Dutch Defense - How to Play the d-pawn Openings - The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

Book Eight

How to Play the d-pawn Openings

Dutch Defense

As in the Queen’s Gambit Declined and the Queen’s Indian Defense, Black fights for control of the e4-square. In this defense he carries on the fight by playing an early …f5. He can then continue the struggle with …d5, or he can play …d6 with a view to forming a counter-center with …e5.

Theorists are pretty well agreed that White’s best course is to fianchetto his light-square bishop, striking at the important center squares. The development of White’s king knight poses an interesting problem - to develop it to f3, where it bears down on the e5-square; or to play Nh3 followed by Nf4, to bear down on the d5-square. Both methods have their good points.

(a) g2-g3 Variation

Dutch Defense

White - Black

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 (D)


Position after 3…e6

White must choose between developing his king knight at f3 or h3.


We may consider this the main line, although 4.Nh3 is an excellent alternative: 4…d5 (Black has a “stonewall” formation) 5.0-0 Bd6 6.c4 c6. Then after 7.Nc3 Nbd7 8.Qd3 Ne4 9.f3! Nxc3 10.bxc3 White is ready to smash the center with e2-e4.

Another alternative is 4…Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 Qe8 8.e4 fxe4 9.Nf4! c6 10.Nxe4 with a fine game for White.

4…Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d6

If Black adopts the stonewall formation with 6…d5, White can get a clear positional advantage in several ways. For example, 7.b3 c6 8.Ba3!. By exchanging the dark-square bishops White leaves Black with the light-square bishop, which is hemmed in by the black pawns on light squares.

Another way is 8.Nc3 Qe8 9.Qc2 Qh5 10.Ne5 Nbd7 11.Nd3! g5 12.f3! with a view to e2-e4! with a powerful initiative in the center.

7.Nc3 Qe8 8.Re1

A good alternative for White is 8.Qc2 Qh5 9.Bg5 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Bxf6! gxf6 12.Nd5 Bd8 13.Rad1 c6 14.Nc3 Be6 15.Nh4! and White has all the play.


Even after 8…Qg6 White can play 9.e4!, for after 9…fxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Rxe4 Qxe4? 12.Nh4 Black’s queen is trapped.

9.e4 fxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Rxe4

White, with his superior development, has lasting pressure on Black’s position.

(b) Staunton Gambit

Staunton Gambit

White - Black

1.d4 f5 2.e4

A gambit attack which can give Black a great deal of trouble unless he plays carefully.

2…fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 (D)


Position after 3…Nf6


Black must avoid the trap 4…d5? for after 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxd5 White comes out a pawn ahead.


Black can hold his own, for example 5.f3 e5! 6.d5 Nd4 7.fxe4 Be7 8.Bc4 d6! 9.Nge2 Ng4!. Or 5.d5 Ne5 6.Qd4 Nf7 7.Bxf6 exf6 8.Nxe4 f5 9.Ng3 g6! 10.h4 Bh6!.

These variations show how Black gets an excellent game by consistently developing and seeking counterplay.