So I was reading through a bit of an older book on Benoni structures and it got me looking at some games.
For those who aren’t aware, Benoni means “Son of Sorrow” in Hebrew. I believe it’s typically spelled Ben-oni when used in that context though I can’t claim my knowledge of Jewish names or traditions is useful enough to know if I am correct. Perhaps someone will care to educate me in the comments?
In any case, I was curious to see some modern games in the Modern Benoni. However, as it turns out, the opening is rarely played at the 2500+ level these days.
I did, however, find this game that Var played the White side of in the PRO Chess League during its inaugural season.
I don’t know much about the Benoni, but I do know that Black should always take decisions involving exchanging off the d pawn very seriously.
Here’s a position where it’s Black to move:
Black, already in an unpleasant position, plays 20…dxe5 and is suddenly struggling mightily after 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.Rxe5 Qf6 23.Rae1 Nd6
Now this is one of those positions that I find to be quite interesting because the engine will tell you that there are a few moves better than 24.b3. Not just slightly better, but +3 better.
However, Var calmly plays 24.b3 here, which appears designed to keep the knight off c4.
Now after 24…Nf5 25.Bg5 Qd6 this position is reached:
Var then crashes through with the very nice 26.Rxf5 gxf5 27.Be7 Qg6
And now the coup-de-grace is 28.d6 rather than just picking the exchange back up. Though playing 28.Bxf8 is also totally winning. In this position Black resigned.
Here is the entire game, which is quite nice.
Til Next Time,
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