After playing the Benko Gambit myself for a few years, and looking at the lines with Crafty, I think …Bxa6 in the Benko Gambit accepted deserves a ??, and yet …Nxa6, which I virtually never played, probably deserves a !!

This fianchetto variation by White kills the gambit in it’s tracks, IMHO, and it’s not just one line, all the main lines from there:

Portisch-Geller 1976

Look at move 15 of this position from the game above. ..e6 is the only logical break for Black, opening the position from a pawn down, whereas White is ready to absolutely pounce on it. Geller sacs the ..Rb4 because otherwise it’s connected passed a and b pawns after a …c4 push, which is really just a technical win (and I realize most class players probably aren’t good enough to convert this technical win even it is +2 for White, yes, but that’s not something to hang one’s hat on.)

For example White plays the important move b3, so that on …c5 there will be b4. Also Bh3 and Bb2 give the White bishops scope. However, with 5…Nxa6 with the idea of …Nc7 supporting an …e6 push, Black begins to get his center going, which is very important because that can turn into a good gambit for the activity.

Benko vs Gross

Note that White allows the Ba6 to be traded with e3, which is not necessary (strategic error, IMHO), but allows the ..Nac6-c7 idea to be shown.

The Benko Gambit “feels good” because one can play 10 moves in 5 minutes as Black, but I think it only works (…Bxa6) because so many as White play it poorly or don’t know how to play it.


4 thoughts on “Openings

  1. I hope you didn’t expect me to agree with you, did you? šŸ™‚
    Double fianchetto can be prevented by 5…g6 intending 6.b3 Bg7 7.Bb2 Nxa6! with the threat of …Nb4 hitting d5 and a2, when Nc3 may often be met by …Nfxd5 (from wiki).

  2. It’s under “Benko gambit”. Some chess articles there, including endgames, are pretty good.
    I played yesterday, lost, still can’t believe it. If you will see the game, you would say the same. Will try to post today.

  3. I found it, the quote. Was really just going through books to get rid of them, but I had to stop with that. Word to the wise is don’t buy too many chess books, I went through 10 more of them and still had plenty left when I stopped, and still the Wiki was most useful in the case of that opening.

    I played a game last night on FICS:;action=show

    I didn’t even mean to play 1..d5 and could tell I was making positional mistakes, and still got a gimme win, and won on the clock. hehe.

    I know about bad OTB games. Remember my last loss? I made a move, not seeing the pin against my king, and lost because of that single mistake to a player that I really should be winning against far more often than not.

    Yeah, you should post it. I still haven’t seen any of your losses where you lose in one move like I do, because I am leaning too far over the board or some crazy mistake that. Then I lost that one game rather ugly manner because of time-trouble. It is easier to play in the morning than at night.

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