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Benoni Defense

Benoni Defense
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Moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5
ECO A43-A44
A56-A79
Origin German manuscript entitled Benoni by Aaron Reinganum (1825)
Named after Hebrew: "son of sorrow"‎
Parent Indian Defense

The Benoni Defense is an opening characterized by the moves:

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5

Black can then sacrifice a pawn by 3...b5 (the Benko Gambit), but if Black does not elect this line then 3...e6 is the most common move (though 3...d6 or 3...g6 are also seen, typically leading to main lines).

Etymology

"Ben oni" (בֶּן אוֹנִי) is a Hebrew term meaning "son of my sorrow" (cf. Genesis 35:18) - the name of an 1825 manuscript about this opening.

Old Benoni: 1.d4 c5

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Old Benoni Defense

The Old Benoni starts with 1.d4 c5. The Old Benoni may transpose to the Czech Benoni, but there are a few independent variations. This form has never attracted serious interest in high-level play, though Alexander Alekhine defeated Efim Bogoljubow with it in one game of their second match, in 1934. The Old Benoni is sometimes called the Blackburne Defense, after Englishman Joseph Henry Blackburne, the first player known to have used it successfully.

Czech Benoni: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5

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Czech Benoni

In the Czech Benoni, also sometimes known as the Hromadka Benoni, after Karel Hromádka, Black plays 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5. The Czech Benoni is much more solid than the Modern Benoni, but it is also more passive. The middlegames arising from this line are characterised by much manoeuvring; in most lines, Black will look to break with b7-b5 or f7-f5 after due preparation, while White may play Nc3-e4-h3-Bd3-Nf3-g4, in order to gain space on the kingside and prevent ...f5 by Black.

Modern Benoni: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6

Read main article: Modern Benoni

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Modern Benoni

The Modern Benoni, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6, is the most common form of Benoni apart from the Benko Gambit. Black's intention is to play ...exd5 and create a queenside pawn majority, whose advance will be supported by fianchettoed bishop on g7. The combination of these two features differentiates Black's setup from the other Benoni defenses and the King's Indian Defense, although transpositions between these openings are common. The Modern Benoni is classified under the ECO codes A60-A79.

Snake Benoni: 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 Bd6

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Snake Benoni

The Snake Benoni refers to a variant of the Modern Benoni where the bishop is developed to d6 rather than g7. This opening was invented in 1982 by Rolf Olav Martens, who gave it its name because of the sinuous movement of the bishop - in Martens's original concept, Black follows up with 6...Bc7 and sometimes ...Ba5 - and because the Swedish word for "snake", orm, was an anagram of his initials. Normunds Miezis has been a regular exponent of this variation. Aside from Martens's plan, 6...0-0 intending ...Re8, ...Bf8 and a potential redevelopment of the bishop to g7, has also been tried. White appears to retain the advantage against both setups.

ECO

The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) has many codes for the Benoni Defense.

Old Benoni Defense:

  • A43 1.d4 c5
  • A44 1.d4 c5 2.d5 e5

Benoni Defense:

  • A56 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 (includes Czech Benoni)
  • A57-A59 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 (Benko Gambit)
  • A60 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6
  • A61 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6

Fianchetto Variation:

  • A62 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0
  • A63 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7
  • A64 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Nd2 a6 11.a4 Re8

Modern Benoni:

  • A65 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4
  • A66 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4

Taimanov Variation:

  • A67 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+

Four Pawns Attack:

  • A68 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0-0
  • A69 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Be2 Re8

Classical Benoni:

  • A70 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3
  • A71 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bg5
  • A72 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0
  • A73 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0
  • A74 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a6
  • A75 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Bg4
  • A76 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8
  • A77 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2
  • A78 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6
  • A79 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6 11.f3

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