I had a few hours blocked aside for chess study today and now I want to share with you some of what I’ve found. I think you’ll find this useful, even if you don’t use or play against the Benoni. I’ve been looking for a catch-all to stop Fianchetto systems for some time now, and this variation seems promising.
It’s easy to come to a Benoni-like position from a Catalan. Consider these move orders:
a) 1. d4 Nf6 2. g3 e6 3. c4 c5 4. d4 exd 5. cxd g6 6. Bg2
b) 1. g3 e6 2. d4 c5 3. d5 Nf6 4. c4 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Bg2
c) Or consider Weiss – Nickman, (1999) which begins:
1. d4 c5 2. d5 e6 3. c4 exd5 4. cxd5 d6 5. Nc3 f5 6. Nf3 Nf6 7. g3 g6 8. Bg2
Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nd2 a6 11. a4 Nbd7 +/= A similar position to those above, only from a Dutch hybrid.
The full line I want to analyze is from 1989 and it was played in Budapest, Hungary between two GMs.
Krasenkow – Tolnai 1/2 / 1/2
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. Nf3
O-O 9. Nd2!? This is the critical idea behind this variation. White will aim for c4 right away so that he may pressure the backward d6 pawn. Typically white castles but I prefer the simplicity of this maneuver.
…a6 10. a4 Nbd7
The insertion of these moves is key for black. The chess sets first pawn thrust forces white’s hand because b5 is too critical to yield without a fight. Tactically the change in pawn structure prevents white’s Qb3 from being played instead of Na3, the latter being a bit of a concession to black.
11. Nc4 Nb6 12. Na3 Bd7 13. Bd2 Nxa4! This is the start of a very nice tactical sequence. Black struggles if he does not find Nxa4 since he will have trouble getting his pawns rolling. He will be obliged to play a5 and create a hole for white.
14. Nxa4 b5 15. Nc3 b4 16. Nc4 bxc3 This move does play better in practice than does the bishop recapture, surprisingly.White is able to neuter black’s dark-squared bishop and claim that his own is better.
17. bxc3 Qe7 Perhaps an improvement can be found here.
18. Nb6 Ra7 19. Nxd7 Nxd7 20. O-O Rb8 21. Ra2 Nb6 22. e4 a5 23. Qc2 Nc4 24. Bf4 Qb7 25. Rfa1 Qb3 26. Qxb3 Rxb3 27. Bf1 Rxc3 28. Bxc4 Rxc4 29. Rxa5 The a-pawn was bound to fall or tie down black permanently. This weak pawn will become the crux of the position in many of your games. Black held on because he was able to restore material equality.
…Bxa1 30. Rxa7 Be5 31. Bxe5 dxe5 32. d6 1/2-1/2
I hope you try this, and be sure and let me know how it fares in your own games!