Get unlimited access to all our courses for $29/mo

Khokan De

Khokan De 2 weeks ago

Openings for Black in Must Win Situation

Hello everyone, I want to add an opening against 1.d4 which is suitable to play for a win. Against 1.e4 I there are plenty of options, I play the Najdorf Sicilian. Against 1.d4 I play the Grunfeld and white can force a draw in some variations. For this I had three candidates-- i)Modern Benoni ii)King's Indian iii)Semi-Slav. I have only played more than 10 games in KID, 2 casual games in Benoni and 0 games in Semi Slav. I think I should eliminate King's Indian because its me who gets more scared with black in Mar Del Plata Variation. I scored 0.01% in Mar del Plata variation. I played modern benoni in 2 games and 2 of them, but I only played them for fun and have no experience in it. I saw some games of Shirov in the Botvinnik Semi Slav and was amazed how complicated it is. Can anyone help me of selecting the best opening? You can also share your weapons in must win situations  :-)

Robert J.

Robert J. 2 weeks ago

To be able to choose your opening based on your need, in this case a win, or based on the style of play of your opponent, you would need to know in detail more than one opening against 1.c4 Nf6 2.c4. I suggest you choose an opening that is different in style from Grunfeld that you already know. Then, depending on the style of the play of your opponent I would choose the opening that suits him or her less. This is to put the opponent out of the comfort zone.  

I always play my own openings, I change them so hard and that's my main disadvantage :(
Michael Larsen

Michael Larsen 2 weeks ago

I play the Modern Benoni and it certainly is a possibility in a must win situation.                                             It is a fantastic weapon against careless white players, but it is difficult to play against well prepared positional players, so I sometimes consider playing something else. I think I will give it another try and study more in the theory books. I can recommend John Doknjas: The Modern Benoni. He explains the ideas very well and offers a good alternative to the drawish modern mainline.


GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan

GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan 2 weeks ago

Hey Khokan,

When I am trying to choose a must to win an opening for black I am either going for Benko or Modern Benoni. The choice is logical cuz in that situation we need to choose positions where it's imbalanced. By that, I mean like black gives away the center but gets queenside to activate and has dark strong bishop like in Benoni or sacrifices a pawn and gets initiative like in Benko.

Kevin D

Kevin D 1 week ago

In must win situations I find that 1.g6 is quite a good try to avoid premature simplification and instead reach rich and complex positions, with the bonus that it can be employed equally well against both 1.e4 & 1.d4, making it a very compact and efficient surprise weapon. The main issue with the 2...d6 Sicilian in a must win situation is 3.Bb5+, while against Benoni/Benko hopefuls 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 is a quite safe and solid option for White.

To sum up it is very challenging to successfully play for a must win as Black, it often boils down to psychological factors, strong nerves, risk tolerance and the ability to maintain concentration in case of a long tense fight.  It is also vitaly important that you know your 'Must Win' opening well, and fully embrace the risk that you will probably be somewhat worse if your opponent is well prepared, but with the upside being that a tense position will likely suit you more than your opponent.