Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Bashing the Benko

Rumanian Grandmaster Mihai Suba played for a while in the North East of England. During one post-mortem his eager young opponent asked Mihai where he'd gone wrong. Mihai's reply was instant:

"you gave me a pawn on move 3; I'm a grandmaster, of course I then won."

The opening was a Benko Gambit.

Personally, I think the Benko's worth a punt: I don't really like facing it with White, and I've even ventured it once or twice myself with Black. Win, lose or draw it's generally Black who's having all the fun during the game. It's one of those strange chess openings where, despite having sacrificed a pawn, Black doesn't mind simplifications into an ending and tends to get enduring compensation.

Having said that, there is a line I like to use as White in blitz chess on the Internet that gives great opportunities to bash the Benko. The main line runs:

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cb a6 5. ab Ba6 6. Nc3 d6 7. f4 g6 8. Nf3 Bg7 9. e4 Bxf1 10. Rxf1 0-0 11. Kf2

and now typical Benko developing moves can quickly lead Black into difficulties, e.g.

11. .. Nbd7 12. Kg1 Qb6 13. Qe2 Rfb8 14. e5 Ne8 15. e6 Ndf6 16. ef+ Kxf7 17. Qe6 Kf8 18. Ng5 with mate next move (see final diagram).

Unbelievably, I've had this entire game more than a dozen times (admittedly I do play far too much Internet chess).

I'm not recommending the line (beginning 7. f4) for serious games, although I have played it there as well. But, if you are looking for something for those 1 or 2 minute blitzes, then this could be worth a try.

Happy bashing!


Jack Le Moine said...

Thanks for this. I have real trouble vs. the Benko.

Kodanshi said...

Surely this works only in a blitz match where the opponent has no extensive time to consider a line against the ones you offered?


Chess Tales uses Picasa, part of Google Pack, for photos and images:

Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content.

Creative Commons License
Chess Tales by Roger Coathup: A collection of online articles about chess and chess players.