Refutation of the Budapest Gambit

Some openings are easier to refute than others. I never had a high opinion of the Budapest Gambit – black sacrifices a pawn and then spends time to take it back, all in order to achieve a worse pawn structure. The compensation he is theoretically promised, smooth development and some chances of an attack may have been valid in the past, but today there is no attack and the pawn structure turned out to be more important than the development.

It is important to define here what I mean by “refutation.” It is not a forced win, that is for sure! If white obtains a stable and safe advantage out of the opening in all the lines and at the same time black’s position lacks perspective and has no way to evolve then I consider an opening, or a variation, to have been refuted. I hope to show in the analysis below that this is valid for the Budapest Gambit.

The following analysis is based on a lot of my own work and games and two great books – Squeezing the Gambits by Kiril Georgiev (2010) and Grandmaster Repertoire 2 – 1 d4 Volume Two by Boris Avrukh (2010).

White’s key move in several lines is Nd2, followed by Nde4. This has a poweful effect – it prevents exchange of one pair of knights, which would help black if allowed (he has less space and it also opens the 6th rank for the rook maneuver Ra6-g6 or Ra6-h6), it attacks the Bc5, another important black piece, and it liberates the way for the f-pawn. Hence I have taken as a main line the move 7…Nge5, the only way black can prevent the Nd2-e4 maneuver. But life is not easy for black there either.
Here is the full analysis:

Here is also a .cbv version for download and viewing in Chessbase.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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  • […] Please bear in mind that by “refutation” I don’t necessarily mean a lost position for Black, but rather a prospectless position at the end of the line, making the whole variation unappealing to play. Similarly, you can take a look at another refutation here. […]

  • […] the refutation. I would like to repeat here what I said when I talked about the refutation of the Budapest Gambit – by refutation I don’t mean a forced win, not at all. What I have in mind is that […]

  • Apr 16,2016 at 3:05 pm

    That is actually interesting, I haven't analysed it. I took a brief look and it seems that black can go 8…d6 9 Nde4 Qh4 10 0-0 Bb6 and looks acceptable for him. Compared to the line with 8 Ne5 I think the latter offers more to white.

  • Apr 15,2016 at 9:43 pm

    Why not 7… Nge5 8 Nd2 ?

  • Apr 13,2016 at 12:33 pm

    Please see the notes to black's 7th move: 7..Re8 8 Nd2 and 7…a5 8 Nd2.

  • Apr 13,2016 at 12:31 pm

    So where is this nd2-ne4 you have talked about? I don't see it in the game

  • Apr 11,2016 at 9:44 pm

    CBV file added at the end of the text.

  • Anonymous
    Apr 11,2016 at 6:33 pm

    PGN ?

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