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Benko's Opening

Benko's Opening (also known as the Hungarian Opening, the Barcza Opening, the Bilek Opening, and the King's Fianchetto Opening), is achess opening characterized by the move:

1. g3

White's 1.g3 ranks as the fifth most popular opening move in chess, but it is far less popular than 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3. It is usually followed by 2.Bg2, fianchettoing the bishop. Usually the game will transpose to another opening such as the Catalan OpeningKing's Indian Attack or some variation of the English Opening. The move 1.g3 can also be followed by 1...e5 2.Bg2 d5 3.Nf3 followed by 4.0-0 in which White has development and king safety while Black has the pawn center with d- and e-pawns.

The opening is named after Pal Benko, who used 1.g3 to defeat Bobby Fischer and Mikhail Tal in rounds one and three of the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curaçao, part of the 1963 World Championship cycle.[1] Benko used the opening the first eleven times he was White in the tournament.[2]

  • The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings has no specific code devoted to 1.g3. The move itself is classified under A00,[3] however there are numerous transpositional possibilities which can result in various ECO codes.
  • The most common response is 1...d5.
  • White usually continues 2.Bg2. Black might reply 2...Nf6 with various transpositional possibilities or 2...e5, establishing a pawn centre.
  • White may also continue 2.Nf3, transposing into the (Barcza System). Possible Black replies include 2...Nf6 and 2...c6; White will frequently adopt a King's Indian Attack setup.
  • A symmetrical reply is 1...g6.

    • White can continue 2.c4, which is usually reached by 1.c4 g6 2.g3 (see English Opening). Then Black might play 2...Bg7 (English, A10, see 1. c4 g6 2. g3 Bg7), or Black might play 2...Nf6 (English, A15, see 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 g6).
    • White can also continue 2.Bg2. Black almost always plays 2...Bg7 (uncommon opening, see 1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7); other moves are possible, but usually played on move one. Moves 3.c4 and 3.Nf3 transpose. This can lead to English (A36), English (A15), King's Indian Attack (A07), orRéti Opening (A04). Moves 3.d4 and 3.e4 are independent lines. This can lead to additional uncommon opening lines.
    • This leads to several transpositional possibilities:

      • White can play 2.Nf3, which is usually reached by 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 (Zukertort Opening). Then Black may play 2...d5 (given above). Or Black may play 2...g6 (Reti Opening, A06, see 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6). This can lead to King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4 (A49) or English (A15).
      • White can play 2.c4, which is usually reached by 1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 (see English Opening). Then Black may play 2...e5 (English, A20, see 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e5). This can lead to English (A22) or English (A20). Or Black may play 2...g6 (English, A15, see 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 g6). This can lead to King's Indian Defense (E60) or English (A15).
      • White can play 2.Bg2. Then Black may play 2...d5 (given above). Or Black may play 2...e5.
      • This is Black's more aggressive move. White may consider postponing the bishop move.

        • White can play 2.c4, which is usually reached by 1.c4 e5 2.g3 (see English Opening). Then Black may play 2...Nf6 (English, A20, see 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6). This can lead to English (A22). Or Black may play 2...Nc6 (English, A20, see 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6). This can lead to English (A20).
        • White can play 2.Bg2. Then Black may play 2...d5 (given above). Or Black may play 2...Nf6.


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