Finally, after a “drought” of several months, I pulled off a solid win as black using the Dutch Defense.
I favor the Dutch – and the Bird (1. f4) when playing white – because these systems make for dynamic play with several centers of activity. However, I don’t get to use the Dutch very often, because not many people open with 1. d4.
In this game I feel I gained the upper hand early. White’s moves 5. e4 and 9. dxe4 gave me the idea of bracketing the white king via the open d and f files.
Once white exchanged his knight for my bishop (11. Nxe7+) I felt the game was going my way. I like to keep my knights as long as possible in the Dutch/Bird systems. The pawn structures tend to hang around for a long time, blocking the diagonals and cramping the bishops. So having a knight against a bishop often proves to be a significant advantage.
12. … Be6 and 13. … Na6 connect my rooks, and on the next move I take ownership of the d-file, preparing to mount my assault up the center.
White realizes it’s high time to castle, but some diversionary attacks on his queen give me tempo to bring up the artillery and block his king in the center of the board. The game is not won at this point, but I certainly have a strong positional advantage…
I could not have anticipated white’s blunder 18. Nc3?? – but even without that, I think the game would have gone my way had we played it out. For example, 18. Qxd4 Nc2+ 19. Nxd4 definitively removes white’s castling option, and leaves his king rather exposed in the center.
It’s quite satisfying to win a game like this against a player rated 100 points higher!