Budapest Gambit

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

Do you notice lately that all the openings are starting to look the same? On the kingside it is either the Berlin (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6) the Petroff (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6) or the Giuoco Piano (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5). On the queenside we usually get the Queen’s Gambit Declined (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3), the Catalan (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2) or various forms of the London System (1.d4 and 2.Bf4) or Torre-Trompowsky (1.d4 and 2.Bg5).

I believe though that with the rising popularity of Rapid and Blitz tournaments the games are going to get sharper and we will start seeing more gambits again. The English GM Michael Adams won a lot of quickplay tournaments in the 80s and his advice to young players was always to keep his pieces active, even at the cost of one or two pawns. He explained that the mistakes are going to come anyway, so better make sure your pieces have active so as to maximize their “swindling potential.”

The 23rd Hoogeveen Chess Festival took place from Oct. 10–17 this year. Alongside the main tournament was a 6-game match between 16-year-old Alireza Firouzja (Iran 2702) and Jorge Cori (24 years old, Peru 2671).

The well-known chess journalist Peter Boel wrote about how this match ended in New in Chess Yearbook #133:

“There is a strange FIDE rule that says that if you play a match and if you have already won it, then the final game(s) of that match is (are) not rated. In 2016 this became a topic in one of the Hoogeveen matches, when Nigel Short had already beaten Hou Yifan, and then made sure he couldn’t lose any rating points in the final game. This doesn’t sound very cocky, but then again your concentration tends to slacken if victory is already in the pocket. Short duly lost that final game to Hou Yifan.

“When new chess superstar Alireza Firouzja (2700+ at 16) had already won his match with Jorge Cori Tello this year at 3.5-1.5 in truly fabulous style, he asked chief arbiter Frans Peeters to verify that their final game would indeed not be rated. When Peeters affirmed this, the Iranian said ‘OK, then we can go wild tomorrow!’ And that’s what happened.”

Cori, Jorge (2671) — Firouzja, Alireza (2702) [A52]
Hoogeveen Matches 2019 Hoogeveen, Netherlands (6.2), 26.10.2019

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5!?

The Budapest Gambit.

3.dxe5 Ng4

[3…Ne4 is the Fajarowicz Variation where Black concentrates on the rapid development of his pieces and gives up chances to recover the pawn on e5. This has its own body of theory which we will not be taking up here]


This is known as the “Adler” Variation because of the game Adler vs. Maroczy from 1896, the first record of the Budapest Gambit. I will show you this game later as the opening plan chosen by White still very often occurs in modern club tournaments.

4…Bc5 5.e3 Nc6 6.Nc3 0–0

Black is hoping that White will waste a move on h2–h3 before he takes the pawn on e5.

7.Be2 Re8

The Hungarian tactician Richard Rapport won a nice game with 7…Ngxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.0–0 a5 10.Kh1 d6 (I could be wrong, but maybe Black is better off with 10…Ra6 11.f4 Rd6 12.Qc2 Nc6) 11.f4 Nc6 12.b3 Re8 13.Rf3 Bf5 14.Rg3 Re6 15.Bd3 Bxd3 16.Qxd3 Nb4 17.Qd2 Qe7 18.e4 Qh4 (with the idea of 19…Qxg3! 20.hxg3 Rh6 mate) 19.Rf3 Nc2! 20.Rb1 (20.Qxc2 Qe1+ and mate) 20…Qe1+ 21.Qxe1 Nxe1 22.Rg3 Rg6 23.Nd5 Rxg3 24.hxg3 c6 25.Be3 Nd3 26.Bxc5 cxd5 27.Bxd6 dxe4 Black is better and went on to win. 0–1 (60) Gelfand, B. (2777)-Rapport, R. (2691) Wijk aan Zee 2014.

8.0–0 Ngxe5 9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.b3 a5

Securing his bishop’s position on c5 and preparing to develop his a8–rook to h6 via a6.

11.Bb2 Ra6 12.Qd5

Trying to provoke Black’s …d7–d6 which cuts off Black’s rook’s access to the kingside.


Looks awkward but he does not want to block the rooks’ transfer to the other side.


Here is a nice game with this line: 13.c5 Rh6 14.Ne4? (the idea behind this move is that 14…Qh4 is met by 15.Bxe5 and the h2 square is protected. The problem here is that Black has a very strong rebuttal) 14…c6! 15.Qd4 (the queen has to defend his e4–knight. For example if he plays 15.Qd2 then Black has 15…Qh4! with a double attack on e4 and h2) 15…d5! 16.Ng3 b6! 17.cxb6 Bxb6 18.Qc3 Qh4 19.h3 Bxh3 20.gxh3 Qxh3 21.Rfd1 Qh2+ 22.Kf1 Rf6 0–1 Polovodin, I. (2460)-Miezis, N. (2350) Moscow 1992.

13…Rh6 14.Qxa5?!

Decentralizing his queen. He should have gone for 14.Bxe5 c6 (Cori has to give back the piece but he is for choice as to how he will do it) 15.Bf6! gxf6 16.Qd3 f5 (to her his queen quickly to h4) 17.Ng3 (17.Nd6? Qc7 loses the knight because of the mate on h2) 17…Bb8 18.Rad1 d5 19.cxd5 Qh4 20.h3 Bxg3 21.fxg3 Qxg3 22.Rf3 Qe5 23.dxc6 Rxc6 both sides have their chances.

14…Bb6 15.Qa8!

Looks stupid but is actually a clever move. You see if the queen has gone to c3 then 15.Qc3 Qh4 16.h3 Qxe4 wins a piece. But with the queen on a8 then 15.Qa8 Qh4 16.Bxe5 and the black rook cannot retake on e5 because of the back rank mate.

15…d6 16.c5 Qh4 17.Bxe5

[17.h3 Qxe4 18.cxb6 Rg6 White’s king cannot survive this]

17…dxe5 18.f3

Pushing the other pawn won’t work: 18.h3 Bd7 19.Qxb7 Bc6 20.Qa6 Bxe4 21.cxb6 Bxg2! Black wins

18…Qxh2+ 19.Kf2 Rg6 20.Rg1 Bd7 21.Qa3 Bh3 22.Bf1 f5 23.Qa4 <D>


We now enter a critical stage in the game. White is threatening mate with Qxe8.


Clearly Firouzja wanted to cut off White’s king’s escape, but the next move shows it to be a mistake. He had to play 23…Kf8! 24.cxb6 (24.Ng5 Rxg5 25.Qh4 f4 26.Qxg5 h6 27.Qh4 fxe3+ 28.Ke2 Qxg1 with the win) 24…fxe4 25.Qxe4 (25.bxc7 Qg3+ 26.Ke2 exf3+) 25…Qg3+ 26.Ke2 Rxb6 when Black still with the advantage.

What is the difference between protecting the rook with 23…Kf8 and 23…Rf8? The latter does not work and you will see why later.

24.Rd1! Rf8

[24…Rxd1 25.Qe8#]


We have gotten the same position as when Black could have played 23…Rf8. It does not work because the Black king is on g8 and can be checked after 25.Ng5! Rxg5 26.Qh4 f4 27.Qxg5 Bxc5 28.Bc4+ the rook on g1 is already defended and after 28…Kh8 29.Ke2 Bxe3? 30.Rd8 White even mates.

25…Kh8 26.Qf7

[26.Ng5 no longer works: 26…Rxg5 27.Qh4 Bxc5 28.Qxg5 f4 Black is the one winning]

26…Rg8 27.Ng5

[27.cxb6 fxe4]

27…Rxg5 28.cxb6 cxb6 29.Qc7 h6 30.Rd8 Qg3+ 31.Ke2 Rxd8 32.Qxd8+ Kh7 33.Qxb6 0–1

Cori resigns because he is losing major material after 33.Qxb6 e4! for example: 34.f4 Rg6 35.Qd4 Bg4+ 36.Kd2 Qf2+.

Here is the Adler-Maroczy game I promised earlier, including a quick theoretical to guide you through some pitfalls:

Adler — Maroczy,Geza [A52]
Budapest, 03.02.1896

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4

White’s main moves now are 4.Bf4, 4.Nf3, and giving back the pawn right away with 4.e4.


This is the first record of someone using the Budapest Gambit. Look at the name of the player of the white pieces and you will understand why this continuation is called the “Adler.”

4…Bc5 5.e3 Nc6 6.Qd5

White should have just let the pawn go with Nc3 or Be2.

6…Qe7 7.Nc3 Ngxe5 8.Be2 d6

The reason why the Budapest can be deadly especially in fast time controls is because it is a lot easier to play with Black than with White, but for you to succeed you must remember a few basic patterns. Take note that Black’s bishop went to c5 (or b4) first before his queen went to e7, and now the e5–knight is attacking white’s pawn on c4, and he will likely win it with …Be6.

9.Ne4 Be6 10.Qd1 Bb4+ 11.Bd2 0–0–0!

Careful! There is a trap here: 11…Nxc4? 12.Bxb4 Nxb4 13.Qa4+ Nc6 14.Bxc4 White has won a crucial piece.

12.Bxb4 Nxb4 13.Qb3

Castling will lose his c4–pawn to 13.0–0 Nxf3+ 14.Bxf3 Bxc4 so Adler defends his c4–pawn. It appears that he does not have time for this.

13…Nxf3+ 14.Bxf3 d5 15.Nd2 dxc4 16.Nxc4 Rd3 17.Qa4 Bxc4 18.Qxa7? Nc2+ 0–1

It is mate next move.

You really should give the Budapest a try. If nothing else it will give you lots of hours of enjoyment.


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.