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crafty 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Calling all Benko Gambit Players! Hi there, I'm trying to build a repetoire as black against 1 d4 and ideally want to play the Benko Gambit but I'm curious to know what people suggest when white plays 2. Nf3 rather than 2. c4. Has anyone played 2...c5 in response to Nf3 hoping for a transpostion?
tag1153 34 ( +1 | -1 )
crafty....... There is a good article on the Benko by GM Susan Polgar in the September issue of Chess Life (page 38). It covers in detail three main variations after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5. They can all lead to the position you are interested in. I hope you can find a copy of this article:)

velvetvelour 87 ( +1 | -1 )
Crash course vs. difficult d4 yahoos Crafty,

In your shoes I would bide my time with ...g6 ...Bg7 ...d6, i.e. a King's Indian setup, waiting for white to play c4, and then commence with a delayed Benko, via ...c5 and ...b5. If your opponent plays a non c4 system such as the Stonewall Attack, Colle System, London System, or Torre Attack, adopting a faux-Grunfeld setup (g6, Bg7, d5, Nbd7, c5) will yield black a fine game. If they end up playing Nc3 before c4 at some point they should be pityed, in my opinion.

Alternatively, you could immediatley challenge white's center anyway with ...c5, which is what I, a Benoni player, would most certainly do. Some Benoni Gambit players play ...c5 right off against 1) d4, which is sharp but perfectly sound approach, and usually yields the immediate "push" that black Benoni/Benko players expect.
crafty 14 ( +1 | -1 )
Benko Thanks Velvetvelour and tag1153 for the advice- I quite like the idea of playing c5 straight off - I think this is called a schmid Benoni?
velvetvelour 36 ( +1 | -1 )
Humid, Schmid! Yes, you'd be correct crafty. 'Tis also a preferred method of reaching the Czech Benoni, which has a dubious reputation, however this works to its advantage if you understand the closed character of the game better than white. Emory Tate (dubbed most dangerous FM in America) swashbuckles with it as black from time to time and teaches it to his students.
nottop 44 ( +1 | -1 )
other I suggest you look elsewhere for an opening. I've played the Benko many years and would like to keep playing it. I'm afraid it's been almost refuted -
the lines after Nf3 are not hard and the suggestions posted are sound.

But the main line is on its death throes. This is well documented in New in Chess and elsewhere.
The lines where white plays 6.g3 and 10.Rb1 give black a difficult game.

Look for a different opening. This one is done.

velvetvelour 78 ( +1 | -1 )
I disagree Crafty. You should not be swayed by fashionable refutations and trendy lines played in GM-level chess which have little in common with the realities of the games of mere mortals. You should play openings which lend you positions you are comfortable with, *even* if they are theoretically a little worse for the wear, and procure you middle-games of which you are thematically familiar. Below Master level, nearly all openings are playable. Take heart of what William Ewhart Napier said: "In the laboratory, all gambits test unfavorably. On the board, all gambits are sound."

However, if your game plays out as a theory war with someone consulting a book or a database instead of their personal, falliable memory, I suppose the rules are different.
bonsai 54 ( +1 | -1 )
Nottop are you sure the g3+Rb1 stuff is still such a problem? As far as I know black has been doing fine against that most recently, again (I think Glenn Flear who had been recommending that system very much for white even said so himself that at relatively recently). And anyway, I don't think these positions are particularly nice to play as white unless you are a GM, white has to be too flexible and careful and black has a lot of options (well, as usual, a lot of the time it's easier to play black in the Benkö).
crafty 24 ( +1 | -1 )
Amateur Chess is different I absolutely agree with you velvetvelour, at the amateur level everything is sound. I'm a particular fan of the smith-morra and goring gambit as white and have done very well with it in otb games and correspondence - assuming no one is using a computer!
nottop 64 ( +1 | -1 )
openings I'm afraid I respectfully disagree with you all.

I believe:

1: All openings require tremendous study. It is not necessary just to keep up with current theory (though it is necessary to keep up with current theory). Understanding of that opening, original analysis and a sceptical and testing view of recent games is also necessary.

2: This workload is best if it is with sound openings that can carry on as the player developes - not one sort of opening for playing against so-so players and then another whole set when one gets better.

crafty - beware the smith-morra - the lines where black plays Nf6-d7 are hard to meet.

velvetvelour 220 ( +1 | -1 )
Reports of Benko's Death are Greatly Exaggerated Nottop's philosophy is a perfectly valid one in its own right, but it's not the only one. It would appeal primarily to Technicians (Rubinstein, Capabalnca, Reshevsky, Flohr, Smyslov, Karpov, Kramnik) who are content to accumulate small advantages rather than force the position, or risk forcing it, and mostly win in the endgame, nursing the odd pawn advantage won and defended in earlier stages of the game. Sometimes not not even that, but a marginally better pawn structure or slightly more active piece. Economy is the ruling word in a Tecnician's play.

However, chess lends itself to different philosophies and styles of play (Romantic, Hypermodern, Dynamic), with different priorities, which include opening style. We've even had a Romantic/Dynamic world champion (Tal). If a player like Morozovich can break the top ten with as eccentric a repetoire as his (and he'll be competing in San Luis later this week for the World Championship Title) then there's plenty of doubt in the applying a unilateral "correct" paradigm about opening play/theory.

That's a reason why the consultation game is mostly a thing of the past, because top players clash too often in individual plans and assessments of positions that arise, and they can't reach a consensus.

Raymond Keene, Jeremy Silman, Lev Albert, and Nigel Davies all believe the Benko yields perfectly acceptable counterplay in the main line for black. And if the Benko is some "junk" opening to be discarded later on someone forget to tell Michael Adams, apparently. Reuben Fine even softened on his opinion of the Benko (from "refuted" in 1948 to "uncertain" later on when he was editing chess anthologies and writing books).

The Benko Gambit isn't something like the Latvian Gambit or the Budapest, after all. It does boast thematic ideas, whereas those two are mostly trappy rope-a-dope stuff.

When I searched through it seemed like the main line wasn't cropping up much, with things like 4) f3, 5) f3, 5) Bg5, 5) e3, and 5) b6 (my preferred line vs. Benko) all getting more milleage. Again, down to style and personal preference. Many players shun winning a pawn if it gives black thematic counterplay.
jstack 9 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting Quote "There is no such thing as bad openings, only bad chess players" Boris Kogan