Understanding before Moving 84: Basics of the Benko Gambit (3)

by ChessBase
6/19/2022 – 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 84th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues to explain why playing the Benko Gambit might be a good choice for club players. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


In our series about the Benko Gambit we have seen that black's pawn sacrifice on the third move often leads to positions in which Black creates enormous pressure on the queenside. The rapid, harmonious development of Black's pieces often is in stark contrast to White's rook on a1 and White's bishop on c1 which remain for a long time on their starting squares.

Club players often go wrong under pressure and this is another aspect worth highlighting when  discussing this opening. Even strong players often have a hard time to coordinate their pieces with White.

The diagram shows a position from a game between former top-10 player Lajos Portisch from Hungary and Evgeny Vasiukov from the Soviet Union. The game is a good illustration how even such a strong player as Portisch sometimes had great difficulties to find a recipe against the Benko.

Even though the queens were exchanged and White is still a pawn up Black has excellent chances of winning. Do you see how Vasiukov presented his opponent with unsolvable problems?


Attacking with the Benko Gambit

Don't give 1.d4 players an easy ride — sacrifice a pawn with 3.b5 for a lasting initiative. GM Ramirez shows you clear ideas for play in every variation.

Attacking with the Benko Gambit - Part 2

GM Ramirez completes his repertoire suggestion versus 1.d4 with powerful systems among others against the ColleSystem, Trompowsky or the declining move 3.Nf3. An absolute asset - not only for friends of the Benko Gambit!

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