Just imagine Mike Ovitz trying to threaten Joe Eszterhas, and you’ll get a sense of my next two games: the White players hadn’t done their homework, and Hungarian fighting spirit took them down.
This game was played in a late round of the great Metro International Tournament series, and as usual I was going for a win!
Wang, Philip Xiao – Taylor, Timothy
Metro 6 Los Angeles 2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4
I recently wrote a book called The Budapest Gambit, and my research indicated that the opening was playable at the highest level. I also discovered some basic points, in that I now believe the basic move order usually played in the 4.Nf3 variation is incorrect, and put my findings out for all to see—that is, all who would come up with $24.95 to buy a book! Evidently, not everyone paid up.
As played by Ivanchuk, but in both this and the following game, my opponents appeared stunned when I made this natural development. I recommend this as best in my book—but it became obvious at this point that neither of them had read it!
4…Bc5 is the more popular move here, but to quote myself from page 179, “I emphatically don’t recommend this line for Black.” In general I view the B move as an ineffective one move threat—and I back up my recommendation of 4… Nc6 with extensive analysis, so don’t take my blog for it—read the book!
After a long think.
5.Bf4 is White’s best chance for advantage, while I describe the played move as “completely inoffensive.” I was happy to see such an innocuous exchanging move from my opponent, with whom I had a dismal score, and already felt I had chances for a turnaround.
5…Be7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Nc3 0–0 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.e3 Re8 10.Be2 Ngxe5 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.0–0 d6 13.Qd4 Bf5
To quote myself from the book: “With full equality: Black has completed his development and controls e4, and is thinking about a maneuver like Nd7–c5–e4.”
This game demonstrates the correctness of my analysis!
14.Rad1 Nd7 15.b4
In the book I give the variation 14.Rfd1 Nd7 15.b4 which is almost the same, and then recommend “15… a5 with good counter play.” Sounded good to me!
I am now out of the book … my own!—but it’s obvious Black has not only solved his opening problems but is taking the initiative.
Simple and marginally better for Black is 16…c6 17.Nf4 d5 with the better center, but I went for a pawn.
17.Qd2 dxc5 18.bxc5 Nxc5 19.Qc2?!
It’s way too extravagant to put the WQ on the line of the BQB—better is 19.Qc3 when White has some compensation for the pawn.
Not 20.f3 Re5 21.e4 Rxd5! Which shows the WQ is on the wrong square!
20…Qxf6 21.Qxc5 c6
Black is a pawn up for exactly nothing—which shows the advantage of really knowing your openings!
22.Rd2 g6 23.Rfd1 Qe7 24.Qb6 Rb4 25.Rd8+
Now I had to decide between two long variations—both win, but neither was easy.
I decided to take on the Q vs. two rooks position, banking on the middle game elements and the Queen’s attacking power. This is fine but as we’ll see, very complicated!
The alternative is 25…Rxd8 when the equally difficult main line runs (with many subvariations I won’t go into) 26.Rxd8+ Kg7 27.Qxa5 b6 28.Qa8 Rb1+ 29.Rd1 Rxd1+ 30.Bxd1 Qb4 31.g4 Bxg4 32.Bxg4 Qxg4+ 33.Kf1 Qc4+ 34.Kg2 b5 35.a3 Qd5+ 36.Kg1 h5 when Black still has a lot of work to do but should win the pawn up Queen ending. This is a case where there’s no simple solution.
26.Qxb4 Qxb4 27.Rxa8 Qb2 28.Bf3 Qxa2
28…Bc2 29.Re1 a4 30.Ra7 b5 31.h3 (31.Bxc6 Qc3) 31…a3 32.Bxc6 Qc3 33.Rc1 Qxc6 34.Rxa3 Qc4 35.Ra7 b4 36.h4 b3 37.axb3 Qxb3 38.Rc7 Bf5 39.R7c4 is still not all that simple, but Black’s material advantage should eventually prevail.
29.g4 Be6 30.g5 f6
Black has a quick win here with a variation that only a computer could love: 30…Bh3!! 31.Rdd8 Qb1+ 32.Bd1 (Black appears to be getting mated) f6! 33.Rg8+ Kf7 34.Raf8+ Ke7 35.gxf6+ Ke6 36.Rd8 Qb4 and mates.
My more conservative method wins, but more slowly.
31.Ra7 Qb3 32.Rxa5 fxg5 33.Rxg5 Bf5 34.Kh1 Be4 35.Rd7+ Kf6 36.Rg3 Qb1+ 37.Kg2 Bd3 38.Rg4 Qf1+ 39.Kg3 Qg1+ 40.Bg2 Bf5 41.Rd6+ Ke7 42.Rgd4 h5 43.h4
Now that matters settled after the time control, I figured out this way to win: Black attacks on the Kingside with Q and pawns, then when White is tied down, advances the queenside passers. I don’t think there is any real defense to this plan.
Black’s point—White was clearly hoping for 44…h4+ 45.Rxh4 Kxd6 46.Rh1±
45.Rf4 Kxd6 46.Rxf5 h4+ 47.Kh3 Qb1 48.Rd5+ Ke6 49.Rxc5 Qb2 should also win for Black.
Now that the WR has been forced off the 4th rank, this blow works.
The Q, B and h pawn are a powerful attacking force.
47.R6d5 h3 48.Bh1 Bc2 49.Rc1 b6!
The B is immune, and all of White’s pieces are disconnected.
If 50.Ke2 Ba4 51.Rb1 Bb5+! and White can’t stop all the passed pawns.
51.Rd3 Be6 52.Ke3 (Or 52.Rb1 Qe5 53.Rxb6 Qa1winning demonstrates the queen’s versatility) 52…c4 53.Rdd1 b5 and Black wins routinely with a simple advance of the connected passed pawns.
Now Black can win with direct attack.
52.Re1 Bd1+ 53.Ke3 Qd4+ 54.Kf4 Qxf2+ 55.Ke5 Qxe1 56.Bf3
White finally repositions the hapless B …
Only to have it drop off the board! That’s a Joe Eszterhas finish!
After this I couldn’t wait to play another Budapest, and a few weeks later I got my chance, in the SCCF Qualifier to round out the field for the closed State Championship. This round three game was crucial for the whole tournament. At this point, my opponent, Vincent Huang, was all alone with two points—while I and many others had one and a half. As the highest rated of my group, I got to play the leader. A win would essentially “leapfrog” me over him and assure qualification, and so it happened. I was not at all interested in a draw—so I went for the fighting Budapest, with all the more reason given my previous win over Wang.
Huang, Vincent – Taylor, Timothy
SCCF Qualifier Beverly Hills, 26.06.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3
As played by Wang.
The following ultra quiet line is similar to the main game, and I cover it in a note to Game 72 in my book—in general one sees the similarities to this battle with Huang, as in both Black sets up a good Leningrad Dutch, and Black’s N on f7 proves most worthy in both games! 4.e3 Nxe5 5.Nh3 g6 6.Nf4 Bg7 7.Be2 0–0 8.0–0 d6 9.Nc3 Nbd7 10.Qc2 a5 11.Bd2 Nc5 12.Rad1 f5 13.Na4 b6 14.Nc3 Bb7 15.Ncd5 Rf7 16.Bc1 Qh4 17.b3 Re8 18.Bb2 Bc8 19.f3 g5 20.Nd3 Ncxd3 21.Bxd3 f4 22.Be4 Be6 23.Qf2 Qh5 24.Bc1 Ref8 25.Rfe1 fxe3 26.Nxe3 h6 27.Qe2 Kh8 28.Rf1 Ng6 29.Bb2 Bxb2 30.Qxb2+ Ne5 31.Bd3 g4 32.fxg4 Bxg4 33.Rxf7 Rxf7 34.Rf1 Qg5 35.Qd2 Bf3 36.Bc2 Bxg2 37.Rxf7 Bc6+ 38.Kf1 Nxf7 0–1 (38) Gurevich,M -Tisdall,J /Akureyri 1988
Once again my opponent took a long think! I realized this foe hadn’t read my book either—finally, expecting 4… Bc5, he decided to play “hope chess”.
I pointed out in my book, Game 63 below, that Black can weather opposite side castling and White’s Kingside attack. In the main game I soon saw that White’s intentions were pacific, but that only meant I could gradually improve my position. 5.e3 Ngxe5 6.Be2 g6 7.Nc3 Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 Bg7 9.Qd2 d6 10.b3 Ne5 11.Bb2 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 0–0 13.0–0–0 Bh3 14.Rhg1 Be6 15.Ne4 f5 16.Ng5 Bxb2+ 17.Qxb2 Qf6 18.f4 Qxb2+ 19.Kxb2 Bf7 20.c5 dxc5 21.Rd7 Rad8 22.Rgd1 Rxd7 23.Rxd7 h6 24.Nf3 Rc8 25.Ne5 Be8 26.Re7 Kf8 27.Rh7 Kg8 28.Re7 Kf8 29.Rh7 Kg8 ½–½ (29) Sosonko,G -Ree,H/Amsterdam 1982
White is still hoping I would move my B to a blocked diagonal (… Bc5) but instead I fianchettoed per my own recommendation!
6…d6 7.Be2 g6 8.b3 Bg7 9.Bb2 0–0 10.0–0
I thought he might go queenside as in Sosonko – Ree, but this showed me my opponent would likely be satisfied with a draw.
10…Re8 11.Qd2 Nxf3+ 12.Bxf3 Ne5 13.Be2 f5
Leningrad by way of Budapest! With a Dutch formation on the board, White must always beware, as in Gurevich – Tisdall above, of … f4 and a kingside attack. In the game White underestimates this possibility.
14.Nd5 c6 15.Nf4 Nf7
A key strategical component of the … f5 advance: Black holds d6 with a minimum of force.
16.Rad1 Qe7 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Bf3 Be6 19.Qb4
I thought my N was the equal of White’s blocked B if 19.Nxe6+ Qxe6 but this might have been a safer way to play for a draw.
19…Rab8 20.Qa3 a6 21.Rd2 Rbd8 22.Rfd1 Bc8 23.Qa5 Qe5 24.Qb4
Here my opponent offered a draw, and in a strange way too—he said “Draw!” and extended his hand as though to shake mine—but as 4… Bc5 wasn’t obligatory in the opening, neither was accepting a draw here! I said, “I’ll think about it” but I wasn’t thinking about his offer, which I had no intention of accepting, but rather about the position. One sees that the WQ is attacking a pawn that is defended by a Bishop, and White has two rooks attacking a pawn defended by a N—so it’s clear that White is using too much force to attack where he can’t break through. In other words, Black can calmly maneuver to improve his position (Dynamic strategy as extolled by Suba) but White has a static position with no real threats. So of course I said, “Let’s play.”
24…Re7 25.Qb6 Rde8 26.h4 Qf6 27.g3 Kg8 28.Bg2 Rd7 29.Qb4 h6!
Black makes an important step forward: once … g5 is played, … f4 will soon be possible. Note that the advance of the f pawn to the fifth rank is always my favorite in Dutch/Bird positions. Meanwhile White has made no progress since his draw offer five moves ago.
Risky, as the pawn on h5 can be a target.
30…g5 31.Ng6 Rdd8 32.Qa3?
White either misses or underestimates Black’s threat to unleash the QB—he had to play 32.Rd3 to meet 32…f4 with 33.exf4 Bg4 34.Bf3±, so I would have patiently maneuvered with 32…Rd7.
Black is clearly better, perhaps already winning—note how White’s three heavy pieces: Q and two Rooks!—are completely stymied by a mere N, while every other Black piece is attacking.
If 33.exf4 Bg4 34.fxg5 hxg5 and Black wins with the dual threats to h5 and d1.
33…Bg4 34.e5 Nxe5
34…Qe6 wins in complicated fashion, but when I saw how clear the text was, I went for it: the key is the queen sacrifice that shows up in the note to move 36.
If 35.Nxe5 Bxd1 wins easily.
36.Rxd6 Nf3+! was the key queen gift that I saw on move 34: Black mates after both 37.Bxf3 Bxf3 38.Rxf6 Re1+ 39.Kh2 Rh1 Mate or White can be mated in different way if he chooses 38.gxf4 Qa1+ 39.Kh2 Qh1+ 40.Kg3 Qg2 Mate!
36…Qxd6 37.Rxd6 Nf7
The magic N returns, and there is no defense!
The best try is 38.Rd4 Bxh5 39.Re4 Rxe4 40.Bxe4 fxg3 41.fxg3 Nd6 42.Bc2 Kf7 43.Ne5+ Ke6 44.Nd3 Ne4 45.Kg2 Bg4 but Black still wins easily by creating a passed pawn on the kingside and then infiltrating on the queenside. 38.Rf6 Kg7 is also a no brainer.
But that’s a whole rook!
The Budapest wields a mean ice pick!