Welcome to my Benko Gambit (ECO A57) Declined game with Michael T. McCloskey!

On this page I have posted one my chess games in which I played the Black side of the Benko Gambit.

The game includes analysis and diagrams. This is one of the few times that my opponent has declined the gambit by playing 4. b3.

Correspondence Game
Section: 90SS7
Dates Played: ?
White: Michael T. McCloskey
(1483) Black: Mike Serovey (1711)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. b3 d6

Benko gambit after 4... d6.

Benko gambit after 4… d6.

In Masera-Benko, Reggio Emilia 1970/71 Black played 4… bxc4. Play continued 5. bxc4 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bb2 Bg7 8. f3 Nbd7 9. e4 Rb8 =+. My play in this game was along similar lines.

5. Bb2 Nbd7 6. e3 bxc4 7. bxc4 g6 8. Nf3 Bg7 9. Bd3 Rb8 10. Bc3 Nb6 11. O-O O-O

Benko gambit after 11... 0-0.

Benko gambit after 11… 0-0.

The material and development are even. Black’s knights are better placed than White’s and White’s light-squared Bishop is a tall pawn guarding c4. Black also has a Rook on the open b file. Overall, I say that Black is slightly better here.

12. Nbd2 Bd7 13. a4 Nxa4

Benko gambit after 13... Nxa4.

Benko gambit after 13… Nxa4.

Black realized that he can capture the pawn on a4 because he gets a Rook and pawn for a Knight and Bishop which is even material. However, Black also gets a passed pawn on the a file, which is why he went for the trades.

14. Rxa4 Bxa4 15. Qxa4 Qc7 16. Ba5 Qd7 17. Qxd7 Nxd7 18. Rb1 Rxb1+ 19. Nxb1 Rb8

Benko gambit after 19... Rb8.

Benko gambit after 19… Rb8.

I believe that White traded rooks in order to keep the Black Rook off the b file, but it didn’t work. Black not only controls the b file but will shortly also control White’s second rank. Black also has control of the diagonal that runs from a1 to h8 which included the queening square of a1. White should probably challenge that diagonal by playing 20. Bc3.

20. g3 Rb3 21. Bc2 Rb2 22. Bd3 Ra2

Benko gambit after 22... Ra2.

Benko gambit after 22… Ra2.

It is still not too late to play the Bishop to c3. White tries to win a pawn with Bd8 but instead almost gets his Bishop trapped on that diagonal. Note how after 23. Bd8 Black has absolute control of the a1 queening square.

23. Bd8 Kf8 24. h3 Ne5 25. Nxe5 Bxe5 26. f4 Bf6 0-1

Benko gambit after 26... Bf6 (Final position).

Benko gambit after 26… Bf6 (Final position).

I’m not sure why White picked this position to resign in. The material is still even, but White is going to have a real hard time stopping Black from queening his pawn on a1.

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