The simple and efficient CCSD(T)-F12x approximations (x = a,b) we proposed in a recent communication [T. B. Adler, G. Knizia, and H.-J. Werner, J. Chem. Phys. 127, 221106 (2007)] are explained in more detail and extended to open-shell systems. Extensive benchmark calculations are presented, which demonstrate great improvements in basis set convergence for a wide variety of applications. These include reaction energies of both open- and closed-shell reactions, atomization energies, electron affinities, ionization potentials, equilibrium geometries, and harmonic vibrational frequencies. For all these quantities, results better than the AV5Z quality are obtained already with AVTZ basis sets, and usually AVDZ treatments reach at least the conventional AVQZ quality. For larger molecules, the additional cost for these improvements is only a few percent of the time for a standard CCSD(T) calculation. For the first time ever, total reaction energies with chemical accuracy are obtained using valence-double-zeta basis sets.