One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Apr 26, 2016, 7:17 AM |

I had my first encounter against the Benko as White, and it taught me much in the way of restraint. Paula Abdul. One step forward, two steps back. As I tempted to seek activity, inadvertently I was going backwards by weakening my position.


First observation I can make is the handling of Black's light squared Bishop.

The a6-f1 diagonal

By playing 6. ... Bxa6, Black actually "forces" White to develop his Bishop to g2. Otherwise, after the advance of the e-pawn, White's Bishop is exchanged and castling rights are lost.

The b1-h7 diagonal

Moving further along in the game, the Black light squared Bishop has done it's job. White has had to deploy his Rook on b1 to avoid the wrath of the Black dark squared Bishop, though this since up a rerouting with 12. ... Bc8 intending redeployment at f5. This sets of a sequence where White fights for the f5 square with Nh4 and Qc2.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Black has just played 18. ... Kh8 (novelty). Admittedly I was lost for a "plan" and lashed out with 19. e5. In post mortem, I now see that this is a very weakening move, for it liberates Black's Bishop to develop to f5. More patient would have been 19. Re1. In going forward, I'm actually going backwards.

More Steps Backwards

I can now see I was thinking very superficially when I played 23. a4 "attempting" to use this passed a-pawn (which really has poor support). 

Yet this weakens the b3 pawn, which causes me grief in later moves. Twice in the game now I have thought I am being "active", yet bring weakness in my game.

Fighting On

The realisation of a worse position has come to fruition. The weakness on b3 is telling. I believe I did find the best move to fight on, for it's paramount not to allow the b-pawn to drop (else the a-pawn falls as well). To that end, I had to give up the exchange with 29. Nd2 to fight on.

My Game Annotations and Analysis