Brother of the Benko - The Blumenfeld Gambit Part 1

Brother of the Benko - The Blumenfeld Gambit Part 1

May 20, 2009, 12:00 AM |
4 | Opening Theory

An Introduction

The Blumenfeld Gambit is a pretty old opening. Named after Russian GM Benjamin Blumenfeld, it is a fairly sharp opening promising very active play for both sides. This gambit has the reputation of being unsound nowadays and has been overshadowed by the Benko Gambit. However, it is quite a useful opening for anyone that doesn't have a match with Anand coming up.

This gambit is similar to the Benko in that Black's b-pawn is gambited, but there are subtle differences that have put this opening out of use. The main line is as follows:








This opening is a bit different from the Benko in pawn structure which gives Black different pluses and minuses.








Here we see the typical Benko structure after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5. Notice that Black's e-pawn has not moved! Still this is known to be better for Black. While in the Blumenfeld Black's push of the e-pawn will help the d7-d5 push when White accepts, we cannot forget that White is not obliged to accept! In fact, White's most aggressive move against the Blumenfeld is 5.Bg5 which is annoying in pretty much any Black defense, 1.d4 or no. 5.Bg5 takes advantage of the push of the e-pawn, pinning the f6 knight and slowing Black's possible development.

It's best for White to not accept or to at least capture on e6 and to let his c-pawn hang for a bit. I'll cover that next time. Right now we're gonna see the dangers of White accepting in the famous game Tarrasch vs. Alekhine 1922. This is the game that boosted the opening's reputation. Of course there's always that one big game that attracts the crowds into playing and you know that those games are usually some of the very best. This game is known as one of Alekhine's greatest achievements and it nabbed him a brilliancy prize in this tournament. 









This is of course best case scenario. Next time I will go over ways that White could have taken the advantage earlier on. We'll go into some analysis and the lines that put this opening out of the limelight. Till' next time.

This is my first article. Hope you guys enjoyed it. This is just an intro so I didn't jump into deep lines. Any crits and comments are welcome. If there’s anything you want to see,  feel free to ask. Thanks for reading.