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Francisco Benko
Number of games in database: 93
Years covered: 1928 to 2008
Last FIDE rating: 2036
Highest rating achieved in database: 2063
Overall record: +18 -51 =24 (32.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
A15 English (4 games)
D44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav (3 games)
A46 Queen's Pawn Game (3 games)
B02 Alekhine's Defense (2 games)
C01 French, Exchange (2 games)
C00 French Defense (2 games)
D02 Queen's Pawn Game (2 games)
A52 Budapest Gambit (2 games)
C41 Philidor 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

[what is this?]

He was born in Berlin of parents Alice Josephine Helene Pick, an Austrian, and Richard Wilhelm Benkö from Hungary.1 His father died on March 16th 1912, and his mother died on May 4th 19272 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.1

1Wikipedia article: Francisco Benkö

2Berliner Tageblatt 20 March 1912; Berliner Tageblatt 20 May 1927;

Last updated: 2021-06-29 05:51:16

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 93  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. L Roux Cabral vs F Benko  1-0281949Mar del PlataD02 Queen's Pawn Game
19. F Benko vs H Rossetto  ½-½411949Mar del PlataC01 French, Exchange
20. J Traian Iliesco vs F Benko  1-0411949Mar del PlataA13 English
21. F Benko vs W Cruz  0-1411949Mar del PlataC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
22. Letelier vs F Benko  1-0901949Mar del PlataD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
23. F Benko vs Eliskases  0-1541949Mar del PlataB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
24. Pomar Salamanca vs F Benko  0-1481949Mar del PlataD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
25. F Benko vs C J Corte  1-0411949Mar del PlataA28 English
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 93  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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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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SkySports: Thanks to CG admins, I have added a game won by Benko during his last official tournament (in 2008, when he was 98).
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <HeMateMe: I guess Benko is a common name in Hungary--but might he still be a relative of Pal Benko> In the form <Benkő>, more than 5.000 persons bears this surname in Hungary. When we asked Pal about his namesake from Argentina his immediate answer was:< "I don't like when they attribute his bad results to me!" >
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Lasker is also quite a common name, yet both famous Laskers, Emanuel and Eduard, were related, albeit very distantly (fifth cousins thrice removed if my memory serves correctly).
Premium Chessgames Member

This bio <"references a Wikipedia article which gave information about the death of Benko's parents during WW1. The information is wrong. Richard Wilhelm Benko died 16 March 1912 in Berlin, as shown by a family announcement in the Berliner Tageblatt of 20 March 1912, as well as a death record in

Alice Benko (born Pick) died 4 May 1927 in 1927, as shown by an announcement in the Berliner Tageblatt of 7 May 1927, and a death record in

Alan McGowan">

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He is the only person in chess history whose first and last name ends in -ko.
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