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I built my repertoire and am quite happy with it. However it has a clear weakness that has to do with a precise move order that I'm really struggling with.

As black and against 1.d4 I respond with Nf6 to play a Benoni defense with 2.c4 c5. Against 2.Nf3 (2.Bf4, 2.c3) I play my setup against the London system with 2. ... d5 3.Bf4 c5 etc.

However, whenever I encounter the problematic 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 I have an issue. It directly transposes into a Queen's Gambit but I was not able to play my favourite Benoni defense without 2. ... d5.

I will naturally go for a semislav defense but I'm not really confortable with it and I don't want to spend much time studying it.

I'm trying find a way to still play the Benoni defense and my setup with d5 against the London system while avoiding this problematic line. Do you have any suggestion ? I do not really wish to go for the direct 1.d4 c5 however. Or maybe there is a niche and interesting setup after 3.c4 that does not require much theory to be played to not go for semi-slav ?

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I think best would be to change your move order to 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5.

So:

  • 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. d5 leads to benoni structures.
  • 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. e3 g6 is dynamical and not overly theoretical. Alternatively you can transpose to an okay version of exchange Caro-Kann with 3. ... cxd4 4. exd4. Note that compared to mainline exchange white played Nf3 too early, so black can play Bg4 without problems. Positions are a bit dry though.
  • 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. c3 g6 is also quite fun. Alternatively 3. ... cxd4 4. cxd4 transposes to exchange Slav, which is solid, but drawish.
  • 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 transposes to symmetrical English. Here most Benoni players go for a gambit line, that was developed by Kasparov: 3. ... cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d5 6. cxd5 Bc5. Your plan is to castle short, at some point play e4, put some heavy pieces on e-file and go for kingside attack. Alternatively you can go for hedgehog setup.

Benefit of this move order is that 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. Bf4?! cxd4 is very good for black, since:

  • 4. Nxd4?? e5! 5. Bxe5 Qa5+ picks up a piece.
  • 4. Qxd4 Nc6 gives you a very nice tempo for development
  • 4. Bxb8 Rxb8 giving up dark squared bishop like this is just sad for white.
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  • Great ! Thank you for your recommendation. I'll consider it seriously. I may able to still play my setup against London system while avoiding the critical line. Maybe I should have specified that the benoni version I'm playing is the Czech one which does not work with 2.Nf3 but as long as I do not transpose into a Queen's gambit I'm happy.
    – Falquiero
    Apr 11 at 8:39
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    @Falquiero after 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. d5 you aren't commited to modern benoni yet - you have a choice between modern benoni with 3. ... e6. benko with 3. ... b5 and waiting with 3. ... d6 or 3. ... g6. However in the latter case you have to be aware that white doesn't need to play 4. c4, he can also go for 4. Nc3. Note also that even though playing 3. ... e6 leads to modern benoni, you succefully dodged white most critical tries, since he cannot play systems with f4. Apr 11 at 8:58

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