The Blunder Gland and The Fajarowicz

The Blunder Gland and The Fajarowicz

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Millvillage asked:

In your years of getting around the chess circuit, have
 you heard of any 
medication/treatment for the inflamed blunder gland?
 Sometimes mine acts up even when I am not playing chess.

Dear Millvillage:

This kind of inflammation happens to everyone, and occurs over and over in chess and life. Women tend to think that men are more prone to it than they are, while men think that women are permanently inflamed (but don’t know it).

In regards to chess, blunders are a part of the game, and bad form or biorhythms or a number of other things can cause serious inflammation throughout the whole event. Ages ago I played in a New York Open where I couldn’t see a move ahead, and hung everything that’s possible to hang round after round after round. As the ridiculous losses mounted, I finally approached the late grandmaster Edmar Mednis and, in despair, asked him if he knew a cure. He said, “Yes, the next tournament.”

Indeed, I went from being the tournament goat in New York to being a tournament winner in my next event. Where I was as blind as a bat in New York, I had X-Ray vision back in Los Angeles. Clearly, there is no permanent cure, but there are moments of respite until that old inflammation hits us again.


Jaguarphd asked:

My teacher, who is a senior master, last year said the Budapest Gambit was unsound. As a result I stopped playing it. However, I loved playing the Fajarowicz variation. Could you shed some light on that variation?

Dear Jaguarphd:

Many years ago I was one of those guys that said the Budapest sucked (most likely because I had an extremely good score against it). Then I had a long conversation with IM John Watson and he convinced me that it’s far better than one might guess. In fact, he wasn’t sure how White could really claim a significant advantage.

That still holds true for 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 (which is clearly sound). However, The Fajarowicz – 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 – is quite another matter. The Knight jump to e4 was thought to be more or less refuted for quite a long time, but then Tim Harding published a book in 1996 recommending 3…Ne4, and grandmasters Lev Gutman and Viktor Moskalenko challenged the negative view of 3…Ne4 in recent books that deeply explored black’s options, ideas, and improvements. Oddly, these two GMs soon began to feud with each other – apparently it wasn’t enough to give the Fajarowicz some respectability, they also had to show that their analysis, and not the other guy’s, was the only correct way to go about things. That’s what happens when two players, even grandmasters (!), are passionate about an opening.

Both players continue to declare the Fajarowicz resurrected, and Gutman in particular is extremely active in doing so.

White has tried just about everything, but the most popular are: 4.a3, 4.Nd2, 4.Qd3, 4.Qd5, 4.Qc2, and 4.Nf3.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.a3!

IM Saidy once told me that it’s common knowledge that “4.a3 refuted the Fajarowicz” decades ago. Moskalenko makes a claim that black’s okay after 4...b6. The idea is that 5.Qd5 Bb7! 6.Qxb7 Nc6 traps white’s Queen: 7.Nf3 Rb8 8.Qa6 Nc5 9.Qb5 a6. I doubt that 4...b6 will stand up to close scrutiny, but other Black tries don’t seem appealing:

1) 4...Qh4 5.g3 Qh5 6.Bg2 Qxe5 7.Nf3 favors White.

2) 4…b6 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Nbd2 a5 7.Nxe4 Bxe4 8.Bf4 Na6 9.g3 Nc5 10.Bg2 a4 11.Rc1 Be7 12.0-0 0-0 13.Nd4 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 f6 15.Nf3 and Black doesn’t have enough compensation (analysis by Avrukh).

3) 4…d6 5.Nf3 Bf5 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nh4 Be6 8.Bg2 f5 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.b3 d5 11.cxd5 Bxd5 12.Bxd5 Qxd5 13.Qxd5 Nxd5 14.Bb2 0-0-0 15.Nd2 and now Avrukh (from his magnificent book, Grandmaster Repertoire 1.d4 Volume Two, Quality Chess 2010) wrote, “Even an optimistic gambit fan should dislike black’s position, as White is a pawn up without any compensating activity for Black.”

4…Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Qc2 d5

6…Bf5 7.Nc3 and now both 7…Nxf2 8.Qxf5 and 7…Ng3 8.e4 are bad for Black.

7.e3 Bg4 8.cxd5 Qxd5 9.Bc4 Qa5+ 10.b4 (grandmaster Avrukh feels that 10.Nbd2 is even stronger) 10...Bxb4+ 11.axb4 Qxa1 12.Qxe4 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Qxe5 this was once thought to be playable for Black, but it’s actually rather miserable:


Or 14.Bb2 Qxe4 15.fxe4 Nxb4 16.Bxg7 Rg8 17.Bc3 Nc6 18.Ke2 Rd8 19.Nd2 Rd7 20.Rb1 Rg5 21.Bd5 Nd8 22.Nf3 Rh5 23.Rg1 Ne6 24.Bxb7 Rc5 25.Rg8+ Nf8 26.Rxf8+, 1-0, S.Pedersen (2464) - O.Simonsen (2183) Torshavn 2000.

14…Qxe4 15.fxe4 Ne5 16.Be2 O-O 17.Bb2 Rfe8 18.f4 Nd7 19.Rg1 f6 20.Nc3 c6 21.e5 fxe5 22.Ne4 Re7 23.Nd6 Kh8 24.fxe5 Rf8 25.e6 Nf6 26.Nf5 Rxe6 27.Nxg7 Rg8 28.Nxe6 Rxg1+ 29.Kf2 Rg6 30.bxc6 bxc6 31.Nf4 Rh6 32.Nh5 Kg8 33.Nxf6+ Kf7 34.Bc4+ Kg6 35.Kg3 Kg5 36.Bd3, 1-0, F.Vareille - C.Adrian, St Lorrain 2000. It seems to me that Saidy was right about 4.a3 – it’s very strong.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nd2 Nxd2

4…Nc5 (4…Bb4!?) 5.a3 (5.Ngf3 Nc6 6.g3 d6 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.Bg2 Bf5 9.0–0 0–0–0 10.b3 h5 with active play in A.Sneider - L.Gutman, Bad Swesten 2005) 5…a5 6.Nb3 Ne6 (6…b6!? - Gutman) 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.e3 (8.Bd2!?) 8…g6 9.Bd2 (9.Nbd4!?) 9…Bg7 10.Bc3 a4 (10…0–0 also makes sense) 11.Nc1 (11.Nbd4 makes more sense to me) 11…Nc5 12.Qd5 d6 13.exd6 Bxc3+ and black’s fine thanks to white’s poor pawn structure. 

5.Bxd2 Nc6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Bc3 g6 8.e6 f6 9.exd7+ Bxd7 10.Qb3 0–0–0 11.0–0–0 Bh6+ 12.e3 Bf5 13.Rd5 Be4 14.Rxd8+ Rxd8 15.Be2 f5 16.Rd1 += according to Gutman –16...Rxd1+ 17.Qxd1 f4 18.exf4 Bxf4+ 19.Bd2 Bd6 gives Black some compensation.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Qc2

4.Qd3 Nc5 5.Qg3 Ne4 6.Qe3 Bb4+ gives Black adequate play, according to Gutman: 7.Nc3 d5 8.exd6 e.p. f5 9.Nh3 0–0 10.Bd2 Qxd6 11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.Ng5 (12.0–0–0 Bxd2+ 13.Rxd2 Qc6) 12…Re8 13.f3 Bf5 14.0–0–0 Nc6 15.fxe4 Rad8 16.a3 h6 17.axb4 hxg5, =. Analysis by Gutman.



5.Nd2 d5

Gutman calls 5…Nxd2 6.Bxd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 0–0 “an important new idea.” 


6.exd6 e.p. Bf5 7.a3 Bxd2+ 8.Bxd2 0–0 with good compensation, and not 8…Ng3?? 9.Qc3 Nxh1 10.Qxg7 when White wins. 

6…Nc6 7.e3 Bf5 8.Bd3 0–0 9.0–0 Nxd2 10.Bxd2 Bxd3 11.Qxd3 Bxd2 12.Nxd2 dxc4 13.Qxd8 Rfxd8 14. Nxc4 b5 15.Na3 a6 16 f4 Nb4 is given as equal in Gutman’s book, Budapest Fajarowicz.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Qd5 and here moves like 4...Bb4+ and even 4...f5 have been tried, but Gutman likes 4…Nc5 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bg5 Qd7 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Rd1 Nb4 9.Qd2 dxe5 10.Qxd7+ Bxd7 11.Nxe5 Bf5 12.Nd3 Ncxd3+ 13.exd3 h6 14.Be3 0–0–0 15.d4 Nc2+ 16.Kd2 Nxd4 17.Kc1 c5, =. I would have to go over this analysis with a fine tooth comb to believe any of it!


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3

The most natural move. Here we can see how Gutman and Moskalenko go at each other: Moskalenko: “Black should try 4...b6. The queenside fianchetto, activating the Bishop along the Milky Way diagonal a8-h1, may be black’s new hope.”

Gutman: “In my opinion, 5.Nbd2!? is a crushing answer.”

Moskalenko: “4...Nc6 is another plan.”

Gutman: “4...Nc6 would simply be a mistake to real Fajarowicz experts due to 5.Qc2! Bb4+ 6.Nc3 d5 7.e3, +-.” (from Gutman’s Budapest Fajarowicz).


Best according to Gutman.


5.Nbd2 Nc6 6.a3 Bxd2+ 7.Nxd2 Nxd2 8.Bxd2 Nxe5 9.Bc3 Qe7, =.

5…Nxd2 6.Nbxd2 Nc6 7.a3 Bxd2+

Moskalenko (in his book, The Fabulous Budapest Gambit) recommends 7…Bf8, saying it’s in the “spirit of the variation.” However Gutman gives 8.Ne4 Qe7 9.Qd5 b6 10.Rc1 Bb7 11.c5 Nd8 12.Qd3 Ne6 13.cxb6 axb6 14.e3 as being good for White.

8.Qxd2 Qe7 9.Qc3

The Smyslov Variation. White’s a tiny bit better, but Black (if he plays very accurately) can eventually equalize.

9…0–0 10.Rd1 Re8 11.Rd5 b6 12.e3

12.g3 Bb7 13.Bg2 d6 14.0–0 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 dxe5 =.

12…Bb7 13.Be2 Nd8

Silman - Wolski, Los Angeles 1989, went 13…Rad8 14.0-0 Nb8 15.Rd4 Nc6 16.Rd5 Nb8 17.Rd2 Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Qxe5 19.Qc2 d6 20.b4 Qf6 21.Rfd1 Nd7 22.Bc6 Re7 23.c5 Ne5 24.Be4 g6 25.h3 b5 26.cxd6 cxd6 27.Bd5 a6 28.Rd4 Ree8 29.Qc7 Rc8 30.Qa7 g5 31.Qxa6 Rc2 32.R4d2 Rec8 33.Be4 Rc1 34.Qxd6 Qg7 35.Qd8+ Qf8, 1-0.

14.Rd2 Ne6 15.0–0 a5 16.Rfd1

I would prefer 16.b4!?

16…Nc5 17.Rd4 a4 =, Gutman.

The verdict is still out on the Budapest, but there is absolutely no doubt that it’s completely playable at the amateur level (if you use 4...Ng4). However, if you love ...Ne4 (the Fajarowicz), then you better have something ready for 4.a3, which really seems to ruin black's fun.

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