The chess opening known as the Benko Gambit, also referred to as the Volga Gambit, is distinguished by the move 3. … b5 within the context of the Benoni Defense:
1. d4 ♞f6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5
In this scenario, the player controlling the black pieces willingly gives up a pawn in exchange for facing consistent pressure on the queenside. It is then up to the player controlling the white pieces to decide whether or not they wish to accept the gambit pawn.
From the latter half of the 1960s, the chess opening strategy described here gained traction with the support of Pál C. Benkő, a Hungarian-American grandmaster. Benkő contributed several fresh concepts to the opening and even authored a book titled The Benko Gambit, which was released in 1974. The name “Benko Gambit” caught on and is especially prevalent in countries where English is spoken.
Benko Gambit Accepted
The main line 4. cxb5 a6 is called the Benko Gambit Accepted. More precisely, the opening theory distinguishes between the Half-Accepted Gambit (where the second pawn isn’t captured by White), and Fully-Accepted (5. bxa6). The following game demonstrates the half-accepted variation:
Benko Gambit Declined
There are various alternatives that avoid some of the problems entailed in the main line. Let’s analyze one of them: