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Adventures Against the Budapest

By GM Gregory Kaidanov

In this article, GM Gregory Kaidanov demonstrates that it's possible to walk into an opponent's specialty unprepared and not only survive, but even emerge victorious.

Kaidanov - Blatny [A52]
Chicago Open (6), 1999

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1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5

The Budapest Gambit is not an everyday opening in grandmaster games. It's no wonder, I hadn't analyzed this opening for years. However, I recalled seeing Pavel's games in this opening, and I also was aware that he annotated some Budapest Gambit games for ChessBase. All this information made me regret having played 1.d4 altogether. Anyway, it was too late and I had to decide which line to choose. I figured I'd think again on move 6.

3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+

The move I was familiar with was 6.Nbd2. I knew White has a chance for a small advantage, but with accurate play Black should equalize. I also recalled that some time ago Yasser Seirawan claimed that 6. Nc3 was supposed to be a refutation of Budapest Gambit. After some soul searching, I went for what I considered to be the most principled move.

6.Nc3 Qe7 7.Qd5 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3

Some time ago I played in a speed tournament in my native town Kalinigrad on the West of Russia. One of my games against Master Vladimir Gusev reached a similar position with the only difference being that White's pawn e2 was on e3. It happened because instead of 5... Bb4, Vladimir played 5...Bc5. I answered with 6.e3, he played 6...Bb4, etc. In the position on the diagram (with White pawn on e3) the game went: 9...Qa3 10.Qd2 Qc5 11. Qd5 Qa3. Since a draw was not in my plans, I deviated with 12. Qd3?? and after 12...Qb2! was ready to resign (this is where e2-e3 makes a difference- the f2-pawn is under attack!) In speed chess everything can happen, so I eventually won the game, but I don't think I want to repeat my 12th move again. By the way, from Black's standpoint, it's probably not a bad idea to play this line on ICC. I have a hunch that you have good chance of getting trap someone into this line. Though, as you can see, it doesn't guarantee a win. :)

8...f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Qd3 d6 11.g3 0-0 12.Bg2 Bd7

Editor's Note: For those of us out there who play the Black side of the Budapest, an improvement has been found since this game occurred: 12...Bg4 13.O-O Rae8 14.Rae1 Kh8 15.Nd4 Ne5 16.Bxe5 dxe5 17.Nb3 c5 18.h3 draw agreed, Piket-Reinderman, Dutch Championship 1999.

13.0-0 Rae8

Black can achieve good counterplay against the c4-pawn (Na5,Be6, Qf7), so white must act immediately.

14.c5! dxc5

[14...Qxe2 15.Qxe2 Rxe2 16.cxd6 Nd5 17.Ne5+-]

15.Bxc7 c4!

[15...Qxe2 16.Qxe2 Rxe2 17.Bd6 Rfe8 18.Bxc5 Ne4 19.Bd4]


[16.Qxc4+ Be6 17.Qf4 Nd5 winning a piece.]


[16...Qxe2 17.Bd6]

Looks like Black has a good compensation for a pawn. Fortunately, I saw my next move in advance, before I played 16. Qd1

17.Ne5! Nxc3?

[Better was 17...Nxe5 18.Bxe4 Nf7 19.Bd5 Be6 20.Ba5 Bxd5 21.Qxd5 Qxe2 22.Bb4 (22.Qxb7 Ne5) 22...Re5 23.Qxb7 Rfe8 and Black's activity compensates for a pawn.]

18.Qxd7 Qxd7

[18...Nxe5 19.Qxe7 Rxe7 20.Bd6 Nxe2+ (20...Re6 21.Bxf8 Nxe2+ 22.Kh1 Kxf8 23.Bxb7+-) 21.Kh1 Rfe8 22.Bxe7 Rxe7 23.Bd5+ Kf8 24.f4+-]

19.Nxd7 Rf7 20.Bh3 Ree7

Black's imaginative play has led to this position, where he seems to have good compensation for the exchange (though White is a whole piece up at the moment, he can't avoid losing 2 pieces for the Rook after 21...Rd7.) After some thought I realized that the main problem is my bishop on c7 and found a way to trade it.

21.f4! Rxd7 22.Bxd7 Rxd7 23.Be5

Now Black has to trade his knight for the Bishop and the endgame is winning for White.

23...Nxe5 24.fxe5 Re7

[24...Nxe2+ 25.Kf2 Nd4 26.Rad1+-]

25.Rf3 Nxe2+ 26.Kf2 Nd4 27.Rf4 Nc6 28.Rxc4 Nxe5

In many positions pawn is a good compensation for the exchange, but here it's not the case. Since there are so many open files, rooks are significantly better. White's win is only matter of time.

29.Re4 Kf7 30.Kg2

[30.Rd1?? Nd3+ 31.Ke3? Rxe4+ 32.Kxe4 Nf2+-+]

30...Ke6 31.Rae1 Kd5 32.Rf4 a5 33.a4 b6 34.Rfe4 h5 35.h4 Re6 36.R4e2 Kd6 37.Kh3 g6 38.Kg2 Kd5 39.Rb1 Kd4 40.Rb5 Re7 41.Rxb6 Nc4 42.Rxe7 Nxb6 43.Ra7 Nxa4 44.Rxa5 Nc5 45.Kf3 Ne6 46.Rb5 Kc4 47.Re5 1-0


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