For this first edition of the Benoni Powerbook 2020 a minimum rating of 2300 was set. This threshold was passed by 23 600 games from Mega and from correspondence chess, to which have been added 44 600 games from the engine room of playchess.com making a total of over 68 000 games. The Benoni is considered as positionally risky, because it concedes the centre to White. On the other hand, Black has justifiable hopes of a storm on the queenside. This, along with the tactical motifs which crop up from time to time in the centre and on the kingside make the Benoni a weapon for tactically minded and active players.
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In most games the Benoni comes about via a transposition of moves – Black waits until White has played Nf3 or g3 and only then plays the typical Benoni move ...c5. Presumably this is a well chosen method, since a look at the Powerbook shows a frightening score for Black in the variation with 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4! Bg7 8.Bb5+! Nfd7 9.a4 0-0 10.Nf3:
However, even here there is some hope for Black – namely 10...Na6 11.0-0 and then the modern positioning of the knight 11...Nb4. In the main variation 6.Nf3 g6 7.e4 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Re8 10.Nd2 Nbd7 Black can hold his own, though the statistics hardly promise full equality. A secret variation from White’s point of view (but not really so secret any more) is represented by the move 7.Bf4. The idea consists of at first doing without e4 and simply playing e3, for example 7...a6 (7...Bg7 8.Qa4+!?) 8.a4 Bg7 9.h3 0-0 10.e3
and here the statistics clearly favour White.