Chess - Play & Learn


FREE - In Google Play

FREE - in Win Phone Store


My loss against the Benko gambit

  • #1

    In this game I play white and lose to in a mainline Benko gambit. I think I played the opening ok, with the exception of 13. h4. There are definitely places in the middle game where I didn't play accurately. I'd appreciate anyone who can add to the annotation I've already done. Thanks in advance!
  • #2

    22.Nxb8 and 23.b4 look better.


    23.Nxf5 looks dubious.  Perhaps back with 23.Nc6 or 23.b4. 


    Perhaps 25.Rxh5+ and 26.Qf1-Qf4


    27.Raf3 looks like the losing move, but it might already be lost.  Alternatives are Rxf8 and Rxh5. 


    After 28...Rc8, perhaps 29.Rf7, but Black has 29...Kg6 and maybe the rook gets trapped or no longer can defend the knight. 

  • #3

    This is the King's Walk Variation

    13. h4 must be a mistake. It is a black plan to play Ng4 to regroup to e5, when h3 is actually a mistake, kicking the N where it was heading, wasting a tempo and weakening the W king cover.

    I'm just going through it but has black missed a big tactical shot on move 22. after Nb6. Check it because this isn't forced.

    22. Bxb2 23. Bxb2 Ne3+ 24. Rxe3 Qxe3 then if 25. Rf3 Qxf3+ 26. Kxf3 Nd2+ followed by Nxc4.  There may be side variations because of this possibility?

    I don't like giving up the N on f5.

    What about 27. Rxf8 Rxf8 28. Rf3  saving the Nc7?

    General impressions are that its not like a Benko game after the opening. It should be that Black plays on the Q side in order to reach a favourable ending, but all the Black pawns are gone and he's attacking K side.

    I've got a book on this at home. I'll have a look because I play Benko myself.

    Only dipping in but hope that helps a bit.


  • #4
    Maybe I'm missing something but howcome you never took the h5 pawn with your rook ?  It would have given you a good game , You could have done that on move 25
  • #5

    Maybe Nbd2-Nc4 is a better option than Nb5 to stop counterplay at the queenside. According to Nimzowitsch "don't play where you are weak" means here "neutralize counterplay at the queenside with as less moves as possible". It looks you were just lucky he didn't play on the queenside. As far as you can speak of luck when mated.

    Winning the exchange looks better then the Nxe7 action. 

  • #6

    Thanks for all the comments guys, really appreciate it. I think I need to stop overestimating attacking possibilities. It's a hard thing for me to give up the c6 knight for the b8 rook, but it does seem best now.


    I didn't play 25. Rxh5+ because of 25. ... Kg6 and I thought the attack against the rook and the f2 square would kill me. I didn't see the idea 26. Qf1 Kxh5? 27 Qf5+, thanks for pointing that out. But I think 26. ... Rf8 might be good for black.


    mxd: I think 21 ... Bxb2 22. Bxb2  also puts danger into black's king position. For example, in your line 22. ... Ne3+ 23 Rxe3 Qxe3 white has 24. Nxe7+ and the bishop on b2 is controlling g7 and h8 helping the attack on the king.


    Is the King's walk variation supposed to be ok for white? I thought this was a mainline way to handle this opening (though, honestly I haven't studied it). Can white play h3 before black plays Ng4 (as you point out it's jut pointless after Ng4).


    Tempo: I think your'e right that things could have been worse for me if black had tried 18. ... Nxa4. I'm sure that Nc3 is part of the mainline Benko, so I'm trying to meet the queenside counterplay with that as part of white's setup. Maybe bringing that knight to c4 is a more solid way to handle the opening though.

  • #7
    good game though.. riskbreaker..
  • #8

    29. Ne6 Rxc1

    30. Rxh5+ Kg8

    31. Rg5 ...


    i'm no expert, but i feel you held off on Rxh5, and it would have gained you some extra space to maneuver. once you brought your knight over, to e6 at move 29


    the moves i just suggested gained you that pawn, pinned his king with his bishop and gave you the ability to pressure his knight on g4 (granted he'd still go for check and the same moves would likely follow anyhow), but this way you keep your rook on the h-file, which the knights were after.


    my two cents. good game though, i hope to play at that level one day =)



  • #9

    Loomis, have you seen the epic battles between Maxim Dlugy and Lev Alburt in the Benko Gambit? One of their best games is annotated here. Lev Alburt's a proponent of the Benko while Dlugy believes it's unsound. They're similarly rated but Dlugy has managed a 5.0/6.0 record against Alburt's Benko which is quite impressive.

  • #10

    Is the King's walk variation supposed to be ok for white? I thought this was a mainline way to handle this opening (though, honestly I haven't studied it).


    The line is supposed to be fairly equal. You left theory with 12.a4. White's usual moves are h3 to prevent the Black knight from maneuvering to e5 followed by Re1 and the pawn push e5. An e4-e5 pawn push is central to White's plans here and in most Benoni-like positions. Of course, Black will attack on the a- and b-files and probably has compensation.


    However, most GMs now play it differently. They choose to capture the b-pawn but don't capture the a-pawn. White then retains a slight advantage, and has the choice of taking the game into positional lines as in Dlugy-Alburt or into wild tactical lines as in:




  • #11
    Against benko I think white does better to play 5e3 , taking both pawns is what all benko players love! Also...5b6 isnt so bad, didnt Shirov used to play this way?
  • #12

    Sure. Here's one of Shirov's 5.b6 games. The idea is that by giving back the pawn in this way, White doesn't allow Black the open a-file that he's used to, and the game proceeds along normal Benoni lines. In 2006, GM Jesse Kraii said he believed 5.e3 now has some effective counters and 5.b6 is the strongest choice.


    Things may have changed since he said that. I was just playing through some annotated games in that opening when I spotted this thread.  Hopefully someone who plays the Benko regularly will see these posts and chime in! 


  • #13
    I just checked chess assistant (over 2 million games) and in the benko after 4.....a6 the top 3 responses : 5bxa6 53% (5349 games)    5b6 55%  (2477 games)   5e3  55% (1761 games)    The percentage is how white is doing in these games so both 5b6 and 5e3 seem to do better
  • #14

    Dear Mr. Loomis:

    I have an extensive practice with the Benko Gambit at Master level, and I can assure that your 12.a4! may be almost the refutation of the Benko until someone appears wiyh some rescue plan. I came in contact with this move from the black side in a blitz game at Internet, I was smashed by means of the more simplest moves.When I went to may database to check the variation I noticed in horror-after an hour or so of research-that this simple plan is very, very difficult to face.Of course, the plan does not involve your h4 move, which is not in accordance with a4.Take a look and a couple of Bhat's games. I suspect that engines are the "inevntors" of this "plan", although it was played much before the silicon beasts were strong enough.But I can feel Houdini or Rybka behnd the modern approach. If you need advice, contact me.

    Dr.Manuel Gerardo Monasterio

    IECG Master

  • #15

    I came back just to confirm my comment, 12.a4 is a very good move!

    See Carlsen-Bologan and others...

  • #16

    Old thread. I agree, the Carlsen-Bologan game is a masterpiece. a4-Nb5-b3 and black's attack on the a and b files is neutered.


Online Now