Daring defences to 1 d4, May 2003
I've decided to give the Grünfeld a rest this time as there are a number of lesser-known lines in other openings that deserve a mention.GM Glenn Flear
In Game 1 I continue to investigate recent developments in the English Defence after 1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6 3 e4 Bb7 4 Bd3, where both 4...Nc6 and 4...Bb4+ are featured. These lines are safer alternatives than the crazy 4...f5 which I analyzed in March 2003.
In Game 2 an aggressive anti-Budapest system that has been tried by English GM Chris Ward is given a testing by one of his students. The game is entertaining but contains a number of errors, not least Black's king walk into the valley of death! As for the opening, I don't think Budapest fans should lose any sleep over 10 f4.
In the following diagram:
White claimed an advantage with his next move.
Classical Benko Gambit counter-attacking leads to a Black win in Game Three. A thematic model against White's slow centre-building strategy.
In Game Four White's opening idea looks even more suspicious and he was soon obliged to sacrifice a piece fishing for a perpetual. Black avoided the draw and went on to cash in.
Game Five sees a more serious line by White, the ultra-fashionable 10 Rb1 in the fianchetto variation. However it must be said that Epishin's 11 a4 novelty seems to be the result of having forgotten the theory! Later he was lucky to win as his young opponent missed winning the exchange in time trouble, see move 30. The notes to Black's 10th move indicate a promising idea for Black in the main line, worth a closer look in my opinion.
In Games Six the popular anti-Dutch line 1 d4 f5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bg5 is highlighted. I was interested in White's promising plan a3, b3 and Na4. Not so well known and not that easy to counter. Black should have drawn the ending but young players often lack experience in such positions and when the last few minutes are ticking away...
For Leningrad players a further problem. See the natural move-order in Game Seven. The moves 1 d4 f5 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 invite 4 h4 which too often comes with a vengeance as we see in this massacre. Instead 3...d6 makes sense, in order to play ...g6 a little later or possibly ...e5, depending on circumstances.
Black is a pawn up, but after White's next powerful move he was struggling.
In Game Eight, out-of-form Jean-René Koch goes down again in the Dutch, but he had several chances to improve. I have to conclude that Hebden's 9 Be3 is not a bad move, but shouldn't cause too many problems for Leningraders.
Ulibin's Stonewall is met with a new idea from Volkov in Game Nine. The complications that followed are confusing but I'm fairly sure that Black missed two or three opportunities to obtain a satisfactory game. Towards the end Volkov played with great energy to obtain the full point.
In Game Ten the Ilyin-Zhenevsky with 7...Ne4 turned out badly for Black who was completely outplayed by a player rated almost 200 points less. Looking more closely at the opening it's clear that Black should prefer one of the outlined alternatives on move 9 or 10.
Although the Dutch Defence in it's various forms is not bad in itself, these last few games illustrate an important point: When things go wrong in the Dutch Black's king becomes exposed more readily than in other openings.
Don't let me put you off though. Play ...f5 with hopes of going forward, but don't forget to look after the defences to your own king!
Next time: Priority for the Grünfeld.
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