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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: 1804
Years covered: 1948 to 2020
Overall record:
   White wins 41.0%
   Black wins 29.2%
   Draws 29.8%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Petr Haba  11 games
Anatoly Karpov  10 games
Vadim Malakhatko  9 games
Natalia Pogonina  18 games
Igor Nikolayev  15 games
Pavel Tregubov  15 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
V Malinin vs A Andreev, 1989
V Malinin vs V Savinov, 1988
Kramnik vs Topalov, 2003
Hort vs Alburt, 1977
Gheorghiu vs Beliavsky, 1982
Van Wely vs Carlsen, 2008
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 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,804  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Szabo vs E R Lundin 0-1441948Saltsj÷baden InterzonalA58 Benko Gambit
2. Golombek vs J Sefc 0-1331949Reti MemorialA58 Benko Gambit
3. Puc vs Kozomara  1-0531951YUG-ch 6thA58 Benko Gambit
4. Korchnoi vs Gurgenidze 1-0301957USSR ChampionshipA58 Benko Gambit
5. Gligoric vs Udovcic  1-0521957YUG-chA58 Benko Gambit
6. M Vukovic vs Kozomara  ½-½551960YUG-chA58 Benko Gambit
7. Gligoric vs Kozomara  1-0391961Belgrade opA58 Benko Gambit
8. Gligoric vs F van Seters 1-0381962Hastings 1962/63A58 Benko Gambit
9. Szabo vs Kozomara  1-0401963SarajevoA58 Benko Gambit
10. L Lengyel vs I Bilek  ½-½231965BudapestA58 Benko Gambit
11. Timman vs G Svensson  ½-½411966Groningen Ech-jr preA58 Benko Gambit
12. M Vukic vs Benko 0-1391967Sarajevo ItA58 Benko Gambit
13. A J Whiteley vs J T Farrand  1-0421968BCF-chA58 Benko Gambit
14. I Bajec vs G Forintos  0-1291969Vidmar MemorialA58 Benko Gambit
15. Denker vs Benko  ½-½28196970th US OpenA58 Benko Gambit
16. O'Kelly vs R Toran Albero  1-0311970EspanaA58 Benko Gambit
17. Taimanov vs Benko 1-0581970HoogovensA58 Benko Gambit
18. S Tatai vs Browne  ½-½25197010th Costa del SolA58 Benko Gambit
19. Antoshin vs M Mihaljcisin  ½-½721970SarajevoA58 Benko Gambit
20. Ivkov vs Browne 1-0341970Rovinj/ZagrebA58 Benko Gambit
21. Szabo vs R Toran Albero  ½-½141970EUR-chT (Men) 4thA58 Benko Gambit
22. G Forintos vs Browne 1-0391970Skopje Solidarnost 4thA58 Benko Gambit
23. Gligoric vs Browne  ½-½651970Skopje Solidarnost 4thA58 Benko Gambit
24. G Villarroel vs Benko  0-1401970CaracasA58 Benko Gambit
25. Mecking vs Szabo  0-1501970Buenos AiresA58 Benko Gambit
 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,804  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/Benk÷ 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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