Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Benko Trick

In February 2023 took place in Dusseldorf (Germany) the WR Chess Masters tournament. 10 top players participated in a simple round-robin for a fund price of 130,000 Euros. The tournament was a mix of veteran and young players. Along with Aronian, Nepomniachtchi, Giri, So and Duda, 5 good acomplished teenagers formed the pool: Abdusattorov, Esipenko, Gukesh, Praggnanandha, and the local wunderkind Vincent Keymer.

Time control was 2 hours for the first 40 moves, then 1 hour for the next 20 moves and finally 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus a 30-second increment per move from move 61.

In round 1, the young Uzbek and rising star GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov faced the veteran Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Abdusattorov came from achieving a remarkable performance in the previous Tata Steel Masters tournament in January. There he took the lead for most of the competition, only stumbling in the last round. For his part, Nepomniachtchi was the challenger in the past world match against Carlsen in Nov-2021.

While Abdusattorov chose a fighting line in the Benko gambit, Nepomniachtchi seemed to be happy with splitting the point and opted for the trick of repeating moves.

Abdusattorov’s opening choice probably took Nepomniachtchi by surprise. The Russian GM decided to carefully avoid complications, which may have led him where his rival had a surprise in store.

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