27 July 2014

Faltering Against the Dutch

My game against Jeremy Krasin did not go as planned. I did not win. In the Spokane Contenders Tournament, I had White against Jeremy. I also had White in 2012, winning that game and the event. At the end of the 2012 Spokane Contenders, I reached my highest ever USCF rating of 1982.

Stripes,James (1917) -- Krasin,Jeremy (1882) [A90]
Spokane Contenders Spokane, 24.07.2014

1.d4 e6!

Krasin offers me the White side of the French. As everyone in Spokane knows, the French is my main Black weapon against 1.e4. It might be expected that I prefer to avoid playing the White side. In fact, I play the White side with some frequency as I play 1.e4 as often as I play 1.d4.

If Krasin intends to play the Dutch Defense, this move has the virtue of preventing me from Playing the Raphael Dutch and the Staunton Gambit. My experience with the Raphael is well known by those who have observed the Spokane scene the past few years, and Krasin has played against it in several blitz games. He also lost to the Staunton Gambit in the 2012 Spokane Contenders.

2.g3 f5

Indeed, the Dutch was his plan.

3.c4 Nf6 4.Nc3

4.Bg2 is more accurate.


White to move

Can White play 5.d5? I thought about it, and we looked at it after the game. I thought that 5...Bb4 would be Black's best response.


5.d5  was played by a master against an expert. That game continued 5...Bb4 6.Bg2 0–0 7.Bd2 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.0–0 b6 10.a3 Bd6 11.e4 cxd5 12.exd5 e4 13.Nd4 Ne8 14.Qe2 Na6 15.b4 Be5 16.Be3 Qf6 17.Rad1 Bb7 18.Ncb5 Nd6 19.f4 exf3 20.Nxf3 1–0 Neubauer,M (2433)--Maia,J (2128) Rio de Janeiro 2011

5...d5 6.cxd5?!

My move scores poorly in the database. I played it to avoid the loss of the c-pawn--a beginner's error. If I'm unwilling to suffer the temporary loss of that pawn, I should not be playing the Queen's Gambit.

6.Nh3 appears to be most popular among strong players.
6.Nf3 is the most popular move in the database overall It has been played by Etienne Bacrot and Mihai Suba.
6.Bf4 has been played by Ivan Sokolov on more than one occasion.

6...exd5 7.Bg5

I would like to trade my dark-squared bishop for Black's knight or dark-squared bishop. But, I have some ambivalence concerning the trade for the knight.


I was feeling here that Black already had a slight advantage.

8.Nf3 0–0 9.Qc2

Black to move

9...Na6 10.a3

Preventing Nb4 is an exercise in chasing phantoms. But if a3 is a necessary part of my planned minority attack, then perhaps it is not a wasted move.

10...Nc7 11.0–0 Ne6 12.Bd2 Ne4

It is clear that Black has the iniative.

13.b4 Bf6 14.e3 g5

White to move

I spent a lot of time on this position and was not happy with any of my plans. I decided that I needed to secure f4 as a possible knight outpost, while also protecting my d-pawn.

I did consider 15.Nxe4 fxe4 16.Ne5 but thought that I would end up with a pawn on e5 that was hard to protect. As it turned out, I had such a pawn in any case, and I underestimated its dynamic potential.

15.Ne2 Bd7 16.a4 b6 17.Ne5 Bxe5 18.dxe5 Rc8 19.Bc1!

In retrospect, from the end of the game, this bishop proved to be valuable.

19...g4 20.a5

20.Rd1 should have been considered.

20...Qe8 21.Nf4 N6g5

White to move


22.axb6! axb6 23.Bb2 and White may gain the iniative. The pawn on e5 sticks in the middle of Black's forces, preventing many arrangements of his pieces that might be useful for exploiting the apparent weaknesses around the White king. My fears about Nf3+ and a Black pawn taking up residence on f3 in preparation for Black's queen penetrating along the h-file appear unfounded.

22...gxf3 23.Bxf3 Nxf3+ 24.Rxf3 Ng5 25.Rf2 Qxe5 26.Qb2

Black to move


During the game, I thought 26...Qe4 might continue to cause me grief. Krasin and I looked at a few lines following this move during the post-mortem.

27.Bxb2 b5 28.Kg2 Rce8 29.Bd4 a6 30.Rc1 Ne6 31.Nxe6

31.Nd3 is a move preferred by Stockfish.

31...Rxe6 32.Rf4 Re4 33.Rcf1 Kf7 

White to move

34.Rxe4 dxe4 35.Rd1 Ke8 36.Bc5 Rf6 37.Kf2 Rg6 38.Rd6 Rxd6 ½–½

It is clear that I need more weapons against the classical Dutch. The Raphael is insufficient.

After this game, my only chance to play in the City Championship was to win my last two games and also get help from David Dussome, who would need at least a draw against Michael Cambareri. Alas, I lost to Cambareri the next day, giving him clear first in the Contenders Tournament. Had he then beaten Dussome, his chances of going over 2000 with his rating was quite good. He lost to Dussome. Dussome thus beat the top two rated players in this event.

I have one game remaining in the event.

No comments:

Post a Comment