Understanding before Moving 82: Basics of the Benko Gambit

by ChessBase
6/5/2022 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 82nd instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman explains why playing the Benko Gambit might be a good choice for club players. | Photo: Pascal Simon

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When training club players, I have noticed that everyone has difficulty studying openings.  Often a lot of time is spent studying an opening by copying moves from books. But when the opponent deviates from theory, it turns out that it is difficult to play the middlegame afterwards.

This made start looking for openings that might be suitable for club players. In doing so, I  wanted to kill a few birds with one stone - the opening should have the following characteristics:

  • Clear middlegame plans to promote strategic thinking
  • Attractive tactics with typical combinations
  • Typical endgame structures to improve endgame technique

With these characteristics in mind I came to the conclusion that the Benkö Gambit might be a good choice. After all, shouldn't every player have an answer to 1.d2-d4?

Hence, I decided to develop  a series of videos that extensively discuss various aspects of the Benko. And of course my approach is based on the schematic treatment of the opening where everything revolves around basic ideas and is less founded on concrete knowledge.

Of course, club players can become more proficient by studying the necessary books to gain knowledge about concrete lines. But you first have to know what the opening is all about. Hence, schematic ideas are shown in the following video.

What beautiful strategic idea did Black have in the diagrammed position?



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