Friday, July 1, 2022

Jerome Gambit: Looking Toward Round 3

 


As progsnosticated, I have finished first in Group 5 in the second round of the "Giuoco Piano Game" tournament at Chess.com, scoring 5 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws.

My score with the Jerome Gambit was a decent 3 wins and a 1 loss.

Two players from each group will move on to round three. I will be accompanied by either Ryszak (1 game unfinished) or MoMalek11 (2 games unfinished), although my assessment of the current positions that they are playing suggest that it will be the former.

Going into the third round, from Group 2 will be auswebby and DocBrowne, who I have also played the Jerome against.

Taking into account unfinished games in other groups, it is possible that 18, 19 (if 3 players in group 8 tie for first), or 20 (if 3 players in group 8 tie for first and the tournament director promotes the highest scoring additional player to make 4 groups with equal numbers) players in total could advance, most likely sorted into 4 groups.

More Jerome Gambits ahead!


[BTW, a compressed PGN version of The Database, through the end of June 2022, is available at no cost, for the asking.]

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Jerome Gambit: What Makes A Game A Jerome?



The Jerome Gambit family of openings is extensive. But what, exactly, makes a game a Jerome or Jerome-ish?

Is it from the Italian Game stem, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 ?

Is it the sacrifice of a Bishop on f7?

Is it the attacking Queen that races to h5?

Is it the material imbalance of a couple of pawns for a piece or two?

Is it the disorientation that the defender feels, so that many times he defends well - until suddenly he doesn't?

Yury V. Bukayev sent me the following game which features a couple of top grandmasters and meets three of the above criteria.


Wang, Hao - Giri, Anish

Beijing FIDE GP. 2013

1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 


This is the Philidor Defense, Hanham variation, reached by a modern move order.

I don't think tht GM Giri had played this defense before. He had played against it a few months earlier, in Giri,A - Driessens,P, Netherlands 2013 (1-0, 27), where play took a completely different turn with 5.g4!?

5... exd4 6.Qxd4 Be7 7.Bxf7+ 


Well, this had to be annoying.

Surely, in his opening preparations, GM Giri had noticed this sacrifice, as well as a reasonable response to it.

The problem with facing this kind of attack (and Jerome and Jerome-ish attacks) is a bit like carrying a heavy weight. Sure, you can move it a short distance. But, what happens if you have to carry it for a long time, across a long distance? Slips and falls can happen.

GM Wang is ready to provide the tactical pressure and fireworks.

7...Kxf7 

Just like with the Jerome Gambit, it is possible - but not advantageous - to decline the sacrifice, e.g. 7...Kf8 8.Bc4 c5 9.Qd1 Ne5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8+ Bxd8 12.Be3 b6 13.O-O-O Be7 14.f3 a6 15.a4 h6 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Rb8 18.f4 Bb7 19.fxe5 Ke8 20.Rhf1 Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Bxf8 22.Rf1 Be7 23.c4 Ba8 24.Kc2 Bb7 25.Bf4 Ba8 26.g4 Bb7 27.e6 Bxd5 28.cxd5 Rd8 29.Bc7 Black resigned, Grgic,S - Vujcic,T, Zadar 1999

8.Ng5+ Ke8 

The first example that I can find of the Bishop sacrifice was in Rodriguez Camio,A - Wexler,B, Rosario, 1952, which continued 8...Kg6 9.f4 Ne5 10.O-O Nfg4 11.f5+ Kh5 12.Nf3 g5 13.Nd5 Rg8 14.Qc3 Kh6 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.f6 Bf8 17.h4 Kg6 18.Bxg5 Kf7 19.Nxc7 Rb8 20.Rad1 b5 21.Qb3+ Nc4 22.Nd5 h6 23.Qf3 Ne5 24.Qh5+ Rg6 25.Rf5 Bb7 26.Be3 Bxd5 27.Rxd5 Ng4 28.Bd4 Qa5 29.Rf1 Qc7 30.c3 Qc8 31.Rxb5 Rxb5 32.Qxb5 Qe6 33.Qb7+ Kg8 34.h5 Rg5 35.f7+ Kh7 36.Qa8 Qe7 37.Qxa7? White Resigned

9.Ne6 c5 10.Qd1 Qb6 

11.Nxg7+ Kf7 12.Nf5 Bf8 13.O-O 

White has 2 pawns for his sacrificed piece, as well as a safer King. At 30 ply, Stockfish 15 rates this position as "0.00" - exactly even. So, White clearly has compensation for his material.

13...d5 

Thematic, but not absolutely necessary. Later in the year Horvath,I - Berkes,F, Gyula, 2013 (0-1, 23) saw 13...Rg8.

14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Qxd5+ Ke8 

If GM Giri had been familiar with the Jerome Gambit, he might have seen 15...Qe6 with the idea of exchanging Queens and lifting his defensive burden a bit...☺

16.Bg5 Qg6 17.Rad1 Rg8 18.f4 a5 

Preparing a Rook "lift" from the Queenside to the Kingside. It will not come soon enough.

19.e5 Qxf5 20.Qxg8 Ra6 21.Rfe1 Rg6 22.e6 Black resigned


Brutal.

Black's only option to avoid checkmate is to capture the offered Queen, but after 22...Rxg8 the Queen comes back with 23.exd7+ Kf7 24.d8/Q, and White has too many open lines for attack. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Jerome Gambit: "O! for one hour of Morphy!"

 



A review of Chess Openings (4th edition), published in The Athenaeum of March 5, 1910, includes the following, which coincidentally touches upon the attraction of the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) 

...Chess, however, is a diversion as well as a science, and we think it likely that a well-selected series of amateur games would afford more exhilaration to the average player than the professional display of to-day, faultily faultless, and splendly dull.

...Professionalism, as in other games, such as cricket and football, has an unfortunate influence on freedom of play, the use of the unexpected or hazardous as a means of attack... A player, if he is a professional, is hampered by the fact that he cannot run the risks common to the amateur. His reputation, which is his livelihood, is at stake; he must not lose, if he cannot win; and so we see a series of drawn games of little interest and less enterprise. 

The work has been done with utmost care and accuracy, and affords a complete summary of the first thirty moves or so in every opening a player is likely to adopt, not excluding such rash gambits as the Danish, and the Jerome Gambit, in which actually two pieces are sacrificed for two pawns. The latter is an American invention, and, though less admirable than some other novelties from the country of Morphy and Pillsbury, is typical of a freedom from convention which is all for the good of the game. " O! for one hour of Morphy!" we have heard even the enthusiast exclaim after plodding through a hundred moves or so by two masters in which the advantage of a single pawn in a "close game" is at last made into something tangible. The analysis of openings, especially in Germany, is studied with wonderful persistence, but it seems to engender a timidity in the middle and end game which is disappointing to the onlooker...

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Jerome Gambit: Disambiguation

 


As a matter of disambiguation - my vocabulary word of the week - I wanted to clarify that my reference to the Jerome Gambit line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Bf2+

(see most recently "Jerome Gambit: Anti-Bill Wall Gambit, Just Fine") as the Anti-Bill Wall Gambit could be taken a couple of ways.

The "Anti-Bill Wall Gambit" would suggest that there was a Bill Wall Gambit, and Black was countering it. There isn't; Black isn't.

The "Anti-Bill Wall Gambit" would suggest that someone was playing a gambit against Bill Wall. This is more to the point.

Way back in the post "The Anti-Bill Wall Gambit" from a dozen years ago, I wrote about the game Wall,B - Buster, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 11)

Since the only other game that I have in the updated New Year's Database with 7...Bf2+ is Wall - Equa, Chess.com, 2010, I'm tempted to title it the "anti-Bill Wall gambit"!

The whole notion of ...B(x)f2+ seems to be "backatcha": Black says I really don't know what you're planning on getting out of that Bishop sac at f7, but whatever it is, here's the same thing back at you!

Of course, the irony is that from an objective point of view, what the Jerome Gambiteer gets out of that Bishop sac at f7 is "a lost game" so he is usually delighted for Black to offer to claim that outcome back for himself.

(Yes, indeed, The Database was called the New Year's Database back then, and had a whopping 17,000 games - versus the 75,900 games in today's The Database.) 

I apologize for the lack of clarity - Rick

Monday, June 27, 2022

Jerome Gambit: Anti-Bill Wall Gambit, Just Fine



Responding to "Jerome Gambit: Pawns Lead the Way", Dan Middlemiss sent me a collection of Anti-Bill Wall Gambit games, featuring the unusual line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Bf2+

As I had mentioned in the post

The Anti-Bill Wall Gambit, [was] also seen in "Jerome Gambit: A Cautionary Tale" and "Jerome Gambit: Another Reason".

Along with his games - which boosted the number to 30 in The Database - he pointed out that after 8.Kxf2 Nc6 Black seems to do well. In fact, Black won 6 of 9 games.

That got me thinking.
The solution for White is hidden in a couple of those losses: 9.d4.

It is clear that the d-pawn can not be taken, e.g. 9.d4 Nxd4 10.Qd5+ followed by 11.Qxd4; although 9.d4 Nxd4 10.Rd1 is interesting as well. None of this has shown up in practice.
Black can focus on ejecting White's queen. So 9.d4 Nf6, although 10.d5+ Ke7 11.Qf3 can lead to a goofy rook sacrifice, 11...Nb4 12.e5 Nfxd5 13.c4 Nc2 14.cxd5 Nxa1 15.f5 and the menacing pawns + the queen give White a clear advantage.

So maybe 9.d4 g6 is the better idea to deal with White's Queen. Still, weirdness abounds: 10.d5+ Kf7 11.Qf3 Nce7 12.Rf1 d6 13.Kg1.

 
The two games I have with 9.d4 were answered 9...d5 (reasonable) and 9...Ke7 (likewise).

Stockfish 15 recommends meeting 9...d5 with 15: 10.Nc3 Nf6 11.exd5+ Kd6 12.Qg5 Ne7 13.Re1 b6 14.Bd2 Nfxd5 15.Qe5+ Kc6 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.Qe4 Ba6 18.c4 Bxc4 19.Rac1 Kb7 20.Rxc4 and White is a bit better.

Likewise, the computer recommends meeting 9...Ke7 with 10.d5 Nb4 11.Qd1 Kf7 12.a3 Na6 13.Rf1 d6 14.Kg1, again with a small plus for White. 

Given Stockfish's generally skeptical assessment of the Jerome Gambit, if it sees White as a little bit ahead, White is probably doing just fine.

 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Jerome Gambit: First Time Is A Charm



In the following game, White is successful with his first Jerome Gambit. 

For a newcomer, he shows some interesting ideas.

I hope to see many more such wins. 


Nocklas - Edoardomago

10 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Kf8 8.Qxc5+ N8e7 

More frequently seen is either 8...d6 or 8...Qe7.

Although the text adds to his development and leads to a small edge for Black, White perceives a small weakness that he wants to work against. 

9.d3 d6 10.Qc3 

Part of White's plan. Otherwise, the Queen could have retreated to e3.

10...Kf7 

Perhaps with the idea of castling-by-hand, but he gets distracted.

11.O-O Re8 

12.b3 

Black's placement of a Knight on e7, instead of f6, slightly weakens the g7 square. White's Queen is on the a1-h8 diagonal, and he plans to put his Bishop on the diagonal, too.

12...c5 

Komodo 13 suggests the repair 12...Ng8 13.f4 Nf6 and Black would be a little bit better.

13.Bb2 Ne5 


This move is careless, blocking the threat along the diagonal but overlooking White's response.

Such things happen in blitz games.

Komodo's suggestion is humorous: 13...Rg8 14.f4 b5 15.Qe1 Rf8 16.Qc3 Rg8 17.Qe1 Rf8 18.Qc3 Rg8 with a draw by repetition. Computers tend to dislike the Jerome Gambit, and occasionally they suggest a draw by repetition as a cure.

14.f4 Ng4 

The Knight forgets that he had a job to do at e5. 

Black's position becomes unglued. 

15.Qxg7+ Ke6 16.f5+ Kd7 17.Qxg4 Rg8 

White's material advantage is only 3 pawns, but Black's pieces are jumbled.

18.Qf4 Nc6 19.f6 Kc7 20.Qh6 Ne5 21.Qxh7+ Bd7 22.f7 Rh8 


Black's Rook continues to defend valliantly, but to no avail.

23.Qg7 Qe7 24.Nc3 Nxf7 

A slip, but the game was mostly lost.

25.Nd5+ Kc6 26.Nxe7+ Kc7 27.Rxf7 Black resigned




Saturday, June 25, 2022

Jerome Gambit: Sometimes Accuracy Is Not Enough



If you play a game of chess at the online Chess.com website, upon completion the software will give you an assessment of the accuracy of your play. 

The following Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) game, which I encountered while mining Twitter for material, came with this lament

Imagine playing 96.2% and losing to the JEROME Gambit  73.5 vs 96.2

In all fairness, Readers do not have to "imagine" such a situation - it is a regular occurance in games presented here.

The following game is a good example of White hanging in, despite difficulties, until he gets his tactical chance to score a win.


BrandenKenn - pedjanbg

10 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.d4 

Another log on the fire.

8...Bxd4 9.c3 Qf6 10.Qxf6+ Nxf6 11.cxd4 Nd3+ 

12.Kd2 Nxf2 13.Rf1 N2xe4+ 14.Kc2 c6 15.Bf4+ Ke6 16.Re1 Kf7 


White's King is receiving as much heat as Black's. Still, he awaits his chance.

17.Nc3 Nxc3 18.bxc3 d5 19.Bd6 


White plots mischief. Black does not notice. Blitz.

19...Ne4 20.Rf1+ Kg8 21.Rf8 checkmate