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Benoni, Taimanov Variation (A67)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6
7 f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+

Number of games in database: 975
Years covered: 1950 to 2022
Overall record:
   White wins 50.7%
   Black wins 27.2%
   Draws 22.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Ivan Farago  16 games
Viktor Moskalenko  15 games
Krishnan Sasikiran  8 games
Georgi Tringov  9 games
Slobodan Kovacevic  7 games
Bela Perenyi  7 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Kasparov vs Nunn, 1982
Kasparov vs F A Cuijpers, 1980
Gulko vs Savon, 1978
J Ivanov vs I Cheparinov, 2004
P Littlewood vs D Norwood, 1985
Bareev vs Topalov, 2002
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 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 975  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Alatortsev vs Aronin ½-½351950USSR ChampionshipA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
2. J Rotstein vs V Ugolik  1-0401956Ukrainian ChampionshipA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
3. Y Sakharov vs R Nezhmetdinov 1-0431957RUS-UKRA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
4. Taimanov vs P Trifunovic 1-0241957URS-YUGA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
5. Ivkov vs G Kluger  ½-½131957HUN-YUGA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
6. L Alster vs P H Clarke  1-0391957Wageningen ZonalA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
7. P H Clarke vs P Trifunovic  0-1621957Wageningen ZonalA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
8. O'Kelly vs Diez del Corral 1-0401957MadridA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
9. R Shocron vs R A Redolfi  ½-½891958ARG-chA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
10. I Asmundsson vs A Jongsma  ½-½341958WchT U26 fin-B 05thA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
11. P Martin vs F Roessel  ½-½181958Munich Olympiad Final-BA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
12. J Stupica vs E Paoli  1-0401958Reggio Emilia 1958/59A67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
13. Lutikov vs Vasiukov 1-01041959USSR ChampionshipA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
14. S Kvyatkovsky vs Y Nikolaevsky  ½-½381959Ukrainian ChampionshipA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
15. J Stupica vs D Ugrinovic  ½-½411959Yugoslav ChampionshipA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
16. Portisch vs Lutikov  1-0401959Alekhine MemorialA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
17. J Gromek vs Polugaevsky 0-1291959Marianske LazneA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
18. S Hamann vs W Erny  1-0171959World U20 ch prel. group 1A67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
19. D Rivera vs C Henin  1-046195960th US OpenA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
20. A Y Green vs K W Lloyd  0-1431959British ChampionshipA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
21. Sliwa vs J Gromek  1-0551960POL-chA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
22. J Bink vs F J Perez Perez  0-1391960Hoogovens-BA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
23. R Camara vs O Bazan  0-1451960Sao Paulo ZonalA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
24. J Emma vs O Bazan  ½-½191960ARG-chA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
25. Antoshin vs W Bialas  1-0341960FRG-URSA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 975  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  MoonlitKnight: The refutation of 8...Nbd7 that was presented by <BiLL RobeRTiE> on Mar-03-04 is in fact a forced draw with correct play. In fact, I recently played a game myself in this line which showed proof of that point. In the game, my opponent, rated over 200 points higher than me, quickly had to agree to a draw after he had played the so-called refutation:

[Event "Norwegian team championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2005.12.04"]
[Round "2"]
[White "James Steedman"]
[Black "Haakon Strand"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A67"]
[WhiteElo "2232"]
[BlackElo "1986"]
[PlyCount "48"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. f4 Bg7 8. Bb5+ Nbd7 9. e5 dxe5 10. fxe5 Nh5 11. e6 Qh4+ 12. g3 Nxg3 13. hxg3 Qxh1 14. Be3 Bxc3+
<Also playable is 14...0-0, but after 15.exd7 Bxd7 16.Bxd7 Rae8 17.Bxe8 Rxe8 18.Qe2! (not 18.Kd2 Bxc3+ 19.bxc3 Qxd5+ 20.Kc1 Qxd1+! 21. Kxd1 Rxe3 with about equal play) white should be close to winning.>

15. bxc3 a6 16. exd7+ Bxd7 17. Bxd7+ Kxd7 18. Qb3 b5 19. O-O-O Rhe8 20. Bxc5
<Here we arrive at the position which is supposed to be "much better for white" according to several sources. The best continuation is probably 18.Qg4+ f5 19.Qf3 with reasonable saving chances for black, as in S Ernst vs Stellwagen, 2003;

20...Qg2! <A key move, which ties down the white forces.>

21. d6 Re6 22. Ba3 Rc8 23. Bb4 Qxg3?! <Heading for the draw. After 23...Rc4, black is slightly better.>

24. Qd5 Rxc3+
<I played this move almost instantly, accompanied by a draw offer, since it had been a key part of my plan all along. To my horror, I suddenly discovered that white had 25.Kb1 Rc6 26.Qxc6+ Kxc6 27.d7, but after a little more thought I found 27...Qf4 28.d8=Q Qxb4+ with a perpetual. In the post-mortem we realized there was even a win for black with 27...Re4! 28.Ba5 Rd4!! A more interesting continuation, however, would have been 26.Nf3, but with the help of Fritz, this line has been analyzed to a forced draw after 26...Qf4 27.Nd4 Rexd6 28.Bxd6 Rxd6 29.Qb7+ Ke8 30.Qc8+ Ke7 31.Re1+ Kf6 32.Qh8+ Kg5 33.Rg1+ Kh6 34.Qf8+ Kh5 35.Rh1+ Kg4 36.Qe7 Rxd4! since the rook and three passers are more than enough compensation for the queen.>


Dec-13-05  sucaba: In J Rowson vs R Palliser, 2005, after 8. _ ♘bd7 9. e5 dxe5 10. fxe5 ♘h5 11. e6 ♕h4+ 12. g3 ♘xg3 13. hxg3 ♕xh1 14. ♗e3 ♗xc3+ 15. bxc3 a6 16. exd7+ ♗xd7 17. ♗xd7+ ♔xd7 18. ♕g4+ f5 19. ♕f3 ♕xf3 20. ♘xf3 ♖ae8 Rowson played 21. ♔d2. To keep the ♔ in the center where it can support the c♙ and d♙ seems to be an improvement on the more often played 21. ♔f2. Although this ending is drawish anyway.

In G Burgess vs J Anderson, 1985, Burgess himself gave 4 checks in a row 14. exd7+ ♗xd7 15. ♗xd7+ ♔xd7 16. ♕g4+ f5 17. ♕a4+ ♔c8 18. ♗e3 . I don't understand why this prosperous looking line hasn't been tried recently.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MoonlitKnight: <sucaba> Instead of Anderson's 18...Bh6, Bxc3+ followed by either Qxd5 or Qg2 seems like a more modern approach, though I agree white's position still looks promising. I guess the reason why this hasn't been tried is simply the fact that very few strong players will even consider playing 8...Nbd7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here is a little collection of zaps and traps from Taimanov miniatures: What's the best move?
Aug-30-06  yanez: I think black has a good position after 8...Nfd7 9.a4 0-0 10.Nf3 Na6 11.0-0 Nb4 12.h3 f5
Aug-31-06  Albertan: Another triumph for the Taimanov variation:

[Event "It"]
[Site "Hereford ENG"]
[Date "2006.08.29"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Wells, P."]
[Black "Palliser, R."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A67"]
[WhiteElo "2480"]
[BlackElo "2413"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2006.08.29"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5
5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Nbd7 9.e5 dxe5 10.fxe5 Nh5 11.e6 Qh4+ 12.g3 Nxg3 13.hxg3 Qxh1 14.Be3 Bxc3+ 15.bxc3 a6 16.exd7+ Bxd7 17.Bxd7+ Kxd7 18.Qg4+ f5 19.Qf3 Qxf3 20.Nxf3 Rhe8 21.Kf2 Re4 22.Ng5 Ra4 23.Nxh7 Rh8 24.Rh1 Kd6 25 Bf4+ Kxd5 26.Nf6+ Ke6 27.Rxh8 Kxf6 28.Rc8 Rxa2+ 29.Ke3 g5 30.Bb8 Ra5 31.Kd3 Ke6 32.Rg8 Kf6 1-0

The first 21 moves in this game were known theory then on move 22 Palliser appears to have played a theoretical novelty 22...Ra4 (before this game the move 22...Rc4 had only been played).

Oct-25-06  soughzin: Great post and game MoonlitKnight. Do you know if the move 12.Kd2 is drawn as well?

12...fxe6 13.dxe6 Bxc3+ 14.bxc3 0-0 15.Nf3(15.exd7 Bxd7 16.Bxd7 Rf2 17.Ne2 Rd8)

But black can invert the moves a little. 13...0-0 14.exd7 Bxd7 15.Bxd7 Bxc3+ 16.Kxc3 since the light squared bishop can't be forked by the queen now. 16...Qb4+ 17.Kc2 Rf2+ 18.Ne2 Qe4+ 19.Qd3 Rxe2+ 20.Bd2 And now it's less forced but 20...Nf6 21.Qxe4 Nxe4 22.Rad1 Rd8 23.Rhe1 Rxd2+ 24.Rxd2 Nxd2 And it looks like a drawn endgame.

phew thats a mouthful!

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: It is interesting that the variation is named after Taimanov as there is only one game by him here.
Oct-26-06  RookFile: I'm more inclined to play ....c5 after 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 than against 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4
Oct-26-06  nikolajewitsch: It is not that odd, considering that there are numerous examples of lines being named after players who have never played them.
Aug-31-09  WhiteRook48: 8...Nbd7 9 e5 allows white to set the board on fire
8...Nfd7 has only a small plus for white
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <plang: It is interesting that the variation is named after Taimanov as there is only one game by him here.>

Which probably indicates nobody was anxious to let him play it again!

Nov-23-09  CruyffTurn: This might a stupid question, but... what does White play against 7...Bg4 - I met it last night in a blitz game - can anyone show me how to refute Black's plan? I played 8.Bb5+ Nfd7 9.Qc2 and won in the end, but it got me thinking that it <7...Bg4> might not be such a bad move.
Apr-02-11  jahhaj: <CruyffTurn> 8.Qa4+ looks good. 8...Qd7 loses to 9.Bb5, 8...Nbd7 loses to 9.h3, 8...Nfd7 9.Be3 threatening 10.h3. That leaves 8...Bd7 9.Qb3 when Black's pieces are in a tangle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day:
Benoni, Taimanov Variation
1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.♘c3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 ♗g7 8.♗b5+
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Gosh. I was feeling better before I saw the Opening of the Day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <bens oni.....The decalaration of the Benoni being unsound is little more than a typical arrogance often seen in certain circles....I think that the successful use of the Benoni by GMs from Tal to Fischer to a young Kasparov to Psakhis to Topalev and a number of others is refutation enough of that arrogance....>

One should note that Psakhis wrote that he came to adopt the Modern Benoni only after the move order 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 or 3.g3, so as to avoid the Taimanov. This speaks of a healthy respect for this line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Phony Benoni>: With any luck, I shall find more of my old games from the 1980s for the DB (not that I've any desire to add to your discomfiture). There were a few interesting ones back then in this, my speciality vs the Modern Benoni.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Phony Benoni>: In this variation's favour, regardless of the result, is that it leads to more entertaining games than another ECO code 67 (C67, the Berlin Wall).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <perfidious> I really don't mind if you submit more of your crushes in this line. Black's best chances are psychological. If White has the impression it's an easy win, he may play slowly and safely instead of aggressively, and then Black may find counterplay. Just to pump one of my own games: J Patty vs D Moody, 1988.

With my style, I had to try the 8...Nbd7 line a few times, where White needs to play the first fourteen or so moves correctly to avoid getting into trouble. Unfortuately, all my opponents seemed to know the moves, or perhaps they are just so natural that learning is not necessary.

(P.S. Regarding the PCN inquiry: I used to own several volumes of the PCN Annual. Then again, I used to own a lot of stuff before selling it off. Idiot.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Phony Benoni> In 1980, I won a game with Jim Rizzitano in the 8....Nbd7 line, in which we were both familiar with existing theory IIRC; I achieved a winning position and we exchanged blunders, thus proving the aphorism that the winner of a game is the player who makes the last but one mistake.

My only game on CG in the Taimanov is A Shaw vs C Chase, 1984, though Chris' defence was hardly exemplary and this game does not show his play in the best light. He had two wins that I recall as well vs my Taimanov, including our final meeting of twenty or so, in 1989.

Nov-07-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

Benoni, Taimanov Variation
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. f4 Bg7 8. Bb5+

click for larger view

Opening Explorer

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: In my comeback to tournament play last weekend after a ten-year absence, one game went into the Taimanov Variation. It doesn't add much to theory, but does illustrate some principles.

Zachary Smith (1942) - David Moody (1955)

<1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Nbd7>

This was my round two game. After round 1, I had realized I would be best off playing this weekend for fun.


Once White has started aggressively, he needs to continue in that vein with 9.e5. Still, it's hard to label this move a mistake, just inconsistent.

<9...0-0 10.0-0 a6 11.Bxd7>

This may be a real mistake. Yes, this is an e5-push position and the bishop can't control e5 while the knight can. But it relieves Black's logjam, and actually leaves him with one more piece controlling e5 than before. Also, White's pawn pushes have left holes on light squares such as d3, which Black's normal counterplay with ...c4 and ...Nc5 can exploit. Just watch.

<11...Nxd7 12.a4 Re8 13.Re1 Rb8 14.a5 b5 15.axb6 Qxb6 16.Nd2 c4+ 17.Kh1 Qd4 18.Qe2 Nc5 19.Nxc4 Nd3 20.Nxd6 Nf2+ 21.Kg1>

click for larger view

At this point, my original idea was 21...Nxe4+, when either king moves loses the queen to 22....Ng3+. However, I now saw 22.Be3 in response, and got nervous.

But the move was playable: <21...Nxe4+ 22.Be3 Nxd6! 22.Bxd4 Bxd4+! 23.Kh1 Rxe2 24.Rxe2>. Black has two bishops for rook and pawn, certainly a solid advantage if not a clear win.

Instead, I chickened out and took the perp.

<21...Nh3+ 22.Kh1> 1/2-1/2

Which shows I may be falling victim to Old Chessplayer's Disease. We can still get good positions, but bringing home the point is another thing entirely.

Jun-22-15  S4NKT: 5 ...d6 is an error since it allows 8. Fb5+?

Castle first prior to ...d6

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <S4KNT> Black tried 5....g6 6.e4 Bg7 in M Peek vs V Cmilyte, 2011 and won, but this looks a bit dodgy.
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