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English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation (A31)
1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4

Number of games in database: 2415
Years covered: 1925 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 36.3%
   Black wins 32.0%
   Draws 31.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Arturo Pomar Salamanca  19 games
Florin Gheorghiu  14 games
Jan Adamski  13 games
Vitaly Tseshkovsky  11 games
Juan Bellon Lopez  10 games
Tony Miles  9 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Alekhine vs A Fletcher, 1928
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1962
M Ghorbani vs H Faryad, 2003
Taimanov vs Yusupov, 1982
V Saigin vs Tal, 1954
M Damjanovic vs Fischer, 1970
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 page 1 of 97; games 1-25 of 2,415  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Torre vs Alekhine ½-½141925Baden-BadenA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
2. Alekhine vs Saemisch 1-0521925Baden-BadenA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
3. Rubinstein vs Spielmann 1-0391925MarienbadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
4. A S Sergeev vs A Kubbel  ½-½421926Match Moscow -LeningradA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
5. Colle vs Euwe  ½-½231926Weston-super-MareA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
6. O Antze vs Von Gottschall ½-½701926HannoverA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
7. Alekhine vs L Pruss 0-1391926RosarioA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
8. D Przepiorka vs Spielmann 1-0301926MunichA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
9. E Berman vs Kashdan  0-1321927Manhattan CC-chA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
10. G Machate vs Spielmann 0-128192725. DSB KongressA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
11. A Cheron vs Tarrasch  ½-½221927London OlympiadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
12. Reti vs R Grau 1-0171927London OlympiadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
13. Reti vs S Landau  ½-½281927MatchA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
14. W Fairhurst vs Reti ½-½561927LondonA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
15. W O Cruz vs R Grau  ½-½4119283rd South American ChampionshipA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
16. Kmoch vs E Steiner  ½-½381928Trebitsch MemorialA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
17. J Engel vs E Steiner  1-0621928Trentschin-Teplitz(Trencianske Teplice)A31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
18. Alekhine vs A Fletcher 1-0321928Simul, 6bA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
19. H Barlow vs G A Thomas  0-1321928British ChampionshipA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
20. Rubinstein vs Tarrasch 1-0371928BerlinA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
21. Y Porat vs K Richter 0-1241929DuisburgA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
22. Menchik vs Spielmann 0-1401929KarlsbadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
23. Menchik vs Rubinstein 0-1301929KarlsbadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
24. G A Thomas vs Euwe 0-1371929KarlsbadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
25. Menchik vs E Canal 0-1571929KarlsbadA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
 page 1 of 97; games 1-25 of 2,415  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-22-03  Bears092: This position usually comes up when white avoids a Benko/Benoni (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3). In fact, thats the only way I've played it.
Feb-13-04  marcus13: Yes you are write I use it a lot because i hate the benko gambit. It is a good way to avoid this opening. But in same time you avoid the Benoni that i think is favorable to white. Some1 say if god would play god on benoni white would always win.
Jul-02-04  rochade18: White isn't forced to play d5 which would lead to a Benoni game. It can be transposed to a (semi-)Tarrasch!
Jul-02-04  Cornwallis: Whoa <marcus>!
Is the Benoni really that bad? I have some great scores using it. And "always"? I don't think so.
Jul-02-04  dac1990: This is by far the most even opening I've seen-- there's only a 0.8% difference in white-black win percentages.
Dec-11-04  tacticsjokerxxx: C.h.o.d Alexander said that he thinks that if god played against god in the benoni, white would win, but.. we're only human. and amongst us. black wins.
Nov-13-05  DutchDunce: This is my mainstay against the Benoni-type openings. Just on principle I refuse to move my d4-pawn twice in the first 3-4 moves. In the past I tried dxc5 but that usually works in Black's favor.
May-27-06  PaulKeres: I've got to this via the English by 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. d4 as black, but I have also got to this through the A56 Benoni, anti-Benko route.

You can also transpose fairly easily into an Open Sicilian if White plays an eventually e2-e4 (usually after Nc3), and it can start to look a bit like a Marcozy bind (especially if Black Kside fianchettoes).

Oct-24-06  soughzin: Speaking of sicilian transpositions. If 1.d4 c5 2.e4! white gets into the sicilian, Not just the smith morra since after 2...cxd 3.Nf3 black can't keep the pawn. I'm trying to learn some benoni and I really wouldn't enjoy playing against a maroczy bind position. Is there a good way to avoid this PaulKeres? I guess a QGD approach is easiest if you want to avoid pure english stuff, or a more system defense like the dutch,KID,hedgehog...but I don't play the QGD and don't enjoy it lol so that doesn't help me.
Oct-25-06  refutor: <soughzin> Morphy was able to play that move order v. Sicilian but nowadays 3. ...a6 is strong in that line as after 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5! and after 6.Nf3/Nb3 Bb4 is strong
Oct-25-06  soughzin: Interesting. I've seen in played that way from white from Alex Lenderman recently. 3...a6 looks nice but if someone goes into the game looking for an old benoni and they don't play the sicilian there is practically no chance they will punish white's move order. Then again if white started out with d4 maybe they won't know the ins and outs of the sicilian anyway. Sounds like a good way to avoid playing 25 moves of theory: tell every player they can only study one white first move and two black defenses for a year, then the day of the big tournament announce they have to play the opposite heh.
Aug-01-08  Silverstrike: A fairly instructive loss of mine in this opening:

White: Jonathan Lennox (2136)
Black: Julius Schwartz (1679)

October 21st 2007

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 c5 3.c4 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Qxd5 6.Nc3 Qxd4 7.Nxd4 e5 8.Ndb5 Na6 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nd6+ Ke7 12.0-0-0 Rd8 13.Nxc8+ Raxc8 14.Rxd8 Kxd8 15.e4 Nc5 16.Kb1 (My opponent offered a draw) 16...Ne6 17.g3 h5 (missing the point of 17.g3) 18.Bh3 (I lose my knight, and my opponent establishes his unchallenged on d5) 18...Rc6 19.Bxe6 Rxe6 20.Rd1+ Kc8 21.Nd5 g6 22.Rc1+ Rc6 23.Nxf6 Resigns

Mar-22-09  refutor: here's a nice sharp line as mentioned by <an englishman> on the A20 page

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d5!?

click for larger view

kasparov (among others) has played this...a nice sharp line for those black players looking to play the benoni/benko and white not being cooperative :)

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