05 January 2014

Annotated Game #111: A first Dutch Defense

This game, my first in the Dutch Defense, contains pretty much what you would expect from the occasion: an opening blunder on the kingside, lots of tactics, and unexpected resources by Black that (almost) save the day.  I was unfamiliar with the sideline my opponent chose - probably so was he - and learned the hard way the need to look for tactics in the Dutch from very early on, rather than proceeding only on opening principles.

White chose to let up on the pressure in the middlegame, however, and also missed a tactical blow from Black on move 16, which eventually let me equalize.  I should have entered the tactical complications of 17...Qxb2! after which White has no better than a perpetual, but even after spending a great deal of time on the calculations, could not definitively resolve them in my favor.  Even with the lesser move, a bishop retreat, I was able to transition into an equal endgame, but being tired (or lazy, depending on how you look at it) I allowed White to win a decisive central pawn, then called it quits after blundering another one.

The game showed how psychology and fatigue can influence both sides in what was a rather wild, see-saw match.  However, that's exactly what a Dutch Defense game should be, so I'll keep working on it.  Lesson learned in one sideline, at least.  On the positive side, my tenacity in the middlegame was good, as I constantly sought for opportunities to strike back rather than accept my fate.  My tactical vision (when I actively looked for it) was also good in places, for example with the exchange sacrifice sequence started on move 9, the need to play 13...e5 to try and free my game, and seeing the possibilities on moves 16 and 17, even if I failed to fully calculate the large amount of complications after the best move.

[Event "DHLC Slow Swiss #11"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2014.01.04"] [Round "2"] [White "MurkyLizard"] [Black "ChessAdmin_01"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A80"] [WhiteElo "1611"] [BlackElo "1435"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [TimeControl "45"] {A80: Dutch Defence: Unusual White second moves} 1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 {this move normally implies that Bg5 will follow} Nf6 3. Bg5 {with similar ideas for White as in the Veresov Attack (the same initial three moves, except with Black playing ...d5 instead of ...f5)} d5 {Black gets a lock on e4 and opens the diagonal for the Bc8} 4. e3 (4. Bxf6 {is by far the most common choice.}) 4... Ne4 {here I had no idea what to do, having expected the bishop to take on f6, so thought for a bit and figured that the best way to take advantage of White's omission would be to use the knight actively. I was wrong. This was a failure to correctly evaluate the resulting position, as well as a failure to consider the burden of proof on Black of violating general opening principles (not moving the same piece twice early on).} (4... e6 {would be a reasonable move, freeing the Bf8 and reinforcing Black's central pawns. Black would thereby head for a type of Stonewall position.}) 5. Nxe4 fxe4 {Black now has major problems developing his pieces and his king position is weak.} 6. c4 $146 {now out of the database; only one other game had been played previously in this line, a White victory.} h6 $2 {this move was played because I completely focused on my own "threat" against the bishop, assuming it would have to be retreated, and therefore missed White's next move. In the Dutch Defense, one has to be looking for tactics from early on, something which I forgot and was playing simply on (poor) principle. Specifically, Black after his first move has to guard the weakened h5-e8 diagonal.} (6... Qd7 {is Black's best try, according to Houdini, but this is still quite awkward.} 7. Ne2 e6 $16) 7. Qh5+ $18 Kd7 {the only move} 8. Bf4 g5 $2 {Black's game is strategically ruined by this point, but the text move makes it even worse.} (8... c6 {would put up the most resistance.} 9. a3 (9. cxd5 {was what I had worried about most, but Black has the useful maneuver} Qa5+ 10. Kd1 Qxd5) 9... e6) 9. Be5 {Houdini's evaluation function gives White the advantage of more than a full rook here.} e6 {the only move to allow Black to try and get some activity going, an exchange sacrifice.} 10. Bxh8 {White goes for the easy material gain, somewhat freeing Black's game (which is still losing objectively).} (10. Qf7+ {would be more effective for White's attack, at least temporarily passing up on capturing the rook.} Be7 11. Bxh8 (11. cxd5 $18) 11... Qxh8 12. cxd5) 10... Bb4+ 11. Kd1 Qxh8 12. Qf7+ Kd8 13. cxd5 e5 {my opponent apparently did not expect this and thought for some time here. As with the exchange sacrifice, it is Black's best (and only) attempt to generate some counterplay, based on attacking d4 and getting the Qh8 into the action.} 14. Rc1 Bd7 {I considered this the most active defensive move. Black protects c7 by interfering with the 7th rank.} (14... Nd7 {is what was preferred by the engine, although it's no solution to Black's problems.} 15. Ne2 Qf6 16. Qg8+ Bf8 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. h4 $18) 15. dxe5 $6 {I was happy to see this, as it opens up the long diagonal and activates my queen. White is still winning, of course, but Black now has more chances.} (15. Ne2 {instead would bring another piece into the fight.}) 15... Qxe5 16. a3 $2 {ironically, White makes a similar tactical oversight as Black previously did on the kingside, when attempting to kick White's bishop.} (16. Kc2 {is the best defense, apparently, but would be difficult for a human to play without misgivings.} Bd6 17. h4 $18) 16... Ba4+ $1 $11 {I thought for a little while here, but the bishop move was clearly best, so saved my big think for the next move.} 17. Rc2 {the only move that prevents mate} Be7 $2 { my opponent, who was significantly lower on time, must have appreciated this defensive retreat from me.} (17... Qxb2 $1 {is what I spent most of my time calculating, but I could not see the end-state clearly after White's series of checks and thought that White would eventually be able to do something besides check the king. I was wrong, as it turns out White can pick up a couple of pawns, but has nothing better than to keep a perpetual check going, or suffer a similar fate from Black.} 18. Qg8+ {is actually what I spent most of my time on.} (18. Qxc7+ Ke8 19. Qc8+ (19. axb4 Nc6 {using an interference theme} 20. f3 Qxc2+ 21. Ke1 Rd8 $11) 19... Kf7 20. axb4 Qb1+ 21. Kd2 Nd7 $11) 18... Ke7 19. Qh7+ Kf8 20. Qxh6+ Ke8 {I thought I had to avoid this square, because of} 21. Bb5+ {which I thought would be a decisive deflection tactic, but it in fact loses. Black still has enough material left to mate.} c6 22. Bxa4 $2 Qb1+ 23. Rc1 (23. Ke2 Qe1#) 23... Qd3#) 18. Kc1 (18. Qg8+ $5 Kd7 19. Qe6+ Qxe6 20. dxe6+ Kxe6 21. Bc4+ Ke5 22. b3 $16) 18... Bxc2 $14 {the attack is over, so I cash in the material.} 19. Kxc2 Bf6 20. Qg8+ (20. Qf8+ $5 Kd7 21. Qb4 Qxd5 22. Bc4 $14) 20... Ke7 $11 21. Qe6+ {White has nothing better now than to head for the even endgame, as he has to exchange off the Qe5.} Qxe6 22. dxe6 Kxe6 23. Bc4+ Ke5 { the king is properly placed here, at an active central location, although I thought that it got in the way of my other pieces afterwards; it should have been strategically withdrawn to e6 at an appropriate time.} 24. Ne2 Nc6 25. Nc3 Na5 $2 {simply a lazy move.} (25... Rd8 $142 $5 $11 {was what I had originally planned. Then I had the idea of chasing the Bc4, without seeing that it could now move forward to d5 with the Nc3's protection. This was a thinking process failure, by not asking myself what the previous White move had accomplished (additional control of d5, attacking e4).}) 26. Bd5 $16 {Attacks the isolani on e4, notes Houdini via the Fritz interface. A positional characteristic (isolated pawn) I also should have paid more attention to when starting the endgame, from a strategic point of view.} c6 27. Bxe4 $16 {Things are now looking rather grim for Black, with the passed e-pawn. However, resistance is still possible.} Nc4 28. Rd1 Nd6 {not a bad move, closing off the d-file.} 29. Bg6 (29. Bf3 Rf8 $16) 29... Rg8 {this was a rather cheap threat.} (29... Ke6 { would be better here, untangling the king from the Bf6 and also covering the d7 square.}) 30. Bh5 g4 $2 {the last mistake. I had ideas of isolating the bishop on h4, but White's rook move ended that.} (30... Ke6 $16 {again would be best.}) 31. Rd4 $18 {Black will lose another pawn and have no counterplay remaining in the ending, giving the game to White.} 1-0


  1. This game was lost because you did not followed the rules of the development. Already 1..f5 is not 100% traditional opening strategy but 4.. Ne4 was a second move of a piece in the opening= lost of 1 tempo. 6...h6 is of cause a dramatical tactical blunder but its against the opening rules/principles/strategy too. You move a pawn, not in the center ; instead developing pieces and prepeare casteling
    Every pawnmove weakens the position and has to be checked more intense than a piecemove.
    If i dont know the opening then i stick to the rules as much as possible



    1. Thanks for the comment; indeed, I said as much in the annotations.


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