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P P Benko
Number of games in database: 20
Years covered: 1903 to 1924
Overall record: +6 -13 =1 (32.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav (2 games)
A07 King's Indian Attack (2 games)
B25 Sicilian, Closed (2 games)

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(born 1882)

[what is this?]

Pavel Pavlovich Benko was born in Verniy, Russian Empire (today Almaty, Kazakhstan). He later moved to Novosibirsk, and then Omsk. He was married and had a son, born in 1905. He studied at the Kiev Polytechnic University and finished in 1912, interrupted by Army service from 1910 to 1911. He became a railroad engineer. He was sentenced to death in 1931, later changed to a 10-year prison sentence. He was rehabilitated in 2000. Nothing is known about his time or place of death, and the fate of his family.

Benko was invited to the 3rd All-Russian Championship in Kiev 1903, where he scored 6.5/18, coming in 16th out of 19. He finished equal 1st with Pyotr Komarov in the 1924 Novosibirsk championship, earning the rank of 1st category. At the Omsk 1924 tournament, Benko finished 1st, over Boris Mazan, Sergei Krukovsky and others.


Nikolai Izmailov, "Petr Izmailov- From Chess Champion of Russia to Enemy of the People" (Elk and Ruby, 2021), p. 41



Book of Memory of the Omsk Region,

Rod Edwards,

Last updated: 2021-10-26 00:35:04

 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. F Duz-Khotimirsky vs P P Benko  ½-½5619033rd Russian National TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
2. P P Benko vs Salwe 0-11919033rd Russian National TournamentC49 Four Knights
3. O Bernstein vs P P Benko 1-02519033rd Russian National TournamentC41 Philidor Defense
4. P P Benko vs Schiffers 0-13719033rd Russian National TournamentD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. S Levitsky vs P P Benko  0-13919033rd Russian National TournamentB44 Sicilian
6. P P Benko vs Chigorin 0-16319033rd Russian National TournamentD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. V N Kulomzin vs P P Benko  1-05419033rd Russian National TournamentB25 Sicilian, Closed
8. S F Lebedev vs P P Benko 1-04119033rd Russian National TournamentB25 Sicilian, Closed
9. P P Benko vs Yurevich 0-14419033rd Russian National TournamentB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
10. V Nikolaev vs P P Benko 0-13319033rd Russian National TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
11. P P Benko vs W Von Stamm  1-03519033rd Russian National TournamentD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
12. N E Kalinsky vs P P Benko 0-13519033rd Russian National TournamentB20 Sicilian
13. P P Benko vs A Rabinovich  0-12719033rd Russian National TournamentC42 Petrov Defense
14. Rubinstein vs P P Benko 1-01819033rd Russian National TournamentA84 Dutch
15. P P Benko vs V Breev  1-03219033rd Russian National TournamentC77 Ruy Lopez
16. Znosko-Borovsky vs P P Benko 1-03919033rd Russian National TournamentC14 French, Classical
17. P P Benko vs M Lowcki  0-12819033rd Russian National TournamentA13 English
18. P P Benko vs S Izbinsky  1-04719033rd Russian National TournamentD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
19. P P Benko vs N Sorokin 0-1111916corrC45 Scotch Game
20. P P Benko vs Pavel Komarov  0-1281924Novosibirsk championshipE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Benko wins | Benko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-01-04  EnglishOpeningc4: P P Benko? this cant be Pal Benko. Who is this guy?
May-06-05  soberknight: No, it's someone else.
May-06-05  woodenbishop: There are a total of 3 chess masters with the last name Benko: Pal Benko, Francisco Benko, and P.P. Benko (whom I've never heard of).
Jun-29-05  DanielBryant: Did Pal have any relatives who played?
May-29-11  BobCrisp: Could it be <PayPal Benko>?
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: GM Pal Benko was born in 1928 and P.P. Benko won the 1905 Kiev City Championship.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Googling in Russian language brought at least something.

1) This "Benko" isnt' pronounced "Benko" (Russian Бенко) but Ben'ko, with a soft N (Бенько). Which, by the way, excludes any relationship with any of the more famous Benkos - those had all a name of Hungarian origin, which Benko with a soft N is clearly a name of Ukrainian origin.

2) The 18 of the 19 games are <all> of his games played at the <All-Russian Tournament of 1903>. As we can see, he scored 6.5/18, which netted him a 16th place of 19. The tournament was won by Chigorin.

3) Full name: Pavel (Pavlovich) Benko. Born in 1882. Took me some time and googling efforts to find it out :D

4) The man seems to have wandered a lot. The site on which I found the full name (mentioning <P.P. Benko from Kiev>, which is obviously our name given his participation in the Kiev championship), was about chess in... <Irkutsk>. After finding the full name, the first Google result brought me <here>, into a book of victims of communist terror:

My translation:

<Benko, Pavel Palvolvich: born in 1882. Place of birth: Kazakh SSR <what kind of anachronizm is that? In 1882 Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire - alexmagnus>, Region Semirechensk, city Verny, today Almaty. Director of the division of the railway of Omsk. Residence: Omsk. Arrested: 19.03.1931. Pronounced guilty by the court assembly of the OGPU on 18.07.1931. Sentence: Highest Measure of Punishment <that is, death penalty - alexmagnus>, later changed into 10 years of imprisonment. Rehabilitated 17.02.2000 by the prosecutor of the Omsk region, based on the Law of the Russian Federation. Source: Book of Memory of the Omsk Region>.

5) then this site:

The relevant piece:

<Their names tell little to the people of Omsk today, but Pavel Benko of Kiev played in the 3rd All-Russian tournament back in 1903. His placement was humble, in the second dozen, but it was won by Chigorin, fifth became one of the strongest chessplayers of the beginning of the century Rubinstein, and elevenths - the famous Emanuel Schiffers.

Later the railway engineer Benko, after some wandering through Siberia, settles down for a short time - first in Omsk, later in Novonikolayervsk (modern Novosibirsk). In the next championship of Siberia he is second, then he moves to Tomsk. There Pavel Pavlovich Benko, in by far not the most frightening year 1931, is senteced to death by shooting, which later gets replaces by ten years of prison camp. We could not determing the date or place of his death>.

The Siberian championship mentioned is the one from 1922, as seen from the paragraph preceding the one I translated.

6) Here another Irkutsk site, with a somewhat more detailed biography:

New facts from there: Studied in the Kiev polytech university, interrpted by an army service in 1910-1911. finished the study in 1912, worked as engineer for the railway ministry. Lived in Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk region ("station Zima"), Tomsk. Was married, had a son (born 1905), nothing is known about the fate of either his wife or his son.

Apparently the reason for his arrest was him having been on the wrong side of the Russian Civil war - that is, having fought for the Whites.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Sorry for the numerous typos and grammar errors in my translations, by the way - did all it quickly, as hoped to find more :)

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