Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dutch Defense 5...a5

In the March-April 1996 issue of Atlantic Chess News, I presented ten games of mine where I adopted the Dutch defense as Black. Here are seven more games in which I played the black side of the Dutch, in a variation that I neglected to discuss the last time. It can be found in Chapter Four of Dutch Defense by Larry Christiansen and Jeremy Silman. Black plays ...Bb4+ followed by ...a5, and if possible ...b6 and ...Bb7.

The first time that I tried it was against candidate master Steven Minsky at the Somerset NJ quads in September 1994. The game opened 1.d4 f5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2. Now I played 5...a5, a move that "does not have a good reputation", according to Christiansen and Silman.

They cite as evidence the game Grooten-Hodgson, Wijk aan Zee 1985 which continued 6.Nf3 b6 7.Ne5 Ne4? 8.Bxb4 axb4 9.Nd2 Bb7 10.O-O Qe7 11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.Qc2 d5 13.cxd5 exd5 14.f3!, and White attained a winning position in only eight more moves. As an improvement on Hodgson's 7...Ne4?, the authors suggest 7...Ra7 followed by 8...Bb7.

Minsky avoided this line by playing 6.a3 Bxd2+ 7.Nxd2 O-O 8.Ngf3 b6 9.O-O Bb7, but already Black had a good game.

The game ended in a draw, but not before I misplayed an even middlegame into a nearly losing endgame as follows: 10.Qc2 Ne4 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Qb3 a4 13.Qc3 c5?! (better 13...d6 and 14...Nd7) 14.Rfd1 Nc6 15.dxc5 bxc5 16.Rd2 Rb8 17.Rad1 Rb3 18.Rxd7 Rxc3 19.Rxd8 Rxc4 20.Rxf8+ Kxf8 21.Nd2 Rd4 22.Bxe4 fxe4 23.e3 Rd5 24.Kf1 Na5 25.Ke2 Re5 26.Rc1 c4 27.Nb1 Ke7 28.Nc3 Nb3 29.Rd1 Nc5 30.Rd4 Nd3 31.Rxc4 Nxb2 32.Rb4 Rc5 33.Nxe4 Rc2+ 34.Kf3 e5 35.Rb7+ Kf8 36.Ra7 h6 37.g4 Rc4 38.h3 Rc1 39.Rb7 Rc2 40.Rb4 Kf7 41.h4 Kg6 42.Rb7 h5 43.Rb6+ Kf7 44.Nd6+ Kg8 45.gxh5 Nd3 46.Ke4 Nc5+ 47.Kd5 Nd7 48.Rb4 Rxf2 49.Kc6 Nf6 50.Rxa4 Rc2+ 51.Rc4 Re2 52.Nf5 Nxh5 53.a4 g6 54.Ne7+ Kf7 55.Nd5 Nf6 56.Nxf6 Kxf6 57.Rc3 Ra2 58.Kb5 Rb2+ 59.Kc4 Rh2 60.a5 Rxh4+ 61.Kb5 Rh8 62.a6 Kf5 63.Kb6 g5 64.Kb7 g4 65.a7 g3 66.a8=Q Rxa8 67.Kxa8 Ke4 68.Kb7 g2 69.Rc1 Kxe3 70.Kc6 e4 71.Kd5 Kf3 72.Kd4 e3 73.Kd3 Kf2 74.Rc2+ Kf3 75.Rxg2 Kxg2 76.Kxe3, draw.

To thwart Black's intended ...b6, White can try 6.Nh3, recently played against me by two strong opponents, national master Erez Klein and international master Jay Bonin. Both games took place at the Manhattan Chess Club.

In January 1997, my game against Klein proceeded 6.Nh3 Nc6 7.Bxb4 Nxb4 8.Nc3 O-O 9.O-O d6 10.a3 Nc6 11.d5 Ne5 12.dxe6 Bxe6 13.Bxb7 Rb8 14.Bd5 Bxd5 15.cxd5 Rxb2 16.Rb1 Qb8 17.Qa4 Ne4 18.Rxb2 Qxb2 19.Nxe4 fxe4 20.Qxe4 g6 21.Ng5 Nf7 22.Qe6 Qxa3 23.Rb1 Qc3.

Now White should have played 24.h4, although Black holds after 24...Kg7. Instead he played 24.Rb8?? and resigned after 24... Qc1+ in view of 25.Kg2 Qxg5.

In June 1997, my game versus Bonin varied with 6.Nh3 O-O 7.O-O Bxd2 8.Qxd2 d6 9.Nf4 Qe8 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.d5 Ne5 12.b3 exd5 13.Nfxd5 Nxd5 14.Nxd5 Qd8 15.Rad1 a4

16.b4?! c6 17.Ne3 f4 18.gxf4 Rxf4 19.Qxd6 Qxd6 20.Rxd6 Bg4! 21.f3 Bh5 22.Rfd1 Re8 23.R6d4 Rxd4 24.Rxd4 Nxf3+ 25.exf3 Rxe3 26.Rd7 Ra3 27.Rxb7 Rxa2 28.f4 Be8 29.Ra7 a3 30.c5 Rb2 31.Rxa3 Rxb4 32.Ra6 Rxf4 33.Bxc6 Bxc6 34.Rxc6 Rc4 35.Kf2 Rc2+ 36.Kg3 Kf7 37.h4 g6 38.Rc7+ Kf6 39.c6 h5 40.Rc8 Rc3+ 41.Kf4 Rc4+ 42.Ke3 Ke7, draw.

In both of these games, it appears that the black QN belongs on a6 rather than c6, where it only facilitates the white d-pawn's arrival on d5.

Another plan for White is to transpose into a Nimzo-Indian formation with 6.Nc3. But Black has no problems in this line, provided a timely ...Bxc3 is played. It is strategically correct to trade the black KB, which has no say in the argument over the vital e4 square, for the white QN. The next two games illustrate Black's strategy.

The first was played against Josef Friedman (FIDE 2295) at the New York Open in March 1997. Here are the moves (after 5...a5): 6.Nc3 O-O 7.e3 d6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 a4 10.Ne2 Nc6 11.O-O Qe8 12.Qe1 e5 13.Rc1 Ne4 14.f3 Nxc3 15.Rxc3 g5 16.f4 gxf4 17.gxf4 e4 18.Qh4 Na5 19.Kh1 Qf7 20.Rg1 Kh8 21.Qh6 Bd7 22.Bf1 Rg8 23.Rxg8+ Rxg8 24.Ng3 Rg6 25.Qh4 Qf6 26.Qxf6+ Rxf6 27.Bh3 h5

28.Nxe4 Bc6 29.d5 fxe4 30.dxc6 bxc6 31.Bd7 Rf7 32.Be8 Rf5 33.Bg6 Rc5 34.Bxe4 Rxc4 35.Rxc4 Nxc4 36.Bxc6 Nxb2 37.Kg2 Nc4 38.Kf3 Nxa3 39.Bxa4 Kg7 40.Ke4 Nc4 41.Bc6 Kf6 42.Kd3 Nb6 43.Kd4 h4 44.Ke4 Nc8 45.Kd3 Ne7 46.Bg2 c5 47.e4 Nc6, draw.

The second game, played against candidate master Gregory Nolan at Runnemede NJ in June 1997, continued 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Nf3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Ne4 9.Rc1 b6 10.O-O Bb7 11.b3 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 d6 13.Qd2 Nd7 14.Ng5 Bxg2

15.Nxe6? Qe7 16.Nxf8 Bxf1 17.Nxd7 Bh3 18.Nxb6 cxb6 19.f3 Re8 20.Kf2 f4 21.Rc2 Qe3+ 22.Qxe3 fxe3+ 23.Ke1 Bf5 24.Rc3 h5 25.a3 Kf7 26.c5 bxc5 27.dxc5 dxc5 28.Rxc5 Rc8! 29.Rxc8 Bxc8 30.Kd1 Ba6 31.h4 Ke6 32.g4 hxg4 33.fxg4 Ke5, 0-1.

Besides 5.Bd2, White can play 5.Nd2, a move that Christiansen and Silman describe as "underestimated by theory". In Stein-Bronstein, USSR 1971, an unclear position was arrived at after 5.Nd2 O-O 6.Ngf3 b6 7.Ne5 c6 8.O-O Bb7 9.Nb3 Be7 10.a4 Na6 11.a5 Qc7 12.Bg5 d6 13.Nd3 c5 14.axb6 axb6 15.Bxb7 Qxb7.

My game against candidate master Louis Golder, played at the Marshall Chess Club in December 1996, varied with 5.Nd2 a5 6.a3 Bxd2+ 7.Bxd2 Nc6 8.e3 O-O 9.Qc2 d6 10.Bc3 Bd7 11.Ne2 a4 12.Rd1 Qe8 13.O-O Na5 14.d5 e5 15.Bxa5 Rxa5 16.Nc3 Qh5 17.Qe2 Qxe2 18.Nxe2

b5! 19.cxb5 Rxb5 20.Rd2 Rfb8 21.Rb1 Rb3 22.Nc1 Rxa3 23.Bf1 Ne4 24.Rc2 Rc3 25.Bd3 Rxc2 26.Bxc2 Nd2 27.Ra1 Rxb2 28.Ra2 Nf3+ 29.Kh1 a3 30.Rxb2 axb2 31.Nd3 Ba4 32.Bb1 Bb3 33.Nxb2 Bxd5 34.Bxf5 Nd4+ 35.e4 Bb7, 0-1.

Before concluding this article, I would like to mention another bizarre possibility 5.Kf1!?, suggested by my game against senior master Yury Lapshun at the Manhattan Chess Club in May 1997. The actual move order in that game was 1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.c4 Bb4+ 6.Kf1!?

This move has the advantage of preventing Black from exchanging the KB, which an interposition on d2 would allow. The game proceeded 6...a5 7.a3 Be7 8.g4!? fxg4 9.Ne5 Bxg2+ 10.Kxg2 Nf6 11.Nc3 d6 12.Qa4+ Kf8 13.Nd3 Qd7 14.Nf4 Kf7 15.Qc2 Nc6 16.e3 e5 17.Nfe2 g6 18.d5 Nb8 19.e4 Na6 20.Be3 h5 21.Rag1 Nh7 22.Qd2 Nc5 (22...a4!) 23.b4 axb4 24.axb4 Na4 25.Nb5 c6 26.Nbc3 Nxc3 27.Nxc3 c5 28.Rb1 Rhb8 29.Rb3 Qd8 30.Rhb1 Bg5 31.bxc5 Bxe3 32.Qxe3 dxc5 33.d6! Qxd6 34.Rd1 Qc6 35.Nd5 Nf6 36.Qg5 Nxd5 37.Rxd5 Re8

38.Rxb6! Qxb6 39.Rd7+ Kg8 40.Qh6 Qf6 41.Qh7+ Kf8 42.Qh6+ Kg8 43.Qh7+, draw.

{This article originally appeared in the September-October 1997 issue of Atlantic Chess News}