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No. of Recommendations: 5
Thank you.

The Benko Gambit sacrifices the pawn for quite a bit in my opinion. Black gets easy development, open lines (A&B), the initiative, and a good endgame because of the better pawn structure. Black can usually get the pawn back and sacrifices abound because of the placement of black's pieces. Black generally tries to get a set-up where his pieces are very active on the queenside (Qa8, Ra7, Rb8, Nc5 or Nb6). Lately I have noticed that white does not accept the sacrifice taking the b pawn, but not the a pawn, and instead developing pieces.

On to the game:

01. d4 Nf6
02. c4 c5
03. d5 b5
04. cxb5 a6
05. bxa6 g6
06. Nc3 Bxa6
07. g3 d6
08. Bg2 Bg7
09. e4 Nbd7

Generally in the fianchetto variation, white exchanges his bishop on f1 and then manually castles via Kxf1, Kg2. The standard move order for this variation is 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bxa6 7. e4 Bxf1 8. Kxf1 d6 9. Nf3 Nbd7 10. g3 Bg7 11. Kg2 0-0. Because you varied from the standard move order, I looked for a long time to see if there was a reason you could get away with this. I assumed that after 8. Bg2 that you just wanted to castle normally rather than exchanging bishops. This is fine for me because I feel black's bishop is more active and I can attempt to keep white's bishop from being very active. However, after 9. e4 I assumed you just transposed the move order. Now my Ba6 prevents white's 0-0.

10. Nf3 0-0
11. Bf1 Qa5

After 11. Bf1 I am still trying to figure out if there is anything black can do as far as attacking to take advantage of white's transposition of the opening moves. Not seeing anything, I decide that my only advantage must be the tempo I have gained because white has moved his bishop twice. I play Qa5 because if Bxa6 Qxa6 still preventing the 0-0 and there is also the threat of Nxe4. My goal now is just to develop my pieces and see what happens. What is good about black's position is that as I move my pieces where I want them I end up with attacks forcing white to react to the threats.

12. Bd2 Rfb8 (attacking b2)
13. Qc2 Bxf1 (preventing the 0-0)
14. Kxf1 Qb4 (attacking b2 and e4)
15. b3 c4

Here 15. b3 is the move I was hoping for because it opens the long diagonal for my bishop, leaves the Nc3 without a protector and pins the Nc3 to the Ra1. c4 by black is a semi-standard move in the Benko, freeing the c5 spot for a Knight or Queen and generally forcing a queenside isolated pawn that can hopefully be exploited.

White's best move may be 15. Bc1, but it is hard to back a piece up. 15. Rb1 fails to Qc4+ 16. Kg2 Rxa2. After Bc1 I am not sure what to do, probably either Nb6-Nc4 or e6, although I don't usually like the early e6 break.

16. Nd4 Qc5
17. Be3 Ng4
18. Rd1 cxb3
19. axb3 Rc8

16. Nd4 hoping for cxb3, but 16...Qc5 threatens the knight and forces 17. Be3. I believe whites best move is 16. Kg2, which leads to 16. Kg2 cxb3 17. axb3 Nc5 threatening both b3 and e4. This is probably fairly equal, but I like black's position.

17...Ng4 threatens the Bishop on e3 with check and also threatens to double isolate the pawns. Once the pawns are exchanged I move the rook to c8 to increase the pressue on the Nc3. 18. Rd1 is forced because of the eventual loss of a pawn on d4 otherwise 18. Kg2 Nxe3+ 19. fxe3 cxb3 20. axb3 (not Nxb3 - Qxc3) Rxa1 21. Rxa1 Bxd4 22. fxd4 Qxd4 where black has a slight advantage due to the better pawn structure and the threat Qb4 and Nc5/Ne5.

20. Nc6 Nxe3+
21. fxe3 Rxc6
22. dxc6 Qxc6

20. Nc6 is the best move, 20. Rd3 fails to Nbe5. I feel comfortable sacrificing the rook on c6 because I feel the pressure on the c-file will get it back or I will pick up another pawn due to the weak pawns. Besides it is kind of forced, if I don't sac, white can go Ne7+ forking my Rook and King and possibly seizing the initiative.

23. Rc1 Rc8
24. Kf2 Bxc3

I thought 24. Kg2 was better becaue now black threatens Be1+ getting the Queen or the Queen/Rook for a Queen/Bishop, but the Nc3 falls regardless. Black can never activate his h-rook because of all the threats.

25. Qb1 Nf6
26. Kf3 d5

White finds the best move with 25. Qb1. I was hoping he wouldn't see Be1+! Black threatens the pawn on e4 with Nf6 forcing the King to f3.

27. e5 d4+
28. e4 Nd7
29. Kg2 Nxe5

I only looked at 27. e5 when I played d5 as I thought that was best for white. After I made my move I started looking at 27. exd5 and it may be better, but I think Black has the upper hand regardless.

After d4+ I am happy. My bishop on c3 is protected by the d4 pawn, the d4 pawn is passed and will soon become a major threat, and I am going to win the e5 pawn.

After Nd7 I am hoping for 29. Kf4 in an attempt to save the pawn. However, after 29. Kf4 Nxe5! I have several mate threats. A. 30. Kxe5 Qf6+ 31. Qf6+ Kd5 32. Qe6#, B. 30. Kg5 Qf6+ 31. Kh6 Bd2#.

Of course, now that I am reviewing the game I did not even see that white cannot play 29. Kf4 because of Bd2. I didn't see that in the game because I only looked at the Nxe5 sacrifice. Once you make one sacrifice you always look for others...

After Nxe5 white resigns. Black has several plans from here including pushing the d pawn to d3 which blocks the white queen's protection of e4 or blockading the b pawn and then after winning it pushing the d pawn.

I hope the analysis helps. Please let me know if I missed anything.

Thanks for the game!
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