A80-99 Dutch Defence

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With 1...f5 Black controls the e4 square, creates an unbalanced position and discloses his intention to attack on the kingside. The weak position of the Black King can be a concern, but in practice it is quite difficult to play with White against this defence as he has to leverage in the long-term on Black's structural weaknesses while he has to beware not to be outplayed  by  Black's aggressive treatment of the opening.  All that makes the Dutch defence risky and double-edged for both colors.

After 1.d4 f5  Black can choose among three setups.

The modern and risky Leningrad variation is based on the kingside fianchetto and counterplay on that wing similar to the King's Indian one.  In the Leningrad, however, White has not been allowed to establish a large pawn center.  A possible move sequence is 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 00 but transpositions are common.  

The Stonewall system involves the creation of the pawn chain d5-e6-f5.   Such structure prevents White to occupy the space needed to launch an immediate attack versus the Black King and leads to a positional game where Black is very solid and White has to exploit in the long term the weakness on dark squares left by the Stonewall structure.  A possible move sequence is 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5. Nf3 c6 6.00 Bd6 but also in this case several transposition possibilities exist.  

The Ilyin-Zhenevsky variation (known also as Classical variation) occurs after 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 00 6.00 d6 (other move sequences are possible) and is in the middle between the two previous options: Black keeps open the choice between the possibility of a kingside attack like in the Leningrad (by means of e6-e5 and Be7-f6) and the possibility to establish a Stonewall  (by means of d6-d5).

Finally, it is worth noting that after 1.d4 f5 White can avoid the main continuations adopting the Staunton Gambit with 2.e4!? Nf6 3.Nc3 fxe4, a line that is dangerous only if Black does not know the theoretical continuations providing him a good defence and probably at least the draw.  Moreover, if Black wants to play the Stonewall or the Ilyin-Zhenevsky may, if he wishes, avoid altogether the Staunton Gambit with a transposition of moves: 1.d4 e6 2. c4 f5. In fact in this case he can reply to 2.e4 with 2...d5 transposing to a French defence.

The Dutch defence is classified with the ECO codes A80-89 and A90-99.

Here you can find a collection of recent chess games played with the Dutch defence and available for download in both pgn and chessbase format.


Dutch Defence

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Last Update

July 2018