Let's say the position looks like this:

[Title "Black to move"]
[FEN ""]

 1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 dxc5

I usually do this:

[Title "Black to move"]
[FEN ""]

1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. dxc5 e6 4. b4 a5

I have played this position only once, and won, but still this might repeat in a open tournament I might go soon, so I need help to figure this out, because in the videos I have seen for the Benoni, I can't really find this variation anywhere.

2 Answers 2


In the modern benoni, what should I do if this happens

Your continuation is the strongest in my opinion. I would advise you not to change anything.

because in the videos I have seen for the Benoni, I can't really find this variation anywhere.

Of course, because it is weak. The best White can do after your move, in my opinion is this:

[Title "BenOni"]
[fen ""]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.dxc5 e6 4.b4 a5! 5.b5 Bxc5 

Here, I would aim for Bb2 + e3 + Nf3 + Be2 setup as White. Not ideal, but surely playable and the nearest towards equality I can get after that horrible b4...

If White tries to be "smart" about keeping the extra pawn, here is how I would play as Black:

[Title "BenOni"]
[fen ""]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.dxc5 e6 4.b4 a5! $40 5.Bd2 ( 5.Qb3 axb4! 6.Qxb4 Na6! ) ( 5.Qa4 Na6! 6.a3? ( 6.Bd2? axb4 7.Bxb4 Nxb4! 8.Qxa8 Nc2+ 9.Kd2 Nxa1 $17 ) 6...axb4! $17 7.axb4?? Nc7! $19 ) 5...axb4! 6.Bxb4 Na6! $32 $40 7.Ba3 Nxc5 8.Bb2!? ( 8.Nf3? Rxa3! 9.Nxa3 Qa5+ 10.Qd2 Qxa3 $17)

Your only problem after b5 will be that you must play ...d5 which turns the game into positional battle. There will be no wild tactical positions anymore ( but still you will stand better ) so you will have to adapt psychologically to this fact ( tactical players hate "dry" positions and positional ones hate "wild" positions ). Try not to fall for this psychological trick. That is my last advice and a warning.

Good luck on the tournament!

  • I really like your points. If I don't get a better answer, which is unlikely, I will pick this.
    – MikhailTal
    Aug 13, 2014 at 15:42
  • Also I don't have any problems playing a positional battle, I'd complicate it more that Tal himself and strike. :p
    – MikhailTal
    Aug 13, 2014 at 15:43
  • @MikhailTal: Then you will probably win such positions. I have updated my answer to cover all lines in which White tries stubbornly to keep the extra pawn. As for accepting the answer, no problem just take your time :) Aug 13, 2014 at 15:51
  • By the way, wouldn't d5 turn this game into an IQP position? Lots of attacking chances there, because not so many pieces are exchanged. But there is the tactical weapon Bxf6 be sort of a problem after cxd5 exd5? It is either king safety or a pawn.
    – MikhailTal
    Aug 13, 2014 at 16:03
  • @MikhailTal: It depends, you could take with a knight or queen. You don't need to play it fast since you have lead in development. I would castle first, and only then push it. BTW, I have edited the second diagram with a stronger response to Qa4, please take a look. And yes, you could turn it into IQP if you wish, it is up to you. I think that such position is good for Black because of his lead in development... Aug 13, 2014 at 16:09

The line you play is fine.

After 5.b5, Bxc5 the position favors black.

bxa5 leaves white with a crap pawn structure.

  1. a3 just loses a pawn for white

White has nothing after 4...a5

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