Jerome Gambit

The Jerome Gambit is a dodgy gambit opening that starts with Giuoco Piano (1.e4 e5, 2.Nf3 Nc6 and 3.Bc4 Bc5) after King’s Pawn Opening (1.e4) is played. Then, White sacrifices a full Bishop on f7-square (4.Bxf7), and the game enters this opening.

Jerome Gambit

It took its name from a chess player in the 1800s. Jerome Gambit is never played at the elite level because White gives up a full Bishop for literally zero compensation. This gambit can be easily refuted by anyone above the expert level. Amateur games, on the other hand, show results similar to other openings.

Winning percentages on both sides

Only one game was played at the master level with this opening, and White won. However, it was played in the Jerome Gambit Declined Variation, and Black had a low elo compared to White. The number 100% does not resemble reality.

Master Games Statistics

Results Rate
Victory for White 100%
Draw 0%
Victory for Black 0%

Statistics from 605 Thousand Amateur Games

Results Rate
Victory for White 48%
Draw 3%
Victory for Black 49%

Main Ideas

The main goal of this opening is to hunt the enemy King. However, the lack of development often gives scenes where White is down on material without any compensation. White usually tries to prevent Black from protecting their King by utilizing their Queen. On the other hand, Black can manually cast in many settings and consolidate quickly.

Jerome Gambit’s Theory

The 5. O-O line is considered a slow approach since Black can quickly get their King into safety without meeting any difficulty. White usually goes for c3-d4 attempts to create a pawn storm against the enemy.

The 5.Nxe5 variation is a more challenging line where White can force the rival to make the right moves. Unfortunately, if Black is precise, they will likely consolidate and put their King in safety.

The 4…Kf8 variation is the best-case scenario for White, where Black allows White to grab a pawn and ruin Black’s castling rights for no practical reasons.

Jerome Gambit Accepted: 4…Kxf7 5. O-O

This line starts after Black captures the f7-Bishop with the King (4…Kxf7) and White castles (5. O-O) to bring the other pieces to action. Objectively, this variation is not sound, and Black is up material for no compensation.

Jerome Gambit Accepted - 4...Kxf7 5. O-O

Black usually aims to develop the g8-Knight to f6 (5…Nf6) and bring the h8-Rook to e8- or f8-square to manually put the King into safety by Kg8 and Kh8 later.

White needs to attack quickly and create complications. If Black can get two moves in, White will no longer be able to create any problems. 6.Nxe5+ is a decent try to bring chaos, which is replied to by 6…Nxe5 and 7.d4 (forking the c5-Bishop and e5-Knight to gain one minor piece back).

Black usually responds by sacrificing the Bishop (7…Bxd4) for the pawn, and White captures the Bishop (8.Qxd4). After a move like 8…Re8, White is thoroughly lost. One more try can be 9.f4 (attacking the Knight) and after the Knight retreats (9…Nc6), 10.Qc4+ (aiming to disturb the enemy King) can be played. Once Black closes the diagonal with 10…d5, after 11.exd5 and 11…Qxd5, there is no attack against the enemy King.

If Black makes a mistake and plays 10…Ke7, 11.e5 would bring the game back for White due to the weakness of the rival King (f5, Nc3, and Bg5 ideas would be lurking).

Another idea after 5…Nf6 is 6.c3 and 7.d4 to pressure the c5-Bishop and aim to capture the e5-pawn and kick the f6-Knight out. Hence, Black has to play 6…Re8 instead of Rf8 to guard the e5-pawn. If they choose Rf8 in this line, White can play d4 and put a pawn on e5, continuing the attack on the enemy King (possibly with f5).

As the theory shows, Black can almost always run into safety with Nf6 and Re8, followed by Kg8-h8. White typically has no compensation on this line.

Jerome Gambit Accepted: 5. Nxe5+

This variation begins after White takes on e5 with the Knight (5.Nxe5) and Black captures the e5-Knight (5…Nxe5).

Jerome Gambit Accepted - 5. Nxe5+

Currently, White is down two pieces for two pawns; however, they can regain one of the pieces with 6.d4. This is often not enough since the compensation is almost nonexistent for White due to a lack of development and Black’s Bishop pair.

Hence, 6.Qh5 is considered a more challenging option for White.

After 6.Qh5+, Black has many responses, including 6…g6, 6…Ng6, 6…Kf8 and even 6…Ke6 (comically, White is still lost after Black jeopardizes their King in such a fashion).

The only possible blunder for Black would be 5…Kf6 or 5…Ke7 because both of them would lose to Qf5+ or Qxe5+, and White would take the c5-Bishop and e5-Knight without any resistance.

One of the most common replies is 6…Ng6 and White can gain some initiative if they give the intermediate check (7.Qd5+) to dislodge the opponent’s King into a bad square (7.Kf8 can be played, but putting the King into the safety will take more effort by Black). Then, White can capture the c5-Bishop (8.Qxc5+), and after Black blocks (8…d6), White can play 9.Qe3 and intend to castle at the short side and launch an attack on the vulnerable King with f4-d4 ideas.

6…Kf8, 7.Qxe5 and 7…d6 would end up in a similar position, where White can place the Queen on g3 (8.Qg3) and castle. Then, White would try to play c3-d4-f4 pawn moves, improve the pieces rapidly, and try to hunt the Black King.

In these variations, Black needs to get the King into safety, possibly by moving the g8-Knight and creating a square for the Rook to bring the Black King into safety.

Possibly the most tactically challenging line is 6…g6 for Black, because after 7.Qxe5 is played, the h8-Rook is hanging. Black needs to find 7…Qe7 or White will capture the c5-Bishop (7…Bb6 would lose to 8.Qh8 and castle) and return with Qe3 to consolidate. After 7…Qe7 is chosen, the White King will be in great danger if White captures the h8-Rook.

One sample line after 8.Qxh8 could be 8…Qxe4, 9.Kf1, 9…Qh4 (threatening a checkmate on the f2-square and protecting the h7-pawn), 10.g3 (preventing the checkmate and assaulting the Queen), 10…Qh3+, 11.Ke1, 11…Qe6+, 12.Kf1 and 12…Nf6. In the final position, White’s Queen would be misplaced, and their King would be vulnerable and unable to castle. Black would win the majority of games due to these reasons.

Jerome Gambit Declined: 4…Kf8

This variation takes place after Black refuses to capture the Bishop and plays 4…Kf8. This move is probably the worst response to this gambit since it gives a clear pawn to White and accepts the King’s unsafe journey throughout the game. White is objectively winning, and they can retreat the Bishop to a safe square without facing any problems.

Jerome Gambit Declined - 4...Kf8

White can play 5.Bb3 and claim their extra pawn advantage. Black has to deal with their King without any initiative.

One sample line could be 5…d6 (opening up the scope of the c8-Bishop), 6.h3 (preventing Bg4 or Ng4 ideas), 6…Nf6 (developing the Knight and attacking the undefended e4-pawn), 7.d3 (protecting the e4-pawn), 7…a5 (Trying to expand on the Queenside), and 8.a4 (stopping White’s plans on the Queenside).

The resulting position would resemble an Italian Game that went wrong for Black, with a pawn down and an unsafe King. White would win the game if they didn’t make any significant mistakes.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
In rare cases, Black can be afraid of taking the Bishop. Black is objectively close to winning due to White’s lack of development and material losses.
On rare occasions, Black can blunder and give unnecessary compensation to the enemy. Black can put their King into safety in a couple of moves by manually castling the King.
White lacks compensation and ideas and is desperate for the enemy’s blunders.
Black gets the Bishop-pair advantage, making it difficult for White to create problems for the enemy.

Jerome Gambit’s Trap

This trap begins with the 5.Nxe5 variation, and Black captures the e5-Knight (5…Nxe5). Then, White utilizes the Queen (6.Qh5+) and gives a check to the enemy King. Then, Black makes the wrong move and falls into a tactical trap by going 6…Kf6. This allows White to give an intermediate check with 7.Qf5 and remove the King’s protection from the e5-Knight. Once 7…Ke7 is played, White captures the e5-Knight with a check (8.Qxe5+) and the c5-Bishop in the next turn.


The Jerome Gambit is a dubious gambit that allows Black to have an extra Bishop for an uncastled King. If Black can put their King to safety, they will likely win the game because White has no compensation or activity after sacrificing the pieces. In rare cases, White can trick Black and gain an advantage. It is not recommended to play at any level because it has no sound logic.

Written by
Emre Sancakli, Сhess Coach
has a rating of 2400+ on and, making him one of the top 5000 players in the world. He teaches many chess enthusiasts and even creates educational courses. As a writer, he keeps bringing his 'A game' to the content you will face on this website.
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How good is Jerome Gambit?

The Jerome Gambit is considered an unorthodox and speculative opening in chess. It’s not commonly played at the highest levels due to its risky nature and the substantial material sacrifice it involves. While it can lead to swift and surprising attacks in casual games, it’s generally not recommended for consistent, strategic play.

How do you beat Jerome Gambit?

To beat the Jerome Gambit, it’s crucial to play cautiously and capitalize on the material advantage provided by your opponent’s early sacrifices. Developing pieces efficiently, maintaining a solid defensive structure, and being alert to tactical threats are key. Countering with precise and conservative moves often leads to a favorable position against the gambit.

Is the Jerome Gambit sound?

The Jerome Gambit is not considered sound by classical chess standards. It involves significant material sacrifices early in the game without a guaranteed sufficient compensation in terms of position or attack. While it can be effective in surprising an unprepared opponent, it generally lacks viability against well-prepared and experienced players.

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