Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Commons Beats Benko in Sicilian

How do you beat a strong player in chess? Make double threats. When you threaten to do two things at once, even a famous grandmaster will be challenged. In this example, Kim Commons wins a very nice Sicilian Defence against Pal Benko. It was played at the US championship which was held that year in Oberlin, Ohio.

White began 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3. Commons varies from his normal choice of 2.Nf3. Maybe Kim expected Benko to play 2...Nc6 and was prepared with either 3.g3 Closed Sicilian or 3.f4 Grand Prix. Once Black played the moves, 2...d6 and 3...a6, White headed for the Open Sicilian lines with 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e6. Black moved only pawns for five moves.

The principle is: When your opponent gives you the center, take it! White employed the set-up with 6.f4 and 7.Bd3. By move 23 the position resembled a King's Gambit. White attacked in the center and on the kingside. Once his e-pawn took off for promotion, there was no stopping him. Why? Because the only way to guard against 37.e8=Q was to allow the final move of the game: 37.Qf8 checkmate.

Commons (2415) - Benko (2515), USA-ch Oberlin (8), 1975 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Nf3 a6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e6 6.f4 Nf6 7.Bd3 Nc6 [7...Qc7=] 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe2 e5 11.fxe5 dxe5 12.Bc4 0-0 13.h3 Ne8 14.Be3 Nd6 [14...Rb8 15.Rad1+/=] 15.Rad1 Qc7 16.Bd3 Nb5 17.Na4 Nd4 18.Qf2 Be6 19.Qg3 [19.c3+/-] 19...Bd6 [19...Rfd8 20.b3+/=] 20.c3 f5 21.cxd4 f4 22.Bxf4 exf4 23.Qh4 [23.Qf3+/-] 23...Be7 24.Qh5 Bxa2 [24...Bf7 25.Qe2+/=] 25.e5 g6 26.Qe2 [26.Bxg6!?] 26...Bd5 27.Nc3 Qb6 28.Bc4 Bxc4 29.Qxc4+ Kh8 30.Kh1 Rad8 31.Qe6 Qxb2? [31...Qb7 32.Rf3+/=] 32.Qxe7 Qxc3 33.Rxf4 Rxf4 [Or 33...Kg8 34.Qe6+ Kg7 35.Rf6+-] 34.Qxd8+ Kg7 35.e6 Qe3 36.e7 Re4 37.Qf8# 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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