Benko GambitA58

Calton B.
Bady G.

U.S. Open
Oakbrook, IL, USA, 2006

Nice Benko Gambit by the Philadelphia native. Bady takes an interesting approach by probing the queenside and then switching over to the kingside for an all-out assault. These games are often decided on the queenside, but this game takes a dramatic shift.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5! The venomous Benko Gambit. Black sacrifices a pawn to open the a- and b-files for the rooks and to exert pressure with the fianchettoed bishop on g7. Although several anti-Benko systems have been used to thwart black's counterplay, it remains a sound gambit and enjoys a presence among the world's top players. 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 Declining the gambit early on with 5. b6 and Maxim Dlugy's 5. f3 have made Benko players scramble for answers. One speculative try was 5... e6!? 6. e4 c4!? At one time, 5. e3 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. a4 O-O 8. Ra3!? was popular. Lastly, 5. Nc3!? axb5 6. e4 b4 7. Nb5 d6 8. Bf4 (8. Bc4!? is the Nescafe-Frappe Attack.) 8... g5!? 5... g6

This move order is important because it prevents anti-Benko systems such as the double finachetto. After 5... Bxa6?! 6. g3 g6 7. Bg2 d6 8. b3 (8. h4!? Bg7 9. Nh3 Nbd7 10. Nf4 Qb6 11. Nc3 Ng4 12. h5) 8... Bg7 9. Bb2 Nbd7 10. Nh3 O-O 11. O-O Qb6 (11... Ra7 12. Nf4 Nh5 (12... Qa8? 13. Ne6!) ) 12. Bc3! and black found it hard to conjure up counterplay after 12... Rfb8 13. Re1 Ng4 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Nd2 c4 16. bxc4 Nge5 17. Rc1 Rc8 18. Nf4 Nxc4 19. Bh3 Nce5 20. Bxd7 Nxd7 21. Nb3 Ne5 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Qd2 Bc4 24. Rc1 Rb8 25. Rc3 Qb4 26. h4 Ra8 27. Qd4 Rxa2 28. Nd3 Qa4 29. Nxe5 Bxb3 30. Nc4+ f6 31. Qe3 Bxc4 32. Qxe7+ Kh6 33. Qf8+ Kh5 34. Qxf6 Kh6 35. Qf8+ Kh5 36. g4+ Kxh4 37. Qh6+ Kxg4 38. Rg3+ Kf5 39. Qg5+ [1-0, Gheorghui-Jacobs, London, 1980] Romanian Grandmaster Florin Gheorghui was the leading proponent of the double fianchetto as an anti-Benko system in the 80s. 6. Nc3 If white tries the double fianchetto system, he runs into 6. b3 Bg7 7. Bb2 O-O (On 7... Bxa6 8. g3 Bb7 9. Bg2 e6!? is good too.) 8. g3 d6 9. Bg2 Nxa6! 10. Nc3 Bb7 11. e4 e6!? Ravi Lanka-Hebden, Plymouth, 1989. Taking with the knight appears to be more dynamic when white sets up double fianchetto. 6... Bxa6 7. Nf3 d6 8. g3 At one time, this was a popular system against the Benko. 8... Bg7 9. Bg2 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Rb1 Qa5 Against the fianchetto system 11... Nb6!? is an active idea. Black's text move was the popular approach in the early development of the Benko. 12. Qc2 Nb6 13. Rd1 Nfd7 13... Bb7 was Baburin-Fedorowicz, San Francisco, 1997. 14. Bd2 Nc4 15. Be1 Rfb8 16. Rdc1 Bh6 17. Nd2 Nde5

Typical Benko manuever... Ng8-f6-d7-e5. Sometimes the knight goes Ng8-f6-g4-e5. The idea is to exchange knights as white's queenside gets weaker with each exchange. 18. Nb3? Avoiding exchanges, but white misplaces his knight to drive the queen out, but his pieces get tangled. 18... Qc7 19. Rd1 Bc8 Shifting back on the kingside and threatening Bf5 to weaken d3. 20. Nd2 Qb6 21. Nb3 Qa6 22. h3 Trying to prevent a wholesale invasion, but... 22... Bd7 23. Bf1 Qc8! White's pieces are horribly offside on the queenside and can do little to protect the king. 24. h4 The white squares will become horribly weak, but 24. Kh2 Bf5 25. e4 Nf3+ is also problematic. 24... Bf5 25. e4 Bg4 26. Be2 Nf3+ 27. Kh1 Bh5 28. Kg2 Qg4 29. Bxf3?? 29. Nd2! and pieces come flying off the board. 29... Bxd2 30. Bxd2 Nxh4+ 31. Kg1 Qh3 32. gxh4 Bxe2 33. Nxe2 Ne5 34. f3! and white hold s on. However, this variation is difficult to play with one's king being assailed. 29... Qxf3+ 30. Kg1

30... Rxb3!? What's this? Glenn sacrifices an exchange for an offside knight? Perhaps he was trying to prevent the dreaded Nd2 which would liquidate. However, 30... Ne5 31. Nd2 Bxd2 32. Rxd2 Bg4 33. Nd1 Rxa2 is still winning for black. 31. axb3 Ne5 32. Na4 Calton misses a chance to keep the fight going with 32. Ra1 Rb8 33. Rdb1 Bg4 34. Qd1 Qf6 35. Qc2 Nf3+ 36. Kh1 Nd2 37. f4 Nxb1 38. Rxb1 32... Qg4 33. f4 33. Kg2 c4! 34. bxc4 Rxa4! 33... Nf3+ 34. Kf1 Bxf4 35. Qg2 35. gxf4 Qg1+ 36. Ke2 Nxe1+ 37. Kd2 Qf2+ 38. Kc1 Qxc2# 35... Bh6 36. Nc3 f5!

This is a typical Benko break usually occurring when most of the pieces have left the board. Normally the idea is attack the e4-pawn to weaken d5, but here it is to open yet another front for the remaining black piece. 37. exf5 Rf8 38. Bf2 Rxf5 Looks too good to be true. 39. Rd3 c4 40. Rxf3 40. bxc4 Qxc4! winning material. 40... Rxf3! 41. Re1 Qf5 42. bxc4 Bg4 43. Kg1 Bh3 44. Qh2 Bd2 45. Ra1

45... Be3! ends all resistance. 46. Nd1 Bd4 White has run out of moves. 47. Rc1 Qe5 48. Kh1 Qe4 49. Nc3 Rxc3+ 50. Kg1 Rxc1# 0-1 [Shabazz D.]

Game(s) in PGN