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Svein Johannessen vs Robert James Fischer
Havana Olympiad Final-A (1966), Havana CUB, rd 7, Nov-11
Benko Gambit: Declined. Main Line (A57)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-21-10  Kazzak: These two losses were major psychological issues for Mr. Johannessen.

One wonders what he was up to. 4. c4 was bad enough, and guaranteed not to fluster Fischer - and then Johannessen's reluctance to capture anything, trading off material, before his 20th move, allows Fischer to set up for a magnificent kill.

Nov-21-10  Al2009: One thing is sure…

The variation I suggested after 19. Nxe7! was never analysed before, and it deserves a careful evaluation, because it is the best in that position, and surely is better than the one actually played by White in the game, as White was losing and resigning in just 7 moves after 19. e5?

One could say at least: “Ah, interesting variation…!”

But you Sastre cannot understand it, it is necessary to be intelligent people tu understand…

Therefore sorry, but you’re a deadly loss, there’s no point in speaking with you, it’s just a waste of time, and I cannot waste my time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I would have played the Scandanavian. Just because...
Mar-16-11  Wyatt Gwyon: I wonder why Fischer didn't play this opening more. It seems like it would have suited him well.
Jan-02-12  Wyatt Gwyon: ^^Been thinking more about this as I've studied the Benko gambit over the past year. Really wonder know what Fischer could have done with it.
Jan-03-12  Interbond: IM Svein Johannessen was norwegian not swedish
Jan-03-12  Garech: Interesting notes about Fischer using the Benko gambit. To be honest, I'm not sure it was totally his style. He believed in the power of material advantage, and although the Benko has never been 100% refuted, there are many lines where black does not get much for the pawn other than queenside pressure. I imagine that if Fischer had been ground down to a worse endgame using the gambit, he would have never employed it again. In the database, I believe this is the only example of his using the Benko, and even in this game it is only by transposition. That's surely a testament to his feelings towards it - and personally, I'm glad he didn't adopt it more frequently, as we have a host of glorious King's Indians to enjoy instead as a result.



Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Removing the defender of g2. I would say 26...? would be a simple Monday puzzle.
Mar-19-13  vinidivici: Great game. Deep calculation by Fischer by the end.


May-08-13  Snehalshekatkar: Fischer was in trouble after his 18th move!!
Sep-09-13  jerseybob: It's not a Benko gambit, but a Blumenfeld, if black plays b5 before white goes c4. For an excellent analysis of this game, and any "wins" that white may have missed, see "Bobby Fischer: His Approach to Chess", by Elie Agur.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <jerseybob>: The true Blumenfeld typically arises after a move order such as 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5; used this myself on several occasions when I wanted to upset the apple cart of one strong, solid player or another.
Sep-09-13  jerseybob: This is an odd Blumenfeld offshoot in which e6 is never played but black fianchettoes instead. It's similar to what Tal played against Bela Berger in the '64 Interzonal, but done in a sounder way. Tal should've lost that game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: All the intellectual snobs will object to the presumptuousness of including a link to Wikipedia, but here I go, leading with my chin as the article below adduces sources such as <ray keene> and Kasparov, two people who could play a little:

Sep-09-13  jerseybob: It's a great change of pace opening for sure. One of my favorite games is Tarrasch-Alekhine 1922. Ole Siegy never knew what hit him.
Sep-09-13  Shams: One can argue move orders and transpositions, but if you want to actually study the position after <4...Bb7>, I know you can find it in the literature on the Benko Gambit.

It may also be found in Blumenfeld Gambit books; that I do not know.

Sep-09-13  jerseybob: If the Benko literature talks about the Blumenfeld, yes. But 4..Bb7 is not a Benko move.
Sep-09-13  Shams: <jerseybob> It's not in the Benko Accepted, true; but after White has declined the Benko Gambit with <1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Nf3>, many authorities give <4...Bb7> as Black's strongest move. Personally I don't play anything else.
Sep-09-13  jerseybob: To me, Benko means Benko Accepted. If it transposes into something else, the game should be named by that "something else" and then(by transp.) written in parentheses. The people who attach so many incorrect names to this database don't get that.
Sep-09-13  Shams: <jerseybob> <If it transposes into something else, the game should be named by that "something else" and then(by transp.) written in parentheses.>

I'm fine with that, if it transposes into another well-known system. But White has a great many 4th-move alternatives to the Benko Accepted, most of which (to my limited knowledge) lead to positions unique to the Benko move order.

Opening Explorer

To me, it only makes sense to call this whole family of variations "Benko declined". (And this isn't even to mention the half-accepted lines.) It also seems a bit strange to call this particular game a Blumenfeld when Black has does not play ...e7-e6. Is that not a signature Blumenfeld move?

Regardless, I don't care about consistency in taxonomy per se, as much as I care about making opening study easier. If this position may be found in a book on the Fred Flintstone opening, call it the Flintstone for all I care. Pebbles and Bam-Bam variation.

Jan-12-14  GREYSTRIPE: Bobby Fisher resulted in this chess-game a coruscating craftsmanship of Benko Gambit. A gambit, well-played, is risk-averse and is sure of gains. To be a successful gambiter, a chess-player is wise to emulate Bobby Fisher's Rook and Bishop. The Bishop-Advance is true in Benko, and with Bobby Fisher holding back the Queen for Knights-Holds, there is Center. Time is of the essence-play, and the endurance of his opponent faultered due to the unrelenting nature of Bobby Fisher's play. It is of particular interest to a wise player-of-chess that the opponent had no square position during the game, but that the bishops on both sides were Gauss Integral on Factors of E. What this means is that neither player could have lost a rook and won.
Aug-13-19  gambitfan: 1) -4.91 (22 ply) 27.♗xc6 ♗d4+ 28.♔h2 ♖f2+ 29.♔g1 ♖xb2+ 30.♕xd4+ cxd4 31.♗xb7 ♖xb7 32.♖e1 ♔g8 33.♔g2 ♖c8 34.♖e2 ♔f7 35.h4 ♖c3 36.♔f2 ♖a3 37.♔g2 d3 38.♖d2 e5 39.♔f3 ♔e6 40.♔e4 ♖d7 41.♔e3 h5
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < seeminor: 18.Kh8!! is a great move, getting his king out of the way before starting a superb tactical display >

yes it makes sure exf7 is not a check

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Wyatt Gwyon: I wonder why Fischer didn't play this opening more. It seems like it would have suited him well. ...Really wonder know what Fischer could have done with it. >

I would love to have seen him use it in the 92 match with Spassky. Instead he played very slow delayed a6 b5 and it gave Boris too much time to prepare his kingside pressure.

Apr-06-22  Joshka: Would 20.Bf6 been better for white?
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