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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

A Budapest/Tennison tactic 04/20/2018

When I talk about combinations in the opening, I start with the shortest example. For instance, Warren-Selman, correspondence 1930:

The Budapest Defense 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 is one of those openings that’s more promising as a black opening than a white opening, because 2. c4 means Black’s …Bf8-b4+ is a more serious nuisance. Since c2-c3 is unavailable, White would have to interpose with a piece, and then Black’s b4-bishop and e4-knight work in cooperation. Therefore, White played 3. a3, which isn’t bad, but isn’t as good as White wants from the opening. Then 6. g3? Nxf2! shows White’s king is overworked (7. Kxf2 Bg3+ wins the queen).

Tennison’s gambit 1. e4 d5 2. Nf3 is sort of a Budapest in reverse, where¬†White has an extra move, but he can’t use it for the active Bf1-b5+ because …c7-c6 is a counterattacking interposition. So, whereas the Budapest Defense is good enough for grandmaster Short to play in a match with Karpov, the Tennison Gambit is best left to coffeehousers.


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