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It seems that lots of recent opening books have recommendations for or against some of our Daring Defences systems. So I thought that it would be a good idea to see how these authors' lines are holding up in practice, so you'll soon notice that I'll be referring to other sources a bit more than usual this time. Naturally, I'm particularly interested to see if their analyses can enhance what has been available up to now in the Benko and Dutch sections in ChessPublishing. It's also worth checking to see if they (or me!) have any gaps! Hopefully, this slightly unusual column proves to be a learning experience, not just for all DD subscribers, but for myself!

Download PGN of July ’19 Daring Defences games

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Benko Gambit 5.f3 g6 6.e4 Bg7 [A57]

The Benko Gambit with 5.f3 is no longer particularly fashionable, but it does occur occasionally at master level. In the featured game, Handler, L - Milanovic, D Black reacts with a quick ...g6 ...

...and soon follows up with the conservative 8...d6. I noticed however that Perunovic (in The Modernized Benko) instead recommends 8...e6, angling for his counterplay to come quicker and stronger. Lakdawala, on the other hand, completely misses this plan in his new Everyman repertoire for White.

In the actual game, White didn't employ a particularly testing line, which enabled Black to get good play. If you do prefer playing with ...d6, then note that 9.Ra3 is more of a challenge than 9.Nge2.

Modern Benko Gambit Accepted 6...Bg7 7.e4 0-0 8.a7 [A58]

In Radovanovic, N - Ponomariov, R I'll be looking at the latest developments in the highly theoretical 8.a7 push against Black's modern set-up (i.e. where he delays recapturing on a6). It's noticeable that Boris Avrukh has got in on the act, and is now recommending this variation for White. You'll see me quoting him in the notes.

Black was able to equalize against the chosen 13.Bf4 in the actual game, but 13.Nb5 is perhaps the main area for discussion. Avrukh analyzes it 'to an edge' (as you'll see in the note) but I don't think that Black is doing too badly. Check out my interjections, and see what you think. One slight worry for Benko Gambiteers is that if White knows his stuff it's actually quite hard for Black to generate winning chances, but I suppose this is the case in most openings these days.

Modern Benko Gambit Accepted 6...Bg7 7.e4 0-0 8.e5 [A58]

Of course a wild-looking move like 9.h4 as played in Michalik, P - Heberla, B deserves a diagram:

Many of you out there will perhaps have the same reaction as I did when I saw it for the first time recently ("goodness gracious, what on earth is going on here?"). After checking out a number of recent games (some played at a high level, but in Bullet, Blitz or Rapid) I have to admit that I'm still not quite sure! This line is still in its infancy, but will certainly appeal to those who enjoy the rush of adrenaline when all hell breaks loose! As far as I can work out, the game continuation of 9...d6! 10.e6! Qa5!? looks like the best anyone has come up with so far for Black.

Leningrad Dutch 6.b3 b6 [A81]

Something new, high-scoring and completely overlooked by Avrukh will perhaps appeal to Leningrad fans. In Aditya, M - Maghsoodloo, P we have a perfect example of White not knowing what to do against 6...b6:

The first player actually has a dreadful score from this position (check it out!). Even in other openings the idea of double fianchettoing for Black is becoming more common (see for example my recent thoughts about 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 b6 with a quick ...g6 to follow, which can at times lead to similar play), and indeed the approach seems to be becoming quite a movement!

The main response is 7.Bb2 (as played by Aditya) but I suspect that 7.Ne5 is best, as it at least gets Black to make some sort of committal pawn move. In the featured game, the Iranian GM innovated as early as move nine with a natural-looking developing move, but this is essentially an illustration that there is plenty of virgin territory out there waiting to be trampled on after 6...b6.

In the game, White ran out of good ideas and starting playing some bad ones and was duly and totally outplayed.

Leningrad Dutch 6.b3 d6 7.Bb2 c6 [A81]

In Gledura, B - Demuth, A a sharp exchange sacrifice occurred which can be difficult to judge.

White doesn't seem to get anything if he avoids ...Bxa1, but if he is willing to allow it he can do so in several slightly different ways. Avrukh opts for the novel 12.b4 (to deny the knight on a6 a foothold on c5) but I doubt if this strange-looking subtlety will catch on. Gledura's 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.Nf3 (go on then, take the rook!) has occurred before, and is mainly known from an encounter between the young-and-up-and -coming Alexei Shirov and Evgeny Bareev.

White gets practical chances for his investment (look at those dark squares!) but if Black is able to walk the tightrope and get his rooks into the action he might be better long-term. Demuth fell off and was quickly dispatched, without his rook on a8 ever participating.

Dutch Leningrad 7...c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.b3 Na6 11.Ng5 [A88]

Many games in the main line of the ...c6-Leningrad resemble the early play in Baryshpolets, A - Shabalov, A. Both players deploy their pieces with Black being vigilant about his d6 weakness. The big question is whether or not White will play with Nxe6 to obtain the bishop pair. It's a moot point whether Black should allow this, or then (if given a chance) White should should actually bother to capture. In his book, I get the impression that Karolyi is thinking along the same lines as myself in that Nxe6 is generally a good idea. There is perhaps no evident advantage, but later on, the potential for line opening on the light squares might tip the balance (a shade) in White's favour.

Here Baryshpolets decided to keep all the pieces on the board and a tense middlegame followed. I'm not sure what the time situation was, but the play seemed to be influenced by a lack of that precious resource! Shabalov went for some crazy complications with 22...b5?! which turned out to be dodgy, but he went on to win due to White blundering on move 38 (and then again on move 42).

Dutch Leningrad 7...c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Qd3 [A88]

In Saravanan, V - Pruijssers, R White preferred to capture on e6 when given a chance and the players soon reached the following position:

Black seems to have a perfectly sound game with no problems. The presence of the rook on e6 being a positive feature, which might explain why the earlier 10...Re8 (preparing to recapture on e6 with this piece) has been scoring so well. It's only the fourth most popular at present, but games like this one might encourage others to try it out.

Pruijssers made progress by stabilizing the central situation and then pushing his h-pawn. I can't see anything for White in this line, but I suppose that placing a rook on a semi-open file does somehow make sense!

Stonewall Dutch 8.Qc2 Qe7 9.Rb1 [A90]

Against the Stonewall, the plan involving Nc3, Qc2 and Rb1 came into the spotlight a few years ago when Avrukh first recommended it in one of his influential opening books. Now he's back with an updated version and he's modified some of his recommendations. He seems to like combining the threat of queenside action with b2-b4 with another plan based around c4-c5, with or without a Bc1-f4 follow-up.

In this position, he even suggests switching to 9.Bg5!? (confused? Avrukh points out that Black is quite well placed to meet direct queenside action in this particular case), but our main game Wojtaszek, R - Sadzikowski, D continued nevertheless with 9.Rb1, after which Black replied with 9...Bd7, no doubt intending ...Be8-h5. So Wojtaszek then played quite actively before his opponent had a chance to get fully coordinated.

Going into the middlegame, it feels like White had a pull with his bishops and the possibility of breaking in the centre, but when e2-e4 was finally played it was mistimed and almost rebounded.

Stonewall Dutch 8.Qc2 Ne4 9.Rb1 a5 [A90]

In Polyik, P - Ter Sahakyan, S White applied Avrukh's previous suggestion in such positions and obtained the type of position where it was difficult for Black (the significantly higher-rated player) to obtain any realistic winning chances, so I would suggest 12...b5! (see the notes) fighting for space and influence on the queenside. It's worth comparing the main game with Avrukh's newest proposition (see the note to White's tenth move) as there are similarities, as both involve c4-c5 with Bc1-f4.Ter Sahakyan was OK in terms of equality, but he wanted more, took some risks, and ended up getting less.

Classical Dutch Fluid centre 7...Ne4 8.Nxe4 fxe4 9.Nd2 [A96]

Of the three big Dutch families, the Classical is less popular than its Leningrad or Stonewall relatives, but there is one line where there have been developments in recent years. It leads to the following position:

Here, Avrukh now prefers 11.e3 as played in Fridman, D - Pap, M to the main alternative 11.fxe4 (his former preference). My feeling is that White has a chance for an edge with both of these moves, but it's easier to keep control with 11.e3 which I have already played myself. Despite me writing that, Fridman very much lost his way as his eccentric kingside pawn advance was optimistic to say the least. However, he got lucky in the complications that followed. It could be that Avrukh's 14.Rc1 is an improvement over 14.Qc2, with the more comfortable game, as Black's structure isn't easy to handle.

Till next month, Glenn Flear

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