Mar 30, 2010

Budapest 101: A simple lasting advantage for White

The Budapest is an interesting opening over the board...although you won't often see it at the highest levels. Black dictates the opening in ways that are rare for queen pawn openings, and the shock value can be downright fun. The problem is that the Budapest is more boring than the early knight foray would seem to suggest, and for the same reasons that the Budapest isn't seen much at the GM level, it's not particularly fit for CC either. This is true at least if Black is interested in more than barely hanging on for the draw. I think the below is White's best try for a straightforward advantage and all the winning chances. Of course White has to be prepared for other variations, especially at Black's 4th.


  1. hey man, nice to see the Budapest get some attention!

    I like the Ng4 version as black, but generally play the ne4 line in fact. It is more than playable, and totally sound, if not somehwat to difficult to learn as there are lot of nuances.

    There is a recent book, poorly presented but with fantastic analysis and coverage. (Lev Gutman wrote it).

    Many d4 c4 players just do not know it at all, and although they can find straightforward moves easily enough gnerally, at least I have the advantage of familiarity with the position and can generally get a good middlegame. I don't think it is boring, as you imply - although several exchanges can occur early on.

    There is also the possiblity of the real crazy lines showing up like the early b6 lines when Q x R?! leads to queen getting trapped. this comes up often as people think a3 is a good move to play early on as white.

  2. Perhap "boring" was a little harsh, but it seems to me that White is the one with most of the choice to take the gambit into wild areas. The most significant exception is if Black plays 4...g5 instead of 4...Nc6 as above. (I would not mind facing 4...g5 at all in a CC game.) In any event, I absolutely agree with you that at the club level the opening has surprise value. As for the Fararowicz, I'll look again. I explored this a couple of years back as an OTB weapon, but abandoned it for fear of running into a White player who actually knows it, such as a local blitz wizard whose best friend has played it 100 times. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think it holds up theoretically, but I will look again. I have Harding's book but not Gutman's. I'll get it.