Friday, October 27, 2017

Jerome Gambit: It's Hard to Believe

The following game defies appearances. A glance suggests that Black is doing okay - although the game has begun to move against him. Another glance - and all looks fine, but definitely is not. A final glance - Black is being crushed.The whole battle reflects upon the skill of the Jerome Gambiteer - and highlights the strangeness the opening often brings.

Wall, Bill - Uli, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 

8.Nc3 Nf6 9.O-O Be6 10.b3 

Planning to put the dark-squared Bishop on the long diagonal. Bill has also played the straight-forward 10.f4 in Wall,B - Guest3746555,, 2015 (1-0, 35). 


Or 10...Rf8 11.f4 Nc6 12.Qd3 Kg8 13.Bb2 Bg4 14.Rae1 Kh8 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Bf5 17.Qg3 Qd7 18.dxc6 bxc6 19.Qg5 Bxc2 20.Re7 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016

11.Qd2 Qc7 

It is tempting for Black to kick the White Queen with the c-pawn, but this always risks making Black's d-pawn weak (backwards on an open file). In this particular position, the pawn loss would not be critical, and Black would still hold the advantage - but it makes a world of a difference if he is simply "letting go" of the pawn or "overlooking" its fate.

12.f4 Nc6 13.Nb5 Qb6 14.Nxd6+ 


Interestingly enough, this is an error. Black would have kept things mostly even with 14...Kg8.

15.e5 Nd5 

Again, Black's extra piece and advantage in development would suggest that he is fine. Alas, he is losing.

16.c4 Ndb4 17.Bb2 Rad8 18.f5 Bg8 

In a curious mirror image, Black's light-squared Bishop is on its home rank, preventing the development of the other Rook. This bodes poorly for the defender.

19.Qg5+ Kf8 20.f6 

20...Rxd6 21.fxg7+ Ke8 22.exd6 Qd8 23.Rf8+ Black resigned

White has a checkmate in 3. Brutal.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Constantly Aware

Sometimes when you play the Jerome Gambit, your opponent equalizes the game. What then? Well, you play along, seeing where the game is going - being constantly aware of opportunities that just might spring up, as in the following game. Thus, the ironic saying: In the Jerome Gambit, when Black has equalized, White has the advantage. ☺

Wall, Bill - Guest477
ICC, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 


A novelty, according to The Database. What is the White Queen doing on d2? White's dark-squared Bishop will be going to b2.

8...Be6 9.O-O Nf6 10.Nc3 Rf8 11.b3 Kg8 12.Bb2 Rf7 

Black has castled-by-hand and has the advantage of a piece for a pawn. What will he do next?

13.f4 Nc6 14.Rae1 Bd7

Black hopes to move his Bishop out of possible trouble from the "Jerome pawns", but this move allows a center pawn advance - something White needs to be aware of.  

15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nxe5

Making the best of the situation by returning the piece for a pawn. Even game. This might be considered a good thing by the defender.

17.Rxe5 Bc6 18.Qf4 Qd6 


On many occasions I have looked askance as Black has harassed White's Queen. Here, it is no big deal, but that kind of evaluation might have had a lulling influence on the defender.

19...Bxb5 20.Rxb5 Qc6 21.c4 Raf8 22.Rf5 Qe6 23.Qd2 

White has a Bishop for a Knight, the tiniest of advantages, but the lineup of Rooks on the f-file hints at an exchange of heavy pieces and a split point.

However, there is something special about the position that both players need to be aware of. (What is the White Queen doing on d2?)


Triggering the exchanges, and the draw?

No, actually this leads to a checkmate-in-21, if the game were to go that far.

24.Rxf7 Rxf7 25.Qd8+ Black resigned

Checkmate will arrive shortly.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Jerome Gambit: It's Complicated

Sometimes the Jerome Gambit features a brutal attack on the enemy King. Other times, such as in the following game, it showcases tactical skirmishes all across the board. The notes show several paths for Black where returning a piece is only part of a small plan to fight for play. It is the return of White's Queen from semi-isolation that suddenly changes things.

Wall, Bill - Guest683192, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Na3

A novelty, according to The Database. From here the piece figures in a number of lines unplayed, but in the "real" game remains unmoved.

8...Be6 9.O-O Nf6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Qd3 Nb4 

Black harasses the enemy Queen, an idea that sometimes distracts his play. Here, it leads to some Queenside tussling.

12.Qb5 a5 13.e5 Ne4 

Instead, Stockfish 8 suggests a complicated and different campaign, having Black return the sacrificed piece but leaving Black a pawn better: 13...Bd7 14.Qc4+ d5 15.Qb3 Ne4 16.c3 Nc5 17.Qd1 Nbd3 18.f5 Re8 19.e6+ Bxe6 20.fxe6+ Kg8 21.Nc2 Rxe6 22.Be3 Nxb2 23.Qh5 Nbd3 24.Bd4 Qe7 25.Qxd5 c6 26.Qf5 Re2 27.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 28.Nd4 Qxf5 29.Rxf5. Whew!

14.c3 Nd5 

If you contrast Black's three central pieces with White's misplaced Queen, you might prefer the defender in this position. What tilts things slightly toward the attack is the "Jerome pawns".

15.f5 Rf8

Putting his Rook in play, and looking to eventually castle-by-hand, but it does not solve Black's problems. Again, the computer's alternate suggestion is a complicated brawl, starting with returning a piece, and leaving White only a tiny bit better, if at all: 15...dxe5 16.fxe6+ Kxe6 17.Qc4 Nef6 18.Bg5 Kf7 19.Qb3 Qd6 20.Nc4 Qc5+ 21.Kh1 Rhe8 22.Ne3 Kg6 23.Nxd5 Nxd5 24.c4 Nf4 25.Bxf4 exf4 26.Rxf4 h5 27.Raf1 Rf8 28.Qg3+ Kh7 29.Rf7 Rxf7 30.Rxf7 Qd4 31.h3. 

16.Qc4 Nc5 

Giving the piece back now does not work. The difference? White's Queen has taken a step to a more effective square. How odd.

17.fxe6+ Kxe6 18.Qg4+ Ke7 19.Qxg7+ Ke8 20.Rxf8 checkmate