Petrov’s ‘The Modern Benoni’ – still working


I like to keep an eye on how our various opening repertoires are performing over the board. When seeing a new game in the database, there will be comments in the office such as “That’s in Avrukh” or “I edited this line – it’s in Petrov.” The following recent game from the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters is both Avrukh and Petrov.

Re. Schaefer (2104) – M. Muzychuk (2520)
Gibraltar Masters 27.01.2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6

A move order favoured by some Benoni fans.


After 3.Nc3 Black might well prefer 3…Bb4 rather than a Benoni.


With White committed to a kingside fianchetto, the Benoni is a more attractive option to some.

4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8

9…a6 10 a4 is an equally common move order.

10.Nd2 a6 11.a4

Back in the main line.

11…Nbd7 12.h3 Rb8 13.Nc4 Ne5 14.Na3 Nh5 15.e4 Bd7 16.a5 b5 17.axb6 Bb5 18.Naxb5 axb5 19.Nxb5 Qxb6 20.Na3 Qb3

This is all following the main line of the main line of the main line of Marian Petrov’s answer to the Fianchetto System. It is variation B332322 on page 244 of GM Repertoire 12 – The Modern Benoni for those who have the book. It is also where Petrov meets Avrukh’s GM Repertoire 2. I would bet Boris will choose something different next time.

21.g4 Nf6 22.f4

Finally varying from our Benoni book. Petrov gave 22.Rb1 Qxd1 23.Rxd1 Rb3 24.Kf1 as in Sasikiran – Battaglini, Bastia 2011, and now suggested the novelty 24…Reb8 ‘with compensation’ and offered some more analysis.

22…Nd3 23.Qxb3 Rxb3 24.Nc4 Nxe4

White is under pressure, but he can hold with accurate play.


Allowing a nasty knight trick.  Stronger was 25 Bxe4 which might lead to equality after a line such as 25…Nxc1 26 Nxd6 Rd8 27 Nc4 Ne2+ 28 Kg2 Bxb2 29 Rae1 Nc3=.

25…Rxa3 26.bxa3 Ng3!–+

Unfortunately for White, in addition to the attack on the rook there is also a threat of a knight check on e2 then taking on c1.

27.Bd2 Bd4+ 28.Kh2 Nxf1+ 29.Bxf1 Nb2 30.Nxb2 Bxb2 31.a4 Re4 32.a5 c4 33.a6 c3

A smooth win for IM Mariya Muzychuk – theory until move 21 and winning on move 25. White just made one real mistake and the game was over – in sharp lines this can happen.

7 thoughts on “Petrov’s ‘The Modern Benoni’ – still working”

  1. Nice to see my negligible efforts at such a promiment place, albeit after a loss. I’m the player with the white pieces 😉
    I’ve gifted Petrov’s book to a friend, but never looked it up myself about this line. Boris only has 20…c4?! for Black.

    The funny thing is that I was out of book after 16…b5, because I’ve only studied the interesting lines after Black accepting the pawn offer which is Boris’ main line. Mariya (usually a slav player) had already spent quite some time at this point and had only about 10 minutes left (plus increment) around move 24. So it was smooth for her overall, but nevertheless we both had to work out some details at the board …

    25.Be4 was indeed already played and should be equal. The position is tricky because both 25…Bd4+ and 25…R:e4 are not good for Black. I’ve calculated 25.Be4 for quite some time, but did not play it due to a calculation error in the 25…Bd4+ line.
    Improvements for White might also be possible at move 21 (21.Kh2), but overall I agree that it is not so easy for White to fight for an advantage at all and to play the position over the board.

  2. @Reyk

    Hi Reyk,

    Thanks for commenting on your game. It’s always good to hear from the players, as what was happening over the board is often very different from what an annotator might guess. For example: “Mariya (usually a slav player) had already spent quite some time at this point and had only about 10 minutes left (plus increment) around move 24.” I would not have guessed that at all. I was wrongly imagining Black blitzing out 21 moves of her prep.

  3. Thx for the reply, John. As you edit quite a few books and lines: May I ask how you come across relevant games to Qality chess books like this? There must be some automatic or semi-automatic way of searching?!

    A bit off topic: I have to admit I haven’t read your monumental book on the King’s gambit as I’m not playing it with White. However, I came across some of your improvements (in this case for Black) via Bologan’s book on black weapons. He credited you for those and one particular line in the modern defence really impressed me. I don’t recall the exact move order and don’t have the book at hand. But it was something with 5.Bb5+ and White taking early a bishop on e6 with his knight. While others like Kaufman were more conservative and take on e6 in which case White might hold you gave a really fun line connected with …Qb6 (I think) and not retaking on e6 (leaving a rook on f8 en prise as well). I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw this … Great stuff!

  4. @Reyk

    I know there are repertoire options in ChessBase to search new databases for games that match your repertoire, but I have never used them. This page gives a guide for CB12.

    Instead I often go for the old-fashioned route of clicking through the latest TWIC (usually during my lunch) waiting for a game or opening to catch my eye. If I am feeling more methodical, then highlighting all games in the new TWIC, then “Selection to Book” makes a tree, which makes it easy to play through which lines are being played and see how often.

    The KG: glad you liked the part you saw. The KG book was very much a team effort, and I am pretty sure the analysis you mentioned was not done by me – my guess would be Jacob, but Andrew is also a possibility.

  5. All these great opening books you are publishing have only one disadvantage for me: I keep hesitating which openings to switch to, since they all seem so much fun when I read your books…

  6. Offtopic.

    Must say that I just love Schandorfs writing style. Have GM7 CK and yesterday came Playing d4 both volumes. Its great material and his writing style is superb.

    Question for Caro Kann players. In chapter on Pannov variation, sharp line 7. Bg5 h6 with 8.Bxc4 h6 9. Bh4 there is a nice sideline for white. You can see it in this blitz game between Naiditsch and Lenic from Bosna blitz 2011.

    Since there will be no update on Lars CK book I found interesting this line, Lenic misplaced his pieces and got mated with black in 11.f4 Bg4 12.Nf3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Rc8 14. Bf1 (move not considered in book) Lenic played Bc5 and lost very quickly.

    I analysed 14….Nd5 and after 15.fxe5 there is a nice line Nxc3 16. bxc3 Ba3 17.Kb1 Nxf3 Did anybody checked this line? Computer says one thing, but games in database is cruel to black in this variation.

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