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Alterman’s Gambit Guide: Benko Gambit #4

Opening: A57: Benko Gambit

Player(s):

GM Boris Alterman explores the Benko Gambit (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5). Black's counterplay is very durable compared to many other gambits, in that the queenside pressure can last well into the endgame. The idea to sacrifice a pawn with ...b5 and ...a6 was an old favorite of Czech master Karel Opocensky in the mid-1930s.


Then, the original name of the opening was the Volga Gambit - named after the Volga River - after an article about 3...b5!? by B. Argunow that appeared in the magazine Schachmaty in USSR of 1946. But it soon shot to fame and near universal club-level adoption at the end of the 1960s after its eponym, Pal Benko, honed and developed the gambit into a potent attacking weapon for black on the back of many big U.S. Swiss victories during this period. 

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