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

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 I managed to beat a player rated in the high 1800’s. The game was even until he dropped a pawn and he resigned after dropping a Bishop on move #39.

Orlando December Tornado
Round 4, Board 9
Date Played: 9 December 1989
White: Carrigan
(1894) Black: Mike Serovey (1772)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. Nf3 d6 5. Qc2 bxc4

Benko gambit after 5... bxc4.

Benko gambit after 5… bxc4.

White’s last move got me out of “book”. I figured that White was not going to capture on b5 so I decided to capture on c4. I’m not sure if Black had a better move here.

6. e4 g6 7. Bxc4 Bg7 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. O-O Ba6

Benko gambit after 9... Ba6.

Benko gambit after 9… Ba6.

The light-squared bishops are often traded off in the Benko Gambit so I tried to trade them off here.

10. Rb1 Bxc4 11. Nxc4 Nbd7 12. Re1 Ng4

Benko gambit after 12... Ng4.

Benko gambit after 12… Ng4.

This Knight maneuver is often done in order to reposition the Knight on e5. Trading off the knights on e5 unleashes the Black Bishop on the a1 to h8 diagonal.

13. h3 Nge5 14. Nfxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Be3 Qa5 17. b3 Rfc8

Benko gambit after 17... Rfc8.

Benko gambit after 17… Rfc8.

Black now has his pieces positioned to support the advances of the a and c pawns. Black also has undisputed control of the a1 to h8 diagonal. Although the material is even I think that Black is slightly better.

18. f4 Bg7 19. Bf2 Qb4 20. Rbc1 Rc7 21. Qc4 a5 22. e5 Qxc4 23. Rxc4 Rb7 24. Ree4 Rb4

Benko gambit after 24... Rb4.

Benko gambit after 24… Rb4.

Black wants White to capture the Rook at b4 so that he can  recapture with the a pawn and have a pawn chain that goes from e7 to b4. White messes that plan up.

25. exd6 exd6 26. Kf1 Kf8 27. Be1 Rxc4 28. Rxc4 Bf6 29. Ra4 Bd8

Benko gambit after 29... Bd8.

Benko gambit after 29… Bd8.

White has his pieces attacking the Black pawn at a5 and Black is defending that pawn. Now, both sides move their kings into the Center. At this point the material is still even and both sides have three pawn islands that include an isolated pawn each.

30. Ke2 Ke7 31. Kd3 Kd7 32. b4 cxb4 33. Bxb4 Rb8!

Benko gambit after 33... Rb8!

Benko gambit after 33… Rb8!

Black is daring White to capture the pawn at a5. Capturing with the Rook will lose the exchange and capturing with the Bishop loses after 34. Bxa5?? Ra8!! wining the pinned Bishop. White is now free to capture the White Bishop with his a pawn so that Bishop must retreat to safety. Playing 33… Rc8 was also good. Shortly, the isolated pawn at d5 falls leaving Black up a pawn.

34. Bd2 Rb5 35. Kc4 Rc5+ 36. Kd4 Bb6 37. Ke4 f5+ 38. Kf3 Rxd5

Benko gambit after 38... Rxd5.

Benko gambit after 38… Rxd5.

It is bad enough that White is now down a passed pawn in the Center but his next move blunders away his Bishop! Playing 39. Ke2 protects his Bishop at d2 and keeps the Black Rook off d3. After 39. Ke2 Black probably would have played 39… Rb5 and then started advancing his passed d pawn.

39. Bc3?? Rd3+ 0-1

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