Fabulous Budapest Gambit, The

Viktor Moskalenko

Reviewer: John Donaldson
New In Chess
241 pages

Ask a Grandmaster what the best defense to 1.d4 is and you will get many answers depending on their style. Aggressive players will mention the King’s Indian, Gruenfeld, Modern Benoni, Benko Gambit and Semi-Slav. Rock solid types will go for the Slav, Queen’s Gambit, Queen’s Gambit Accepted and Nimzo/Queen’s/Bogo Indian complex. Few if any will say the Budapest Gambit. That may be changing. Remember the reputation of the Chigorin and Albin ten years ago compared to today? The Budapest may soon enjoy a similar rebirth.

If it does it will be in large part to the publication of Ukrainian GM Viktor Moskalenko’s mammoth new work, The Fabulous Budapest Gambit. This oversize (6 3/4 by 9 inch) book is a combination opening manual and game collection (115 annotated games) on a subject that has not previously attracted a lot of attention (the only books that come to mind are IM Borik’s from twenty years ago and GM Gutman’s from 2004 – the latter only on 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4).

I always thought that the refutation of the Budapest was 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qe7 8.Qd5 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Qd3 but after reading Moskalenko’s book I learned that both 10…d6 11.g3 0-0 12.Bg2 Bg4!? 13.0-0 Rae8 and 10…b6 11.Bg2 Bb7 13.0-0 Na5 are both quite playable. Against treatments involving Bf4, Nbd2 and e3 Moskalenko shows that Black does fine if he avoids a well-timed c4-c5 by White. While top level GM versus GM encounters in the Budapest are still rare, at a minimum the opening is much better than previously thought.

The Fabulous Budapest Gambit covers both 3…Ng4 and the Fajorowicz Variation (3…Ne4). Lovers of active piece will enjoy this opening.

Highly recommended.