Benoni Defense

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Benoni Defense
abcdefgh
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
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Moves1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5
ECOA43–A44
A56–A79
OriginBen-Oni oder die Vertheidigungen gegen die Gambitzüge im Schache by Aaron Reinganum (1825)
Named afterHebrew: "son of sorrow"
ParentIndian Defense

The Benoni Defense is a chess opening characterized by an early reply of ...c5 against White's opening move 1.d4. Most commonly, it is reached by the sequence:

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5

Black can then sacrifice a pawn with 3...b5 (the Benko Gambit), otherwise 3...e6 is the most common move (although 3...d6 or 3...g6 are also seen, typically transposing to main lines).

The Old Benoni Defense is characterized by

1. d4 c5

This will usually transpose into a main line, however after the usual 2.d5 Black has the option of 2...f5!?.

Etymology[edit]

Benoni (or "Ben-Oni") בֶּן־אוֹנִי is an ancient Hebrew name, still occasionally used, meaning "son of my sorrow", a reference to the biblical story of the dying Rachel giving birth to Benjamin, whom she named Ben-Oni.(Genesis 35:18)

In 1825 Aaron Reinganum, a prominent member of Frankfurt's Jewish community, published a book entitled Ben-Oni oder die Vertheidigungen gegen die Gambitzüge im Schache in which he analyzed several defences to the King's Gambit and the Queen's Gambit, as well as the then unknown opening 1.d4 c5. Reinganum, who studied chess to alleviate his depression, conceived the name "Ben-Oni" as a nickname for his writings rather than the name of an opening.[1]

In the 1843 Staunton-Saint Amant match, Saint Amant met 1.d4 with 1...c5 in the second and fourth games. Saint Amant wrote in Le Palamède (1843): "This opening is not favorable to Black. Bennoni [sic] gives some examples; but it loses time to White, which deprives Black of all the advantages of a good opening."[2] Staunton wrote in The Chess-Player's Companion (1849): "M. St. Amant derived this somewhat bizarre defence from Benoni. (Benoni, oder Vertheidigungen die Gambitzüge im Schache, &c. Von Aaron Reinganum, Frankfort, 1825.)"[3] Staunton also mentions "Ben-Oni" while commenting on the move 1...c5 in The Chess-player's Handbook (1847, page 382).

Subsequently, the name "Benoni" came to be associated with the opening 1.d4 c5, and later with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 and other openings in which Black counters d2-d4 with an early ....c7-c5, without first having played ...d7-d5.

Old Benoni: 1.d4 c5 [edit]

abcdefgh
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
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
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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.[4]

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

abcdefgh
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
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Czech Benoni

In the Czech Benoni, also known as the Hromadka Benoni, after Karel Hromádka, Black plays 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5. The Czech Benoni is more solid than the Modern Benoni, but also more passive. The middlegames arising from this line are characterized by much maneuvering; 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.[5] Grandmaster Ben Finegold often plays this line; he notably beat Mamedyarov in this variation.[6]

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

abcdefgh
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
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Modern Benoni

The Modern Benoni, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6, is the second most common form of Benoni after the Benko Gambit. Black's intention is to play ...exd5 and create a queenside pawn majority, whose advance will be supported by fianchettoed bishop on g7. The combination of these two features differentiates Black's setup from the other Benoni defenses and the King's Indian Defense, although transpositions between these openings are common. The Modern Benoni is classified under the ECO codes A60–A79.

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

abcdefgh
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
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
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.[7] Normunds Miezis has been a regular exponent of this variation.[8] Aside from Martens's plan, 6...0-0 intending ...Re8, ...Bf8 and a potential redeployment of the bishop to g7, has also been tried.[8] White appears to retain the advantage against both setups.[9]

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." (Reinganum, Aaron; Hoeck, Johann Daniel Albrecht [1825]: Ben-Oni oder die Vertheidigungen gegen die Gambitzüge im Schache [Son of sorrow or Defenses against Gambits in Chess]. Frankfurt am Main [Germany]: Hermann.
  2. ^ Saint Amant, Le Palamède, 1843, p.552
  3. ^ Nick Pope, 1843 Staunton-Saint Amant Paris Match, Chess Archaeology
  4. ^ "Preston Ware vs Joseph Henry Blackburne (1882)". www.chessgames.com.
  5. ^ http://www.chesscafe.com/shop/1166_excerpt.pdf
  6. ^ "Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Benjamin Finegold (2017)".
  7. ^ Hall 1999, p. 225.
  8. ^ a b Bronznik 2011, p. 210.
  9. ^ Bronznik 2011, p. 222.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]