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Monday, January 20, 2020

Budapest Gambit Fajarowicz Variation


   At one time I had a fondness for the Budapest Gambit (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5) which GM Boris Avrukh called “almost respectable” and doubts there is a refutation. GM Robert Byrne wrote pretty much the same thing.
     Eventually I gave it up though because although I usually regained the P without much trouble, after that I was out of ideas and white always seemed much better. 
     Under the influence of GM Arthur Bisguier who occasionally played the Budapest, the Fajarowicz Variation (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ne4 instead of 3...Ng5) was to be avoided. Bisguier based his opinion on a game he lost to Reshevsky in the 1954-55 Rosenwald tournament. 
     Bisguier wrote that Reshevsky’s 4.a3 refuted the Fajarowicz and so he gave it up. The term “refute” seems a bit strong. Although his game was pretty anemic from early on, the fatal blunder was 16...g4. 
     In any case, the Budapest wasn’t a good choice against Reshevsky as Arnold Denker discovered when he played it against him at Syracuse (New York) back in 1934 and got mated in 20 moves! 
     Rather than concentrating on regaining the sacrificed Pawn, in the Fajarowicz Variation black puts the emphasis active piece play, fighting for key squares and tactical tricks. But, most theoreticians are in agreement that with simple moves black's tactical possibilities and initiative can be neutralized. 
     Back in 1996, Tim Harding wrote a book, The Fighting Fajarowicz, in which he examined the variation, but at the end it has to be admitted that in practice the Fajarowicz just doesn’t work as well as you would hope. That said, unless white cooperates by not playing the main lines (4. Nf3 or 4. a3) black can often carryout his plans. Even if white plays the best 4th moves, he still has to be careful. Unless you’re playing Grandmasters the Fajarowicz is worth a try.

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