In the Benoni, I often have opponents play Bc1-g5 as White, after I have fianchettoed my king's bishop. I don't know how to stop it. I know that it isn't the main theory, but I haven't found a way to break the pin. How is it possible to play the position with the white bishop on g5 so that I have as few problems as possible?

The main line that my opponents play is this.

[FEN ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Bg5 *
  • 1
    An example line please? That pin is usually not the best use of the bishop for White. Aug 25, 2020 at 2:23
  • h6 followed by g5 looks playable to me. Stockfish suggests 8. ...a6 9. a4 h6 10. Be3 Qe7 for some reason. Aug 25, 2020 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


This move order, without e4 and Bg7, was employed by Botvinnik in the Tal-Botvinnik 1960 WCC match. If you're interested, check it out here. In his book on the match, Tal recommends going for a quick h6-g5-Nh5 maneuver to win the bishop pair before the kingside knight can be maneuvered to c4, which (in conjunction with the bishop on g3) puts uncomfortable pressure on your backwards d6 pawn. Tal also mentions that while it looks a little weird to weaken your kingside pawns so much so early on, any attack on your king is merely illusion as your pieces are well coordinated to compensate for the few light square weaknesses.

With your specific move order, however, you're going to want to insert 9...a6 before playing g5 so as to stop the following variation: 8...h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh5? 11. Bb5+! and you cannot comfortably block the check without losing your d6 pawn. Note that Bd7 "loses" to Bxd7+ Qxd7 Ne5! with a counterattack on your undefended h5 knight.

Therefore, the recommendation according to theory is:

[FEN ""]
 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 a6 (9... g5 10. Bg3 Nh5? 11. Bb5+! Kf8 12. e5!) 10. a4 (10. Nd2 b5!) g5 11. Bg3 Nh5 12. Nd2 Nxg3=
  • 1
    A slight subtlety - even though 8...h6 is the most popular, 8...a6 first is more accurate. Then, 9.a4 h6, or 9.Nd2 h6 10.Bh4 b5. For 8...h6, White can play the fairly rare 9.Bf4, when 9...g5 and 9...a6 are met with 10.Bb5+ and 10.Qa4+ respectively. This is the point of the immediate 8...a6 move; then in the case of 9.a4 h6 10.Bf4, 10...g5 works well. Aug 25, 2020 at 8:53

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