Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jeffrey Baffo Bold Benko Gambit

Jeff Baffo we played many openings in our 1996 matches. In one game Baffo, boldly played the Benko Gambit. I chose the popular 5.e3 line, which was all the rage at the time. Everything was going well until I blundered on move 23.

Americans owe the inventor of this gambit, Grandmaster Pal Benko, a lot of respect. Benko was born in France, raised in Hungary and emigrated to the United States. He qualified for the world championship cycle 1970-72. Grandmaster Pal Benko stepped aside to let Bobby Fischer take his place in the Interzonal. Without Benko's sacrifice, there is probably no Fischer-Spassky match in Reykjavik.

There is a chess saying: Patzer sees check. Patzer gives check. Patzer loses. In this game I creatively sacrificed a knight for pawns. By move 15, I had two passed b-pawns; and 15 moves later, my b-pawns were gone and I was down a knight for a pawn. Once again, Jeffrey Baffo played with energy and accuracy.

Sawyer (1980) - Baffo (2252), corr USCF 95P139, 08.04.1996 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.e3 g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.a4 Bb7 9.Rb1 e6 10.dxe6 fxe6 11.Be2 d5 12.0-0 axb5 13.axb5 Nbd7 14.b4 c4 15.Nd4 Qe8 16.e4 Nb6 17.Nc6 Bxc6 18.bxc6 Qxc6 19.exd5 exd5 20.Be3 Nfd7 21.Bd4 Ra3 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qd4+? [23.Qd2=] 23...Qf6 24.Qxf6+ Rxf6 25.Nxd5? [25.Nb5 Ra2=/+] 25...Nxd5 26.Bxc4 N7b6 27.Bxd5 Nxd5 28.b5 Nc3 29.Rb2 Rb6 30.h3 Rxb5 31.Rc2 Kf6 32.Rfc1 Nd5 33.Rd2 Rab3 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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