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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure? (Read 1113 times)
an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #23 - 10/16/19 at 14:20:42
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Another problem with autopilot in sharp openings is that if the opponent makes a mis-step, it might go unpunished. But it all comes down to experience in that opening. Sometimes the answer to a mis-step is simply to continue with the plan. Other times the answer is more concrete. Expertise in that opening is knowing which is which, a kind of sixth sense.

I find it very hard to switch out of autopilot, regardless of whether it's appropriate or not. Autopilot inertia, if you will.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #22 - 10/16/19 at 13:13:35
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So am I to understand that an example of what these quotes by John Nunn and others mean is that you can't play the Benoni on autopilot. Meaning for example playing 9..a6 in autopilot mode rather than one of the necessary lines will get you in trouble very fast in the following modern main line.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 .Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 a6 (9..b5) 10.a4 Nbd7 11.0-0 Re8


I suppose one answer is that it’s not a good idea to play any opening on autopilot.  But, ok, in sharper openings, it’s probably more likely for a mis-step to cause serious trouble than in solid openings.  Comes with the territory.  Not sure the Benoni is any different in that respect than other sharp openings. 

With respect to the line you give above, 7.Nf3 is actually an inaccuracy by White.  The position after 11..Re8 is thought by theory to be better for White, but Black is not exactly losing by force or in any particular trouble.  There’s still a game to play, after all.  By the way,  9..a6 is a move here.  I believe Watson and Petrov both endorse it as an ok alternative and recommend a plan for Black with ..Nh5.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #21 - 10/15/19 at 21:34:01
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@Stigma - Palliser is currently $4.99 at chess4less
https://www.chess4less.com/modern-benoni-revealed---richard-palliser.html
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #20 - 10/12/19 at 22:53:18
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Looking at the black players in Hartston (1977) Benoni, it's no surprise to see names like Tal, Matulovic, Planinc, and Ljubojevic playing the Modern Benoni. But I had no idea Korchnoi (!) ever played it. I thought the only opening he despised more than the King's Indian was the Modern Benoni. I looked for more unexpected blacks: Keres - Mr. Classical; Petrosian - Mr. Cautious; Portisch - maybe not so surprising that he played it, but I had no idea he played it so often.

Apparently the Modern Benoni was a good choice against Donner. Korchnoi did not play it against Donner, but he tried.
Donner - Korchnoi, Budapest 1961 (0:1,24) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1081376

Below are all the references to black games by these four that I found in Hartston.

Keres b.1916
Donner - Keres, Hastings 1954/55 (0:1,34) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1072542
Ojanen - Keres, Helsinki 1960 (1:0,38) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1072831

Petrosian b.1929
Gligoric - Petrosian, Zurich ct 1953 (1/2,41) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1106246
Donner - Petrosian, Goteborg izt 1955 (0:1,41) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1106311

Korchnoi b.1931
Antoshin - Korchnoi, USSR ch Riga 1970 (1/2,24) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1082051
van den Berg - Korchnoi, Wijk aan Zee 1971 (0:1,22) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1082103

Portisch b.1937
Szabo - Portisch, Hungary ch Budapest 1959 (1/2,66) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1137008
Donner - Portisch, Budapest 1961 (0:1,42) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1112933
Bertok - Portisch, Stockholm izt 1962 (0:1,39) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1112965
Liptay - Portisch, Hungary ch Budapest 1963 (0:1,40) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1113047
Stahlberg - Portisch, Havana (Hartston says Tel Aviv) 1964 (0:1,40) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1480302
Uhlmann - Portisch, Hastings 1970/71 (1/2,46) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1503525
Donner - Portisch, Palma de Mallorca 1971 (1/2,19) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1550129
Ree - Portisch, Teesside 1972 (1/2,31) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1113599
Gligoric - Portisch, Manila 1974 (1:0,32) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1113649
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #19 - 10/12/19 at 21:27:45
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I don´t agree on the assessment, that the modern Benoni lacks flexibility for the black side. That is IMHO only true for the Old Benoni with e7-e5, when black has no open files and White only has to prevent black from playing b5 or f5 (often with drastic measures like g2-g4) to be objectively better.

The modern Benoni has a lot of resources. Often these resources are created by the White side. For example if White goes for a set-up with e4, you can use your counterplay against this pawn as a way to get a comfortable game. If White plays with f2-f3, you can play on the weakened black squares (for example with Nh5 and moves like that). If White plays with Bg5, all of a sudden, you get ideas like h7-h6 followed by Nh7 and Ng5. If White manouvers his f3-knight to the queenside (mostly c4), this removes a defender from the kingside and allows black to go for an all-in-attack against the white king, etc pp.

You need to know your stuff with black for sure, but if you do, you´ll have a great time playing the Benoni Smiley
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #18 - 10/12/19 at 14:40:02
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1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 a6 10.a4 Nbd7 11.0-0 Re8

I'm not sure how much trouble black is in there. I am by no means an expert on the Modern Benoni, and have only looked at 9...b5. Franco says "Black plays solidly and proves that it not easy to break his position.", but his main game is not that encouraging:

Onischuk - Nakamura, US Ch 2006  http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1399189
Franco offers 17.Rad1!? and 23.Qd3 as improvements for white. See also Onischuk's annotations in Informator 96.

Franco mentions, but does not analyze, 9...b5, 9...Nh5, 9...Re8 10.O-O c4, 9...Bd7, and 9...Na6.

Another quote.
Quote:
"Every time they don't play 9...b5 I get happy" said Atalik about this position. 9...b5 is the thematic move, but if White so wishes, he can reach an endgame by force with an extra pawn, which according to the latest examples, and Grivas's recent book Beating the Fianchetto Defences, is unpleasant for Black to defend. We shall not be examining it here, since the assessments depend critically on detailed analysis, and less so on general assessments (sic) and themes.
--Franco (2007) Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni, page 23

To me that about sums up the Modern Benoni. In many other openings you can just look at the position and make an assessment. But in this opening everything depends on variations. That doesn't make it good for black, but does make it difficult for white.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #17 - 10/12/19 at 06:27:09
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 10/11/19 at 13:59:30:
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 .


So am I to understand that an example of what these quotes by John Nunn and others mean is that you can't play the Benoni on autopilot. Meaning for example playing 9..a6 in autopilot mode rather than one of the necessary lines will get you in trouble very fast in the following modern main line.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 .Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 a6 (9..b5) 10.a4 Nbd7 11.0-0 Re8
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #16 - 10/12/19 at 06:07:03
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For one thing the KID pretty often results in Benoni positions because Black can always play ...c5 later. The big exceptions are the Classical and the Fianchetto, when White annoyingly simply refuses to play d4-d5. So I suppose your question is about KID-variations involving ...e5, evt. preceded by ...Na6.
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #15 - 10/12/19 at 05:53:02
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ErictheRed wrote on 10/11/19 at 15:24:28:
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.


I constantly read about the King's Indian being tactical. Is this the same principle as the Benoni in that black needs to rely on tactics otherwise risk being squeezed to death by a space disadvantage. Although compared to the Benoni black has more pawn break? I'm trying to understand what do people think of the King's Indian.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #14 - 10/11/19 at 20:15:47
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 10/11/19 at 18:25:43:
Stigma wrote on 10/11/19 at 17:03:02:
I wasn't even aware of that Palliser book, only his later Chess Developments. Is the strategy instruction in Revealed good enough that it could still be worth getting?

Short answer is no, not if you have other books. The Strategy chapter is part of the Revealed template. I don't think the Modern Benoni version of that chapter is the best. That's more to do with the opening than the author.

I guess there is quite a bit of good strategy material on the Benoni, as that shouldn't be entirely impossible despite the tactical nature of the opening. I have Franco's game-based Chess Explained book, but also more explicitly instructional stuff like Rios' Chess Structures and Marin's 3 database set on the Modern Benoni for Modern Chess. Marin also made a Tactics Toolbox DVD on the opening, which I have but haven't even started looking at.

It's not an opening I find it easy to prioritize studying, since I was right it would occur relatively rarely in my games. All the more reason for people to continue to hit me with it...  Tongue
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #13 - 10/11/19 at 18:25:43
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Stigma wrote on 10/11/19 at 17:03:02:
I wasn't even aware of that Palliser book, only his later Chess Developments. Is the strategy instruction in Revealed good enough that it could still be worth getting?

Short answer is no, not if you have other books. The Strategy chapter is part of the Revealed template. I don't think the Modern Benoni version of that chapter is the best. That's more to do with the opening than the author.
  
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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #12 - 10/11/19 at 17:33:48
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RoleyPoley wrote on 10/11/19 at 15:42:59:
I recall from conversations with players using it who were much stronger than me, and the books out at that time, that in many lines the game ends up in a rook and pawn endgame and so rather drawish.

I'm going to take a wild guess that the rook ending you're thinking of occurs somewhere in this line:
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.h3 O-O 9.Bd3 b5 10.Bxb5 Nxe4 11.Nxe4 Qa5+ 12.Nfd2 Qxb5 13.Nxd6 Qa6 14.N2c4 Nd7 15.O-O and now 15...Nb6 or 15...Ne5 - especially the latter is considered very drawish these days as far as I know. And that has to be related to this Modern Main Line losing some popularity over the past 5 years or so, with the Bf4 line and the Classical taking over (at least when White has played an early Nf3 that restricts his choice of lines).
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #11 - 10/11/19 at 17:09:46
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RoleyPoley wrote on 10/11/19 at 15:42:59:
kevinfat wrote on 10/11/19 at 01:18:23:
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?


I played the benoni for about 15 years from mid 90's to about 2010. I'm a lower grade club player. Why did i play it?

First, i found it to be fun. I enjoyed the tactics and getting sharp positions against players not as comfortable in those situations is advantageous.

My opponents understood it far less than i did. Most games seemed to end up in a favourable line of the classical variation where black swaps his lsb for the knight on f3. weakening white's control of e5 and d4, while giving black a bit more space to work with.

This. A lot of the attraction of playing the Modern Benoni is it can be very difficult to play the White side too: You need to keep control of your space advantage, watch out for Black's pawn breaks and tactical shots, and advance at just the right moment. I've always had an interest in the defence, mainly because I've struggled so much against it as White.

The last time I switched to 1.d4 I made some statistics of roughly how often I could expect to face various Black defences. It depends how you group them, but in my scheme the Modern Benoni was only the 10th most popular, way behind 1. Slav and Semi-Slav, 2. King's Indian, 3. Nimzo-Indian, 4.QGD (including Tarrasch), etc. So on club level Black is likely to build up a nice experience gap with the "Assymmetric Benoni" position types. That counts for a lot, even (or especially?) when it's quite hard to play for Black too.
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #10 - 10/11/19 at 17:03:02
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 10/11/19 at 03:30:52:
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.

[...]

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.

You're right, of course. I don't think we disagree on anything of substance, and I didn't mean to start an argument. I just couldn't resist the implicit challenge in your original comment!

Thanks for digging up all those quotes. I wasn't even aware of that Palliser book, only his later Chess Developments. Is the strategy instruction in Revealed good enough that it could still be worth getting?
  

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Re: Modern benoni has rigid pawn structure?
Reply #9 - 10/11/19 at 15:42:59
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kevinfat wrote on 10/11/19 at 01:18:23:
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?


I played the benoni for about 15 years from mid 90's to about 2010. I'm a lower grade club player. Why did i play it?

First, i found it to be fun. I enjoyed the tactics and getting sharp positions against players not as comfortable in those situations is advantageous.

My opponents understood it far less than i did. Most games seemed to end up in a favourable line of the classical variation where black swaps his lsb for the knight on f3. weakening white's control of e5 and d4, while giving black a bit more space to work with.

I struggled to understand the KI and the Queen's Gambit, but the Benoni, like the dragon is somewhat thematical and felt like it made sense to me. I get a nice dsb, a half open file to restrain white's play and possible pawn breaks on the queenside, or f5 to break white's centre.

I recall from conversations with players using it who were much stronger than me, and the books out at that time, that in many lines the game ends up in a rook and pawn endgame and so rather drawish.

Unless theory has changed significantly, it's only a couple of lines that are super dangerous for black ( if black is properly prepared) and oddly most club players didnt play them (maybe they do at the higher club levels now?).

  

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