The Benko Gambit: Lecture by GM Ben Finegold

The Benko Gambit, named for GM Pal Benko, is a popular opening. However, it is a bit unusual as gambits go. Black, not White, gives up a pawn for long-term positional compensation. Someone who plays the Benko is not looking for a quick, sharp, tactical knockout, but instead is trying to wear down their opponent.

04:28 Anatoly Karpov – Boris Gelfand, Candidates 1995
24:31 Hikaru Nakamura – Viktor Bologan, Biel 2012
36:05 Magnus Carlsen – Viktor Bologan, Biel 2012
45:34 Vladimir Kramnik – Veselin Topalov, Wijk aan Zee, 2003

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37 Comments

  1. Is this why there are no benko gambit as black videos?

  2. Dear Ben Finegold, thank you for all the great videos. People who complain, have some gratitude and show some respect, please.

  3. So basically since everyone watching this video is lower than a GM, the Benko Gambit is very playable for black. If white declines the gambit, black gets equality.

  4. Nice lecture. I have no hope of winning the Benko gambit as black now…

  5. The wobbly chair backrest is distracting, Ben. Have somebody buy you a better chair for streaming! 🙂

  6. 32:47… uhm excuse me Professor Feingold, you'll remember that Tony Miles famously defeated a certain Mr Karpov by answering 1.e4 with 1…a6 !! DOUBLE exclam. I mean, your point is still valid, Karpov was obviously the better player, but NOT on that day. 1…a6 !! against the World Champion, the balls on that guy.

  7. so if carlsen, nakamura and kaprov usually win against it vs a worse player its bad? Makes sense

  8. is this dude going to vibrate the whole time?

  9. All that "super GMs are too good for opening xy to work…" is not really valid reasoning. I bet a magnus vs stockfish 16 match over 10 games in wolga gambit start position – magnus with white would still lose the match.

  10. Talk about taking the fun out of things. I was looking to start playing this. Sheesh. Nevermind

  11. This guy is jst talking alot from his prime time to his present old daya…jst present the game man..stop unnecessarily talking!! 54 min vid in which 30 min he will be talking non stop…

  12. Magnus played the Benko in a young Masters tournament over covid (probably 2021) and rolled them. So it’s relevant to an extent. If you’re Magnus 🤣

  13. – What kind of an advice do you give to a Bulgarian chess grandmaster, when his skin looks really dry?- "Vaseline, Topalov!"

  14. The description you gave for desperado is for a tactic called Dump

  15. The mouse cursor is missing and judging by some of Ben's comments it's clear this is not the intention.

  16. After this video I'm a bit confused about the material situation in a Benko gambit. That aspect wasn't really mentioned.

  17. Thanks for the Benko video. Only problem is, the two Bologan games shown from Biel 2012 pretty much killed this 12 a4 line for Black, so nowadays the mainline is 6…Bg7 with delayed capture on a6.

  18. I actually fell asleep watching this karpov game. let me try watching this video AGAIN

  19. It's also called Wolga Gambit, mainly in Europe, but also mainly and so forth.

  20. The Karpov game was pure wizardry.. the attack in the end came so fast, and completely blindsided Gelfand

  21. It's my favorite. Invented by mr Gambit himself

  22. I believe kehlani told you to put your knights like that

  23. I wonder if they guy who requested the lecture wanted a load of games where the Benko gets absolutely torn to shreds lol

  24. Drinking game: Take a shot everytime Ben says "White's up a pawn."

  25. It's always funny to me that the price for a lecture is aggressively unavailable without contacting Karen. I guess it's the kind of thing where "if you have to ask, you can't afford it."

  26. i have analysed the benko for hours and the only way to black to get a game is with early Qb4 lines

  27. At 10:26 Svetozar Gligoric played h3 instead of g3, giving up a tempo to put his king on h2, against Walter Browne. Browne wrote it is "something to think about". It was an interesting game until Browne left a Rook en prise and resigned when Gligo took it.

  28. It's just like how I feel playing the Dragon. "Oh darn. Why am I playing this opening, I'm down +1."

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