Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Attacking the Old Benoni Defence

The day I played today's game I watched an old television episode of Highway To Heaven. A grandfather had given up on competition figuring he was too OLD to try. Then he had the chance to run a 5K with his grandson; that gave the grandfather a new attitude.

So far this year I have done two 5K's myself, although I did not RUN much. Old guys can still compete! Recently in blitz chess I have had a little winning streak. My rating has inched up higher than it's been in a while. It's not like the old days, but it is still fun!

My opponent played the Old Benoni Defence 1.d4 c5. For those of us who play lots of openings, sometimes we switch to an 1.e4 opening here with 2.e4 making the game a Sicilian Defence. A natural continuation would be the Smith-Morra Gambit which is normally reached by 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3!?

When I played 1.d4 in this game, I was not thinking Sicilian Defence. Since Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players must deal with the Benoni Defence anyway, it is simpler to grab some space and more freedom with 2.d5.

Our game proceeded: 1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6. In classic terms, the Old Benoni usually avoids an early Nf6. Black decided not to be Old anymore. We could have gone from the Old Benoni to the Modern Benoni with 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6. Here 6.Nf3 g6 would transpose to Spassky-Fischer, Game 3, World Championship match 1972. That was the first game Bobby Fischer ever defeated Boris Spassky.

My choice in the present game was to play 3.Nc3 called the Schmid Variation. (Lothar Schmid was the Arbiter of the Spassky-Fischer match.) Of this variation Jeremy Silman wrote in a review of the Benoni: "This is basically a normal Benoni where White hasn't played c2-c4. In general it's thought to be sound, but a bit better for the first player."

My opponent was rated about 100 points above me. As the game progressed, he got the upper hand. He threw everything in the direction of my king. I ducked a few bullets and took aim at his king. He had a point where he could have broken off his attack to offer a queen swap with 33...Qf5! That would have broken me. Instead I catch his king naked with my queen and rook, winning his queen and the game.

[My Main Line 1...c5 Playbook is available in Kindle and paperback. This covers the Sicilian Defence Najdorf and the King's Indian Defence both for Black.]

Sawyer (1985) - oli2 (2077), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 02.08.2011 begins 1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 d6 5.f4 [It is decision time. 5.Nf3 is more common.] 5...Bg7 6.Bb5+! [My research indicates that this move leads to a slight edge for White. The idea is to be able to play e4-e5 at a critical moment.] 6...Nfd7! 7.Nf3 [ECO gives 7.a4 or 7.Bd3] 7...0-0 8.0-0 Nf6 9.a4 [Here 9.e5! seems stronger.] 9...e6 10.dxe6 fxe6 11.Bc4 Nc6 12.Ng5 Qe7 13.Re1 h6 14.Nf3 Kh8 15.Be3 [15.e5] 15...Ng4 16.Qd2 Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Nd4 18.Rac1 Bd7 19.g3 Bc6 20.Red1 Rad8 21.Ne2 [21.Nxd4] 21...Nxf3+ 22.Qxf3 d5 23.exd5 exd5 24.Bb5 Bxb2 25.Rb1 Bg7 26.Bxc6 bxc6 27.Re1 Rb8 28.Rxb8 Rxb8 29.Kf1 Rb2 30.Qd3 Qe6 31.Nc3 Qh3+ 32.Kg1 Bd4+ 33.Kh1 h5 [33...Qf5] 34.Qxg6 Qd7 35.Re8+ Black resigns 1-0

5 book sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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