Thursday, January 11, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Paths Off of Paths

The Jerome Gambit is an opening that is clearly "off the beaten path". Yet, in pursuing it, players often find themselves further afield - and it is good to know about some of those side paths as well.

It is clear in the following game that the defender was not prepared to have the game "Jerome-ized".

Wall, Bill - Guest761989, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 4.Bxf7+ 

With his third move Black imagines a quiet win of the "minor exchange" with 4.Bb3 Nxb3. He is too hopeful, as White has, instead, 4.Nxe5, and after 4...Nxc4 5.Nxc4 d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Ne3 White is a pawn up, and Black has little to show for it.

However, players familiar with the Jerome Gambit will be tempted to play the Bishop sacrifice on move 4, giving Black a very un-quiet game.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.d4 d6

White has two pawns for his sacrificed piece, but his play against Black's King gives him adequate compensation.

7.Qg4+ Ke7 8.Qg5+ Ke8 

Better is 8...Nf6, although after 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.e5 dxe5 11.dxe5 Kf7 12.exf6 Qxf6 White would have a small advantage.


It is important to note that in the 4 earlier games in The Database, White had tried 9.Qh5+. Best play would continue 9...g6 10.Nxg6 Nf6 11.Qh4 hxg6 12.Qxh8 Nxe4 When White would have a Rook and two pawns against a Bishop and a Knight. This is a small edge for White, and I can see why Bill chose a different path: His active Knights will go after the slumbering Rooks in the corners!

9...Kxd8 10.Nf7+ Ke8 11.Nxh8 g6 12.Nc3 Bg7 

As indicated.

13.Nd5 c6 14.Nc7+ Black resigned

Black will lose his other Rook, and while he will gather in the Knight at h8, he will have a very difficult time catching the other one, leaving him down a couple of exchanges, plus a pawn or two.

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