After our first game (see "Jerome Gambit: Beware Free Hugs") where I successfully defended against the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) with Whistler's Defense, it was time to swap colors.
I played the Jerome, and guess what defense my opponent chose?
There is a lot more to Whistler's Defense than the advice Don't take the Rook, and it took a while for me to develop an advantage in the game - ironically, by taking the Rook.
Do not hold your breath waiting for the Jerome Gambit to make sense.
perrypawnpusher - NN
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+
This is the key move to Lt. Whistler's defence, adopted in all his games with Mr. Jerome.
Before this game, I had a couple of wins and a couple of draws against the defense.
Do not take the Rook.
I know, I know, Jerome Gambit fans like angelcamina, chessmanjeff, petasluk, shugart, UNPREDICTABLE, Wall and ZahariSokolov, among others, have done so and made their way through the complications to tell of it, but that is what I call Borrowing Trouble.
The text is a better way to block White's Queen check than 8...Nf6, showing that Black has to have some idea about how to play the Whistler Defense if he wants to keep his advantage. After 9.e5 Re8 10.d4 Bxd4 11.Qxd4 Qxe5+ 12.Qxe5 Rxe5+ 13.Be3, Black outplayed White with 13...Ng4 in Jerome - Jaeger, correspondence, 1879 (0-1, 45) while Black was outplayed by White after 13...Nd5, in abhailey - cruciverbalist, net.chess.com, 2008 (1-0, 51). The problem with 8...Nf6 is that it leads to a rather small edge for Black, nothing more.
I have also faced 8...Kg7, in perrypawnpusher - tmarkst, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 43).
Or 9...Ne7, perrypawnpusher - Yaku, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1/2 - 1/2, 26);
Or 9...d6, perrypawnpusher - alvarzr, blitz, FICS, 2014 (1-0, 49);
Or 9...Kg7, perrypawnpusher -Tacotopia, Chess.com, 2020 (1/2-1/2, 61).
Harassing my Queen. As the Bishop blocked the d-pawn which blocked the light-square Bishop, which hemmed in the Rook (classic Jerome Gambit defender error), I was okay with this.
My opponent and I had figured out the next few moves. It turns out we both were wrong, starting with this move. Black wants to play ...Nf6 without having to worry about e4-e5, forking his two minor pieces. A more straight-forward plan was 11...Nf6 12.d3 Be7 13.0-0 d5 and Black would be doing well.
Better was 12...Ne7, but Black was setting a trap.
After the game Stockfish 12 suggested that 13.dxc3 was stronger, with advantage to White. I hadn't even considered a pawn capture, as I was intent on falling into Black's trap.
Better was 13...Qf6 with about an equal game once White grabs the pawn at c7.
Yippee, I thought, I am up the exchange and a pawn.
Yippee, my opponent thought, the Queen is trapped.
[To be continued]