Welcome to my Benko Gambit (ECO A57) game with Reynolds Sampson!

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. I was up the exchange and thus wining when I blundered on move number 36 and dropped my Queen! I have lost track of how many won games that I blundered away! Some day I am going to figure out how to blunder proof my games of chess!

Florida Class Championships
Round 1, Board 15
Date Played: 24 February 1990
White: Reynolds Sampson
(1675) Black: Mike Serovey (1772)

1. d4 c5 2. d5 Nf6 3. c4 b5 4. b3 Bb7

Benko Gambit after 4... Bb7.

Benko Gambit after 4… Bb7.

Black’s last move seems to be the most common reply to 4. b3 but I don’t know if it is the best one. I have tried 4… bxc4 and 4… b4 without much luck. I actually got a decent game out of this opening but lost due to a blunder on move #36.

5. Nc3 bxc4 6. bxc4 g6 7. Rb1 Ba6 8. e4 d6 9. Nf3 Nbd7 10. Qa4 Qc8

Benko Gambit after 10... Qc8.

Benko Gambit after 10… Qc8.

While completing his development Black is putting pressure on the White pawn at c4 and White has to defend that pawn while completing his own development.

11. Bd3 Bg7 12. Bb2 O-O 13. Qc2 Nb6 14. Ne2 e6

Benko Gambit after 14... e6.

Benko Gambit after 14… e6.

Although Black is keeping pressure on c4 he has no play left on the Queenside so he decided to open up the Center.

15. O-O exd5 16. exd5 Re8 17. Nc1 Qg4

Benko Gambit after 17... Qg4.

Benko Gambit after 17… Qg4.

Black continues to attack c4 but cannot capture the pawn with his Queen. So, White kicks the Queen.

18. h3 Qd7 19. Nd2 Rab8 20. Ncb3 Nh5

Benko Gambit after 20... Nh5.

Benko Gambit after 20… Nh5.

I normally don’t like to trade off my fianchettoed bishops because that creates some weak squares around my King. In this case I wanted to get my Knight to f4 so that I could eliminate one of the defenders of c4.

21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Na5 Nf4 23. Nc6 Rbc8 24. Rfe1 Nbxd5!

Benko Gambit after 24... Nbxd5!

Benko Gambit after 24… Nbxd5!

By capturing on d5 with the Knight on b Black wins a pawn, eliminates the Bishop on d3 and creates a passed pawn on the c file.

25. cxd5 Bxd3 26. Qc3+ f6 27. Rxe8 Rxe8

Benko Gambit after 27... Rxe8.

Benko Gambit after 27… Rxe8.

Black is up a passed pawn so of course he wants to trade down to a won endgame. What I don’t understand is why White gave up the exchange on b1. After the capture on b1 Black is clearly wining.

28. Qb3? Bxb1 29. Nxb1 Re1+ 30. Kh2 Nxd5! 31. Qxd5 Rxb1    

Benko Gambit after 31... Rxb1.

Benko Gambit after 31… Rxb1.

White now has a Knight versus a Rook and 2 pawns against a higher rated player. Those connected passed pawns in the Center should be enough to win this endgame.

32. Na5 Rb2 33. Nc4 Rxf2 34. Nxd6 Rf5?

Benko Gambit after 34... Rf5?

Benko Gambit after 34… Rf5?

Because Black has the passed c pawn and a kingside pawn majority he wanted to trade off his Rook for the Knight and then if he can get the queens off the board he has an easily won endgame. Better was 34… c4! because White can’t capture on c4 without losing either his Knight or Queen. Also good was 34… Rc2.

35. Qd3 Qc7 36. Kg1

Benko Gambit after 36. Kg1.

Benko Gambit after 36. Kg1.

Moving the King to g1 breaks the pin on the Knight at d6. Black apparently missed this detail when making his next move allowing the fork on his King and Queen when the Knight went to e8. Moving the Rook to e5 nstead keeps the Knight off e8 and keeps the Queen behind the passed c pawn. After 36… Re5 Black should have a pretty easy win.

Rf4?? 37. Ne8+!! 1-0

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