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Benoni Defense (A56)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5

Number of games in database: 2526
Years covered: 1895 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 39.0%
   Black wins 30.1%
   Draws 30.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Svetozar Gligoric  33 games
Viktor Korchnoi  21 games
Vladimir Antoshin  15 games
Dragoljub Velimirovic  73 games
Borislav Ivkov  24 games
Florin Gheorghiu  24 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Spassky vs Fischer, 1992
I Nei vs Petrosian, 1960
Spassky vs Ghitescu, 1967
Spassky vs Fischer, 1992
Timman vs Tal, 1973
Taimanov vs Bronstein, 1953
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 page 1 of 102; games 1-25 of 2,526  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Steinitz vs Tinsley 1-042 1895 HastingsA56 Benoni Defense
2. W Rutherford vs Lasker  1-034 1895 GBR tour simA56 Benoni Defense
3. Burn vs Blackburne ½-½48 1898 ViennaA56 Benoni Defense
4. Burn vs Chigorin 1-034 1898 ViennaA56 Benoni Defense
5. Marshall vs Schlechter ½-½68 1911 San SebastianA56 Benoni Defense
6. M Lowcki vs Duras 1-027 1912 Bad PistyanA56 Benoni Defense
7. Euwe vs Saemisch 1-049 1921 BudapestA56 Benoni Defense
8. Euwe vs Saemisch 1-048 1921 BudapestA56 Benoni Defense
9. A Becker vs Gruenfeld  1-042 1922 Grünfeld - BeckerA56 Benoni Defense
10. A Becker vs Opocensky  ½-½70 1923 ViennaA56 Benoni Defense
11. Alekhine vs D H Mugridge 1-021 1924 New YorkA56 Benoni Defense
12. P F Johner vs Mieses 1-035 1924 BerlinA56 Benoni Defense
13. K Havasi vs Z von Balla  ½-½51 1928 BudapestA56 Benoni Defense
14. Capablanca vs Marshall 1-046 1928 BerlinA56 Benoni Defense
15. H Steiner vs Kupchik  ½-½41 1929 Manhattan Chess Club-chA56 Benoni Defense
16. E Klein vs L Reich  1-065 1930 Gyor it, HUNA56 Benoni Defense
17. J Dobias vs Opocensky 0-132 1934 Kautsky mem 9thA56 Benoni Defense
18. G A Thomas vs Menchik 1-046 1935 Hastings 1934/35A56 Benoni Defense
19. Ragozin vs Menchik  1-027 1935 MoscowA56 Benoni Defense
20. F Bohatirchuk vs Menchik ½-½31 1935 MoscowA56 Benoni Defense
21. G A Thomas vs Menchik  1-046 1935 Hastings 3435A56 Benoni Defense
22. L Roedl vs L Engels  ½-½44 1936 DresdenA56 Benoni Defense
23. Lilienthal vs Riumin  ½-½32 1936 MoscowA56 Benoni Defense
24. Fine vs Stahlberg  1-028 1937 Match, Goteborg (Sweden)A56 Benoni Defense
25. Keres vs Hromadka 1-036 1937 Prague (Czech Republic)A56 Benoni Defense
 page 1 of 102; games 1-25 of 2,526  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Anyone know why it's called the Benoni? The only other Benoni I know is a town in South Africa (revered as the birthplace of Charlize Theron).
Feb-23-08  Open Defence: well I read that Benoni meant "Born from sadness
" (maybe in Yiddish?) and that the inventor of this opening suffered from depression...
Aug-11-08  biglo: For an answer read the very first post on page 1
Feb-20-09  Pyrrhus: Actually, Benoni means son of sorrow in Hebrew. It refers to the weak d6 pawn.
Feb-20-09  chessman95: The Czech Benoni Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5) is an interesting option for black. I like the pawn formation here: it reminds me of the feared Maroczy Bind in the Sicilian. Haven't seen it played much, and most players probably don't know how to play it correctly, so every once in a while I use it as my "anti-Benoni" opening.
Mar-14-09  Nuncle: I enjoy the benoni-style positions I sometimes get by transposition from the king's indian (i.e. in the saemisch if white meets ...c5 with d5), and was thinking about switching over to the Modern Benoni as my main defence, but the Taimanov just looks nasty to me.
Apr-08-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Nuncle: I enjoy the benoni-style positions I sometimes get by transposition from the king's indian (i.e. in the saemisch if white meets ...c5 with d5), and was thinking about switching over to the Modern Benoni as my main defence, but the Taimanov just looks nasty to me.>

The Taimanov very tough to meet! I loved the Benoni formations but had no success playing them. Everytime I think about trying again, I play over Gligoric's games as White against it - he was a real Benoni killer!

The Franco-Benoni hybrids might have some unmined possibilities - avoiding an early ...Nf6.

Aug-11-09  SirChrislov: SirChrislov - shibumi64
chess.com rated correspondence game
Old Benoni?

1.d4 c5
2.Nf3 cxd4
3.e3 Nf6
4.exd4 d5
5.Bg5 h6
6.Bh4 e6
7.Bd3 Be7
8.c3 0-0
9.Nbd2 Nc6
10.Qc2 Kh8
11.0-0-0
blk to move. current position:


click for larger view

Aug-12-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <SirChrislov>, what you have could have arisen from the Colle after 1.d4,d5; 2.Nf3,c5; 3.e3,cxd5; 4.exd5,Nf6, but this is definitely a rare sideline, and you probably left book a few moves ago.
Aug-12-09  SirChrislov: Good Evening there, Sir.<Englishman> Yes, an obscure sideline indeed. actually, the move order 1.d4 c5 2.Nf3 cxd4 3.e3 was a "no name" gambit, and has very recently been baptized with the name 'Chrislov Gambit'. It is true that it can also be reached via the Colle.

The intended plan of my system(assuming blk accepts the gambit) is to play a K-side fianchetto, with Nc3(or to d2) Qe2, 0-0-0, and Rhe1 with tremendous pressure down the half-open central files. wht has enough compensation for the gambited unit, in my humble opinion. but only a test at the upper levels will prove/unprove this point.

Aug-12-09  WhiteRook48: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 favors black
Aug-12-09  SirChrislov: Update on:
SirChrislov - shibumi64
Chrislov Gambit Declined

11... Na5
12.Ne5 latest position:


click for larger view

black to move.

Aug-12-09  MaxxLange: <Franco-Benoni> I've been plaing against a friend who does this. I've had good results with either 1 e4 e6 2 d4 c5 3 d5 or with 3 Nf3, offering a transposition to the Sicilian

the old theory books say that White is positionally better after 3 d5, but it isn't so easy to prove that and convert in a real game. It's a decent opening and totally playable for Black under 2200 level

Aug-12-09  MaxxLange: <WhiteRook48> please post your analysis!
Aug-12-09  SirChrislov: <MaxxLange to WhiteRook48: please post your analysis!> I doubt he'll do that. It's not his style. If you look at his kibitzes(7765 total!!), he's all about short comments and simple remarks, with no follow-up or extension to back up his statements.
Aug-12-09  MaxxLange: maybe he is right...I hope so!
Aug-12-09  seagull1756: I personally go into benoni for one very simple reason: I hate playing Catalan as black, it is just too passive for my taste...
Aug-15-09  SirChrislov: SirChrislov - shibumi64

12... Qc7
13.Ndf3 Nc4
14.Bg3 Bd6
15.h4 ...blk to move


click for larger view

Aug-15-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <MaxxLange: <Franco-Benoni> I've been plaing against a friend who does this. I've had good results with either 1 e4 e6 2 d4 c5 3 d5 or with 3 Nf3, offering a transposition to the Sicilian the old theory books say that White is positionally better after 3 d5, but it isn't so easy to prove that and convert in a real game. It's a decent opening and totally playable for Black under 2200 level.>

Black's position is very loose early in the Franco-Benoni - but he has lots of flexibility/plans and - something I like in defenses - opportunities to play on both/either side of the board.

Two books in English on it - The Barcza-Larsen Defense by Fields and Franco-Benoni by Soltis. Gunderdam's two books on unusual openings in German covers it as does the German periodical Randspringer. Quite a lot of unminded territory with respect to plans, move orders, placement of the KN, hitting with ...f5 and such.

You should be happy with a Kan-like Sicilian as black - although black can keep improvising for awhile after 3. Nf3, if not.

Apr-01-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Benoni Books

Not included are the opening series books with a volume or shared volume about the Benoni – although some of those are quite good such as Euwe’s Indian Specialties. Too bad Schwarz did not do a Benoni tome!

Benko not included unless with a pure Benoni book, nor 'Anglo-Benoni' declined sans d5.

Nor am I including the dreadful two Starting Out Benoni volumes.

I am including volumes on the Franco-Barcza-Larsen Benoni as I think it is a sleeper.

Modern Benoni Zeuthen
Modern Benoni Dynamics Zeuthen
Wing Gambit Benoni Zeuthen
Benoni for the Tournament Player Nunn
The Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni Watson
Dangerous Weapons: The Benoni and Benko Palliser,Et Al Modern Benoni for Black Grefe
The Ben-oni Defence Gelenczei
The Modern Benoni Revealed Palliser
The Complete Benoni Psakhis
The Modern Benoni Kinsman
The Modern Benoni Norwood
Mastering the Benko and Benoni Bellin
Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni Franco
The Benoni Hartston
Beating the King’ Indian and Benoni Vaisser
Modern Benoni: Three Pawn Attack Konikowski
Modern Benoni: Four Pawn Attack Konikowski
Taimanov and Knights Tour Benoni Watson
The Benoni Defence David Holmes (translator)
Die Komplette Moderne Benoni-Verteidigung (3 volumes) Schneider The Barcza-Larsen Defense Fields Franco-Benoni Defence Soltis

Apr-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <parisattack> what can you tell me about the Czech Benoni?
Apr-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: The Benoni by Hartston and the Ben-Oni by Gelenczei each have a section devoted to it. I think Gelenczei covers both the Classical (no early c4 for White) and the Czech.

My favorite Czech Benoni is Polugaevsky-Stein, 1965.

It appears to be making a modest come-back; I've seen 3-4 games with it in international tournaments this year.

Sep-28-10  isemeria: I have tried Benoni, Nimzo and Queen's Indian as black. My experiencies are the following.

Benoni:
If I win it's because I played well.
If I lose it's because the opening is unsound.

Nimzo:
If I win it's because I played well.
If I lose it's because the opening is too complex.

QID:
If I win it's because I played well.
If I lose it's because the opening is too passive.

Anyone can choose their own excuses. :-)

It's possible to avoid the Taimanov variation and play Nimzo instead, but that's a huge amount of theory to learn.

Oct-10-10  isemeria: Capablanca playing the Benoni as black (by transposition):

Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927

Aug-02-13  Penguincw: K Opening of the Day K

Benoni Defense (A56)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5

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