When I learned chess this was known as the “Budapest Counter Gambit” but at some point the Counter Gambit part was lost. The other day I was looking through an old issue of Chess Life and noticed a game between Lautier and Illescas played in Pamplona back in 1999 when Black played the Budapest.
What made the game interesting was that it was annotated in the same issue by both GM Robert Byrne and GM Michael Rhode. Byrne had this to say about the defense:
“There are openings that the great players have looked down their noses at…a typical one is the Budapest. Kasparov thought so little of this opening that in his Batsford Chess Openings it appeared under the rubric of ‘Miscellaneous Openings.’But I recommend that every young player shoulf give it a try in the course of his development. If you come up with a clear refutation…I’ll be willing to vote you a medal.”
It made me think back to the three times I’ve played this defense. The first time was OTB and I nicked a master for a full point. OK, so he lost on time, but it was a 2N and P ending, we were both in time pressure and neither of us played the ending very well. The second time was against a 2100. I lost that game but only after enormous complications. I set my opponent a trap which he only found after about 15 minutes thought. I don’t know how to finally evaluate the opening, but clearly, at least OTB, it’s worth a shot even against strong opposition.
The third time was this CC game that I drew against an 1800+ opponent. He played the worst line in the book, but had a TN up his sleeve that apparently wasn’t any worse than any of the book moves. This game also contains one of the oddest cases of double blindness I’ve ever seen in my postal games when we both overlooked the fact that White hung his Q at move 30.
Even so I was still winning and it’s impossible to explain the hail of blunders at the end of the game. Well, honestly, I can explain them. Bad chess. Real bad.