Free points from Pal Benko

8/8/2004 – He twice made it to the Candidates' Tournament – Hungarian-born Pal Benko, today a respected chess columnist, is someone from whom you can learn a trick or two. In his Monday night Playchess.com lecture Dennis Monokroussos illustrates the point with a remarkable 45-year-old game.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes: "These days Pal Benko is best-known for his endgame column in the U.S. Chess Federation’s Chess Life. For years, however, he was one of the best players in the world, twice making it to Candidates’ tournaments – a tremendous achievement for any player. Especially renowned for his virtuoso endgame technique, his best games are a wonderful resource for anyone wishing to improve their positional and endgame play.

In our weekly lecture we’ll take a look at one of his many positional masterpieces, this one against Fridrik Olafsson from the 1959 Candidates event (won by Tal). On the White side of a 6.Bg5 Najdorf (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5), Benko throws in an interesting positional twist that worked to perfection. Best of all, this is a line no one knows, so you can start counting the free points now! Tune in and watch a game replete with positional and technical ideas we can all use and benefit from; Benko, like Capablanca, has a way of making it look easy in his best games. Easy or not, they’re great to learn from, and that’s just what we’ll do this Monday night. Enjoy!"

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Tuesday). Other time zones can be found below. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

Here are the exact times for different locations in the world

Abu Dhabi Tue 05:00 Halifax * Mon 22:00 New Orleans * Mon 20:00
Addis Ababa Tue 04:00 Hanoi Tue 08:00 New York * Mon 21:00
Adelaide Tue 10:30 Harare Tue 03:00 Odesa * Tue 04:00
Aden Tue 04:00 Havana * Mon 21:00 Oslo * Tue 03:00
Aklavik * Mon 19:00 Helsinki * Tue 04:00 Ottawa * Mon 21:00
Algiers Tue 02:00 Hong Kong Tue 09:00 Paris * Tue 03:00
Amman * Tue 04:00 Honolulu Mon 15:00 Perth Tue 09:00
Amsterdam * Tue 03:00 Houston * Mon 20:00 Philadelphia * Mon 21:00
Anadyr * Tue 14:00 Indianapolis Mon 20:00 Phoenix Mon 18:00
Anchorage * Mon 17:00 Islamabad Tue 06:00 Prague * Tue 03:00
Ankara * Tue 04:00 Istanbul * Tue 04:00 Rangoon Tue 07:30
Antananarivo Tue 04:00 Jakarta Tue 08:00 Reykjavik Tue 01:00
Asuncion Mon 21:00 Jerusalem * Tue 04:00 Rio de Janeiro Mon 22:00
Athens * Tue 04:00 Johannesburg Tue 03:00 Riyadh Tue 04:00
Atlanta * Mon 21:00 Kabul Tue 05:30 Rome * Tue 03:00
Baghdad * Tue 05:00 Kamchatka * Tue 14:00 San Francisco * Mon 18:00
Bangkok Tue 08:00 Karachi Tue 06:00 San Juan Mon 21:00
Barcelona * Tue 03:00 Kathmandu Tue 06:45 San Salvador Mon 19:00
Beijing Tue 09:00 Khartoum Tue 04:00 Santiago Mon 21:00
Beirut * Tue 04:00 Kingston Mon 20:00 Santo Domingo Mon 21:00
Belgrade * Tue 03:00 Kiritimati Tue 15:00 Sao Paulo Mon 22:00
Berlin * Tue 03:00 Kolkata Tue 06:30 Seattle * Mon 18:00
Bogota Mon 20:00 Kuala Lumpur Tue 09:00 Seoul Tue 10:00
Boston * Mon 21:00 Kuwait City Tue 04:00 Shanghai Tue 09:00
Brasilia Mon 22:00 Kyiv * Tue 04:00 Singapore Tue 09:00
Brisbane Tue 11:00 La Paz Mon 21:00 Sofia * Tue 04:00
Brussels * Tue 03:00 Lagos Tue 02:00 St. John's * Mon 22:30
Bucharest * Tue 04:00 Lahore Tue 06:00 St. Paul * Mon 20:00
Budapest * Tue 03:00 Lima Mon 20:00 Stockholm * Tue 03:00
Buenos Aires Mon 22:00 Lisbon * Tue 02:00 Suva Tue 13:00
Cairo * Tue 04:00 London * Tue 02:00 Sydney Tue 11:00
Canberra Tue 11:00 Los Angeles * Mon 18:00 Taipei Tue 09:00
Cape Town Tue 03:00 Madrid * Tue 03:00 Tallinn * Tue 04:00
Caracas Mon 21:00 Managua Mon 19:00 Tashkent Tue 06:00
Casablanca Tue 01:00 Manila Tue 09:00 Tegucigalpa Mon 19:00
Chatham Island Tue 13:45 Melbourne Tue 11:00 Tehran * Tue 05:30
Chicago * Mon 20:00 Mexico City * Mon 20:00 Tokyo Tue 10:00
Copenhagen * Tue 03:00 Minneapolis * Mon 20:00 Toronto * Mon 21:00
Darwin Tue 10:30 Minsk * Tue 04:00 Vancouver * Mon 18:00
Denver * Mon 19:00 Montevideo Mon 22:00 Vienna * Tue 03:00
Detroit * Mon 21:00 Montgomery * Mon 20:00 Vladivostok * Tue 12:00
Dhaka Tue 07:00 Montreal * Mon 21:00 Warsaw * Tue 03:00
Dublin * Tue 02:00 Moscow * Tue 05:00 Washington DC * Mon 21:00
Edmonton * Mon 19:00 Mumbai Tue 06:30 Wellington Tue 13:00
Frankfurt * Tue 03:00 Nairobi Tue 04:00 Winnipeg * Mon 20:00
Geneva * Tue 03:00 Nassau * Mon 21:00 Zagreb * Tue 03:00
Guatemala Mon 19:00 New Delhi Tue 06:30 Zürich * Tue 03:00

* indicates that the place is currently observing daylight saving time (DST)

Dennis Monokroussos is 37, lives in South Bend, IN (the site of the University of Notre Dame), and is writing a Ph.D. dissertation in philosophy (in the philosophy of mind) while adjuncting at the University.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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