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Francisco Benko
Number of games in database: 54
Years covered: 1928 to 2005
Last FIDE rating: 2036
Highest rating achieved in database: 2063
Overall record: +9 -35 =10 (25.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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A46 Queen's Pawn Game (3 games)
B22 Sicilian, Alapin (2 games)
A52 Budapest Gambit (2 games)
B02 Alekhine's Defense (2 games)
B14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack (2 games)

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(born Jun-24-1910, died Jan-11-2010, 99 years old) Argentina

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He was born in Berlin of parents Alice Josephine Helene Pick, an Austrian, and Richard Wilhelm Benkö from Hungary. Both parents died in World War I. He and his sister, Anne, fled Nazi Germany in 1936 for Argentina because their mother was Jewish. He was often referred to as the world's oldest active player before dying at age 99 in Buenos Aires.

Wikipedia article: Francisco Benkö

Last updated: 2017-08-03 07:31:40

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 54  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Alekhine vs F Benko ½-½221928BerlinB02 Alekhine's Defense
2. L Palau vs F Benko  ½-½381939Buenos AiresD05 Queen's Pawn Game
3. F Benko vs Keres 0-1441939Buenos AiresC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. J Gerschman vs F Benko  0-1291939Buenos AiresC11 French
5. M Czerniak vs F Benko  1-0481939Buenos AiresA45 Queen's Pawn Game
6. F Benko vs Guimard  0-1631939Buenos AiresB02 Alekhine's Defense
7. M Luckis vs F Benko  1-0461939Buenos AiresA90 Dutch
8. F Benko vs P Frydman  0-1241939Buenos AiresB83 Sicilian
9. Graf-Stevenson vs F Benko  0-1301939Buenos AiresA52 Budapest Gambit
10. F Benko vs R Grau  1-0421939Buenos AiresB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
11. Najdorf vs F Benko  1-0481939Buenos AiresA46 Queen's Pawn Game
12. F Benko vs Stahlberg 0-1611939Buenos AiresC13 French
13. F Benko vs M Czerniak  0-1421945Buenos Aires chC14 French, Classical
14. F Benko vs M Czerniak  0-1431945Buenos Aires CirculoC00 French Defense
15. F Benko vs C de Ronde  1-0321945Buenos Aires CirculoC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
16. F Benko vs Najdorf ½-½1081945Buenos Aires CirculoC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
17. M Czerniak vs F Benko  1-0271947Buenos Aires Grau-memD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
18. F Benko vs M Czerniak  0-1271949Mar del PlataC01 French, Exchange
19. Foguelman vs F Benko 1-0301951ARG-chD83 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit
20. F Benko vs Foguelman  1-0461952Buenos AiresD04 Queen's Pawn Game
21. F Benko vs Panno  ½-½451952Buenos AiresB22 Sicilian, Alapin
22. F Benko vs B Reinhardt  1-0401952Buenos AiresA04 Reti Opening
23. Najdorf vs F Benko  1-0401954Mar del Plata ZonalE60 King's Indian Defense
24. F Benko vs E Eliskases  ½-½461954Mar del Plata ZonalB24 Sicilian, Closed
25. Szabo vs F Benko  1-0531955Club ArgentinoA86 Dutch
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 54  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Benko wins | Benko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-15-05  GreaseMonkey: Liliental should play him in a match
Aug-19-05  DanRoss53: There's a picture of Mr. Benko in this Chessbase report:

As for his relatively poor record in these games, look who was at the other end of the board! The fact that he played Najdorf (against whom he once managed a draw), Keres, Ivkov, Gligoric, Szabo, Pachman and Andersson says that he must have been rather strong in his day.

Aug-19-05  WMD: Not to be confused with the Uruguayan player Fray Bentos.
Nov-09-07  Karpova: Francisco Benko – Guillermo Ligato
Metropolitan Championship, Buenos Aires, 8 July 2002
Alekhine’s Defence

1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.exd5 Nxd5 4.Bc4 e6 5.d4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Nd7 7.Nf3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Re1 c6 10.Bf4 Nb6 11.Bd3 Nd5 12.Bd2 Qc7 13.Ne5 Nf6 14.Qf3 Bd6 15.Qh3 g6 16.Bh6 Re8 17.Qh4 Nh5 18.Re3 Be7 19.Qxh5 gxh5 20.Rg3+ Bg5 21.Rxg5+ Kh8 22.Bg7+ Kg8 23.Bf6+ Kf8 24.Bxh7 1-0 (scroll down to 3445)

Mar-28-08  Resignation Trap: The 98-year-old Benko received a special award after his participation in the recent tournament in Mar del Plata: .
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: The 99-year-old meet 100-year-old Aaron Schwartzman in a <"Match of the Macrobians">, last month in Buenos Aires
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Sounds more like a Match of the Century.
Nov-23-09  technical draw: In the link above it says that F. Benko once beat Bobby Fischer. I don't see the game listed here. Maybe it was a casual game? Anybody know?
Nov-23-09  AnalyzeThis: F. Benko didn't beat Fischer, P. Benko did.
Nov-23-09  technical draw: <F. Benko didn't beat Fischer, P. Benko did.> True Pal Benko did beat Fischer. But in the link above (that no longer works) there was a story (in Spanish) about F.Benko where it said that he had beaten Alekhine and Fischer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: Very interesting, and opportunelly remarked by User: Lovuschka is that after their game, Benkö showed to Schwartzman one of his problems (<"his favourite">, according to Siegfried ) - compare the position over the board here to following diagram:

F. Benkö
"British Chess Magazine" 1950

click for larger view

white to play and mate in three #3

<beaten Alekhine and Fischer.> According to the German Wikipedia, he drew two games vs Alekhine in simultaneous displays. And also : <"Als Jacques Mieses eine Simultanvorstellung im jüdischen Schachklub in Berlin gab, spielte Benkö „blind“ und gewann."> or - he played in a Mieses simul, but played himself blindfold <!>, and won his game...

He was Champion of Berlin in 1935, and his overall score against Friedrich Samisch <ä> is 3 victories in 3 games.

Nov-25-09  Caissanist: Interview with Benko, where he talks about his life, in Spanish: According to Benko, his victory over Fischer came in a 5 minute game, and he only survived Hitler when he obtained fake papers, which enabled him to come to Argentina in 1936.
Nov-25-09  Caissanist: Another Spanish-language interview with Benko, where he says that his victory over Fischer was in a 1960 "ping pong game": "Ping pong game" appears to be Argentine slang for a speed game.
Nov-25-09  Lovuschka: Of course, regarding the remark by User: vonKrolock, the Wikipedia article is mainly based on Benkö's letter he wrote to the German problemist association Die Schwalbe (see Benkö tells how he knew Eduard Birgfeld and was a friend of Erich Zepler. Wolfgang Heidenfeld was a youth friend of Benkö. And this goes on and on with famous names like Willi Schlage, Kurt Paul Otto Joseph Richter, Karl Ahues, Friedrich Samisch. Then he reports the incident with Mieses: <In diesem Jahre gab J. Mieses (geb. 1865) eine Simultan Vorstellung im jüdischen Schachklub. In meiner Unverfrorenheit bat ich ihn, ob er mir erlaube, blind zu spielen. Er erlaubte es mir und ich gewann. Für mich unvergesslich.> (In this year J. Mieses (born 1865) gave a simultan in the jewish chess club. In my boldness I asked him if he'd allow me to play blindfold. He did and I won. Unforgettable.)

In Buenos Aires Benkö met Alexander Alekhine, whom he drew twice in 1928 and 1929, and they became friends. Once, while chess olympiad and Argentinian championship were held in 1939, Alekhine visited Benkö in his chess club and Benkö showed Alekhine some compositions that were perfectly solved by Alekhine.

Upon all this, Benkö is the longest member of Die Schwalbe, having joined in 1928.

Jan-12-10  Lovuschka: Benkö has died on January 11:

An era has ended, and the untold memories are lost forever now.

Jan-13-10  Augalv: RIP chess master Benko.
Jan-13-10  falso contacto: bien dicho, exactamente.
Jan-13-10  NakoSonorense: Muere a los 99 años!
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Nako> Le faltaba poco para ser un centenario.
Jan-13-10  Karpova: Rest in Peace, Francisco Benkö!

Here are some wins from pre-WWII events (merely to show that he won more than the 4 games currently in the database):

Gershman, Jose - Benko, Francisco
E16 ARG-ch 1938
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 e6 5.d4 c5 6.d5 exd5 7.Nh4 g6 8.Nc3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.cxd5 d6 11.e4 Nbd7 12.Bf4 Ne8 13.Qd2 Ba6 14.Rfd1 Ne5 15.b3 Nd3 16.Bg5 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Qxg5 18.Rxd3 Bxd3 19.Qxd3 Qe7 20.f4 Rd8 21.Re1 Ng7 22.Qc3 Rfe8 23.e5 b5 24.Qd3 Qb7 25.Bf3 Qb8 26.Qc3 Rd7 27.Bg4 Rde7 28.Nf3 Qb7 29.Rd1 Qb6 30.Kh1 Rc7 31.Rd2 Rd8 32.Ng5 c4 33.b4 Re7 34.Ne4 Ne8 35.Bf3 Qc7 36.exd6 Rxd6 37.Nxd6 Nxd6 38.Rd1 Qb6 39.Re1 Qf2 40.Rd1 Re3 0-1

Iliesco, Juan Traian - Benko, Francisco
A52 ARG-ch 1938
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.e3 Nc6 6.Be2 Ncxe5 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.O-O d6 9.Nc3 O-O 10.Na4 Bb6 11.f4 Nd7 12.Nxb6 axb6 13.e4 Qe7 14.Qc2 Re8 15.Bd2 Qxe4 16.Bd3 Qd4+ 17.Kh1 Nf8 18.Bc3 Qc5 19.f5 f6 20.b4 Qc6 21.a4 Re7 22.Bd4 Qe8 23.c5 bxc5 24.bxc5 d5 25.g4 h6 26.a5 Bd7 27.Qg2 Bc6 28.h4 Nd7 29.Ra2 Ne5 30.Be2 Nc4 31.Bf3 Qd7 32.g5 Ne3 33.Bxe3 Rxe3 34.gxf6 Rf8 35.Qxg7+ Qxg7 36.fxg7 Rxf5 37.Bg2 Rxf1+ 38.Bxf1 Rc3 39.a6 bxa6 40.Rxa6 Rxc5 41.Ra7 d4+ 42.Kg1 Bd7 43.Ra8+ Kxg7 44.Rd8 Rd5 45.Bc4 Rd6 46.Kf2 Kf6 0-1

Benko, Francisco - Carballo
C14 ARG-ch 1938
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 f6 7.exf6 Nxf6 8.Nf3 c5 9.dxc5 Nc6 10.Bb5 O-O 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Qd4 Nd7 13.O-O-O e5 14.Qd2 Bf6 15.Nxd5 Rf7 16.Nxe5 Qf8 17.Nxf7 Qxf7 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Nc7 Qxa2 20.Qc3 Rb8 21.Rhe1 Ne5 22.Rxe5 fxe5 23.Rd8+ Kf7 24.Qf3+ Kg6 25.Qg3+ 1-0

Benko, Francisco - Falcon, Enrique
C12 ARG-ch 1938
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Be3 Ne4 7.Nge2 Nd7 8.a3 Nxc3 9.Nxc3 Be7 10.Qg4 Kf8 11.h4 c5 12.O-O-O a6 13.f4 f5 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Qf3 cxd4 16.Bxd4 h5 17.Be2 Bd7 18.f5 exf5 19.Nxd5 Bc6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qxf5 Bxd5 22.Qxd5 Qxd5 23.Rxd5 Rd8 24.Rxh5 Rxh5 25.Bxh5 Rd4 26.Re1 g6 27.Bxg6 Bxh4 28.Re2 Bg5+ 29.Kb1 Rd2 30.Rxd2 Bxd2 31.c4 b6 32.Kc2 Be1 33.b4 a5 34.Kb3 Ke7 35.Ka4 Kd6 36.Kb5 axb4 37.axb4 Bf2 38.g4 Kc7 39.Be4 Be3 40.Bh1 Bg5 41.c5 bxc5 42.Kxc5 Be7+ 43.Kc4 Kd6 44.b5 Bd8 45.Be4 Ke5 46.Bf5 Bb6 47.Bc8 Be3 48.Kd3 Bb6 49.g5 1-0

Benko, Francisco - Corte, Cesar Juan
B45 ARG-ch 1938
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nb3 Bb4 7.Bd2 d5 8.exd5 exd5 9.a3 Bd6 10.Be2 d4 11.Nb5 Be5 12.f4 Bb8 13.Bc1 Ne4 14.O-O a6 15.N5xd4 Ba7 16.Be3 Be6 17.Qd3 O-O 18.Rad1 Re8 19.Bf3 Bxb3 20.Nxb3 Nd2 21.Nxd2 Bxe3+ 22.Kh1 Qxd3 23.cxd3 Rac8 24.Nc4 Bc5 25.b4 Bf8 26.d4 b5 27.Nb6 Rc7 28.Rc1 Bd6 29.Bxc6 Re2 30.Nd5 Rc8 31.Bxb5 Rxc1 32.Rxc1 axb5 33.Kg1 f6 34.Rc6 Bf8 35.Nc7 1-0

Gershman, Jose - Benko, Francisco
C13 Buenos Aires Circulo 1939
1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bb5+ c6 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.Qd2 f5 11.Ng3 Nd7 12.O-O-O Qc7 13.Kb1 O-O-O 14.Rhe1 Bd6 15.c4 Kb8 16.Qc3 h5 17.Ng5 h4 18.Nf1 Rdf8 19.d5 Be5 20.Qc2 cxd5 21.cxd5 Bxd5 22.Qxc7+ Bxc7 23.Ne3 Bc6 24.Nf3 Nc5 25.Nd4 Bb7 26.Be2 Bxh2 27.Bf3 Ne4 28.Re2 Rd8 29.Rh1 Rxd4 0-1

Benko, Francisco - Grau, Roberto
B13 Buenos Aires Circulo 1939
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 Bg4 7.f3 Be6 8.Nge2 dxc4 9.Nf4 Nxd4 10.Nxe6 Nxe6 11.Bxc4 Qxd1+ 12.Rxd1 Rd8 13.Kf2 Rd6 14.Rhe1 Rxd1 15.Rxd1 Nd8 16.Nb5 e6 17.Nc7+ Ke7 18.Be3 Nd7 19.Bxa7 Nc6 20.Be3 Nde5 21.Be2 f5 22.a3 Nd7 23.Bc4 Nd8 24.b4 h6 25.a4 g5 26.Bd4 e5 27.Bc3 Nc6 28.a5 Bg7 29.b5 Nd4 30.Bb4+ Kf6 31.a6 Nb6 32.Nd5+ Nxd5 33.Bxd5 Nxb5 34.Bxb7 Bf8 35.Bxf8 Rxf8 36.Rb1 Na7 37.Rb6+ Kg7 38.Bd5 Rd8 39.Be6 f4 40.Ke2 Rd4 41.Bf5 Ra4 42.Bd3 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Good stuff <Karpova>.
Jan-13-10  Belisarius565: RIP Francisco Benkö.
Regarding the information about his games with Alehkine and Fischer, let me add this: he played twice against Alekhine in simultaneous exhibitions in 1928 and 1929, drawing both times. Against Fischer he played in 1960 when he met him at the Club Argentino de Ajedrez, in Buenos Aires. They played lightning games (5 minutes each), with Benkö winning the first game, and then losing 10 in a row. The information is in his obituary in La Nación newapaper (in Spanish):
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I guess Benko is a common name in Hungary--but might he still be a relative of Pal Benko?
Jan-14-10  Belisarius565: I found another, more complete, obituary (also in Spanish):
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: from Polu's book Sicilian Love..

<There was also Fransisco Benko, talented composer and keeper of one of the biggest collections of problems and studies in the world with about 30,000 works!>

R.I.P master Benko.

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