I've got an important tournament game coming up, and I will be playing Black. I will play the Scandinavian if White plays 1.e4, but I won't be able to unbalance the game properly after 1.d4, except if I play the Benoni(Old Benoni cuts out all transpositions). I don't like the Czech Benoni, where the break f7-f5 weakens my kingside.

Is there a line for Black in the Benoni that is tactical, sound, and stops White from getting a large center?

  • 1
    Why are you not able to unbalance the game by playing another of the Indian defenses or 1...d5 variations?
    – Annatar
    Aug 12, 2020 at 10:40
  • 8
    "Benoni" and "stops White from getting a large centre?" Hmmm, the first phrase that comes to my mind is "mutually exclusive".
    – Ian Bush
    Aug 12, 2020 at 11:12
  • 2
    f7-f5 does not weaken your kingside
    – B.Swan
    Aug 12, 2020 at 13:25
  • 5
    The Benoni is quite a broad church, with many sub-cults, so it might help if you give a bit more detail about what you are playing beyond 1 d4 c5 which I assume is what you mean by the Old Benoni - if so I hope you are ready to play the black side of a Sicilian!
    – Ian Bush
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:35
  • 4
    The whole point of letting white get the large center while you don't have that is that it unbalances the game. Aug 21, 2020 at 7:13

2 Answers 2


The whole point of hypermodern openings like the Benoni is to encourage a big center. If you don't get that you'd probably be better off playing something else.

The Dutch leads to unbalanced positions, avoids transpositions and can be learned very quickly. The Tarrasch also. Those sound like better choices.

  • 1
    Someone afraid that "f7-f5 weakens [their] kingside" might not be ready for playng the Dutch...
    – Evargalo
    Aug 21, 2020 at 14:42

If you don't feel comfortable playing against large centers you shouldn't play Benoni nor other openings such as KID (which both, by the way, are good choices if you look for imbalanced positions).

I would recommend, based on the proximity of the tournament and your aim for imbalaced positions, to look at Von Hennig-Schara Gambit, which doesn't have a lot of theory and usually leads to sharp play.

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