Benoni Boomerangs

Apr 29, 2016, 10:34 AM |

Years ago I was a local amateur Modern Benoni specialist. I read all books and magazines about it I could get, and analysing positions with a fellow chessclub member.

My Benoni hero at that time was IM (later GM) David Norwood. I had a little booklet by him featuring creative and surprising ideas in sharp Modern Benoni lines, leading to imbalanced material positions, where black usually was fighting for a win.

One time I saw IM David Norwood play in real life, in the EU Youth championship in Arnhem, where David lost in a Modern Benoni line, against some young fellow by the name of ... Vasily Ivanchuk who continued to win the tournament.

Years later I used the Modern Benoni to win my first win against a master in an otb tourney.

Here is one rather fascinating, though somewhat unsound line from the David Norwood booklet :

Years later, the Modern Benoni was "under fire", amongst others because of this GM miniature game :

Some Benoni players stopped playing Benoni, and others would only play it if white played a quick Ng1-f3, which prevents the f2f4 pawn push.

Recently the Modern Benoni was played in a top GM tournament, and some GMs made jokes about it ... kind of suggesting that it is an inferior opening choice. However, there are GMs who really like to play the Modern Benoni when white plays a quick Ng1-f3, because that is a sound and interesting choice for black to play for a win.

A few weeks ago a student of mine started to ask me Modern Benoni questions, and I decided to play more Benoni (Modern, Czech, Benoni-Wall) positions again.

Yesterday I found another Benoni hero : GM Gashimov.

I knew that he had played Modern Benoni in the past, and I found a remark by him (something like) "Chess engines do not evaluate Benoni properly, they don't see the compensation", quite interesting.

A fascinating game I played through yesterday by GM Gashimov :

So ... I hope to go through a lot more of Benoni games by GM Gashimov, and get inspired again ! :)

Earlier today I actually played against a Benoni setup with white.

Sometimes it can be really handy to play the same opening with both colors, if one gets over the "psychological cons" that is :)

GM Vugar Gashimov plays the Modern Benoni :

David Norwood in Modern Benoni games