The Velimirovic's Guide to the Modern Benoni, Part Two

The Velimirovic's Guide to the Modern Benoni, Part Two

| 11 | Tactics

Today we'll continue learning typical ideas of the Modern Benoni using Velimirovic's games. But first, I would like to address the concern of one of our readers who, in his comments, expressed disappointment that none of Velimirovic's opponents played fashionable modern lines. He even adds: "I wish my opponent was so 'ignorant' about white's plans in the Modern Benoni." Please remember that the most intense period of Velimirovic's chess activity, as well as his creativity, lasted from approximately the beginning of the 1970s till the mid 1980s. And his opponents (most of them were GMs, so I wouldn't call them ignorant) played the most modern and fashionable lines of that time. It sort of reminds me the of funny remarks my kids make when they watch old movies. I have to explain them that the guy on the screen didn't look something up on the internet or use a cell phone because these things didn't exist at that time. 

Yes, opening theory moves forward every day, especially in such a sharp, tactical opening like the Modern Benoni! So, if you want to see how to deal with the lines popular today, then you probably should check the games of the modern wizards of this opening (the late GM Vugar Gashimov should be your first choice in this case). But I still believe that you should analyze the games of GM Dragoljub Velimirovic in order to understand the fundamental ideas of the Modern Benoni.

And so, without further ado, let me present the next typical and useful idea of the Modern Benoni:

4. The c5-c4 push. In many cases the c4 square is securely guarded by the White pieces and therefore this move is a pawn sacrifice. The main benefit in most cases is that the Black knight gets access to the very important c5 square from where it attacks the central e4 pawn. Also, the c5-c4 move sometimes attacks White's bishop on d3 and deflects it from the protection of the e4 pawn. 

5. The Nf6-g4 jump. This is probably Black's most dangerous idea! The move has four points:

  • To open the diagonal for Bg7.
  • To move the knight to the very important e5 square.
  • To open a path for the f-pawn to attack White's center by f7-f5.
  • To attack the f2 and h2 squares close to White's King.

While the first three strategic benefits are very important, it is the last tactical threat that can decide the game instantly. 

Black's attack came completely out of the blue which shows how dangerous the Nf6-g4 jump can be. I have no doubt that Velimirovic knew the following famous game of Mikhail Tal where the "Magician from Riga" executed one of his famous combinations.

Mikhail Tal | Image from the Dutch National Archives & Spaarnestad Photo / Wikipedia

This sharp Ng4 idea perfectly fit Velimirovic's style and therefore happened in many of his games:

I hope you enjoyed our little journey to the planet Velimirovic and learned some useful opening ideas!


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