Benko GambitA57

D Thomas
J Edge

Birmingham League Individual Competition (Semi-Final)
Division 1, 2001/2

This game got me through to the final of the Birmingham League Div 1 individual (which I subsequently won). Dave Thomas has been one of my most long-term adversaries over the board, with many meetings in the individual competition, often in the same year. The vast majority of these games have been highly enjoyable. David always likes to 'go for it' so I prepared the following opening to give him a chance to do this: And by the way, if anyone puts this on Fritz, then I don't want to know how he could have won - its up to a player to find the win over the board.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. Nc3 axb5 David sticks by his openings - the following has been the start of at least half a dozen of our games. He again selects one of the most attacking responses by White 6. e4 b4 7. Nb5 d6 More or less mandatory to stop the centre rolling on 8. Bf4 Nbd7 This was my prepared move - a bit defensive but it invites the attack and I know that David would plough on. 8 ...Nxe4 was not possible here because of 9 Qe2 Nf6 10 Nxd6 winning the queen. 9... f5 would not help due to 10 f3. 9. Nf3 Nxe4 However, it is now possible because the knight on f3 stops the pawn advancing 10. Qe2 f5 11. Ng5 Ndf6 Again, not Nxg5?? 12. Nxd6 mate 12. f3 Nxd5! 13. Nxe4! Nxf4 14. Nexd6+ A major alternative was the sacrifce Nb5xd6+ exd6 15 Nxd6+ Kd7. After half an hour of looking at this alternative, I've still no idea of what is happening. I think that Black can hang on with enough material to win by running with the king and not getting too greedy but am prepared to be proved wrong. What do you think?. 14... Kd7 15. Qe5 exd6 16. Qxf4 Qe7+ 17. Be2 Qe5 18. Qxe5 dxe5 It was hard for White to keep the queens on - after 18. Qd2 f4 and Qe3. In this position whites knight on b5 is looking a little isolated. In the actual game, I was trying thought projection to affect move 19- dont play Bc4, dont play Bc4 as I didn't like the look of it at all. I would guess ... Ra5 is the best response but White is starting to get the initiative again. 19. Rd1+ Proof that thought projection works! 19... Kc6 20. Bc4 Ra5 I've got to hit the loose knight to force White to commit and not just sit back and build up. Also, its the best plan. 21. Rd8 Ba6 Wheres neddy heading now? (sorry about the degradation in quality of the comments - I've started on the wine) If 22. a4 ba (en passant) 23. Nxa3 Rxa3 24. Bxa3 Bxc4 22. Ra8 Bxb5 23. Rxa5 Bxc4 24. b3 Bd3 25. Kd2 Kb6 White now tries to connect his rooks to create some threats 26. Ra8 e4 27. fxe4 Bxe4 28. Rd8 g6 29. Rd1 Bg7 To divide and conquer the rooks by interposing on d4 - the two bishops then dominate the board. 30. Rd6+ Kc7 31. Ke2 Bd4 32. Re6 Bxg2 33. Rd2 Be4 34. Re7+ Kd6 35. Ra7 Ke5 36. a4 bxa3 37. Rxa3 Ra8 Just swap to victory. 38. Rxa8 Bxa8 39. Kd3 Be4+ 40. Ke2 Bd5 With another pawn falling, White calls it a day 0-1