The importance of exchanging the correct Knight against Fischer's idea in the Modern Benoni

FM sqmorr
Apr 9, 2011, 12:00 AM |
9 | Opening Theory

In 1972 Bobby Fischer won his first ever game against Boris Spassky in game 3 of their World Championship match using a very interesting idea in the Modern Benoni:

The great Yugoslav Grandmaster Svetozar Gligoric wrote one of the first and best books on the match. He identified that White had effectively exchanged the wrong Knight on g4. In his game against Walter Browne a little later that year he showed the correct plan:

This was all part of my chess heritage since I took up the game during the Fischer-Spassky match, and I closely analysed the ideas during the following years as a developing player eagerly devouring all relevant material.

Fast forward now to 2011. A couple of weeks ago my opponent in the British Chess League (the 4NCL) surprised me by playing a Modern Benoni. Caught "on the hop" I decided to wield out this old variation to see if my younger opponent was familiar with the nuances. He was not, and this yielded huge positional and time advantages very quickly, which I managed to convert to a nice win:

The morals:

1. It is important to know how your pieces best coordinate with your pawn structure in some standard types of position, and know which ones to exchange or not

2. One advantage that we ancient "fuddy-duddies" have is that the young guys may know 30 moves of the latest fashionable theory, but sometimes are not aware of the old systems and their ideas which are well worth wheeling out once in a while.

FIDE Master Graham Morrison

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