In the Benoni, a common move in the position is e4-e5 and then Ng1-f3. Afterwards, I have worries about my opponent playing e4-e5 and creating a passed pawn, but up to now, I haven't met with this situation yet. How can I defend against e4-e5 properly?

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    There's no general positional method here, though you should know that your queenside knight belongs on c7 (via a6) in many lines. You just need to know your defensive tactics very well, and, if possible, have your queenside pawns rolling before white is ready to push the e pawn. There were a few years in the 80s and 90s when top players thought the Benoni was broken by the Taimanov attack, and it's still considered a very tricky opening. Also, white should have lots of trouble keeping that isolated passed pawn. Aug 25, 2020 at 2:35
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    Let me quote GM Mauricio Flores Rios from "Chess Structures - A Grandmaster Guide": "Once Black gained the initiative there was little White could do to fight back. This is often the case in the Benoni structure; the position is difficult to hold once Black’s queenside majority begins its march. " The Benoni is a dynamic, counter-attacking system. Often the best way to stop White doing what he/she wants to do is by making so much trouble that they don't have time for to do it ...
    – Ian Bush
    Aug 25, 2020 at 8:55
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    The answer is going to vary depending on what exactly you mean. The e5 push is a lot stronger in f4 lines like the Taimanov than it is in the main lines because the f pawn supports the e5 pawn.
    – Savage47
    Aug 27, 2020 at 5:09

1 Answer 1


This is the crux of the Modern Benoni, right?

Do you know why you're playing the Benoni in the first place? You're trying to post a knight on e5. That's why that square is most critical; White is trying to run over your backwardness at d6 (the reason 6. e4, 7. f4, and 8. Bb5+ is White's most successful), and Black is trying to win the square himself because it's such a great outpost.

If Black had a fully adequate remedy for this, the Benoni would be much more popular. This is the price you pay for this splendidly unbalanced position, your open e-file, your queenside pawn majority: White might crush you in the center. The best you can do is point your pieces at it; I mean when Bb5+ comes, interposing with f6-knight stands a better shot because then the g7-bishop is directly on e5.

You might try Dzindzichashvili's peculiar 1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 f5, a weird hybrid of Benoni, Dutch, Nimzo-Indian, aimed at gaining enough control over e4 so White can't so easily achieve e2-e4-e5, etc.

Good luck. Study Tal games.

  • Could you add a few lines demonstrating what you have described?
    – user24344
    Aug 27, 2020 at 9:22
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    "Lines" not so helpful (White's tried 15 different moves). GM Henley says Black's just probing for weaknesses. Steures-Welling, 6. Bf4 d6 7. e3 Qa5 8. Qb3 Nf6 9. Bd3 Nbd7 10. Nf3 Nb6 11. Nd2 Bd7 12. e4 kinda suspect, losing touch with c4 fxe4 13. Bxe4 Ba4 14. Qb2 Qa6 15. Rb1? Nxe4 16. Nxe4 Qxc4 0-1 Debashis-Kasimdzhanov: 6. e4 going straight after e4 was thought most practical fxe4 7. f3 d6 8. fxe4 Black happy about e5 iNf6 9. Bd3 Bg4 10. Nf3 Nbd7 11. h3 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Nh5 poking for tactics 13. f4 e5 14. dxe6 Qh4+ 15. Kf1 Ne5 16. Qa4+ Nc6 17. Rb1 O-O 18. f5 Ng3+ 19. Kg2 Nxh1 0-1 Aug 27, 2020 at 10:23
  • Where did you find the Dzindzi line?
    – B.Swan
    Aug 27, 2020 at 22:31
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    Inside Chess magazine, while Dzindzichashvili was enjoying a good run with it. If I remember right, this game got attention: chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1040459 Aug 28, 2020 at 1:14

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