Is the Benko Gambit busted? If so, up to what level is it worthily playable nowadays?

StinkingHyena
tlay80 wrote:

It certainly garnered respect for quite a while (and admiration too -- a gambit where the counterplay runs all the way to the endgame!).  But by the 80s, it was regarded as fairly dubious at the grandmaster level, and I fear that line the OP mentions (which arrived earlier this decade) might kill it at lower levels too.

To people who are defending it here -- what compensation are you finding in the 12 a4 line (described here -- White usually follows up with Nb5)?  It's an opening I've long loved, but I'm on the verge of giving the bloody thing up based on that line, which seems to me to completlely solidify White's queenside.  Have people come up with real counterplay here?

Thats an awful lot of moves that dont really seem forced. After the pawn takes at a6 why the hurry to recapture? You have 3 pieces on it White couldn't hang on to it with the 7th fleet, and as the line shows the White has a nice nest available. Just develop, Bg7, d6, 0-0, then decide how you want to capture, may turn out you want the Knight to take and the Bishop on the long diagonal or want to play e6.

I guess Im trying to say, one line when there appears to be a number of alternatives isnt busted.

RubenHogenhout
BADBOIYUM schreef:

Yes, benko is pretty much busted. 

After the moves

 

The computer often evals 3...b5!? as the strongest moves for black. If this move least to a busted position for black then maybe 2...c5 is objectly allready the decicive mistake and 2...e6 and 2...g6 are both better moves.

 

tlay80
StinkingHyena wrote:
tlay80 wrote:

It certainly garnered respect for quite a while (and admiration too -- a gambit where the counterplay runs all the way to the endgame!).  But by the 80s, it was regarded as fairly dubious at the grandmaster level, and I fear that line the OP mentions (which arrived earlier this decade) might kill it at lower levels too.

To people who are defending it here -- what compensation are you finding in the 12 a4 line (described here -- White usually follows up with Nb5)?  It's an opening I've long loved, but I'm on the verge of giving the bloody thing up based on that line, which seems to me to completlely solidify White's queenside.  Have people come up with real counterplay here?

Thats an awful lot of moves that dont really seem forced. After the pawn takes at a6 why the hurry to recapture? You have 3 pieces on it White couldn't hang on to it with the 7th fleet, and as the line shows the White has a nice nest available. Just develop, Bg7, d6, 0-0, then decide how you want to capture, may turn out you want the Knight to take and the Bishop on the long diagonal or want to play e6.

I guess Im trying to say, one line when there appears to be a number of alternatives isnt busted.

That's fair.  Maybe so.  Though at that point you're talking about playing it in a rather different manner from how we always learned.  Which maybe I'll take you up on, but if I'm going to do that, I might just say thirty (interrupted) years with an opening is a good run, and it's time for me to move on.

For the record, I'm not saying it's busted -- my question was a genuine one, and I'd be delighted to have better ideas for how to make it work.  When I find some time, I'll dig further myself.

tlay80

To answer more specifically, the conventional wisdom has been that you have to recapture with the bishop as soon as White plays Nc3 -- otherwise, White can play e2-e4 without having to concede anything (i.e. the king walk).  It's also generally good to have the rook applying presure down the a-file sooner, rather than later, in order to restrict what White can do to regroup -- hence the urgency to clearing the board along the a- and b-files, and getting both rooks and the queen into position.  It's not impossible, though, that there are still other resources to be found, that the conventional wisdom has missed.  But if I'm giving up a pawn, I'd want to see a clearer demonstration of them.  I mean, if I want to break with e7-e6, why not hang onto the pawn and just play a regular Modern Benoni?

 

In other words, if this weren't a gambit, I'd be more likely to agree.  But a gambit has a higher burden for justifying itself, no?

StinkingHyena

Not sure how up to date it is but I have chessables benko by IM Sielecki. And yeah its played much more in the style of the benoni. And I do wonder, if the old benko wasnt strong enough, is mucking around the center doing anything other than disguising that? The e6 lines look messy enough that probably an answer wont be quickly forthcoming.

pfren
StinkingHyena έγραψε:

Not sure how up to date it is but I have chessables benko by IM Sielecki. And yeah its played much more in the style of the benoni. And I do wonder, if the old benko wasnt strong enough, is mucking around the center doing anything other than disguising that? The e6 lines look messy enough that probably an answer wont be quickly forthcoming.

The lines suggested by IM Sielecki are fairly trendy and mighty good indeed. The only secure way to bust the Benko. is 1.e4.

IMBacon

I have been playing a line of the Benko that is considered "busted" at GM level.  It works fine for me, and who i play.

tlay80
pfren wrote:
StinkingHyena έγραψε:

Not sure how up to date it is but I have chessables benko by IM Sielecki. And yeah its played much more in the style of the benoni. And I do wonder, if the old benko wasnt strong enough, is mucking around the center doing anything other than disguising that? The e6 lines look messy enough that probably an answer wont be quickly forthcoming.

The lines suggested by IM Sielecki are fairly trendy and mighty good indeed. The only secure way to bust the Benko. is 1.e4.

Thanks — I’ll investigate. 

drmrboss

It is always challenging for white to develop pieces in " a " and " b" files.

Stockfish normally go " a4, Ra3, Nb5, b3, Ne2, Nc4, Bb2". ( you must practice these moves carefully and accutate play is extremely important). I dont mean black is busted but will be very difficult to play once white develop pieces like that.

In this game white give back "b" pawn and counter attack.

 

 

pfren
drmrboss έγραψε:

It is always challenging for white to develop pieces in " a " and " b" files.

Stockfish normally go " a4, Ra3, Nb5, b3, Ne2, Nc4, Bb2". ( you must practice these moves carefully and accutate play is extremely important). I dont mean black is busted but will be very difficult to play once white develop pieces like that.

In this game white give back "b" pawn and counter attack.

 

 

It has been said already that noone cares to pick a6 that early anymore.

nighteyes1234
drmrboss wrote:

Stockfish normally go " a4, Ra3, Nb5, b3, Ne2, Nc4, Bb2". ( you must practice these moves carefully and accutate play is extremely important).

 

Stockfish doesnt go those moves. Thats a TCEC opening line sequence. SF is the "modern" variation that is not simple. For example, here is one of the variations white faces. White to move and which move is 6+ eval for white? Please provide calculation happy.png.

 

Laskersnephew

The Benko is perfectly good up to FIDE 2367. But against an opponent rated 2368 or above, it's suicide

Mythir

Black can equalise rather easy by playing for fast e6 instead taking on a6.