Ramirez: Attacking with the Benko Gambit

by ChessBase
4/13/2013 – For those who may be unfamiliar with the presenter, Alejandro Ramirez is an American Grandmaster. He has been a Benko Gambit exponent for many years and here proposes a repertoire for Black. "Overall, I really enjoyed this DVD – Ramirez presents clearly and his enthusiasm for the opening is inevitably transferred to the viewer," writes the reviewer in CHESS Magazine.

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Attacking with the Benko Gambit
Alejandro Ramirez

DVD, running time: 3 hours, 44 minutes
RRP £19.99 Subscribers £17.99

The DVD is best viewed within ChessBase (I used the freely-downloadable ChessBase Light), so that the board can be viewed together with the commentary.

Additionally, the key variations are provided in ChessBase format enabling the user to easily review suggested lines. Ramirez begins with an introduction on typical Benko structures and then presents a repertoire against all of White’s major options. These are contained in video segments typically lasting less than 15 minutes each, providing a convenient setup for the busy person to work through. It should be noted that only the Benko Gambit itself is covered, and early deviations, such as 2 Bg5 or 2/3 Nf3, are not included.

The video format is more suited to presenting ideas rather than masses of concrete variations and Ramirez conveys the general plans of the positions very well. This DVD would serve as a good introduction to those thinking of taking up the Benko, to use as a framework to build their repertoire around. However, I feel it is also of great interest to established Benko practitioners, as topical lines, such as Carlsen’s 12 Qe2 in the Fianchetto Variation, are covered with examples taken from recent play. In keeping with the title, responses leading to active play are recommended, and I very much liked the choice of intuitively logical lines. For example, the modern …Ba6-c8-f5-c8 manoeuvre against 10 Rb1 in the Fi-anchetto Variation is rejected in favour of the more natural 11...Qa5, and Ramirez provides enough analysis to convince.

Overall, I really enjoyed this DVD. Ramirez presents clearly and his enthusiasm for the opening is inevitably transferred to the viewer. My one minor criticism is that details for some sidelines discussed are not always given in the accompanying game files, but this should not detract from the material presented. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Benko Gambit.

Kanwal Bhatia in CHESS April 2013

First reaction by a customer to the new Benkö DVD

As a faithful ChessBase member I want to give you some personal feedback on Alejandro Ramirez's new DVD. I hope you will pass along my comments as well.

Over the years, I have purchased a lot of ChessBase products. I have counted and come to 57 DVDs, and this is not including ChessBase Magazine, to which I am a yearly subscriber. My collection includes many outstanding DVDs from a number of authors, including Kasimdzhanov and Gustafsson, to name just two of my favorites.

That being said, my personal opinion is Alejandro's DVD is the best ChessBase video to date. He does an absolutely amazing job which goes far beyond explaining the basics of this opening. Alejandro has been able to capture the essence of the different variations in a concise manner and with an excellent choice of games, which perfectly compliment his thoughts. I really enjoyed his honest assessments of different variations and willingness to share his own opinions, which do not always coincide with what the database may indicate is the strongest move according to theory. He backs up his opinions with strong arguments which show his deep understanding of the opening.

While in all fairness the Benko is an easier opening then many others to present ideas transposing into the middlegame, Alejandro has done such an amazing job of presenting the longer term ideas that I feel I have actually learned how to better assess the middlegame in chess in general, and not just in relation to this particular opening. The ability to convey this type of deeper understanding to others is extremely rare and is why I sincerely hope ChessBase will look for opportunities to collaborate with this talented young grandmaster on future DVDs.

Warm regards,
Matt Renner

Sampler: Alejandro Ramirez – Attacking with the Benko Gambit

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