Benoni Defense

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Benoni Defense
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
f6 black knight
c5 black pawn
d5 white pawn
c4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5
ECO A43–A44
A56–A79
Origin German manuscript entitled Benoni by Aaron Reinganum (1825)
Named after Hebrew: "son of sorrow"
Parent Indian Defense

The Old Benoni is a chess opening generally characterized by the moves:

1. d4 c5
2. d5

The Benoni Defense is an opening characterized by the moves:

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5

Black can then sacrifice a pawn by 3...b5 (the Benko Gambit), but if Black does not elect this line then 3...e6 is the most common move (though 3...d6 or 3...g6 are also seen, typically leading to main lines).


Etymology[edit]

"Ben oni" (בֶּן אוֹנִי) is a Hebrew term meaning "son of my sorrow" (cf. Genesis 35:18) – the name of an 1825 manuscript about this opening.[1]

Old Benoni: 1.d4 c5 [edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c5 black pawn
d4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Old Benoni Defense

The Old Benoni starts with 1.d4 c5. The Old Benoni may transpose to the Czech Benoni, but there are a few independent variations. This form has never attracted serious interest in high-level play, though Alexander Alekhine defeated Efim Bogoljubow with it in one game of their second match, in 1934. The Old Benoni is sometimes called the Blackburne Defense, after Englishman Joseph Henry Blackburne, the first player known to have used it successfully.[2]

Czech Benoni: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 [edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
f6 black knight
c5 black pawn
d5 white pawn
e5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Czech Benoni

In the Czech Benoni, also sometimes known as the Hromadka Benoni, after Karel Hromádka, Black plays 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5. The Czech Benoni is much more solid than the Modern Benoni, but it is also more passive. The middlegames arising from this line are characterised by much manoeuvring; in most lines, Black will look to break with b7–b5 or f7–f5 after due preparation, while White may play Nc3–e4–h3–Bd3–Nf3–g4, in order to gain space on the kingside and prevent ...f5 by Black.[3]

Modern Benoni: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 [edit]

Main article: Modern Benoni
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e6 black pawn
f6 black knight
c5 black pawn
d5 white pawn
c4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Modern Benoni

The Modern Benoni is the opening that typically begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6, where Black proceeds to capture on d5, creating a queenside pawn majority. To support his play on that side of the board, the king's bishop is usually fianchettoed on g7. These two features differentiate Black's setup from the other Benoni defenses and the King's Indian Defence, although transpositions between these openings are common. It is classified under the ECO codes A60–A79.

Snake Benoni: 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 Bd6 [edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black bishop
f6 black knight
c5 black pawn
d5 white pawn
c3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Snake Benoni

The Snake Benoni refers to a variant of the Modern Benoni where the bishop is developed to d6 rather than g7. This opening was invented in 1982 by Rolf Olav Martens, who gave it its name because of the sinuous movement of the bishop—in Martens's original concept, Black follows up with 6...Bc7 and sometimes ...Ba5—and because the Swedish word for "snake", orm, was an anagram of his initials.[4] Normunds Miezis has been a regular exponent of this variation.[5] Aside from Martens's plan, 6...0-0 intending ...Re8, ...Bf8 and a potential re-fianchetto of the bishop to g7, has also been tried.[5] White appears to retain the advantage against both setups.[6]

ECO[edit]

The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) has many codes for the Benoni Defense.

Old Benoni Defense:

  • A43 1.d4 c5
  • A44 1.d4 c5 2.d5 e5

Benoni Defense:

  • A56 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 (includes Czech Benoni)
  • A57–A59 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 (Benko Gambit)
  • A60 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6
  • A61 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6

Fianchetto Variation:

  • A62 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0
  • A63 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7
  • A64 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Nd2 a6 11.a4 Re8

Modern Benoni:

  • A65 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4
  • A66 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4

Taimanov Variation:

  • A67 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+

Four Pawns Attack:

  • A68 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0-0
  • A69 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Be2 Re8

Classical Benoni:

  • A70 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3
  • A71 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bg5
  • A72 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0
  • A73 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0
  • A74 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a6
  • A75 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Bg4
  • A76 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8
  • A77 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2
  • A78 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6
  • A79 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6 11.f3

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Whenever I felt in a sorrowful mood and wanted to take refuge from melancholy, I sat over a chessboard, for one or two hours according to circumstances. Thus this book came into being, and its name, Ben-Oni, 'Son of Sadness,' should indicate its origin." (Aaron Reinganum, Ben-oni oder die Vertheidigungen die Gambitzüg im Schach [Son of sorrow, or Gambit Defenses in Chess]. Frankfort am Main, Germany, 1825)
  2. ^ Preston Ware vs Joseph Henry Blackburne, 1882 at Chessgames.com
  3. ^ http://www.chesscafe.com/shop/1166_excerpt.pdf
  4. ^ Hall 1999, p. 225.
  5. ^ a b Bronznik 2011, p. 210.
  6. ^ Bronznik 2011, p. 222.

References and further reading[edit]