The modern way to master the Modern Benoni

by ChessBase
6/10/2008 – The Modern Benoni is one of the sharpest openings against 1 d4. Black is ready for active counterplay, especially with his pawn majority on the queenside. But it takes a first-class teacher like Andrew Martin to explain to you the critical positions without beating around the bush. 'Thumbs up!' says Bob Long after 4+ hours of enjoyment with this new video course. Buy it now or read his review.

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Finally, a decent explanation of the Modern Benoni Defense

Review by Bob Long (

Immediately I knew I was going to like this DVD, "The ABC of the Modern Benoni."

Starting right off, in the intro, Andrew Martin gives a bunch of reasons where a DVD has the advantage over a book or a playing engine:
a) the DVD can inspire and encourage (books, unfortunately, seldom do this);
b) the DVD can teach;
c) the DVD can provide an enjoyable method for learning;
d) playing engines tend to be souless and without human interaction.

When Andrew says “teach” I think what he is saying is that DVDs often get to the critical moves and positions without a lot of buildup. The DVD author can save you time in getting to what matters and give some great annotated illustrations. While a book does cover more and is invaluable as a complete reference, using a book and chess set alone is often discouraging and time consuming.

The point behind the Modern Benoni is that Martin thinks it is a great choice for the average player. It has very active counterplay, comes with a Q-side pawn majority, and is sharp and full of complications.

There is ONE other advantage I have seen with this DVD: I have looked through 2-3 books on the Modern Benoni and I absolutely did not GET any sense of this defense with its accompanying counterplay. All I saw was Black getting repeatedly smashed. As a publisher I can tell you, this is the wrong way to try to sell a book!

Even though Englishman Jonathan Penrose is shown beating Benoni expert Mikhail Tal in 1960, playing almost flawlessly, Martin shows how Tal could’ve gotten more—that’s just as important I think.

White wins more often than Black in chess, but I also believe that Black misses more defining moves than White does! Until Black stops doing that, White will win more games. (This thought just hit me like a brick!)

Martin gives various move orders (for White) so you can be well-versed. However, a name to remember is Wojtaszek. He is winning a lot of games from the dark side.

On the other hand, a key game to play through is F. Graf-W. Moranda, played in the German Youth League 2007. If you can understand games like this you are well on your way to learning the Modern Benoni and I thank Martin, heartily, for his explanations of this treacherous defense against White.

You are bound to win many more games than usual once you take this up in earnest. Andrew annotates 21 games but he has many places where he offers additional critical analyses. Thumbs up! Great DVD!

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