Chess openings – Benoni

Chess openings – Benoni


Welcome back to chessopenings.com. Today’s
video is all about the Benoni Defense, which is an aggressive counter-response
to the queen’s pawn opening. It begins with the moves, d4, knight
of 6, c4, and c5. Black’s idea in the Benoni is to lure the White pawns
forward in order to set up counter-play against the center and the weakened
dark squares. Let’s take a look. With the opening set up of d4, knight of 6
and c4, White has followed one of the major principles of the opening, which
is to occupy the center with pawns. This guarantees that he’ll have a somewhat
easier time finding strong squares for his pieces. In theory,
White would like to get all of his pieces out to comfortable locations and
then gradually he wants to prepare the long-term advance of his central
pawns. In the Benoni, Black’s countermeasure, pawn to c5, is designed to
disrupt this picture-perfect scenario for White by forcing White to somehow
change the situation in the center. The first point about this position is that
Black is threatening to trade a flank pawn for a center pawn, and it’s not
really in White’s interest to do this. For example, he doesn’t really want
to capture on c5. If he were to capture on c5, it is true that Black could
recapture the pawn, say with queen to a5 check, but this would leave the
queen vulnerable later in the game. Instead, what Black would do is simply
play e6, and it turns out that in this position there’s no good way for White
to hold on to the C pawn. If he plays bishop to e3, he’ll quickly run into
the move, Knight a6, and there’s no great ways to continue protecting
the pawn. And if he were to try the move, b4, he would run into the move,
a5, when again, he’ll find it impossible to hold onto the pawn structure
for very long. Of course, a3 would be the natural move here, but the pawn
would be pinned after A takes b4. So it turns out that there’s no great
way for White to hold onto this pawn, and this is why he should not take it.
He would probably have to develop, say, knight of 3, but after bishop
takes c5 this is a very comfortable situation for Black since he has
two pawns to one in the center, and this means at some point he will
gain a space advantage with the move, pawn to d5, and he’ll find comfortable
locations for all of his pieces. Backing up to this position after c5, a similar
issue would arrive after a move like, say, knight of 3. Since after pawn
takes pawn on d4 and knight takes pawn, it’s true that this is a much
better version since White has gained an active placement for his knight,
and Black’s development hasn’t proceeded nearly as easily. But even so, in
this position Black has excellent long-term counter chances due to
the fact that he possesses this two versus one central pawn majority. So what
turns out is the optimal move in this position is to advance the pawn to
d5. And this is actually a pleasing situation for White, because he builds
upon his space advantage and cramps Black’s position nicely. If White
could eventually bring his E pawn out to support this pawn and then eventually
bring it out to e5 – this is a very important point. If he could bring
this pawn up and allow it to march abreast with the D pawn, this position
would leave Black off in an extremely bad way. This struggle for control
over the e5 square which tends to be a huge part of the early opening and
middle game struggle in the Benoni opening. White’s strategic plan in this position is
fairly clear. However, we have yet to talk about what are Black’s main ideas
in this main position. Since he has fixed the White pawns into a pawn chain
here, Black’s idea is to try to rapidly break down this pawn center through
pawn breaks. One way to go about this, the most aggressive way, in fact,
would be the immediate b5, and this leads to a well-known Benko Gambit.
In this opening, Black is willing to sacrifice a pawn in order to generate
long-term pressure both on the queen’s side and against the center by
breaking down this pawn chain. But we’re not going to look at that today,
since the more Benoni-ish handling of this position is to play e6 first.
In fact, the move b5 will still end up being very strategically important
later in the game. But first, White plays e6. And the idea is that
after the normal move, knight e3, pawn takes pawn, and now Black plays d6
preventing White from achieving d5 to d6 himself. A very interesting, strategic
position arises, which is very imbalanced. White still has a big space advantage, but
Black has opened the E file in this position. He has also created conditions
for an expansion on the queen side with moves, like a6, and once again,
this move, pawn to b5. Another key factor here is that Black is going to
swiftly fianchetto his bishop to the opening diagonal. He’s going to play at
some point here g6 and bishop g7 on this open diagonal. Notice that he’s
cleverly already cleverly set it up, that White has put his pawns on light
squares. Part of the point of playing c5, so this diagonal is open, and
this is going to be very annoying for White a little bit later in the position.
On the other hand though, we shouldn’t forget that it is White’s move in
this position, White still has a big space advantage, and his major goal
of achieving e2 to e4 and then to e5 is still a very strong plan in this position.
White generally continues to e4, but he can also play knight of 3 instead.
Black continues his development with the move, pawn to g6, and
at this moment there are quite a few different setups that White can try, but
for today I just want to talk about White’s most aggressive option here,
and that is, the popular move of pawn to f4. With f2 to f4, White is saving up for his
big dream of playing e4 to e5. In an ideal world, he’d do this with as much
preparation as possible. He’d like to bring out the knight to f3, find somewhere
to stick this bishop on f1, castle king side and then push for this
breakthrough, e4 to e5. This would probably spell the end of Black’s position
if it this all panned out nicely for White. However, in chess there
are always typical drawbacks to moving the pawns too early in the game. Here,
we see two big drawbacks. First of all, White has played so many pawn
moves that he’s falling behind in development, which is a factor Black can
make use of. A second point is that we temporarily weakened the E pawn; it
can no longer be supported with the move, f2 to f3, since we’ve launched the
pawn all the way to f4. This weakness also requires some observation by
White. It is these factors that Black is hoping to make use of during the
struggle which is ahead. So, what should Black do here? In this position,
believe it or not, Black should simply continue his development with
the move, bishop to g7. This brings us to a very interesting moment in
the position. White has two very obvious-looking moves here. He’s got the thrust
e4 to e5, and he’s also got the very principled move of knight to f3.
Both of these moves look outstanding for White. In fact, none of these
moves offer White any real superiority whatsoever. It’s against these
very natural moves that you can get a sense of just how much venom and potential
the Black pieces contain in the modern Benoni. Right away, we’ve got
to be asking ourselves, “Can’t White just force a big advantage with this
move, e4 to e5?” But as we will see in just a second, in fact, Black just
retreats knight F to d7. This poses a problem for White, as he doesn’t have
enough development to support the advance of these pawns. e5 is now under
attack three times– by a pawn, by a bishop, by a knight. With this move,
knight to d7, of course, Black added two attackers at once because he unveiled
an attack with the bishop in this position. White only has one defender,
so he actually cannot defend the pawn if he plays knight f3. For example,
the pawn will just be lost. Really, the only move to avoid losing a pawn
here is to capture on d6, but in fact, this pawn will quickly become recovered
by Black. For example, he often simply castles king side, knight f3,
knight f6, and he’ll be recovering this pawn, but White’s king is
just exposed in this position and losing much of his space advantage in this
position, since the E pawn, which was looking so promising on its way
up to e5 with clear support, is now just going to be exchanged. White has
nothing to look forward to in this position. The really shocking thing in this position
is that the very natural move knight f3 also does not promise White very
much in this position. In fact, Black once again continues his policy of chess
developing. He simply castles king side. It turns out that, once
again, this move, e5, is a premature move for White. It turns out that
Black plays D takes e5, F takes e5, and the now the simple move, knight g4.
Once again, the pawns in the center are already under attack, Black has
mobilized most of his pieces, and White’s king is in the center. This position
turns out to be no good for White. This sets White a problem. If he
can’t play e4 to e5 just yet, then how does he go about defending the e4
pawn which is about to come under attack by rook e8? In fact, theory shows
that in this position Black’s counterattack is happening so quickly
that White often needs to sacrifice a pawn in order to keep the position
in balance and keep the position edgy. Black has excellent chances
of equality in this position. I think it’s this kind of position which should
really strike some fear into the heart of light players, since it shows
just how much potential is contained in the Benoni opening. So, does it turn out that Black just has an
excellent position in the Benoni after this move, f4? Certainly, what
we’ve shown so far is that White has to be very careful, he is falling
behind in development and needs very careful about how he approaches this
position, but it does turn out that there’s one last move here, and it’s
this move which gives White excellent chances of keeping the initiative.
That move is bishop to b5 check. It turns out that this disruptive little
check offers White just enough to keep this position looking very
strong for him. The idea is to lure a piece to d7 and only after that does
White continue with the central breakthrough idea of e4 to e5. The theory
in games in this position is all highly interesting, but without getting too
bogged down in the details, I wanted to show a couple of natural moves here. After bishop to e7, White gets exactly what
he wants. He finally has an opportunity to play e4 to e5 under the right
conditions. This is because the knight no longer can retreat to this square,
harassing the e5 pawn, nor can it come out to g4 because the bishop is
now pinned. So if the knight came to g4, we would simply capture it and
we’d be up a piece in this position. It’s because of this fact that suddenly
e5 becomes possible, and there are some very interesting lines in here
which are worth taking a look at. The more natural-looking move is probably
knight to d7, but once again e4 to e5. And once again, this knight is lacking
the squares where it could put pressure on e5. If it comes to g4, it’s
once again just hanging and the d7 square is unavailable. Again, this trick
has succeeded. It turns out that instead Black’s best move in this position
is the counter-intuitive move, knight F to d7. If Black doesn’t know
this move, he’ll actually find himself in a lot of trouble. In this position
what Black would like to do as quickly as possible is harass this bishop
with a6 and then use the extra time to play b5, probably b4, to undermine
this e4 pawn. So White throws in another very tricky move
here, he plays a4, an excellent move. This ensures that if Black does play
a6, as he usually doesn’t in this position, once we retreat this bishop
Black isn’t ready to continue his expansion with b5 because we have set
up a pawn on a4. So instead in this position, Black normally keeps his options
open by simply castling king side. But now, after knight f3, an interesting
position is reached which does appear to favor White. In this
position, White is still highly interested in developing an attack either
with e4 to e5 or in many games you actually see a king side pawn storm which
begins with the moves, f4 to f5. In this position, it’s quite tricky for
Black to develop his counter- play on the queen side. But both sides have
quite good chances in this position if they’re willing to do a little
bit of homework. That’s it for today. We’ve gone move-by-move
and clarified some of the important ideas which characterize the modern
Benoni. We’ve looked at how Black plans to situate his pieces and what
he’s basing his counter-play on. At the same time, we’ve looked through a few
variations and begun to understand what White’s key ideas are and
how he plays to hassle Black and threaten him in the modern Benoni. Thanks
for watching, and we’ll see you again.

100 thoughts on “Chess openings – Benoni

  1. Probably the Slav yes, with Queen's Gambit Declined also being a good choice. It is also possible to play 1…Nf6 of course! -Dereque

  2. At 9:39 in the video, instead of playing Ng4, couldn't you just swing the rook over to e8 and pin it to your opponents king?

  3. great video!
    can you make one about the czech benoni?
    (d4 nf6 c4 c5 d5 e5 nc3 d6)
    it looks more stable to black and less risky.. preventing this dangerous f4.
    thank you!

  4. Interesting question! 10…Re8 could be an acceptable move but 10…Ng4 gives Black the advantage since it actually wins the e5-pawn outright.

  5. Grate video, very well presented, good graphics, excellent sound and above all a really excellent explanation from both sides of the board! Thx. Ken… 😉

  6. Dereque Kelley, I have a question.
    First … I´m a tactical player, so a oter famouse tactical player ist Kasparov, he opens with white d4, so it´s for me d4 a good opening or more like d5?
    And the second question is, make you more videos?
    Thx. for the awnser!

  7. I am planning to make more videos yes! Both 1.d4 and 1.e4 can yield a tactical game. I, personally, question the validity of seeking a particular kind of game (tactical, or positional) from the outset. Developing players sometimes appear to spend a lot of time trying to force their games and studies to reach tactical positions, even to the point of choosing second-rate variations and openings for decades.

  8. There are lines in which Black plays …Na6 and lines in which Black plays …e5 (though they are usually not played together). It seems to that both of these attempts give White increased chances for the initiative

  9. Thanks for the instructions on the Benoni.
    I seem to be winning more games (with black though) after understanding the Knight retreat move Nd7.

  10. Dereque, very informative, especially about Black. I prefer playing Black but I had not thought about the Benoni before. Now I have my homework set out. Many thanks for this. Ion

  11. Fantastic.  I've been studying the Modern Benoni lately, and this is by far the clearest statement of the reasoning behind the Taimanov Attack that I've come across.

  12. I've been playing this bishop move for a long time but never knew the terminology, ha.  Good video.  Thanks.

  13. After d4 Nf6 c4 c5 dxc5 Qa5+ Nc3 Qxc5, the Queen is not in danger at all… Just played a live game and had a great time, my opponent was NOT a beginner to say the least

  14. Dereque Kelly,i just want to say thank you for you assistance….it's really with heart full of joy that i'm writing this.There is something unique about the way you explain this openings that makes you my favorite,the way you smile at the beginning and ending of the tutorial is really captivating and i want to say a big thank you on behalf of the whole Nigerians.Thumbs up and please do not stop!

  15. I enjoyed this video but I do think you're overlooking that In my mind operational procedures are all the daily processes in the building, but health and safety affects all of them. So in adjusting them you would need to take into account risk assessments/safe systems and emergency procedures!

  16. Muchas gracias por traducir al español estos vídeos. Es muy difícil encontrar en forma gratuita muy buen material de ajedrez y en español.

  17. I greatly enjoyed this video. Found it more informative than other Benoni videos. ill have to check more of your videos out!

  18. very good video…once again from DK, a brief presentation of the thaimanov line which leaves black with no persuasive reply esp. after a4. Maybe a vid with benko gambit would suit the discussion here.

  19. I often find myself running into those kind of situations where my bishop is at G2, my knight on F3 and my opponent is pushing with his pawns. Looks like I really need to do my homework on that one.
    Still, thank you very much for the basic introduction of the situation. Love your videos, keep 'em coming! 🙂

  20. what an instructive video, thanks a lot, it helped me a lot understanding the ideas and strategies in the benoni set up….realy good work Kelly

  21. after Nf3 (The Natural yet sub-par move) what does black play? What is the refutation? (If white doesn't play e5, but plays something like Be2 or Bd3)

  22. I must day, you explain the moves of an opening in so much more detail than anyone I've watched. It actually helps me to understand the moves when I watch you make them (and hence helps when my opponents go off-book), rather than just resulting in me memorising the moves.

  23. Thanks Dereque.I love your commentary and treatment ofthese basic openings. As a club player. I find a few watches arms me with enough information to begin a basic foray into these openings and defenses.. Thank you a million times. for this particuraly insightful video

  24. Ah! A cliffhanger ending! What will become of black?! Will white surge forward, overwhelming his army and laying waste to his castle leaving him naked and afraid? Or will he patiently allow white to advance upon him, holding his counter-attack until he "can see the whites of their eyes" and then, like a jujitsu master, use his enemy's momentum against him, deflecting and neutralizing the attack and leaving his enemy vulnerable to counter-attack? Find out next time on "Dereque Kelley Explains Chess Better than Anyone on the Internet!"

  25. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ the move 8…Nbd7 is possible but risky. Actually the move 8.Bb5+ in this line is a real headache to benoni-players, because 8…Nfd7 is not very convincing. If Black manages to get a good game with 8…Nbd7 then 8.Bb5+ does little sense. Obviously 8…Nbd7 is a really sharp move since it sacrifices a piece: 8…Nbd7 9.e5 dxe5 10.fxe5 Nh5 11.e6 with 11…Qh4+ being one possibility.

  26. Your opening videos are really top notch., you are very good at explaining the ideas behind the moves. Thanks for this

  27. sup Dereque…was looking at 4.dxe looks ok for white as 4. …dxe leads to queen exchange and bad for black. So i saw after 4.dxe? …Qe7! as now any exchange of f or d pawns just helps blacks development. Do you agree? Ive been using your vids as a reference guide for years…your presentation & explanations motivate me! Thanks man.

  28. Do you have a Benko Gambit video tucked away somewhere? Looking at other channels the modern benoni has fallen out of favor (though they failed to mention why).

  29. Thank you Dereque. Your video's are the only one's that I have been able to follow and start to understand the concepts involved behind the various possible moves in the game.

  30. One of the clearest explanations of the key plans in the Benoni that I've seen. You have a gift for reducing openings to their essential ideas. I especially appreciate that you highlight the variations that don't work in a way that the average club player can understand. Kudos.

  31. Hi thanks for the vids they are really good, does white somtimes play D6 bfore developing his knight. If so what is blacks best response to this?

  32. I automatically hit like in all your videos. Then I watch them. Because I know they are awesome before I see them and it helps me track which ones I've seen already. 🙂

  33. What he never mentioned is that exactly the Taimanov Attack (7.f4) is the reason why Black usually reaches the Modern Benoni with different move order and plays 2.e6 first and only plays c5 after White placed a Knight on f3.
    Well, he basically presented perfectly why is Black doing that…

  34. Good Job Kelly. Your lectures helped me a lot in learning opening repertoire. You made opening principles very interesting..Thanks a lot.

  35. It’s openings like this that made me fall in love with chess. 😁!!,I thought it nerdy and dull until I saw Tal and Steinitz games!..does anyone know where the Benoni name comes from?…why it’s called that?

  36. Please also cover the Czech Benoni, Benoni with 3…g6 and the Hromadka System and make some Endgame and Middlegame videos also. I have subscribed to your channel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *