Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Strange Jerome Gambit - But, What's New? (Part 2)

[continued from previous post]

perrypawnpusher - vasbur
Italian Battleground,, 2018


This is a very reasonable retreat from the chaotic situation (10...Ne7!? continues the weirdness), and I was surprised to find that The Database had only two other examples. Both games are losses by me, however.

11.Qd5+ Ke7 12. Qxc5+ Kd8 

I was ready, in case Black played 12...Qd6which would transpose to an earlier game that featured the Queen retreat to h6, not f6.


I once tried 13.e5 as an improvement on this move, in perrypawnpusher - HarlemKnight, blitz, FICS, 2014, without success (0-1, 24).

13...d6 14.Qf2

I am not sure what White's Queen's best retreat is, but I lost quickly after14.Qd5, i.e. 14...Ne7 15.Qd3 Nd4 16.e5 dxe5 17.c3 Bf5 18.fxe5 Qc6+ White resigned, perrypawnpusher - james042665, blitz,, 2008

14...Nd4 15.d3 Bg4 16.Be3 Nc6 

The Knight returns home, with tales of adventure to tell.

Black has the usual Knight for 2 pawns advantage, and his King appears a bit safer than usual at d8.

I was not happy with my position. I am more comfortable with "forcing" strategies, starting with 6.Qh5+ instead of 6.d4, and I had to work hard to simply develop and then improve my position, slowly.

17.Nc3 Nge7 18.h3

This move was agony. Nothing is going to happen to the Black Bishop. I simply wanted to make the d1 square safe for one of my Rooks, should I decide to put one there. Prepare first, then attack.

18...Bh5 19.g4 Be8 

20.d4 Kc8 21.d5 

Part of a strategy based on a mistaken impression...


This Knight is getting too much exercise. It probably should simply retreat.

22.Bd4 Qf7 

I was shocked by this move, until I realized that my chess board at home was set up wrong - Black's Bishop, of course is at e8, but on my travel set I had misplaced it at f7. All my great ideas about trapping Black's Queen with my pawns and Bishop went right out of the window...

[to be continued]

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Strange Jerome Gambit - But, What's New? (Part 1)

I just completed a Jerome Gambit game in the Italian Battleground tournament, online at It had more than the usual amount of strangeness in it.

perrypawnpusher -vasbur
Italian Battleground,, 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+

This move marks the "classical" Jerome Gambit lines, with the "modern" lines avoiding the second piece sacrifice, e.g. 5.0-0.

With the updated Database, I took a look at how the two ideas differed in success in club player practice.

I discovered 14,407 games which contained the acceptance of the first piece sacrifice, 4...Kxf7. White scored 45%, which is consistent with past measures.

I found 6,602 games (less than half?!) that continued 5.Nxe5+, and in those White scored 55% (suggesting that the "modern" lines scored somewhat above 35%).

Even though the edge in successful playgoes to the "classical" lines, it might be time to take a closer look at what "modern" lines do best. 

5...Nxe5 6.Qh5+

With 4,328 examples in The Database, this line is more popular than 6.d4 (with 1,924 games), although in both White scores 55%


For the record, there are 1,091 games with this position in The Database. White scores 53%.

This compares with 514 games with 6...g6, where White scores 72%; 2,010 games with 6...Ng6, where White scores 53%; and 645 games with 6...Kf8, where White scores 49%.

The practical (based on games played, primarily by club players, primarily online) defensive choice, by a small margin, would seem to be 6...Kf8. Of course, "objectively" all of these 6th move alternatives for Black give him a winning position. Do remember, however, how hard it can be to win a "won" game...

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qh4+ 

Wow. This is Black's sharpest defense. I have scored 19 - 6 against it (76%), but there always seemed to be a bit of luck involved - overall, White scores 52% in 77 games, according to The Database.

9.g3 Nf3+



I am not sure why I didn't play 10.Kd1, instead, with which I am 6-0. Before this game I had played 10.Kf8 11 times, going 8-3.

Over all, The Database shows 10.Kd1 as scoring 14 - 8 - 2 (63%), with 10.Kf8 at 12 - 5 (71%).

Of course, 10.Ke2 is a bad idea (White has scored a win and a draw in 10 games) but it's hard not to mention 10...Nd4+ 11.Kd3 Qe7? 12.Qd5 checkmate, ZahariSokolov - epifend, 15 0, FICS, 2018

[to be continued]

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Jerome Gambit: The Eternal Question

Here is a recent blitz game that answers the eternal question, "Why do we  play the Jerome Gambit?" Obviously, for the opportunity to play such games!

shugart - popasile
4 0 blitz, FICS, 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 

Black has different ways to return one of the sacrificed pieces. This one seems to leave his King in relatively safety - but not for long.

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Ng6 9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Qxc5+ d6 11.Qc3 

The Queen retreat to c3 is a novelty, according to The Database, and is and possibly the best move.

Of course, the Knight cannot take White's f-pawn. It will also take the kind of right that Knights take when facing the Jerome.

11...Nf6 12.f5 Ne5 13.O-O Re8 14.d4 Nc6 15.e5 dxe5 16.dxe5 Nd5

A typically odd Jerome Gambit position. Black has a lead in development (especially if we consider his Queen on an open file) despite the fact that he is defending a gambit. Of course, he is harassing the enemy Queen. He has a piece for two pawns. The one fly in the ointment is the placement of his King.

17.Bg5+ Nf6 

Returning a piece, but it is already too late.

18.exf6+ Kf7 

19.Qb3+ Kf8

A natural reaction, but Black needed to return a Rook, although  that still would leave him down serious material: 19...Re6 20.fxe6+ Bxe6 21.fxg7+ Kxg7 22.Bxd8 Bxb3 23.Bf6+ Kg6 24.cxb3.

Now he only has to worry about losing his Queen - and checkmate.

20.fxg7+ Kxg7 21.Bxd8 Nxd8 22.f6+ Kh8 23.f7 Rf8 24.Qc3 checkmate
Very pretty!

(I can almost hear the "Jerome pawn" saying "Me, too! Me too!")

Friday, October 12, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Boom Again

It is interesting how often Black defends well against the Jerome Gambit, until he suddenly lets his game go - Boom! Here is another recent example.

Wall, Bill - Guest6791785, 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb6 

Black does better giving up the Bishop with the direct 6...Bxd4, but he still is better after the text move.

7.dxe5 Ne7 8.Qf3+ Kg8 9.Qb3+ Kf8 10.O-O 

Bill points out that he could draw with a repetition, i.e. 10.Qf3+ Kg8 11.Qb3+ Kf8 etc, - but, seriously, nobody plays the Jerome Gambit to draw.

10...d5 11.Nc3 Be6

This sets up some interesting play concerning the d-pawn.

12.Bg5 c6 13.Rad1 Qd7 14.Bxe7+ Qxe7 15.exd5 cxd516.Nxd5

White has won the pawn - but, wait, can't Black take advantage of the pin along the a2-f7 diagonal?


Better was to forget about the pawn, and play something like 16...g6, which would lead to a balanced game.


Ouch! Bill points out this threatens 18.Nxb6 winning the Bishop, as the a-pawn is pinned.
Black resigned

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Boom!

I have long subscribed to the "time bomb" notion in club chess: that players are apt to play reasonable chess until, suddenly, a cognitive "time bomb" goes off, and they make a blunder. The frequency of these "explosions"/blunders depends upon the level of skill of the player: strong players may slip only once a game (or even less often) while more "average" club players can have their "time bombs" go off much more often, even every other move.

The following game shows Black defending reasonably well (and White, solidly) until - Boom! The unbalanced and unbalancing Jerome Gambit is the kind of opening that increases the likelihood of such a slip. 

Wall, Bill - Guest4148523, 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

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

8.O-O Nf6 9.Re1 Be6 10.f4 c5

A common move in similar positions, and not bad - despite my sense that it can be dangerous to "kick" the Queen. In this game, White works to prove that the backward d-pawn is a liability.

11.Qc3 Nc6 12.f5 Bd7 13.Bf4 Qe7 

This is not a bad move, but Black might have done better to have defended the pawn tactically with 13...Re8.

14.Nd2 Ne5 15.Nc4 Nxc4 16.Qxc4+ Kf8 

The d-pawn is still alive.

White can now try to pick up a pawn with 17.e5 dxe5 18.Rxe5 Qf7 19.Qxc5+, but Black has the sharp alternative 18...b5!?, instead, to keep things in balance.

Black now relaxes a bit too soon, and his position goes Boom! 

17.Rad1 Bc6 18.Bxd6 Black resigned

Monday, October 8, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Chess in my life

Just ran across Jerzy Konikowski's Polish language blog "Chess in my life" that provides the additional "We provide information that is successful or not, but always true!"

His post on the Jerome Gambit has a link to Jonathan Speelman's "Agony" column #24, at the chessbase website, that covers a couple of my Jerome Gambit games.

Nice to be causing mischief the world over! 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Well, Well, Well...

Well, well, well...

It looks like I have one more Jerome Gambit  to play in my current tournament, after all.

I had better get to work: due to an unexpected run of good fortune,  a win or two more might catapult me into the third round of play - and allow me to try more Jeromes.

It's a good day.☺

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Jerome Gambit: The Velveteen Rabbit (Part 3)

Image result for free clip art velveteen rabbit

[continued from earlier post]

perrypawnpusher - warwar
"Italian Battleground ",, 2018

Although White will be only the exchange up, the Rook's ability to attack both sides of the board will be sufficient to bring home the win.

31.b3 Bxg4 32.c4 b6 33.Kf2 

There was also the straight forward 33.c5 bxc5 34.dxc5 dxc5 35.Rc1 which would open lines for the Rook. I wanted to position my King, first.

33...h5 34.Kg3 h6

35.Kf4 a6 

Black is getting squeezed. If 35...Bd7, then 36.Rh1 Bg4 37.c5 was one way to proceed. My choice was slower.

36.b4 Bd7 37.c5 bxc5 38.bxc5 dxc5 39.dxc5 Black resigned

Black cannot stop White's passed pawn and protect his own pawns at the same time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Velveteen Rabbit (Part 2)

Image result for free clip art velveteen rabbit

[continued from earlier post]

perrypawnpusher - warwar
"Italian Battleground" ,, 2018

17...Nxe4 18.f6

As I wrote earlier, now "it will be interesting to see which one of us unveils his 'improvement' on the play first." 


My opponent takes the pawn, with a move not seen in any of the games in The Database, in effect saying "Show me!".

I think the text move leads to an edge for White, despite Black being up a piece, but it is necessary to prove that - and my opponent had a defensive plan in mind.

19.Rf4 Kg7 20.Raf1 Be6 21.Qg3+ 


A scientific idea - the proper way to deal with a gambit is to take the material, and then return it at a time when it will intefere with the attack.


Later, I became curious and asked Stockfish what I should have decided upon, here. It cranked out 22.d5!?.

I could see some of that - capturing the pawn with 22...Bxd5 would allow White to swing a Rook over to the g-file, doubling with the Queen, i.e. 23.Rxg4+. It turns out that, then, White would have a mate in 30-something moves, but I would never have figured that out.

But, what if Black did what he sometimes does, protect his King while giving White the choice of which piece to grab back - as with 22...Kh8!? ? Stockfish was confident that after 23.dxe6 Ne5 White would still be better (almost 3 pawns better, according to the computer), but even now I can not become excited by the position.

All in all, I am happy with having just captured the Knight.


Black's idea. It falls victim to my initiative, however.

23.Ne4 Qd5 24.Nf6 Qg5


Later, I discovered that this was not Stockfish's choice, either. It liked 25.Re4!?, with White holding the advantage of almost a Queen. I still don't understand that.

25...Rxe8 26.Qc3 Kg8 27.Qxc7 

Okay, White is the exchange and a pawn better. A win, right?

"Won" games don't win themselves.

27...Qe7 28.Qxe7+ Rxe7 29.Re1

Wrong Rook. I had better with 29.Re4 d5 30.Re5 Re8 31.Rf6!? when, after an exchange of Rooks, Black's pawns are too weak to save from attack.

29...Rf7 30.Rxf7 Kxf7 

Black's King and Bishop are more active than they should have been allowed to be.

[to be continued]