PlayerS Game of the Site #4

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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:35 pm

PlayerS Game of the Site #4

Post by iamachessstudent » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:20 pm

Welcome to another installment of Players games on this site with comments and analysis. Today , I conclude the GKThomas trilogy with this final game played this year against a difficult opponent Asoka. The opening is very original and sharp, and the game teeters back and forth a few times; the result is very deserving of these two (2) great players and the imagination and work they put into this game!

The opening is a Benko (or Volga) Gambit. Some brief history about this sharp, uncompromising opening: The first article about 3...b5 was published by a chessmaster from Russia in the magazine Shakhmaty v SSSR in 1946. Since this city is on the Volga River, the opening was named the Volga Gambit in Russian-language literature. Some time later, the Hungarian/American GM Pal Benko made a huge contribution to the development of this gambit line, in particular showing that Black can rely on long-term positional compensation rather than quickly opening the center with...e6. He also published an influential book, the Benko Gambit, in 1974. The opening then quickly found followers, both at the club and GM levels. Attempts to refute the gambit kept running into brick walls, while the ease and elegance with which black's idea worked in practice, without White appearing to do anything wrong, made a strong impression on the chess world.
The main idea of the gambit is to create an initiative on the Queen-side. By sacrificing a pawn, Black opens the a- and b- files for his rooks and queen. At the same time, the g7-bishop takes control of the a1-h8 diagonal. It is NOT easy for White to counter all Black's maneuvers, which is why many players prefer not to accept this sacrifice. That is what happens in this game, but as we see, it still has enough sharp and tense play to give good reason as to why the Benko Gambit is still played today!

[Event "m1354741881"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.03.01"]
[Round "1"]
[White "asoka"]
[Black "gkthomas"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2881"]
[BlackElo "2892"]
[Game "g1105134851"]

ECO CODE: A57: Benko/Volga Gambit

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 {The key move that defines the Benko} 4.Nf3 {The most popular way to decline the Gambit and still get fresh play. What is the idea behind this move? Well, White makes a very useful developing move, and if Black replies 4...bxc4, then White will be able to recapture the pawn without the usual inconveniences while developing naturally.} 4...Qa5+ { a VERY rare move, and in fact,not mentioned in any of my reference books on the Benko! In the Chessbase, we see it has only been played twenty-four (24) times of the nearly 4.500 games the Benko was played!} 5.Nfd2 {Yet another VERY obscure line, this time from White! Again in Chessbase, of the twenty-four (24) times that Blacks 4th move had been faced, this was only played twice! the nod goes to 5.Bd2 but it has had mixed (50%) results while the text move has 100% success rate..but sometimes statistics are deceiving!} 5...b4N {Novel and now there is no more book to follow, and the players are on their own. The purpose of the text move seems to be two-fold: The Queen-side is blockaded for the moment, and the White Queen's Knight cannot get to a3 or c3 , so Whites development could be impeded} 6.e4 {Going for the typical strong center in these type of Benoni type positions.} 6...d6 {Completing the pawn chain; another try was 6...e5 and if 6.Bd3 then the position is pretty level. 6...Qc7 can also be considered, getting the Queen out of potential trouble once that queen-side is opened up.} 7.Be2 g6 {Preparing to fianchetto his K-Bishop at the first opportunity.} 8.a3 {Now White decides to break up the Queen side and get come play against the somewhat exposed Black queen} 8...Nbd7 {Continuing in the Benko type development, the Knight can go to b6, e5 and is guarding the Queen-side; 8...Na6!? also looks strong, directly guarding the b pawn and keeping the tension on the Queen-side} 9.Nb3 {Interesting, White decides to remove the Black Queen from the targeted Queen-side before breaking this up! 9.0-0 was a good alternative, getting the King to safety before any offensive undertakings} 9...Qc7 10.axb4 {Now White breaks up the Queen-side, and opens the a-file} 10...cxb4 11.f3 {controlling both the e4 and g4 squares} 11...a5 {reinforcing his b-pawn and setting a little trap; bait with that a pawn :)} 12.Be3 {White does not take the bait and takes control of key dark squares around the Queen-side. If he takes the a pawn with 12.Nxa5?, then 12...Rxa5; 13.Rxa5 Qxa5 14.Be3 Qa2 15.Qc2 Nc5 16.0-0 Bg7 and Black has excellent positional compensation for the exchange! And 12.Rxa5? Rxa5 13.Nxa5 Qxa5 14.Bd2 Nc5 and again excellent position for black, as he is so much better on the Queen-side} 12...Bg7 13.0-0 0-0 14.N1d2 a4 {Attempting more Queen-side counter play} 15.f4 {Played with the idea of using a central pawn battery to loosen up the Black King-side position, but it is very tricky! My first thought was to play 15.Nd4 and the Knight has a great post and hits all kinds of key squares, there could follow 15...Nc5 16.N2b3 Nxb3 17.Nxb3 Bd7 and White has a slight plus, but converting it into a win will take time and work} 15...Bb7 {Well played; getting the bishop on the diagonal and uniting the rooks} 16.Nd4 Nc5 { more pressure on the e pawn and threatening to just take it next move} 17.Nb5 {gaining time by attack the enemy's Queen, the Knight is a great piece in this game } 17...Qc8 18.Qc2 {giving the e pawn good protection } 18...Nfd7 {allowing the Bishop to make an impact via the long diagonal} 19.Kh1 {Getting the King off the dark squared and safety first, I liked two (2) other moves better: 19.Bg4 temporarily pinning the Knight and 19.Rae1, preparing to go all out against the black King-side. the move played is not bad however, there is nothing wrong about being concerned with the safety of your King!} 19...Qb8 20.Nf3 Nb3 {taking the opportunity to secure the Knight on White's Queen-side} 21.Rxa4?! {Giving up the exchange to clarify the Queen-side and induce more complications! The other move of choice was 21.Rae1 is met by ...Qe8 and we have an almost = game..White wants more and he is willing to take a risk to get it!} 21...Rxa4 {Correct} 22.Qxb3 Qa8 {Reinforcing the Rook, and a good move as well} 23.Bc1 {defending the B pawn from the dark-squared black Bishop, too bad the bishop has to retreat to the first rank to do so} 23...Nc5 {This is a tricky, complex position, so to try and suggest anything better is hard; thought the text move allows White to equalize again..there were not a huge number of choices: 23...Qa5!? is the computer's choice and mine..even though after 24.Nfd4! the position is really, really hard to asses,. The move black played looks good and does threaten the Queen and the e pawn, so it is not a bad one at all!} 24.Qe3! {Great move, protecting the e pawn, and keeping the dark-squared Bishop OFF of the critical d4 square. With his excellent move, White get back some initiative and is slightly, only slightly better =-} 24...Ba6 {Not the strongest; 24..Qd8 to keep the Knight off of the c7 square was strongest, thought the text move also serves a purpose, but it lets White keep the initiative} 25.Nfd4 {Again the best move, keeping the tension over the board} 25...Bxd4 {giving up this Bishop would scare most of us, but Black has accurately calculated that this is the best way for him to stay in the game and put the pressure on White.} 26.Nxd4 {NOT 26.Qxd4? Bxb5 27.cxb5 b3-+} 26...b3 27.Nc6 {What a piece! Now it threatens the e pawn} 27...Qe8 {the best way to defend} 28.Qd4 {Taking control of the dark squares} 28...Bb7 {Threatening the Knight} 29.Ne5 f6 {The right choice 29...dxe5?! 30.Qxc5 f5 31.fxe5 fxe4 32.Rg1 and White is in control} 30.Ng4 {The best, keeping some threats hanging over the Black King's head} 30...e5! {A great move, really pressuring White and giving him many chances to go wrong} 31.Qc3! {The best choice! Other moves are not so good: 31.Qe3 exf4 32.Qd4 Nxe4 33.Bd3 Bc8 34.Nh6+ Kg7 bxe4 is bad for White-+} 31...Nxe4?! {Not as strong and forcing as the other choices! For instance, 31...Bc8! was strong, preparing to get rid of the White Knight; 31...Kh8 also was good..keeping the King safely tucked away and maintaining his edge. The move played allows White to get lots of play and direct the flow of the game for awhile} 32.Qxb3 {multiple threats from the Queen} 32...exf4 {not bad but I liked 32...Nc5! attacking and defending} 33.Kg1 {Now, it is White's turn to miss a stronger and possibly better move! 33.Bxf4! would be natural and strong...Bc8 34.Kg1 Bxg4 the position is almost again, equal} 33...Bc8 34.Bxf4 {and not 34.Rxf4? Bxg4 35.Bxg4 f5 -+ when Black is winning } 34...Bxg4 35.Bxg4 f5 {the position has less material but it is still very difficult for both players; White is down the exchange but has a potential passed pawn at b2; black has activity, but his King safety an be called into question, so both sides must still be careful !} 36.Bf3 Qd7 37.h3 Re8 {Here I think that37... Rfa8 was strong..the rooks are doubled and can wreak havoc on a1 or a2...tho 38.Kh2 can take the sting out of the move} 38.Re1 Nc5 39.Rxe8+ Qe8 40.Qc3 {again, targeting the dark squares} 40...Qe7 41.b4 {cashing in on his main trump, the passed b pawn!} 41...Ne4 42.Bxe4 Qxe4 {NOT 42...fxe4? 43.c5 Qg7 44.Qxg7+ Kxg7 45.Bxd6 Rxb4 46.Bc7 and White is winning!} 43.Qf6 {threatening the D pawn} 43...Qxf4 {the best , but now White gets many checks and even a perpetual check. Black could not have played 43...Rxb4?? 45.Bxd6 Rb1+ 46.Kh2 and White is better! 43...Qxc4? is no good either 44.Bh6 Ra1+ 45.Kh2 Qf4+ 46.Bxf4 g5 47.Bxg5 h6 48.Qe6+ Kg7 and White again, is better!} 44.Qd8+ Kg7 45.Qd7+ Kh6 and here A DRAW WAS AGREED. 1/2-1/2 {After 46.Qxa4 the game is equal and played out... GREAT GAME!}

What a game!
The pendulum swung back and forth; right out of the open the game was fresh, original and full of play! I must congratulate BOTH Players for a hell of a game!

Remember I LOVE your comments, suggestions, feedback and anytime you have a game you want me to look at MESSAGE or E MAIL ME (Even you sicilian fanatics) ;)

Thanks joshua )

Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:12 am
Location: Turin, Italy

Re: PlayerS Game of the Site #4

Post by marandreo » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:16 pm

Beloved Benko Gambit!
For the "classic" line with 4. cxb5 a6; 5. bxa6 , taste Hort - Alburt, Decin 1977! :shock:
Have fun!

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