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Old Benoni (A43)
1 d4 c5

Number of games in database: 4402
Years covered: 1843 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 42.1%
   Black wins 29.5%
   Draws 28.4%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Vladimir Kovacevic  24 games
Oleg Romanishin  19 games
Dimitri Komarov  14 games
Dragoljub Velimirovic  76 games
Miguel Munoz Pantoja  51 games
Lothar Schmid  34 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Karpov vs Topalov, 1994
Alekhine vs Levenfish, 1912
Morphy vs A Meek, 1857
Rubinstein vs Spielmann, 1912
L Ogaard vs E Torre, 1976
M Drasko vs S Velickovic, 1988
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 page 1 of 177; games 1-25 of 4,402  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Staunton vs Saint-Amant 1-0321843Staunton - Saint-AmantA43 Old Benoni
2. Staunton vs Saint-Amant 1-0331843Staunton - Saint-AmantA43 Old Benoni
3. E Williams vs Staunton ½-½371851LondonA43 Old Benoni
4. S Leow vs Bendix 1-0421856BerlinA43 Old Benoni
5. Mayet vs T Wiegelmann  0-1291856Berlin chA43 Old Benoni
6. Mayet vs T Wiegelmann  0-1521856Berlin chA43 Old Benoni
7. Morphy vs A Meek 1-0121857New YorkA43 Old Benoni
8. T Lichtenhein vs B Raphael 1-02518571st American Chess Congress, New YorkA43 Old Benoni
9. Harrwitz vs A Bonaparte 1-0291857Blindfold simul, 2bA43 Old Benoni
10. P Birch vs E Pindar  0-1291861Manchester CC ch mA43 Old Benoni
11. J Pinedo vs NN 0-1291861Amsterdam blindfoldA43 Old Benoni
12. E Schallopp vs Hertzsch / Holdheim  1-0311864Consultation gameA43 Old Benoni
13. J Minchin vs J Trelawny  1-0621866BCA-01.Challenge CupA43 Old Benoni
14. E Schallopp vs A Ehrmann  1-0531867WSB-06.KongressA43 Old Benoni
15. E Alberoni vs A W Ensor  1-0241875Alberoni - Ensor MatchA43 Old Benoni
16. NN vs Blackburne  0-1251878Simul, 20bA43 Old Benoni
17. Chigorin vs Schiffers 0-1401878Chigorin - Schiffers Second MatchA43 Old Benoni
18. Chigorin vs Schiffers 0-1371878Chigorin - Schiffers Second MatchA43 Old Benoni
19. Chigorin vs Schiffers 0-1551878Chigorin - Schiffers Second MatchA43 Old Benoni
20. P Ware vs Blackburne 0-1441882ViennaA43 Old Benoni
21. Zukertort vs William Duncan  ½-½361884Zukertort Blind Simul 12b, St. LouisA43 Old Benoni
22. Von Bardeleben vs W Pollock 1-0261895HastingsA43 Old Benoni
23. Burn vs W Pollock  1-0381895HastingsA43 Old Benoni
24. Halprin vs Blackburne ½-½331898ViennaA43 Old Benoni
25. F J Lee vs Blackburne 0-1291899LondonA43 Old Benoni
 page 1 of 177; games 1-25 of 4,402  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-18-07  extremepleasure: whatthefat: ''You're not being very precise. First you wish to talk about the objective outcome of chess as a mathematical problem, but then you say things like this: <If you make the best move which the position demands starting from the very first move, any inaccuracy made by your opponent will disturb the balance in the initial position in favour of you. That is what chess is all about in fact.>''

extreme: Here I am talking about the dynamics of chess that affect the outcome in a chess game. In my initial statements, on the other hand, I was drawing the theoretical conclusions by emphasizing the limitations which inheritly exist in chess such as the requirement of having sufficient amount of material to checkmate. In a nutshell, we can say that chess is a draw with best moves but, making it a draw against a player who makes the best possible move starting from the initial position is not possible unless you also make the same perfect moves starting from the initial position exactly like him. Saying that ''this is an equal balanced game'' is an evaluation of the position. Saying that ''this is a draw'' or ''this is a win'', on the other hand, requires precision.

Feb-18-07  whatthefat: <extremepleasure: In a nutshell, we can say that chess is a draw with best moves but, making it a draw against a player who makes the best possible move starting from the initial position is not possible unless you also make the same perfect moves starting from the initial position exactly like him. Saying that ''this is an equal balanced game'' is an evaluation of the position. Saying that ''this is a draw'' or ''this is a win'', on the other hand, requires precision.>

Okay, I don't think we're actually opposed then, but rather pursuing different discussions.

Mar-19-07  SirBruce: Chess could actually be a win for black with best play, but that seems unlikely. Statistics tell us that white wins more than black, and as you go up in ELOs, GM play leads to more draws, but not more wins for black. It would be very odd if, as one played more and more of the theoretical "best moves", that the percentages moved away from the ideal game where black is a forced win.

So it seems very likely that either chess is a forced draw, with a slim chance that it's a forced win for white (although perhaps only if the proper opening).

Mar-22-07  PhilFeeley: A very interesting game from the "lower level" in this opening. Black never seemed out of control in this game, and when it seemed to me like a draw (Kings & pawns) white fell apart.

[Event "FSGM February"]
[Site "Budapest HUN"]
[Date "2007.02.04"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Bodiroga,P"]
[Black "Papp,Ge"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2431"]
[BlackElo "2335"]
[EventDate "2007.02.03"]
[ECO "A43"]

1. d4 c5 2. d5 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 d6 5. g3 Na6 6. dxe6 fxe6 7. Bg2 d5 8. O-O Be7 9. Ne5 O-O 10. e4 d4 11. Nb5 Nc7 12. a4 Nd7 13. Nxc7 Qxc7 14. Nc4 b6 15. e5 Ba6 16. b3 Bb7 17. Qg4 Rf5 18. Bh6 Rf7 19. Rae1 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 Qc6+ 21. f3 Raf8 22. h4 Qd5 23. Bd2 a6 24. Qe4 Qxe4 25. Rxe4 b5 26. axb5 axb5 27. Na5 Ra8 28. Ra1 Nb6 29. Ree1 Bf8 30. Nc6 Rc7 31. Rxa8 Nxa8 32. Ra1 Rxc6 33. Rxa8 Rc7 34. Ba5 Rb7 35. f4 Kf7 36. Kf3 h5 37. Ke4 g6 38. Bd8 Rd7 39. Bb6 Rb7 40. Ra7 Rxa7 41. Bxa7 Ke8 42. b4 c4 43. Kxd4 Bxb4 44. c3 Ba5 45. Bc5 Kd7 46. Bb4 Bxb4 47. cxb4 Kc6 48. Ke4 c3 49. Kd3 Kd5 50. Kxc3 Ke4 51. Kc2 Kf3 52. Kd3 Kxg3 53. Ke4 Kxh4 0-1

Mar-22-07  PhilFeeley: Another win by Papp, same opening, same tournament. He came prepared to win:

[Event "FSGM February"]
[Site "Budapest HUN"]
[Date "2007.02.06"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Rajlich,I"]
[Black "Papp,Ge"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2428"]
[BlackElo "2335"]
[EventDate "2007.02.03"]
[ECO "A43"]

1. d4 c5 2. d5 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. Bc4 O-O 7. O-O Na6 8. dxe6 Bxe6 9. Bxe6 fxe6 10. e5 dxe5 11. Qe2 Nd5 12. Qxe5 Nac7 13. Nxd5 exd5 14. Bf4 Rc8 15. Rae1 Bf6 16. Qh5 d4 17. Ng5 Bxg5 18. Bxg5 Qd5 19. Re7 Ne6 20. h4 Rc7 21. Rxc7 Nxc7 22. Qg4 Ne6 23. Re1 Rf5 24. c4 dxc3 25. bxc3 Nxg5 26. hxg5 Rxg5 27. Qc8+ Kf7 28. Qe8+ Kf6 29. Qe7+ Kg6 30. Re6+ Kh5 31. f3 h6 32. g4+ Kh4 33. Re2 Qxf3 34. Rg2 Kh3 35. Rh2+ Kxg4 36. Rg2+ Kh3 37. Rxg5 hxg5 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: I'm currently doing some studying/playing on-line with this opening as part of black's response for 1. d4

Found it to be quite interesting/fun despite the percentages in the database.

< White wins 41.4%
Black wins 28.0%
Draws 30.6%>

May-16-07  WarmasterKron: I experimented with the Old Benoni for a while, as I was having difficulty finding a good move against 1.d4. Of course, I later realised that I was pushing the wrong bishop pawn!
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <WarmasterKron> If you were pushing the wrong bishop pawn, you'd end up with the Dutch! =)
May-17-07  WarmasterKron: That was sort of my point. I gave up the Old Benoni in favour of the Dutch!
Nov-18-07  Red October: under rated opening... can be useful
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Red October> I've used this once/twice... Not too much success. =(
Nov-18-07  whiteshark: <WannaBe: <Red October> I've used this once/twice... Not too much success. =(> counter question...
Premium Chessgames Member
  AgentRgent: I use 1. d4 c5 almost exclusively now. Typically as a transpositional device to reach a Benko. But I like to offer my opponents the chance to go wrong with 2. dxc5

Of course if my opponents enjoy the Sicilian with white, they can achieve it with the 2. Nf3. but as I've said before "I consider the Open Sicilian to be a refutation of 1. e4 on positional grounds" so getting there via 1. d4 and 2. Nf3 doesn't bother me.

Nov-18-07  Red October: this used to be my main line until the lines with Bg5 made me very uncomfortable
May-04-08  Edwin Meyer: <WannaBe> You shouldn't let those database percentages fool you as 1.d4 c5 often transposes into other openings such as the Benko or Modern Benoni which makes the overall percentage turn out more like this;

<With 17914 games played in MB2007

1-0 =39%
1/2-1/2 =27%
0-1 =34%>

The percentages here are probably percentages for the pure Old Benoni plus the number of games is way lower.

May-17-08  Alphastar: <Edwin Meyer: <WannaBe> You shouldn't let those database percentages fool you>

Also because database percentages have no meaning other than stating how many times white has won, the game has been drawn and black has won.

If the soundness of an opening can be based on a high white winning percentage we should start playing 1. Na3.

May-12-09  Fanacas: Alphaster is right. I have used the old benoni 2 3 times and won all 3 games with it most people dont now it.
Mar-04-11  Wyatt Gwyon: Any thoughts on <AgentRgent>'s idea of using 1...c5 as a transpositional device? I face a lot of system players (London and Colle) in my club and local tournaments. Seems like a good way to wrong-foot these guys at the outset.
Dec-24-11  LDJ: <Wyatt Gwyon> I'm also wondering... Seems a nice way to transpose into a Benko or something like that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Old Benoni
1.d4 c5

It already looks old.

click for larger view

Jan-08-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

Old Benoni (A43)

1. d4 c5

click for larger view

Dec-12-13  TheaN: Recently I have considered picking up the Old Benoni or any Benoni variation against d4. Being a favor of the modern style and fianchettos (Catalan, Colle Zukertort, Modern Defense... only the French doesn't really fit) I was considering many of the variations with the king side fianchetto but the queen side just as much (Benko, etc).

One variation that I don't really see adressed but follows the Accelerated Dragon or Modern with 2.d5 (which definitely cannot be that good for White, as it's playable at any point in the mentioned openings) is <1.d4 c5 2.d5 d6> with the ideas being g6/Bg7, Nbd7, possibly Nh6 and eventually e6. Is there anything unsound about this, or am I missing something very obvious that this might not be the route to take for Black against d4?

The point of an immediate d6 is to delay Nf6, and there are plenty of move orders to vote against the diagonal block, where both Nh6/Nf5 or e6/Ne7 seem playable.

Jan-20-14  parisattack: <TheaN> Seems you are pretty much describing the Franco-Larsen-Barcza Benonis. Perfectly playable tho edgy for Black. Covered in two books -

Soltis - The Franco-Benoni
Fields - Barcza-Larsen Defense

Nice game here -

A Galliamova vs Koneru, 2012

Jan-25-14  parisattack: An interesting quote by Tal in Mikhail Tal's Best Games of Chess (Clarke) -

"There are whole fields in the openings still relatively unexplored; to take an example, after two reasonable moves by both sides - 1. P-Q4, P-QB4, 2. P-Q5, P-K3 - a position is reached that is practically unknown to the textbooks."

I assume this was written around 1960 as the book was published in 1961 and he notes the low percentage of draws in the last Candidates matches.

Sep-11-17  Arconax: <parisattack: Perfectly playable tho edgy for Black>

Yes, but that is not the way chess should be played.

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