When I joined this site last year I was unaware how it would improve my chess. But is has. First, I must thank the tournament organisers whose events have allowed me to learn new openings.
Last year I did not know anything about the Benko. After playing in three separate tournaments on chess.com I have acquired an in-depth knowledge of the gambit. Also, I have had to play from both sides of the board - which heightens your awareness of the different plans.
A year ago, I would cringe when an opponent ventured 1 d4 - fearing death by boredom as in my previous game. Now I relish the chance to play some attacking chess.
Over-the-board chess is my opportunity to demonstrate that I have learnt from online chess. I prefer hand-to-hand combat, as it is unmistakably real, the sweat, the nerves and the elation that a victory can bring.
But to learn from online chess requires effort, try to avoid playing on auto-pilot. Study each move carefully, often I play the game through from the beginning to help me memorise the opening and appreciate how the current position has arisen. And at the end of the game - I go back and review what I have learnt.
The black side of the benko is about rapid development, active piece play and sustained pressure which prevents white from developing smoothly. It suits my style to have the initiative.
A nice final position which shows the piece activity that black can generate from the benko. Note that kingside attacks by black are not that common in this opening but if white mispays then there is plenty of space to exploit and plenty of good squares for black to put his pieces.