kd7 43.Nxe8 Black resigned

Unfortunate in a couple of ways. Black had played very well up until his 41st move. He also missed a chance (he hardly could have known) to allow me to make a mistake, myself. After 43...Bf7!? I thought I would have to return the exchange, and had planned 44.Rxe6?!+ Kxe6 when White would be a couple of pawns ahead, but the game would still be interesting.

Looking deeper after the game, with the help of Stockfish 8, I know now that 44.Nf6+ Ke7 45.Rh6 would allow White to stay the exchange (plus a couple of pawns) up, but the locked-in position of the Rook had kept me from looking further at that line.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Winning Ugly is Still Better Than Losing Ugly (Part 1)

Zombie face vector graphics

I just finished another Jerome Gambit game in the third round of the Giuoco Piano Thematic tournament at, It was not pretty at all. You could say that I was losing - up until my opponent resigned. Of course, that is the "objective" evaluation of the Jerome, anyhow.


perrypawnpusher - IlToscano
Giuoco Piano Thematic,, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qf6 

This defense is solid and good. It also avoids the complexities of 8...Qh4+, which I faced in perrypawnpusher - constipatedguru, blitz, FICS, 2017 (1-0, 20).

9.fxe5+ Qxe5 10.Qf3 

Staying away from 10.Qxe5+ which has given me mixed results, and a loss most recently: perrypawnpusher - djdave28, Italian Game Tournament,, 2014, (1-0, 22); perrypawnpusher - djdave28, Italian Game Tournament, 2015, (1-0, 32); and perrypawnpusher - Altotemmi, Giuoco Piano Tournament,, 2016, (0-1, 51) 


Easily an improvement over 10...Ke7, which I faced in perrypawnpusher - gtomlinson, blitz, FICS, 2007 (1-0, 28) and 10...h6, which I faced in perrypawnpusher - paulpee, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 71).


About the same as 11.Nc3 as in perrypawnpusher - Dogyou, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 21). 


Black wishes to avoid the embarassment of getting his Queen pinned to his King - a trick that might work in blitz (see below) but this game was played at 3 days per move.

Or Black could play 11...Ke7 as in perrypawnpusher - PREMK, blitz, FICS, 2005(1-0, 14); perrypawnpusher - karleinkarl, blitz, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 16);  and perrypawnpusher - vz721, Italian Game thematic,, 2013 (1-0, 29); 

Or 11...Rf8 as in perrypawnpusher - BronxBoyII, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 18); perrypawnpusher - udofink, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 13);  perrypawnpusher - mconst, blitz, FICS,  2010 (1-0, 42); and perrypawnpusher - recreation, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 13);  

Or 11...Bb4+ as in perrypawnpusher - ViennaMike, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 19); 

Or 11...Re8 as in perrypawnpusher - Estebang, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 28) 

Or 11...Bd4 as in perrypawnpusher - Rossgil, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 26) 

12.c3 Bb6 13.Bf4 Qh5 14.Nd2 

I was not pleased to see the Queens leave the board, but I didn't have a better idea.

14...Qxf3 15.Nxf3 d6 

I added all of the game links above to show that I was supposed to be familiar with this line, and therefore supposed to know what I was doing against IlToscano. Yet, he has done very well, and the one pawn that I have for my sacrificed Bishop is clearly inadequate compensation.

I decided that I should again do what far better players than me have done in similar Jerome Gambit situations - abandon the "attack at all costs" idea, and let my opponent, who has the advantage, do the attacking. If he was not going to slip up when defending, perhaps he might err when atacking? Psychology is always a part of Jerome play.

[to be continued]

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lewis Gambit

I have been enjoying watching the series of "Dirty Chess Tricks" videos on YouTube, by Gunjan Jani, especially "Dirty Chess Tricks 13" on the Lewis Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.d4.

This is an opening line that I have touched upon in this blog, starting with "SOS", writing about Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume 10, which contained an article by Jeroen Bosch on the Lewis Gambit.  

The earliest examples I have of the gambit are from an 1841 Staunton - Cochrane match, which makes it a possible inspration for Alonzo Wheeler Jerome in creating his Jerome Gambit, after the Lewis line 3...exd4 4.Bxf7+. The similarity to the Abrahams Jerome Gambit - 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ - is apparent. See "Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 4)".

There is also a similarity to a line in the Von der Lasa Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, as seen in J.H. Blackburne - E.J. Evelyn, blindfold, London, 1862 (1-0, 32). And let's not overlook the "Macbeth Attack".

Jani rightly points out the possibilities of the Lewis Gambit transposing to the Max Lange Gambit, the Max Lange Attack, and the Italian Gambit.

(GM Boris Alterman has a video on the Lewis Gambit as well. Dangerous Weapons: 1.e4 e5 by GM John Emms, GM Glenn Flear, and IM Andrew Greet has good coverage of where the Lewis Gambit can go if Black does not allow a Bxf7+.)