Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Chess Reviews: 131

Killer Dutch
By GM Simon Williams
Running time:
Approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes
A production

The Dutch Defence is a controversial opening. 1 ...f5 is seen as too risky by some. Others embrace the ethos of an early attacking stance on the Kingside.

This DVD is the first in a series from and it offers thorough coverage of the Classical Dutch and White's attempts to avoid the main lines from move two onwards.

GM Simon Williams is an expert on this opening and his confidence in the defence and material is evident throughout the entire disc. His presentation skills are excellent. He is relaxed in front of the camera, maintains steady eye contact with the viewer and speaks very clearly. Right from the start, this confidence is transferred to the viewer.

The graphics are impressive too, with footage from various chess events being played before each chapter starts. We see snippets of chess boxing, open-air chess with huge pieces at Trafalgar Square and various other bits and pieces. The production values are very high and the presentation is never allowed to become dry. The standard screen layout shows GM Williams facing the camera, playing through the moves on a real chess set and pieces. An electronic demonstration board is also on the screen, complete with highlighted squares and arrows to demonstrate moves and threats. Occasionally the camera will find a different angle; for example, sometimes there will be aerial shots of the hand moving the pieces.

Meanwhile the background graphics undergo frequent changes. Sometimes, GM Williams appears to be sitting in front of an enormous chess clock. Other times, it is a dandelion clock or another pleasant outdoor scene.

So, the presentation and production values both pass with flying colours. What of the content? The material is split into six parts.

Part 1 - DVD Introduction

Here, the basic strategies of the Dutch are outlined - from both sides of the board. Illustrative games are used throughout the DVD. Not all of them are complete games; sometimes they cut off once the relevant point has been made.

A Theory Section typically follows the introductory games in each chapter.

The first game to demonstrate the attacking prowess of the Dutch doesn't actually arise from 1 d4, but Black's plans are relevant to a whole host of closed openings. Some time is spent detailing where Black's pieces are best placed. For example, in this position, Black's Queenside Knight needs to find a way to join the action.

Sowray - N. Pert

It's important not to get too carried away with an attack before a reasonable amount of attackers are in place. So Black spent several tempi bringing the Knight to the Kingside, starting with: 14 ...Nbd7

...and shortly afterwards, the Knight is in the right place at the right time to deliver mate on h2.

Part 2 - The Main Line

This is the most important part of the DVD. If the main lines don't appeal, then the Dutch isn't the opening for you. From the position above, three Black replies are analysed in depth.

'Ye Olde Faithful' 7 …a5

7 …Ne4

7 …Nc6

The latter is a risky try with little theory. However, a very convincing case is made regarding the viability if the first two options.

The explanations of the plans, strategies, tricks and traps are presented in a very thorough and instructive manner. Key points are reiterated throughout the illustrative games. For instance, it is repeatedly drilled into Dutch heads that White's positionally desirable thrust e2-e4 should be kept under lock and key whenever possible. When it cannot be prevented, it must be met by ...e7-e5 (if possible) or ...f5-f4 - to create some fuss on the Kingside - if the former recipe is not available.

Part 3 - White Avoids Fianchettoing Introduction

This section provides Black with some suitable ways to meet White's unusual tries. Clamping down on the e2-e4 advance is again high on the agenda. For example, after 1 d4 f5 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 e6 4 Bg5, hoping to push the e-pawn as soon as possible, Black is advised to play 4 ...Bb4.

Part 4 - Aggressive Set Ups and Early Gambits - Introduction

In the this chapter, the presenter offers to ‘weapon you up’ against a plethora of trouble-making variations. Often, it boils down to denying the Gambiteer the sort of position he is aiming for. After 1 d4 f5 2 g4 fxg4 3 h3, White is happy to offer pawns to open up lines on the Kingside. So the recommendation is to throw a spanner in the works with 3 ...g3

However, a note of caution should be added here, for clever Whites may well try 3 Bf4 or even 3 Qd3 before 4 g4, enabling a piece to capture on g3 instead of the f-pawn.

Part 5 - 1 d4 f5 - Early Deviations: 2 Nc3 and 2 Bg5 Introduction

The early deviations must be taken seriously. As 1 ...f5 weakens the Kingside, Black must be aware of various dangers from the very start of the game. There's a very intriguing 'Williams Special' after 2 Bg5.

1 d4 f5 2 Bg5 h6 3 Bh4 g5 4 e4 Rh7 Here it is! Black intends blocking checks with the Rook.

One possible variation runs: 5 Qh5+ Rf7 6 Nf3 Nf6 7 Qg6 Nc6 8 e5 Ne4 9 d5 Nb4 10 e6 Nxc2+ with a '...completely mental position'.

Part 6 - Conclusion

Dutch players new and old are encouraged to: ‘Get down - get dirty - with the Dutch!’

This DVD will play on normal DVD players as well as computers. No additional software is required.

GM Williams in action at the 2009 Staunton Memorial tournament

'Killer Dutch' is an excellent DVD and one which I feel will genuinely help viewers develop a much better understanding of this tricky and demanding opening. A well prepared player should be able to look forward to a lot of very interesting - and successful - games against 1 d4.

I hope there will be more DVDs from Gingergm very soon. What can we expect? Perhaps something on the French Defence or King's Indian Defence. We'll see!

For further details regarding the Killer Dutch and Ginger GM products, please pop along to:

For an old article detailing some of my own experiences with the Dutch Defence, follow this link:

Missed a review? Head for the archive:


KevG said...

Thanks for the review. Just thought I'd point out that in 'Part 5' you have added a move for each side at move 5 that can't have happened.
Regards, Kevin.

Sean Marsh said...

Well spotted, KevG!

Thanks for that - I think it works now.

Anonymous said...

Sean, recently a DVD on the French defence from the same author came out. Regards, Patrick

Sean Marsh said...

Watch out for the very next review column, Patrick - the French Defence DVDs will be reviewed there.