Benoni Defense


Benoni Defense
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  black rook  black knight  black bishop  black queen  black king  black bishop  black king  black rook 8
7  black pawn  black pawn  black king  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn 7
6  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black knight  black king  black king 6
5  black king  black king  black pawn  white pawn  black king  black king  black king  black king 5
4  black king  black king  white pawn  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 3
2  white pawn  white pawn  black king  black king  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn 2
1  white rook  white knight  white bishop  white queen  white king  white bishop  white knight  white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5
ECO A43–A44, A56–A79
Origin German manuscript entitled Benoni by Aaron Reinganum (1825)
Named after Hebrew: "son of sorrow"
Parent Indian Defense
Chessgames.com opening explorer

The Benoni Defense is a group of chess openings generally characterized by the opening moves 1. d4 c5 2. d5, although Black's ...c5 and White's answer d5 are often delayed. The most usual opening sequence for the Benoni is 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5. Black can then sacrifice a pawn by 3...b5 (the Benko Gambit), but if Black does not elect this line then 3...e6 is the most common move (though 3...d6 or 3...g6 are also seen, typically leading to main lines).

Contents


Etymology

"Benoni" is a Hebrew term meaning "son of sorrow" – the name of an 1825 Manuscript about this opening.[1]

Old Benoni

Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black king d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black pawn d5 black king e5 black king f5 black king g5 black king h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 white pawn e4 black king f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 black king e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Old Benoni Defense

The Old Benoni starts with 1.d4 c5. The Old Benoni may transpose to the Czech Benoni, but there are a few independent variations. This form has never attracted serious interest in high-level play, though Alexander Alekhine defeated Efim Bogoljubow with it in one game of their second match, in 1934. The Old Benoni is sometimes called the Blackburne Defense, after Englishman Joseph Henry Blackburne, the first player known to have used it successfully.[2]

Czech Benoni

Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black king h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black king d7 black pawn e7 black king f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black knight g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black pawn d5 white pawn e5 black pawn f5 black king g5 black king h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 white pawn d4 black king e4 black king f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 black king d2 black king e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Czech Benoni

In the Czech Benoni, also sometimes known as the Hromadka Benoni, after Karel Hromádka, Black plays 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5. The Czech Benoni is much more solid than the Modern Benoni, but it is also more passive. The middlegames arising from this line are characterised by much manoeuvring, as White will, in most lines, play to gain space in the centre and kingside, while Black looks to break with ...b7–b5 or ...f7–f5 after due preparation.

Asa Hoffman has played the line throughout his career, and produced an instructive game versus Zaderman.[3]

Modern Benoni

The Modern Benoni usually begins after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 (or Nf3) c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 or 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 (or Nf3) exd5 5.cxd5 d6. Then follows 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 or 6.Nc3 g6 7.e4 (if Nf3 was played earlier). Obviously many transpositions are possible. The Modern Benoni is a risky attempt by Black to unbalance the position and gain active piece play, at the cost of allowing White a pawn wedge at d5 and a central majority. White usually plays for a central break with e5, while Black tries to effect ...b5. Black will fianchetto his king's bishop and castle on the kingside, playing for attack on the queenside with ...b7–b5 and in the semi-open e-file. Although it is not unknown for Black to play also on the kingside with, for example, a breakout with Nh5 in conjunction with f5, Fischer and Kasparov won famous games with this strategy against Spassky and Korchnoi respectively. White will play for a central initiative and simultaneously try to muzzle Black's counterplay.

Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black king g8 black king h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black king d7 black king e7 black king f7 black pawn g7 black bishop h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black king d6 black pawn e6 black king f6 black knight g6 black pawn h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 white bishop c5 black pawn d5 white pawn e5 black king f5 black king g5 black king h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 black king e4 white pawn f4 white pawn g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 white knight d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 black king d2 black king e2 black king f2 black king g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 black king c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 black king g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Modern Benoni, Taimanov Variation

Compared to the usual lines of the King's Indian Defense, Black's fianchettoed bishop is far more active, as it is not blocked by a black pawn on e5. However, not having the pawn on e5 makes White's center more fluid; and some of the sharpest ideas for White are based on a central breakthrough with e5. The Modern Benoni is thus a very combative and double-edged opening; indeed, it is one of the most risky defences to 1.d4. Some White players who prefer to steer clear of the highly theoretical main line's sharp battles decide to avoid the Benoni altogether; after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 they play 3.Nf3, which may lead to a quiet symmetrical variation of the English Opening.

Tal popularized the defense in the late 1950s and early 1960s by winning several brilliant games (notably against Botvinnik in a World Championship game), though he largely gave it up after a shattering defeat inflicted by Viktor Korchnoi in the 1962 Soviet Championship at Erevan. Bobby Fischer occasionally adopted it, with good results, including a win in the significant third game of the 1972 world championship match against Boris Spassky.

Often Black adopts a slightly different move order, playing 2...e6 before 3...c5, in order to avoid the Taimanov Variation, or 'Flick-Knife Attack',[4] arising from the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+. 8...Nfd7 is considered the safest response to the check; 8...Nbd7 is also playable but more risky as, inevitably, Black will have to sacrifice material of some sort after 9.e5. Garry Kasparov, Joël Lautier and Vlastimil Hort have favored the Taimanov. When using the different move order, the white knight on f3 rules out this variation.[5]

Encyclopedia of Chess Openings

The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings has many codes for the Benoni Defense.

Old Benoni Defense:

  • A43 1.d4 c5

Czech Benoni:

  • A44 1.d4 c5 2.d5 e5

Benoni Defense:

  • A56 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5
  • A57–A59 (Benko Gambit) 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5
  • A60 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6
  • A61 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6

Fianchetto Variation:

  • A62 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0
  • A63 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7
  • A64 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Nd2 a6 11.a4 Re8

Modern Benoni:

  • A65 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4
  • A66 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4

Taimanov Variation:

  • A67 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+

Four Pawns Attack:

  • A68 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0-0
  • A69 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Be2 Re8

Classical Benoni:

  • A70 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3
  • A71 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bg5
  • A72 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0
  • A73 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0
  • A74 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a6
  • A75 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Bg4
  • A76 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8
  • A77 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2
  • A78 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6
  • A79 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6 11.f3

See also

  • Franco-Benoni (1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5)

References

  1. ^ "Whenever I felt in a sorrowful mood and wanted to take refuge from melancholy, I sat over a chessboard, for one or two hours according to circumstances. Thus this book came into being, and its name, Ben-Oni, 'Son of Sadness,' should indicate its origin." (Aaron Reinganum)
  2. ^ Preston Ware vs Joseph Henry Blackburne, 1882 at Chessgames.com
  3. ^ Zaderman–Hoffman game
  4. ^ e.g by Andrew Kinsman in Modern Benoni, 2001 Everyman Chess
  5. ^ De Firmian, Nick (1999). "IV-8 Benoni Defense". Modern Chess Openings: MCO-14. Random House Puzzles & Games. ISBN 0-8129-3084-3. 

Further reading

  • Norwood, David (1995). The Modern Benoni. Cadogan. ISBN 9-197-60052-0. 
  • Watson, John (2001). Guide To Modern Benoni. Gambit. ISBN 1-901983-23-4. 
  • Psakhis, Lev (2003). The Complete Benoni. Sterling Pub. ISBN 0713477652. 
  • Franco, Zenon (2007). Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni. Gambit. ISBN 978-1-904600-77-0. 
  • Komarov, Dmitry; Djuric, Stefan; Pantaleoni, Claudio (2009). Chess Opening Essentials, Vol. 3: Indian Defences. New In Chess. ISBN 978-90-5691-270-3. 

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