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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure? (Read 4000 times)
ErictheRed
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #8 - 10/11/19 at 15:24:28
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I think that at club level (1400-2300 let's say), far too many people play the Benoni and King's Indian. Those amateurs think that they can play exciting games like Mikhail Tal or Gary Kasparov, but in reality are not normally up to the task of making that well-timed sacrifice that keeps the game unclear. On the other hand, White players obviously aren't playing like Karpov or Korchnoi all of the time, either.

Strong players know the risk and also know how to muddy the waters when appropriate. Weaker players often seem to accept an interior of passive position in my experience, though that doesn't necessarily spell disaster at low levels.

I guess my point is that there are far fewer players who are truly the "mini-Tals" or "mini-Kasparovs" than who think they are, and a lot of club players would have more success picking other defenses, in my opinion.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #7 - 10/11/19 at 13:59:30
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kevinfat wrote on 10/11/19 at 02:49:13:
How would you guys compare the chances . of winning with the benoni compared to other openings?

In a classical opening, if both players play perfectly, the result should be a draw. If white makes one inaccurate move, black equalizes, and if white makes a second inaccurate move, black gets the initiative, but still a draw with perfect play thereafter. For example, a couple of inaccuracies by white in the QGD Exchange Variation makes the position like a reversed Caro-Kann Exchange Variation.

In the Modern Benoni, if both sides play perfectly, the result is close to a win for white. (I'm not the only one with this opinion). Typically the first white inaccuracy is choosing a "less harmful" variation or move order and this reduces white's advantage to merely unpleasant for black. A second inaccuracy at this stage gives the initiative to black (some thematic break, or the pieces start to buzz and swarm). But due to the inherently unbalanced nature of the position, this black initiative has a different feel than the initiative in a classical position. Neutralizing the Modern Benoni initiative can require energetic or even sacrificial moves by white. Most players are reluctant to undertake concrete measures when the goal is to retain control, so paradoxically the desire to maintain control allows the position to spin out of control.

That's the hope, anyway. For every game like Spassky - Fischer
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1044727 ,
there are even more like Korchnoi - Mecking
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1082257 .
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #6 - 10/11/19 at 13:22:53
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kevinfat wrote on 10/11/19 at 01:18:23:
. Not being an expert at it but when I look at it what I see is that after white play a4 the queenside expansion is locked down.


It isn't though. With ideas like .. a6, .. Na6-c7 or Nf6-e8-c7, Bd7, Rb8, Black can put enough covering the b5 square to make the b5 pawn break. It's in the closed "old" Benoni where Black has pawns on e5,d6 and c5 that play can enter a trench warfare stage with slow attempts by Black to organise b5, f5 or both.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #5 - 10/11/19 at 09:46:23
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kevinfat wrote on 10/11/19 at 02:49:13:
why would anyone take those kind of risks unless the rewards are worth it?

Low drawing rate, so they play the Benoni because they want to win and have the confidence that they'll be on the receiving end of the rewards.

kevinfat wrote on 10/11/19 at 02:49:13:
How would you guys compare the chances . of winning with the benoni compared to other openings?

Simple - after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 and 4...exd5 about 1/4 games end with a draw. Black wins slightly more than 31% and anyone who plays this trusts that he/she will belong to that 31%. I myself play the Classical Dutch with such an attitude, which according to some is even more risky.
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #4 - 10/11/19 at 03:30:52
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The way I read it, Nunn's quote does not contradict what I wrote. But maybe you don't agree with that, so let's see what some other respected authors have to say.

Quote:
It would be impossible to illustrate even a fraction of typical positions and tactics that arise from the Benoni. My object has been to discuss these when they arise in concrete positions throughout the book. Nevertheless, let me comment upon just a few prototypical structures and strategic themes for those who are new to this opening. (There follows four pages of examples.)
--Watson (2001) The Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni, page 10

Quote:
The Modern Benoni is a sharp opening to employ, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a number of important strategic ideas that frequently occur in it. A knowledge of these is useful, although one must always be careful when implementing a common plan, for fiendish tactics are never far from the surface in the lively world of the Benoni. (There follows 50 pages of the Strategy chapter.)
--Palliser (2005) The Modern Benoni Revealed, page 46

Quote:
It is impossible to list here all the typical tactical and strategic motifs for both sides. ... There are seven main chapters in the book, and there is a description of the contents at the beginning of each of them. At the end of each chapter I sum up the most notable plans and tactical motifs for each side that we have seen in the games and their notes. In these conclusions we shall see that many plans for both sides appear time and again, but the evaluation changes: a plan is not always good; it depends on how the forces are deployed. ... (There follows Chapter One - The Classical Variation.)
--Franco (2007) Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni, page 5

When I used the word "dynamic", this was short-hand for the strategic factors being dominated by the tactics, at least from black's point of view. So reference to strategy without actual variations is quite misleading. None of the three authors I quoted makes this mistake, in fact they explicitly mention that concrete variations are important. I no longer have Nunn's book, but I recall that he also leaned heavily on tactics to justify black's opening. If you ignore the tactics, black's position can be quite depressing.
  
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kevinfat
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #3 - 10/11/19 at 02:49:13
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Stigma wrote on 10/11/19 at 02:38:31:
an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 10/11/19 at 01:42:00:
Your mistake is that a dynamic opening like the Benoni cannot be summarized in a paragraph, even less so without reference to variations.


This is as good an attempt as any:

Quote:
Black relies fairly heavily on tactical resources to vindicate his opening play. Usually there will come a moment when Black will have to continue tactically to justify his play, for otherwise his pieces will be pushed back from their active squares and he will be reduced to permanent passivity.

- John Nunn, The Benoni for the Tournament Player, Batsford 1982

This is also a decent answer to kevinfat's query. Black's pawn structure is indeed a bit inflexible, and in many positions he has to rely on piece play (and even sacrifices) for a long time. That can lead to spectacular wins, but also to ugly losses if piece play doesn't cut it.


Well that is an interesting quote of John Nunn. So like I guess you could rephrase the question why would anyone take those kind of risks unless the rewards are worth it?  How would you guys compare the chances . of winning with the benoni compared to other openings?
  
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Stigma
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #2 - 10/11/19 at 02:38:31
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 10/11/19 at 01:42:00:
Your mistake is that a dynamic opening like the Benoni cannot be summarized in a paragraph, even less so without reference to variations.


This is as good an attempt as any:

Quote:
Black relies fairly heavily on tactical resources to vindicate his opening play. Usually there will come a moment when Black will have to continue tactically to justify his play, for otherwise his pieces will be pushed back from their active squares and he will be reduced to permanent passivity.

- John Nunn, The Benoni for the Tournament Player, Batsford 1982

This is also a decent answer to kevinfat's query. Black's pawn structure is indeed a bit inflexible, and in many positions he has to rely on piece play (and even sacrifices) for a long time. That can lead to spectacular wins, but also to ugly losses if piece play doesn't cut it.
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #1 - 10/11/19 at 01:42:00
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Your mistake is that a dynamic opening like the Benoni cannot be summarized in a paragraph, even less so without reference to variations.
  
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kevinfat
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Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
10/11/19 at 01:18:23
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I don't play the benoni as black but I do not understand the appeal of it. Not being an expert at it but when I look at it what I see is that after white play a4 the queenside expansion is locked down. Now with the exception of possibly playing c4 (which has to be well timed because although black gets the c5 square for a knight he gives up d4 control) or maybe maybe f5 black's pawn structure is rather rigid and inflexible. I constantly read that benoni is very dynamic for black but it certainly doesn't feel that way with regard to the black pawn structure. It feels like black has to wait for white to make the pawn break to open the position. Now I'm sure engines show with super precise play benoni is completely fine. But for a normal club player it actually doesn't seem that appealing. What am I not understanding?
  
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