Giuoco Piano, Jerome Gambit

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Jerome Gambit
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8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black king
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c5 black bishop
e5 black knight
e4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Moves1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5
ECOC50
Named afterAlonzo Wheeler Jerome
ParentGiuoco Piano

The Jerome Gambit is an unsound chess opening which is an offshoot of the Giuoco Piano. It is characterized by the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Bc5
4. Bxf7+? Kxf7
5. Nxe5+ Nxe5

White sacrifices two pieces in hopes of exposing Black's king and obtaining a mating attack. The line is virtually never seen today (and never seen in high-level chess), but was known in the late 19th century.


Discussion[edit]

The opening is named after Alonzo Wheeler Jerome (1834–1902) of Paxton, Illinois, who had a game with this opening against the problemist William Shinkman published in the Dubuque Chess Journal in 1876.[1] Blackburne wrote of it, "I used to call this the Kentucky opening. For a while after its introduction, it was greatly favoured by certain players, but they soon grew tired of it."[2] Blackburne's name for the opening may have arisen from confusion with 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5, which was also published in the Dubuque Chess Journal and dubbed the "Kentucky Opening" there.

In the third edition of the opening treatise Chess Openings, Ancient and Modern (1896), the authors wrote:

The Jerome Gambit is an American invention, and a very risky attack. It is described in the American Supplement to Cook's Synopsis as unsound but not to be trifled with. The first player sacrifices two pieces for two pawns, with the chances arising from the adversary's king being displaced, and drawn into the centre of the board.[3]

Similarly, du Mont wrote that it "is unsound, but has the saving grace of leading to a lively game and is therefore suitable for an occasional friendly game. The defender cannot afford to be careless."[4]

White may regain one of the two sacrificed pieces with 6.d4, but Black retains a decisive material advantage with 6...Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Qf6.[5] More commonly, White plays 6.Qh5+. In that event, Freeborough and Ranken analyzed two lines. One is 6...Kf8 7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qf5+ Ke8 9.Nc3 d6 10.Qf3 Qf7 11.Qe2 Nh6 12.0-0 c6, with large advantage to Black.[5] Freeborough and Ranken also analyze the bold 6.Qh5+ Ke6!? ("follow[ing] out Mr. Steinitz's theory that the King is a strong piece") 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.d4 (or 8.f4 Qf6 9.fxe5+ Qxe5) Bxd4 9.Na3 c6 10.c3 Qf6 11.cxd4 Qxf5 12.exf5 Nf7 13.Bf4+ Ke7, again with a large advantage.[5] A bad line for Black after 6.Qh5+ is 6...Kf6?? 7.Qf5+ Ke7 8.Qxe5+ Kf7 9.Qxc5, regaining both pieces and winning two pawns.[6]

Illustrative games[edit]

N.N. vs. Blackburne
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8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
h8 white queen
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
f7 black king
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
e4 white pawn
g4 black knight
h4 black queen
c3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 black bishop
g2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
f1 white rook
h1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 12.Kh1

N.N. versus Blackburne, London 1884:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Bxf7+? Kxf7 5. Nxe5+ Nxe5 6. Qh5+ g6

Seirawan and Minev observe that after 6...Kf8 7.Qxe5 d6 or 6...Ng6 7.Qxc5 d6 White has insufficient compensation for the sacrificed piece, but Blackburne likes to attack.[7]

7. Qxe5 d6?

Blackburne remarks, "Not to be outdone in generosity.";[2] however, after 7...Qe7! White cannot safely take the rook.

8. Qxh8 Qh4 9. 0-0 Nf6 10. c3?

Better is 10.Qd8![7]

10... Ng4 11. h3 Bxf2+ 12. Kh1 (see diagram) 12... Bf5! 13. Qxa8 Qxh3+! 14. gxh3 Bxe4# 0–1[8]

Having accepted White's sacrifice of two minor pieces, Blackburne responded by returning the knight, then sacrificing both rooks and his queen to deliver checkmate with his three remaining minor pieces.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rick Kennedy,The Life of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, blog post, July 27 2009
  2. ^ a b Joseph Henry Blackburne, Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess, selected, annotated and arranged by himself [1]
  3. ^ E. Freeborough and Rev. C. E. Ranken, Chess Openings, Ancient and Modern, Third Edition, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co., London, 1896, p. 85. [2]
  4. ^ J. du Mont, 200 Miniature Games of Chess, David McKay, 1965, p. 147.
  5. ^ a b c Freeborough and Ranken, p. 86.
  6. ^ Larry Evans, Chess Catechism, 1970, ISBN 0-671-20491-2
  7. ^ a b Yasser Seirawan and Nikolay Minev, Take My Rooks, International Chess Enterprises, 1991, p. 66. ISBN 1-879479-01-X.
  8. ^ N.N.–Blackburne, England 1880

External links[edit]