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Benko Gambit (A58)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5 4 cxb5 a6 5 bxa6

Number of games in database: 2779
Years covered: 1948 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 40.1%
   Black wins 29.4%
   Draws 30.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Aleksej Aleksandrov  16 games
Vitali Golod  13 games
Anatoly Karpov  13 games
Pavel Tregubov  25 games
Igor Nikolayev  21 games
Natalija Pogonina  20 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Malinin vs A Andreev, 1989
Malinin vs V Savinov, 1988
Kramnik vs Topalov, 2003
Hort vs Alburt, 1977
L E Johannessen vs Carlsen, 2006
Bareev vs Kasparov, 1994
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 page 1 of 112; games 1-25 of 2,779  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Szabo vs E Lundin 0-1441948Saltsjobaden InterzonalA58 Benko Gambit
2. Golombek vs J Sefc 0-1331949Reti MemorialA58 Benko Gambit
3. S Puc vs V Kozomara  1-0531951Yugoslav Championship 1950A58 Benko Gambit
4. H Israel vs A R Thomas  0-1251955British ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
5. Korchnoi vs B Gurgenidze 1-0301957USSR ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
6. Gligoric vs M Udovcic  1-0521957Yugoslav ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
7. R Gorenstein vs A Vaisman  1-0411958Ukrainian ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
8. W Golz vs S Witkowski  1-0411959DresdenA58 Benko Gambit
9. M Vukovic vs V Kozomara  ½-½551960Yugoslav ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
10. R Toran Albero vs V Kozomara  ½-½401960SarajevoA58 Benko Gambit
11. Gligoric vs V Kozomara  1-0391961Belgrade opA58 Benko Gambit
12. Gligoric vs F van Seters 1-0381962Hastings 1962/63A58 Benko Gambit
13. Szabo vs V Kozomara  1-0401963SarajevoA58 Benko Gambit
14. Lengyel vs I Bilek  ½-½231965BudapestA58 Benko Gambit
15. Y Nikolaevsky vs N Zilberman  1-0291966Ukrainian ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
16. Timman vs G Svensson  ½-½411966Groningen Ech-jr preA58 Benko Gambit
17. M Vukic vs Benko 0-1391967SarajevoA58 Benko Gambit
18. D Marovic vs T Slisser  1-0261967Amsterdam IBM-BA58 Benko Gambit
19. A Whiteley vs J T Farrand  1-0421968British ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
20. D Bryan A Hunter vs M Partis  0-1251968Glasgow InvitationA58 Benko Gambit
21. I Bajec vs Forintos  0-1291969Vidmar MemorialA58 Benko Gambit
22. Denker vs Benko  ½-½28196970th US OpenA58 Benko Gambit
23. Forintos vs M Mihaljcisin  ½-½361969DebrecenA58 Benko Gambit
24. Taimanov vs Benko 1-0581970HoogovensA58 Benko Gambit
25. R Toran Albero vs Benko  ½-½22197010th Costa del SolA58 Benko Gambit
 page 1 of 112; games 1-25 of 2,779  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-10-05  Knight13: I don't think this opening is good for Black because of the passed pawns on the Queen side White's gonna have later on.
Aug-20-05  12929011: But he can have both his rooks bearing down on them.
Jan-30-06  midknightblue: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bxa6 7. Nf3 d6 8. g3 Bg7 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. Rb1 Nb6! Benko Gambit, epishin variation. The excellent book "the Benko Gambit" by Jan Pinski discusses this line. Pinski covers 11. b4!?, 11. 0-0, and 11. Nh4 and 11 b3. Review of the database seems to show a lot of GM's play b3, and white does very well. Any thoughts on how black should deal with 11. b3, and is it really as strong as the database here suggests? Pinski favors 11...Bc8!
Apr-13-06  Shajmaty: <Knight13>: "I don't think this opening is good for Black because of the passed pawns on the Queen side White's gonna have later on." It's highly probable that White won't still have those two pawns after move -let's say- 35 or 40. The Volga/Benkö is definitely one of the best choices for Black when facing 1. d4.
Jun-04-06  Shajmaty: <midknightblue: Review of the database seems to show a lot of GM's play b3, and white does very well. Any thoughts on how black should deal with 11. b3, and is it really as strong as the database here suggests? Pinski favors 11...Bc8!> Yes, 11. b3, Bc8 seems to be O.K., although 12. Nh4 has shown good results for White. I should also try 11...Ra7 planning Qa8.
Jul-05-11  bronkenstein: Being a Benko player , i found this link invaluable :

The topic , excellently covered here , is old Benko nightmare question : what to do if white plays that annoying 10.Rb1 line ?

Aug-18-11  MartijnvanWingerden: After 6.Nc3 g6 7.e4 Bxf1 8.Kxf1 d6 why not a4? It looks that white can plan an attack over the a and b files. Someone got analyses with this 9.a4?
Aug-18-11  SimonWebbsTiger: @Martijn

if white could advance in safety on the queenside, the Benko Gambit would have been out of business decades ago. The point is the g7 bishop's long black (a1-h8) diagonal, combined with play on the white pawns along the a and b files, ties white's hands. Black has long lasting positional compensation for the sack'ed pawn. Even in an endgame!

Aug-18-11  Everett: Quick question: What do opening computers say about this line once they are out of book? How much compensation do they value for Black?

Personally enjoy this play, and often get similar play from the White side when I play the Reti.

Oct-02-11  Fezzik: Computers generally don't "get" gambits, but here the ones I've tested suggest that White has a minimal edge for the pawn, usually less than .3. So, by computer standards, the Benko falls very comfortably into the main stream of openings.

The idea of giving up a pawn to allow white an outside passer seems crazy, but as Benko and Alburt proved, Black has an *endgame* advantage in most Benko lines. The key variation these days is 11.Rb1, where White retains the extra pawn and central pressure.

If White is not in a hurry to reach the endgame, white can gain a significant advantage against best play. I think the Benko is on its way out as a dangerous weapon for Black at the highest levels. Nicolai Pedersen's *Play the Benko* attempts to sidestep the 11.Rb1 line with 9...Nfd7!?, but there appear to be serious flaws in his analysis and White should retain the advantage even there.

The Benko just doesn't give Black quite as much as other openings. However, if your competition is below about 2500, it should be just fine!

Oct-02-11  bronkenstein: KID (@ top level) goes through similar crisis today , but people are at least playing it , no matter the awful statistics (@ recent euro club cup, I can´t remember a single black KID victory on ´top boards´ but , on the other hand , not even a single Volga played that I can remember from that event !?).

Speaking of it on ´not-so-leet´ lvl (ie from my own experience ;) , and from black POW), people deviate so early and so much that the picture is totally the opposite , ie you have an easy equaliser with good chances for initiative.

Just to illustrate , the strongest player that I ever had the chance to play Volga to (Elo 2395)went 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Nd2!? , the closest that I ever got to playing the main line was 4.cxb a6 5.b6 (against gyu somewhat below 2300), and I had 2295 gyu going 1.d4 c5 2.dxc?! once (talking about rated ´long´ games). Other people are often simply playing some unclear english lines (no d4-d5), or even avoiding to play early c4. So the opening is in excellent shape , and I am recomending it to any beginner. As fezzik said , <if your competition is below about 2500, it should be just fine!> =)

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