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Benko Gambit?!

  • #1

    Benko Gambit is a sharp system for black player and its played against QP opening. Mainline goes as follows:

     

       Is there someone else playing the Benko?
  • #2

    In my opinion, white is better off, if he delays e2-e4 , and plays first g3, Bg2 , Nf3 , 0-0. In fact, this is considered now as the main line. VERY few GMs' play Benko with black anymore, the reason is simple: they consider it incorrect!

     

    Mandelshtam


  • #3

    In Fianchetto lines Black cam make use of e5 outpost for a knight but Black often cant get compensation.


  • #4

    I believe magnus carlsen played it in a game recently and I will try and find that for you.

    Also Josh waitzkin has played some extremely good games with this and demonstrates how the compensation can be gathered on the queenside.


  • #5

    here we go magnus carlsen is one of the top in the world so if it is good enough for him then it is certainly good enough for me.

     


  • #6

    I am embarrassed by the WRONG name: BENKO actually played this line rarely, and he has not contributed much to the theory (this is typical Western-Europe-American centered view!!!) . The line was analysed in depth by some soviet masters from the Wolga-region . Therefore it deserves the name Wolga-gambit (and not Benko). In many Eastern countries it goes rightfully under that name.

    Also many other soviet players have used the same idea which at first glance looks so naive.... (sacrifice b5, to open files on the queen side), but  in other openings.

    A famous, beautiful  example is the game Taimanov-Bronstein (from the early 50ths) where the second played that same sacrifice in King's Indian. He later offered HIMSELF a queen trade. After that, with bishop and rook (black ) against rook and knight (white), the initiative in the endgame was still strong enough to compensate the pawn sacrifice ! Bronstein won that game.    

    Kasparov won a (much disputed!) beautiful game against Alburt with the same sacrifice, in King's Indian opening. 

    Also Geller played this sacrifice - with opposite colours! - , in a Reti-type opening, after

    1. Nf3 d5, 2.c4 d4, 3. g3 c5, 4. Bg2 Nc6, 5. 0-0 e5, 6.  d3  f5, 7. b4! cb, 8. a3 ba,

    9. Qa4 Nf6, 10.Qb5! +-.

    Even the cautious Petrosian played b3-b4 once (also a pawn sacrifice in Reti-opening!)  against Korchnoi . Korchnoi was crushed in a few moves.

    Well, in all these examples, the opponent had previously already weakened his position ....

    In fact, the pawn sacrifice is GENERALLY positionally well-founded. The question remains, wether or not it can be refuted IN A CONCRETE SITUATION, by deep analysis.

    By now, one believes that if  white manages to "seal" the position on the queenside, with Rb1, b2-b3, a2-a4, Bd2, (and sometimes Nb5), then he obtains a clear advantage.

    This plan has been carried out successfully in many games , and therefore perhaps  the popularity on top-level was in decline in the last decade...  

    Mandelshtam 


  • #7
    mandelshtam wrote:

    I am embarrassed by the WRONG name: BENKO actually played this line rarely, and he has not contributed much to the theory (this is typical Western-Europe-American centered view!!!) . The line was analysed in depth by some soviet masters from the Wolga-region . Therefore it deserves the name Wolga-gambit (and not Benko). In many Eastern countries it goes rightfully under that name.

    Also many other soviet players have used the same idea which at first glance looks so naive.... (sacrifice b5, to open files on the queen side), but  in other openings.

    A famous, beautiful  example is the game Taimanov-Bronstein (from the early 50ths) where the second played that same sacrifice in King's Indian. He later offered HIMSELF a queen trade. After that, with bishop and rook (black ) against rook and knight (white), the initiative in the endgame was still strong enough to compensate the pawn sacrifice ! Bronstein won that game.    

    Kasparov won a (much disputed!) beautiful game against Alburt with the same sacrifice, in King's Indian opening. 

    Also Geller played this sacrifice - with opposite colours! - , in a Reti-type opening, after

    1. Nf3 d5, 2.c4 d4, 3. g3 c5, 4. Bg2 Nc6, 5. 0-0 e5, 6.  d3  f5, 7. b4! cb, 8. a3 ba,

    9. Qa4 Nf6, 10.Qb5! +-.

    Even the cautious Petrosian played b3-b4 once (also a pawn sacrifice in Reti-opening!)  against Korchnoi . Korchnoi was crushed in a few moves.

    Well, in all these examples, the opponent had previously already weakened his position ....

    In fact, the pawn sacrifice is GENERALLY positionally well-founded. The question remains, wether or not it can be refuted IN A CONCRETE SITUATION, by deep analysis.

    By now, one believes that if  white manages to "seal" the position on the queenside, with Rb1, b2-b3, a2-a4, Bd2, (and sometimes Nb5), then he obtains a clear advantage.

    This plan has been carried out successfully in many games , and therefore perhaps  the popularity on top-level was in decline in the last decade...  

    Mandelshtam 


    I do not think the Benko gambit is "wrongly" named as you say. The fact is that GM Pal Benko , with his games and his analysis, of this little known opening made it popular and playable at the GM level. The fact that he hasnt lately contributed to it is a silly reason completely.....by this reasoning none of the openings would keep their names and ALL would change..how much has the Spanish priest that the Ruy Lopez is named after contributed to it "lately" for example? Maybe Alekhine's defense should be renamed too? I mean Alekhine only played it himself a dozen times or so and certainly hasnt contributed to it "lately". Laughing


  • #8

    I like to play the pawn return variation 5.b6  I remember seeing a John Federovitch lecture a couple of years ago, where he pronounced the Benko gambit dead at GM level because of it. Basically white says - you wanna sac for position ay? Well here you go - I'll sac back and it's me who gets the position and your whole idea is stuffed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    For some reason my diagram says white to move but it's black to move here. White continues development and at some point plays a4 threatening a5 to keep the pawn. Whites idea is to freeze queenside play then switch to the kingside. With correct play this has proven to be very successful.


  • #9
    That is what I play against the Benko.  A good response indeed.
  • #10

    I play the Benko every chance I get! I'm not too scared of b6 because I just take with the queen, develop my pieces and then get to work on the centre with a well timed e6. Though I must admit it is a lot more fun when white takes the second pawn.

     

    The big critical line played at GM level these days is the Epishin Variation. Van Wely played it against Carlsen in the above game and as you can see got a very nice position rather quickly, although I don't think Magnus played the opening very well at all.


  • #11
    Reb wrote: mandelshtam wrote:

    I am embarrassed by the WRONG name: BENKO actually played this line rarely, and he has not contributed much to the theory (this is typical Western-Europe-American centered view!!!) . The line was analysed in depth by some soviet masters from the Wolga-region . Therefore it deserves the name Wolga-gambit (and not Benko). In many Eastern countries it goes rightfully under that name.

    Also many other soviet players have used the same idea which at first glance looks so naive.... (sacrifice b5, to open files on the queen side), but  in other openings.

    A famous, beautiful  example is the game Taimanov-Bronstein (from the early 50ths) where the second played that same sacrifice in King's Indian. He later offered HIMSELF a queen trade. After that, with bishop and rook (black ) against rook and knight (white), the initiative in the endgame was still strong enough to compensate the pawn sacrifice ! Bronstein won that game.    

    Kasparov won a (much disputed!) beautiful game against Alburt with the same sacrifice, in King's Indian opening. 

    Also Geller played this sacrifice - with opposite colours! - , in a Reti-type opening, after

    1. Nf3 d5, 2.c4 d4, 3. g3 c5, 4. Bg2 Nc6, 5. 0-0 e5, 6.  d3  f5, 7. b4! cb, 8. a3 ba,

    9. Qa4 Nf6, 10.Qb5! +-.

    Even the cautious Petrosian played b3-b4 once (also a pawn sacrifice in Reti-opening!)  against Korchnoi . Korchnoi was crushed in a few moves.

    Well, in all these examples, the opponent had previously already weakened his position ....

    In fact, the pawn sacrifice is GENERALLY positionally well-founded. The question remains, wether or not it can be refuted IN A CONCRETE SITUATION, by deep analysis.

    By now, one believes that if  white manages to "seal" the position on the queenside, with Rb1, b2-b3, a2-a4, Bd2, (and sometimes Nb5), then he obtains a clear advantage.

    This plan has been carried out successfully in many games , and therefore perhaps  the popularity on top-level was in decline in the last decade...  

    Mandelshtam 


    I do not think the Benko gambit is "wrongly" named as you say. The fact is that GM Pal Benko , with his games and his analysis, of this little known opening made it popular and playable at the GM level. The fact that he hasnt lately contributed to it is a silly reason completely.....by this reasoning none of the openings would keep their names and ALL would change..how much has the Spanish priest that the Ruy Lopez is named after contributed to it "lately" for example? Maybe Alekhine's defense should be renamed too? I mean Alekhine only played it himself a dozen times or so and certainly hasnt contributed to it "lately".


    You repeat the lack of knowledge (ignorance?) of others. Show me the analysis of Benko which can compete with the hundreds of pages of analysis in soviet chess magazines, starting from the fiftieth, one game of Benko which contains a single idea which is not executed deeper , and often earlier, in the great games of Bronstein and other soviet players, starting with the late fourtieth... THEY made it playable and popularized it to the highest level. Benko was one of the first in the west who analysed it.  

    The west just did not read or translate russian literature until the seventieth.  

    Mandelshtam 

    P.S.: Aljochin's defense deserves the name, since A. took a great risk at his time to play this "impossible" opening.

    The person who analysed it in depth, and more than anybody else, later , was Alexander Bagirov (do you know him?). He has written a fat (and strong!) monograph about it. 

    Ruy Lopez deserves the name, since we don't put in question our holy forfathers!

    (How did they play and understand so well chess at that time, anyway?) 

    There are , however, some funny undeserved names: For instance , the "Lasker variant " .It should be named "Tcheliabinsk variant", or "Sveshnikov variant", as they do it in Russia... 


  • #12

    Does it really matter? Honestly...

     

    All I know is I have a ridiculous record playing the Benko. White has to develop his pieces in very awkward ways in order to get a good position and people at my level just don't like to do that. 


  • #13
    mandelshtam wrote: Reb wrote: mandelshtam wrote:

    I am embarrassed by the WRONG name: BENKO actually played this line rarely, and he has not contributed much to the theory (this is typical Western-Europe-American centered view!!!) . The line was analysed in depth by some soviet masters from the Wolga-region . Therefore it deserves the name Wolga-gambit (and not Benko). In many Eastern countries it goes rightfully under that name.

    Also many other soviet players have used the same idea which at first glance looks so naive.... (sacrifice b5, to open files on the queen side), but  in other openings.

    A famous, beautiful  example is the game Taimanov-Bronstein (from the early 50ths) where the second played that same sacrifice in King's Indian. He later offered HIMSELF a queen trade. After that, with bishop and rook (black ) against rook and knight (white), the initiative in the endgame was still strong enough to compensate the pawn sacrifice ! Bronstein won that game.    

    Kasparov won a (much disputed!) beautiful game against Alburt with the same sacrifice, in King's Indian opening. 

    Also Geller played this sacrifice - with opposite colours! - , in a Reti-type opening, after

    1. Nf3 d5, 2.c4 d4, 3. g3 c5, 4. Bg2 Nc6, 5. 0-0 e5, 6.  d3  f5, 7. b4! cb, 8. a3 ba,

    9. Qa4 Nf6, 10.Qb5! +-.

    Even the cautious Petrosian played b3-b4 once (also a pawn sacrifice in Reti-opening!)  against Korchnoi . Korchnoi was crushed in a few moves.

    Well, in all these examples, the opponent had previously already weakened his position ....

    In fact, the pawn sacrifice is GENERALLY positionally well-founded. The question remains, wether or not it can be refuted IN A CONCRETE SITUATION, by deep analysis.

    By now, one believes that if  white manages to "seal" the position on the queenside, with Rb1, b2-b3, a2-a4, Bd2, (and sometimes Nb5), then he obtains a clear advantage.

    This plan has been carried out successfully in many games , and therefore perhaps  the popularity on top-level was in decline in the last decade...  

    Mandelshtam 


    I do not think the Benko gambit is "wrongly" named as you say. The fact is that GM Pal Benko , with his games and his analysis, of this little known opening made it popular and playable at the GM level. The fact that he hasnt lately contributed to it is a silly reason completely.....by this reasoning none of the openings would keep their names and ALL would change..how much has the Spanish priest that the Ruy Lopez is named after contributed to it "lately" for example? Maybe Alekhine's defense should be renamed too? I mean Alekhine only played it himself a dozen times or so and certainly hasnt contributed to it "lately".


    You repeat the lack of knowledge (ignorance?) of others. Show me the analysis of Benko which can compete with the hundreds of pages of analysis in soviet chess magazines, starting from the fiftieth, one game of Benko which contains a single idea which is not executed deeper , and often earlier, in the great games of Bronstein and other soviet players, starting with the late fourtieth... THEY made it playable and popularized it to the highest level. Benko was one of the first in the west who analysed it.  

    The west just did not read or translate russian literature until the seventieth.  

    Mandelshtam 

    P.S.: Aljochin's defense deserves the name, since A. took a great risk at his time to play this "impossible" opening.

    The person who analysed it in depth, and more than anybody else, later , was Alexander Bagirov (do you know him?). He has written a fat (and strong!) monograph about it. 

    Ruy Lopez deserves the name, since we don't put in question our holy forfathers!

    (How did they play and understand so well chess at that time, anyway?) 

    There are , however, some funny undeserved names: For instance , the "Lasker variant " .It should be named "Tcheliabinsk variant", or "Sveshnikov variant", as they do it in Russia... 


    I think implying that I am ignorant goes a bit too far, whats your problem? I DO have a book written on the benko gambit by Benko himself, but its not the only book on the benko I have. Is there a book written by all the mysterious eastern analysts that you refer to? Please tell me if there is, I might be interested in adding it to my library. I not only am familiar with Bagirov but I have the book by him on Alekhines' defense that you mentioned! Russians intentionally did their best to keep their analysis from others, especially from the west for many years and yet you blame westerners for their "ignorance" ?! If you want to rename openings I am all for giving more credit to Fischer in many openings, lets start by renaming the sozin sicilian the Fischer sicilian?


  • #14
    Reb wrote: mandelshtam wrote: Reb wrote: mandelshtam wrote:

    I am embarrassed by the WRONG name: BENKO actually played this line rarely, and he has not contributed much to the theory (this is typical Western-Europe-American centered view!!!) . The line was analysed in depth by some soviet masters from the Wolga-region . Therefore it deserves the name Wolga-gambit (and not Benko). In many Eastern countries it goes rightfully under that name.

    Also many other soviet players have used the same idea which at first glance looks so naive.... (sacrifice b5, to open files on the queen side), but  in other openings.

    A famous, beautiful  example is the game Taimanov-Bronstein (from the early 50ths) where the second played that same sacrifice in King's Indian. He later offered HIMSELF a queen trade. After that, with bishop and rook (black ) against rook and knight (white), the initiative in the endgame was still strong enough to compensate the pawn sacrifice ! Bronstein won that game.    

    Kasparov won a (much disputed!) beautiful game against Alburt with the same sacrifice, in King's Indian opening. 

    Also Geller played this sacrifice - with opposite colours! - , in a Reti-type opening, after

    1. Nf3 d5, 2.c4 d4, 3. g3 c5, 4. Bg2 Nc6, 5. 0-0 e5, 6.  d3  f5, 7. b4! cb, 8. a3 ba,

    9. Qa4 Nf6, 10.Qb5! +-.

    Even the cautious Petrosian played b3-b4 once (also a pawn sacrifice in Reti-opening!)  against Korchnoi . Korchnoi was crushed in a few moves.

    Well, in all these examples, the opponent had previously already weakened his position ....

    In fact, the pawn sacrifice is GENERALLY positionally well-founded. The question remains, wether or not it can be refuted IN A CONCRETE SITUATION, by deep analysis.

    By now, one believes that if  white manages to "seal" the position on the queenside, with Rb1, b2-b3, a2-a4, Bd2, (and sometimes Nb5), then he obtains a clear advantage.

    This plan has been carried out successfully in many games , and therefore perhaps  the popularity on top-level was in decline in the last decade...  

    Mandelshtam 


    I do not think the Benko gambit is "wrongly" named as you say. The fact is that GM Pal Benko , with his games and his analysis, of this little known opening made it popular and playable at the GM level. The fact that he hasnt lately contributed to it is a silly reason completely.....by this reasoning none of the openings would keep their names and ALL would change..how much has the Spanish priest that the Ruy Lopez is named after contributed to it "lately" for example? Maybe Alekhine's defense should be renamed too? I mean Alekhine only played it himself a dozen times or so and certainly hasnt contributed to it "lately".


    You repeat the lack of knowledge (ignorance?) of others. Show me the analysis of Benko which can compete with the hundreds of pages of analysis in soviet chess magazines, starting from the fiftieth, one game of Benko which contains a single idea which is not executed deeper , and often earlier, in the great games of Bronstein and other soviet players, starting with the late fourtieth... THEY made it playable and popularized it to the highest level. Benko was one of the first in the west who analysed it.  

    The west just did not read or translate russian literature until the seventieth.  

    Mandelshtam 

    P.S.: Aljochin's defense deserves the name, since A. took a great risk at his time to play this "impossible" opening.

    The person who analysed it in depth, and more than anybody else, later , was Alexander Bagirov (do you know him?). He has written a fat (and strong!) monograph about it. 

    Ruy Lopez deserves the name, since we don't put in question our holy forfathers!

    (How did they play and understand so well chess at that time, anyway?) 

    There are , however, some funny undeserved names: For instance , the "Lasker variant " .It should be named "Tcheliabinsk variant", or "Sveshnikov variant", as they do it in Russia... 


    I think implying that I am ignorant goes a bit too far, whats your problem? I DO have a book written on the benko gambit by Benko himself, but its not the only book on the benko I have. Is there a book written by all the mysterious eastern analysts that you refer to? Please tell me if there is, I might be interested in adding it to my library. I not only am familiar with Bagirov but I have the book by him on Alekhines' defense that you mentioned! Russians intentionally did their best to keep their analysis from others, especially from the west for many years and yet you blame westerners for their "ignorance" ?! If you want to rename openings I am all for giving more credit to Fischer in many openings, lets start by renaming the sozin sicilian the Fischer sicilian?


    "mysterious eastern..." I think your words speak for itself. There are soviet chess journals, full of Analysis, I read them in the seventieth, I bought them in a public bookstore in Leipzig (Germany, my hometown), there is an encycloedy of chess openings, written by many excellent soviet theoreticians, translated to german, also from the seventieth ,  (about 15 - 20 books!!) needless to say that it contains a big chapter about Wolga.

    The point is, the WEST has ignored that chess literature too long.

    They were ignorant as well w.r.t. the great artistic world of the  socialist countries. And WE were desperate to learn from western culture (since we couldn't buy enough good western books in our stores), YOU (=most people in the west) were not...

    David Oistrach,  Emil Gilels, Tatyana Nikoleva, The Bolshoi, Mandelshtam, Achmatova, Bulgakov (tell me you know them, and I forgive you) ...

    The hundreds of good movies, made by russian, georgian, bulgarian, polish, east german producers , (you like it or not: most of these movies  were better than 90 per cent of Hollywood prduction) ...

    I find it a bit strange to mix/ confuse the secrecy of Soviet military politics,

    with the great and dedicated artistic world of soviet chess .

    I MUST say soviet, I can't say russian, since many other nationalities  have brought up great chess artists and trainers, like Georgia, with Gufeld, Gaprindashvili and Tchiburdanidse... Armenia with Petrosian... and don't forget the baltic nationalities, Keres, Tal...

    I do know three  US-books , from the 80/90th about Wolga, all written later than that encyclopedy, and written from with the "black prospective " only, and sometimes even superficially . (Sure, there must be better ones by now, when everybody has access to databases, computers... )   

    Mandelshtam


  • #15

    Yes, whatever...

    Nothing is really new under the sun... The first player who sacrificed a pawn, and put pressure on the half-open a and b file "for nothing", was perhaps Capablanca!  

    I believe, that famous game was in the twentieth, the opponent was perhaps Nimzowitsch, Capa won in great style... Damn, my memory....

    It took a lot of time until the chess community of that period could accept the fact that the sacrifice was not a "cheat" , but absolutely correct! 

    The opening in that game of Capa was not King's Indian, the type of the black position was rather like Philidor , with black pawns on c7,c6, d6, f7, g6,  but already with a  bishop on g7 ! ...  anybody help me???

    The IDEA of the Wolga Gambit is great: b7-b5, and pressure on the open files a and b. And it works in many similar kings-indian or benoni situations.  

    Does anyone have a good analysis of the Carlsen - game ? If nobody refutes the black moves, it might open a new page!

     

    Mandelshtam 


  • #16

    I dont think that Carlsen game should be analyzed too much. Carlsen's opening play was a complete disaster and he only won because of his brilliant middlegame play and Van Wely's collapse near the end.

     

    This game was analyzed on chess.fm by GM Kaidanov just after it was played.

     

    http://webcast.chessclub.com/Corus08/01_23_08/GOTD.html

     


  • #17

     FM Eric Schiller relates the following:

    All - 

    On the name of the gambit, Pal Benko himself has the clearest view (from a Yahoo group discussion):

    "It is hardly possible to state precisely who first adopted the gambit. Some Swedish sources mention that it first occurred there in the 1920s ........Stolz and Lundin also used it. The earliest examples of the gambit in serious competition are the games Bronstein-Lundin, Szabo-Lundin (1948) , and Tajmanov-Bronstein (1953).

    In those games the b5 pawn sacrifices happened, but Black did not play the gambit like me. Therefore we have never found out who played it first and so it is irrelevant. Alekhine said that: It is not important who played it first, but who made it well known or popular. Like the Alekhine Defence, which was played before him, and he played it only 3 times, or the Marshall Gambit only once, not to mention the Breyer Variation, which he never played but just recommended. In my book (1973) you can find about 30 games from me playing the Gambit even against GMs, like Portisch , Gligoric etc. consistently and successfully. The so called Volga Gambit (there is no such player or city) is also explained in my book. Volga Gambit refers only to the treatment of the pawn sacrifice with Black playing an early e6, which is rather similar to the old Blumenfeld Gambit. ........Taimanov's book , Damengambit bis Hollandish, published in German in 1970, and the Russian magazine Shakhmathny Bulletin (1971,#5) treats only the Volga Gambit (with e6 by Black.) .......It is pity to confuse these two openings which have completely different goals. In the beginning I tried to popularize this opening under the name Benoni Countergambit , but the name did not stick as players began to call it the Benko Gambit. I must add, of course, that I have never claimed to have been the first to adopt it; in the chapter dealing with the history of the gambit I explain its origins in international chess.

    I hope you will stop this fruitless debate and just play the Gambit.

    Best Regards: Pal Benko

     

     
     



  • #18
    Gnawvous wrote:

     FM Eric Schiller relates the following:

    All - 

    On the name of the gambit, Pal Benko himself has the clearest view (from a Yahoo group discussion):

    "It is hardly possible to state precisely who first adopted the gambit. Some Swedish sources mention that it first occurred there in the 1920s ........Stolz and Lundin also used it. The earliest examples of the gambit in serious competition are the games Bronstein-Lundin, Szabo-Lundin (1948) , and Tajmanov-Bronstein (1953).

     

     

    In those games the b5 pawn sacrifices happened, but Black did not play the gambit like me. Therefore we have never found out who played it first and so it is irrelevant. Alekhine said that: It is not important who played it first, but who made it well known or popular. Like the Alekhine Defence, which was played before him, and he played it only 3 times, or the Marshall Gambit only once, not to mention the Breyer Variation, which he never played but just recommended. In my book (1973) you can find about 30 games from me playing the Gambit even against GMs, like Portisch , Gligoric etc. consistently and successfully. The so called Volga Gambit (there is no such player or city) is also explained in my book. Volga Gambit refers only to the treatment of the pawn sacrifice with Black playing an early e6, which is rather similar to the old Blumenfeld Gambit. ........Taimanov's book , Damengambit bis Hollandish, published in German in 1970, and the Russian magazine Shakhmathny Bulletin (1971,#5) treats only the Volga Gambit (with e6 by Black.) .......It is pity to confuse these two openings which have completely different goals. In the beginning I tried to popularize this opening under the name Benoni Countergambit , but the name did not stick as players began to call it the Benko Gambit. I must add, of course, that I have never claimed to have been the first to adopt it; in the chapter dealing with the history of the gambit I explain its origins in international chess.

    I hope you will stop this fruitless debate and just play the Gambit.

    Best Regards: Pal Benko



    A great addition to this thread and one which should end the debate! Let those people who prefer to call it Benko gambit do so and those who dont may call it whatever they like. There are many openings known by different names in different parts of the world. The Russian/Petroff/Jaenisch defense comes to mind as well......nuff said !


  • #19

    It is VERY strange that even Benko himself does not know the Russian literature (he does not know it, saying he ignores it, would be an insult ... ) The question remains why he doesn't know it, it was translated and edited in german in the seventies by Dt. Sportverlag (well, in the GDR, but many of my west-german relatives bought books when they visited us. Or we have sent books by ordinary mail to them.) 

    That soviet encyclopedy deals with the Volga gambit, with a whole chapter WITHOUT e6 (Benko claims the opposite).

    (It also deals with Blumenfeld, and other gambit versions with e6). 

    Moreover, many soviet chess periodica:

    as "64",

    "shachmatny bulletin",

    "shachmaty",

    contain lots of analysis of games and of positions of the Volga-gambit.

     "Benko popularized the gambit on GM level" is thus just incorrect.

    It then means  "popularizing it IN THE WEST" only.

    The gambit was known in the east and analysed as well, there.

    Let's not turn it into a fight....

    BUT, fact is a fact, due to the cold war, "many bicycles have been invented twice". 

    The game Taimanov - Bronstein, 1953 (which I mentioned, too), popularized the whole idea much more than any other game. Later many applications of the idea  by strong soviet players  like Geller, and from several cities lying at the river Volga (Samara, earlier named as Kuibyshev, Wolgograd, earlier named Zaryzin/ Stalingrad, with millions of inhabitants , and with strong chess clubs), 

    and their analysis proved that the gambit - the version mentioned by Benko - is sound. 

    Mandelshtam 

    P.S: I am a 2265 FIDE elo player only, so you might not take my persistence as serious, or even annoying....

    But ask ANY Russian IM (or GM), who went through the school of some chessclub or "Pioneer's Palace" during the soviet era: They will confirm my opinion. 


  • #20
    Ok, what GM has played the "benko gambit" more than Benko himself has? At least in the west it was Pal Benko, more than any other, that through his own games, and book, did indeed bring attention to the gambit and made it popular. The book of his includes 20 of his games and he may have played it even more, I dont know. Benko himself wanted to call it the benoni counter gambit.

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