Beating the Sicilian Defense, Benko Variation

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We opened the game with the Open Sicilian Defense, going into the Benko Variation with my opponent’s early 6. …Qb6. I think my 6. Bc4 was actually quite inaccurate there, and after having played that I should have captured 7. Nxc6 to avoid losing time retreating my light-squared bishop later. Losing this tempo so early in the opening definitely didn’t help, but I think white had a playable position in the late opening/early middlegame. Black had an interesting initiative in the center with pawns on e6 and d5, however with 19. …Rad8 had missed my tactical threat of 20. Ncb5 to break black’s pawn structure – leading to a long-term advantage for white with time-trouble for both sides.

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