Sunday, 13 April 2014

Chess Reviews: 237

The Diamond Dutch
By GM Viktor Moskalenko
272 pages
New in Chess
I'm always eager to get stuck into a Viktor Moskalenko book. I enjoyed his volumes on the French Defence, Pirc and his highly original Revolutionize Your Chess. I was pleased to see the subject of his new book was none other than the tricky and intense Dutch Defence (1 d4 f5). I have plenty of experience with both colours and I was keen to see what new wrinkles and novelties Moskalenko had to offer.

I agree with the author's rallying cry:

''The Dutch Defence has become a new gorgeous diamond in the treasure box of modern chess openings - full of resources and surprising ideas.''

This is not a repertoire book; rather, it is a book full of ideas for both White and Black. The material is split naturally into three chapters:

The Anti-Dutch
The Stonewall Dutch and the Classical Dutch
The Leningrad Dutch

Seven symbols crop up throughout the book at important moments, highlighting when the reader is encountering a ''trick'', ''puzzle'', ''weapon'', ''plan'', ''statistic'', ''workshop'' and things to ''keep in mind.'' It all aids the learning process, as does the book's beautiful layout (enhanced by lots of diagrams, a page count allowing the material to breathe, photos of many of the featured players).

Anyone replying to 1 d4 with 1 ...f5 absolutely must study anti-Dutch systems to avoid being simply wiped out. The point is that Black's king is already feeling a little exposed after the f-pawn's lunge and he would like a few moves of stable development before the action starts. White can try a large number of moves designed to immediately rattle the gates of the enemy king: 2 Nf3, 2 Nc3, 2 Bg5, 2 e4, 2 d3, 2 Bf4, 2 h3, 2 Nh3, 2 g4 and even 2 Qd3 all requiring careful attention. Some of them look ridiculous but they can all bite the unwary. Moskalenko provides plenty of ideas in this chapter, even looking into the rarer options, such as 1 d4 f5 2 Bg5 h6 3 Bh4 g5 4 e4 Rh7, which led to a famous defeat in Gormally vs. Williams, but is by no means theoretically exhausted. 5 Qh5+ Rf7 6 Bxg5!? hxg5 7 Nf3 is one suggested ''weapon'' which may appeal to players with the white pieces. The dual threats of 7 Nxg5 and 7 Ne5 are difficult to meet.

The mainlines of the Stonewall, Classical and Leningrad Dutch all receive excellent coverage. It's important to see Moskalenko practising what he preaches; many of the illustrative games are his, mostly with black but he displays some powerful play as White too.

As Black, he nails his colours to the mast. ''The Stonewall is my favourite defence against 1. d4.'' (He prefers to start with 1 ...e6, which of course suits an expert on the French Defence and skips a lot of the annoying anti-Dutch options). The author runs through a suggested repertoire and presents his best Stonewall games, which are full of instructive and memorable moments.

A. Petrosian vs. V. Moskalenko
Black activated the ''bad'' Stonewall bishop with 20 ...e5!! 21 dxe5 d4! and won on move 47.

Indeed, anyone put off the Stonewall by the prospect of suffering a completely inactive bishop should find plenty of food for thought in this book.

J. Gonzalez Rodriguez vs.V. Moskalenko
Readers may like to find the winning move for themselves here...

With a plethora of new ideas, sparkling games and delivered in very enthusiastic style, The Diamond Dutch is a significant addition to the literature on 1 d4 f5. It is entirely accessible to players from ''improving club player'' standard upwards.

Viktor Moskalenko is one of my favourite authors and I can happily recommend his latest book, which keeps up the very high standards of his previous volumes.

No comments: