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Pal Benko
Number of games in database: 1,020
Years covered: 1945 to 2008
Last FIDE rating: 2408
Highest rating achieved in database: 2496
Overall record: +320 -224 =465 (54.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      11 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (62) 
    A15 A17 A16 A10 A14
 Sicilian (47) 
    B40 B27 B28 B50 B91
 King's Indian (44) 
    E62 E61 E99 E79 E60
 Reti System (32) 
    A04 A05 A06
 Queen's Indian (24) 
    E17 E19 E14 E15 E12
 Queen's Gambit Declined (23) 
    D37 D35 D30 D31 D38
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (156) 
    B32 B42 B84 B36 B57
 King's Indian (52) 
    E60 E80 E62 E81 E92
 Grunfeld (46) 
    D91 D78 D94 D75 D87
 Sicilian Scheveningen (24) 
    B84 B81 B80 B82 B83
 Caro-Kann (24) 
    B17 B14 B18 B13 B10
 Pirc (21) 
    B09 B08 B07
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Benko vs I A Horowitz, 1968 1-0
   Benko vs Suttles, 1964 1-0
   Benko vs Sawayer, 1964 1-0
   J Ragan vs Benko, 1974 0-1
   M Szigeti vs Benko, 1945 0-1
   Benko vs Fischer, 1962 1-0
   Bisguier vs Benko, 1963 0-1
   Bronstein vs Benko, 1949 1/2-1/2
   Benko vs Keres, 1962 1-0
   M Vukic vs Benko, 1967 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship (1974)
   Portoroz Interzonal (1958)
   U.S. Championship (1966)
   US Championship 1963/64 (1963)
   Las Palmas (1972)
   US Championship (1972)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   First Piatigorsky Cup (1963)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Monte Carlo (1968)
   Budapest (1952)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   Lone Pine (1975)
   Lone Pine (1978)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Palma de Mallorca 1971 by Tabanus
   Las Palmas 1972 by Tabanus
   Hoogovens 1972 by Tabanus
   Hastings 1973/74 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1970 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1972 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1969 by suenteus po 147
   Monte Carlo 1968 by Tabanus
   US Championship 1972 by Phony Benoni
   US Championship 1974 by Phony Benoni

   Huebner vs K Rogoff, 1972

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Pal Benko
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FIDE player card for Pal Benko

(born Jul-15-1928, 87 years old) France (citizen of United States of America)
[what is this?]
Pál Charles Benkő was born in Amiens, France in 1928. He learned chess from his father at the age of 10. He won the Hungarian Championship in 1948, took 3rd in 1950, took 6th in 1951, took 2nd in 1954, and took 3rd in 1955. He became an International Master in 1950. After beginning his chess career in Hungary, he defected to the United States on October 17, 1957. The following year, in 1958, he earned the International Grandmaster title by qualifying for the Bled Candidates Tournament. He also qualified in 1962, placing sixth with wins over both Mikhail Tal and Robert James Fischer. He might have qualified again in 1970, but he ceded his place in the Interzonal to Fischer, who went on to win the World Championship two years later. Benkő took 4th in the 1959 US Championship, 8th in the 1960 US Championship, 4th in the 1961 US Championship, 9th in the 1962 US Championship, 3rd in the 1963 US Championship, 7th in the 1965 US Championship, 3rd in the 1966/67 US Championship, 4th in the 1968 US Championship, 3rd in the 1969 US Championship, 5th in the 1972 US Championship, 5th in the 1973 US Championship, 2nd in the 1974 US Championship, 14th in the 1975 US Championship, and 9th in the 1978 US Championship. He won the US Open eight times. He was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 1993.

In addition to over-the-board play, Benkő is also noted for having left his name on the Benoni variation called the Benkő Gambit. Today he still lives in the United States. He was married to the late WIM Ruth Cardoso.

Wikipedia article: Pal Benko

 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,020  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. M Szigeti vs Benko 0-138 1945 BudapestD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
2. Feldman vs Benko 0-139 1945 BudapestA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
3. G Barcza vs Benko 0-155 1946 Hungarian ChampionshipsA06 Reti Opening
4. Benko vs V Toth 0-145 1946 HUN-chD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
5. E Bakonyi vs Benko  1-040 1946 HUN-chA19 English, Mikenas-Carls, Sicilian Variation
6. Benko vs G Szilagyi 1-045 1946 Hungarian ChampionshipB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
7. Benko vs E Gereben ½-½42 1947 HUN-chD13 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
8. Benko vs Szabo 1-046 1947 Hungarian ChampionshipE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
9. Szily vs Benko ½-½36 1947 HUN-chB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
10. B Tagmann vs Benko ½-½36 1947 CorrespondenceB03 Alekhine's Defense
11. G Barcza vs Benko  1-042 1947 HUN-chA22 English
12. Benko vs Szily  ½-½68 1948 BudapestD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
13. Benko vs Tartakower 0-155 1948 BudapestA53 Old Indian
14. Benko vs G Barcza  ½-½43 1948 BudapestE00 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Pirc vs Benko 1-020 1948 JugoslavienD28 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
16. E Gereben vs Benko  ½-½25 1948 Bad GasteinE08 Catalan, Closed
17. E Bakonyi vs Benko  ½-½31 1948 BudapestC20 King's Pawn Game
18. C Kottnauer vs Benko  ½-½37 1948 Bad GasteinE95 King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, 8.Re1
19. Gligoric vs Benko 1-034 1948 BudapestE28 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation
20. E Gereben vs Benko  ½-½28 1948 BudapestE60 King's Indian Defense
21. Benko vs S Toth 1-045 1948 Bad GasteinE01 Catalan, Closed
22. Kotov vs Benko  ½-½41 1949 BudapestE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
23. Benko vs Lilienthal 1-072 1949 BudapestA55 Old Indian, Main line
24. Benko vs Smyslov  0-135 1949 14, Budapest-MoscowD76 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O Nb6
25. Lilienthal vs Benko  ½-½66 1949 Budapest-MoscowE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,020  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Benko wins | Benko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 10 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-15-14  NBAFan: Happy birthday Mr. Benko!
Jul-15-14  HeMateMe: But for Pal Benko, Bobby Fischer would not have become world champion of chess.
Jul-19-14  Howard: If one wanted to accurately summarize the story of how Fischer got a "free ticket" into the 1970 interzonal, it would go like this...

Fischer opted not to play in the 1969 U.S. championship with the main reason probably being that he had complained for the last few years that it ought to be a longer tournament---he felt that with only 12 players competing (as was the case back in the 1960's), there was too much of a luck element involved. In other words, he felt that a longer tournament would probably produce a more accurate result.

In fact, he had passed up the 1968 event too. The late Larry Evans won it, and it was his third time around.

So the 1969 championship went on without Bobby. Reshevsky, Benko, and Addison took the top three players, and they no doubt were looking forward to the Interzonal, the following year.

But there was this strong nagging feeling among many people--including at the USCF--that given the fact that Fischer was obviously the strongest player in the U.S. (by far !) and also that he was certainly one of the top 6-7 players in the world at the time (before anyone claims that he was #1, keep in mind that he'd not played in any super-tough events in 1968 or 1969---thus, his recent track record was thin, at best.

So the USCF--with Ed Edmondson probably being the leading advocate--contacted FIDE and after a lot of wrangling, debate etc, FIDE stated that if one of the three American qualifers would be willing to step aside and let Fischer go to the interzonal in his place, then FIDE would accept that arrangement.

Benko immediately offered to let Fischer take his place. However, the other nine players in the championship (who'd placed below the top three) had to waive any claims to that spot. In other words, any one of them could have said, in effect, "Well, if Benko doesn't want his spot, then why can't I(!) have it ??! I took part in the 1969 championship and tried hard to make it into the top three but didn't. Fischer opted not to play---that was his decision/fault." Why should he go to the interzonal instead of me or one of the players who took part?"

At any rate, the other players ceded their rights to Fischer, and so he thus "parachuted" into the interzonal.

The rest of the story is, of course, quite well known. Come 1972, Fischer became the 11th world chess championship.

Incidentally, Benko not only commented on the matter in 1975 (as stated above), but in 1981 he did so again in Chess Life (formerly Chess Life and Review). He briefly summarized why he gave his spot to Bobby, and then concluded by saying, "When Fischer became world champion, I was certainly pleased that he justified my decision. But after that..."

Well put, Mr. Benko !

Jul-20-14  Lt.Surena: God forbid the scam was not perpetrated by the the so-called 'Russians' or we would never hear the end of it. Clowns like Evans, Soltis, Browne and Timman would never stop talking/or pounding their chests about it.

Also, FIDE's chief stooge/puppet aka. Euwe would never agree to the scam unless western players benefited from it.

Jul-20-14  Karposian: <Lt.Surena> <Also, FIDE's chief stooge/puppet aka. Euwe would never agree to the scam unless western players benefited from it.>

Utter nonsense. Max Euwe was well-liked and respected by almost everybody. As FIDE president, Euwe usually did what he considered morally right rather than what was politically expedient. An honorable person in every way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Euwe was indeed a man of honour, quite unlike successors Campomanes and Ilyumzhinov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Quote of the day:

<Under no circumstances should you play fast if you have a winning position. Forget the clock, Use all your time and make good moves.>

From a man who should know, and nearly always sound practical advice.

Mar-23-15  TheFocus: <According to such great attacking players as Bronstein and Tal, most combinations are inspired by the player's memories of earlier games> - Pal Benko.
May-03-15  TheFocus: <Since your mental state can have such dramatic effects on your body, obviously your physical condition can affect your mental well-being. It follows that regular physical conditioning should be part of your overall chess training> - Pal Benko.
May-03-15  TheFocus: <In the Soviet's view, chess was not merely an art or a science or even a sport; it was what it had been invented to simulate: war> - Pal Benko.
May-09-15  TheFocus: <I always urge players to study composed problems and endgames> - Pal Benko.
May-09-15  TheFocus: <Agreeing to draws in the middlegame, equal or otherwise, deprives you of the opportunity to practice playing endgames, and the endgame is probably where you need the most practice> - Pal Benko.
May-09-15  TheFocus: <Patience is the most valuable trait of the endgame player> - Pal Benko.
May-09-15  TheFocus: <In the endgame, the most common errors, besides those resulting from ignorance of theory, are caused by either impatience, complacency, exhaustion, or all the above> - Pal Benko.
May-13-15  TheFocus: <There is no doubt that Bronstein's shrewd understanding of chess psychology was crucial to his success. Without it, his impetuous style and technical flaws might have relegated him to a minor career> - Pal Benko.
May-13-15  TheFocus: <There is nothing wrong with trying to exploit the natural human tendency to become impatient when forced to play a boring position> - Pal Benko.
May-14-15  TheFocus: <Sometimes players need to gain time on the clock by repeating the position, but most often its purpose is to wear down the opponent psychologically> - Pal Benko.
May-14-15  TheFocus: <I had a slightly inferior endgame that probably should have been drawn, but Kortchnoi kept torturing me with little threats until finally, exhausted and exasperated, I made a losing mistake> - Pal Benko.
May-15-15  TheFocus: <When you defend, try not to worry or become upset. Keep your cool and trust your position - it's all you've got> - Pal Benko.
May-16-15  TheFocus: <I always urge players to study composed problems and endgames> - Pal Benko.
May-17-15  TheFocus: <Under no circumstances should you play fast if you have a winning position. Forget the clock, use all your time and make good moves> - Pal Benko.
May-19-15  TheFocus: <As to me, to be quite honest I feel rather ill at ease because against me Benko plays calmly and clearly> - Tigran Petrosian.
Jun-30-15  Xeroxx: nice quotes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  hansj: Happy Birthday Grandmaster Benko! I absolutely love your birthday problem compositions this year! Fascinating!
Jul-17-15  NBAFan: Puzzles from 4th of July:

I really enjoyed the first one.

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