Added on 4/9/2020

NEW VIDEO SERIES for ICC members by GM Misa Pap!


The gambit with two names: Volga and Benko. This gambit is a very dynamic and active opening. From the very beginning of the game, black strives for a counterattack and plays for the initiative, and of course, for the win, rather than "just" trying to equalize, and then maybe slowly outplay his opponent.

  Of course, all this activity comes with a price - a pawn - in the typical gambit tradition. But, really, only one pawn, for all that activity? Yes! Moreover, there are some lines where white doesn't even take that "free" pawn. But, to be honest in those variations, black doesn't have so much free activity and easy play, although his position remains good.

  The Volga - Benko Gambit got its name from the river Volga, the longest river in Europe, 2193 miles long.

The Volga River (From Wikimedia common)

And from the famous Hungarian-American GM Pal Benko, who played and popularized this opening in the 60s and 70s.

GM Pal Benko (from Wikimedia common)

He wrote a book on the Benko Gambit that was published in 1974, where he explained the main ideas behind the opening. Also, Benko played two times in the Candidates tournament (8 contenders for the challenger of the world champion), in 1959 and in 1962. There is a famous episode that happened in 1970. That year, he qualified for the Interzonal tournament but gave up his spot to Robert Fischer, and then, later on, Fischer went on to win it, and in 1972, as everyone knows the title of world champion.  

Here is what GM Pap says about the Volga Benko Gambit.

  I have been playing play this fantastic opening since 1994, which makes it 26 years. And I tried to do my best to put my knowledge and experience in this opening, at your disposal, in this 10 videos series.

  This series is not your typical course about an opening, with lots of opening variations, subvariations, and tons of theory. This course is different. I show the most essential strategical and tactical ideas, for you to learn, and to add them to your "Weapons Arsenal" for the Volga-Benko Gambit.

  Of course, this means that you would also need to learn some theory as well before you start to play this fantastic opening, but today that is not a hard task: there are many sources where you can find that.


  Here is how the course is organized:

Introduction to the course

Chapter 1 - Using the a6-f1 diagonal

Chapter 2 - Using the c4 and d3 squares

Chapter 3 - Artillery fire on the a and b files

Chapter 4 - Pressure on the Queenside

Chapter 5 - Pushing c4

Chapter 6 - Playing e6

Chapter 7 - Giving up the Bishop on c3

Chapter 8 - Counterplay on the f file and the kingside

Chapter 9 - Attacking the e4-d5 duo

Chapter 10 - Initiative in the endgame

We know that this course will be instructive and useful for you and we hope that you enjoy studying and playing the Volga-Benko Gambit! Don't miss the Learning Center course, with notes, annotated games and quizzes!