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One of the main reasons why people employ 1.Nf3 or 1.c4 is to get into 1.d4 lines whilst cutting out some of Black's more annoying options like the Gruenfeld Defence. But openings such as the Leningrad Variation of the Dutch Defence are thought to be universally applicable, with Black being able to play them against 1.d4, 1.c4 or 1.Nf3. One way of trying to stop this is via the anti-Dutch line 1.Nf3 f5 2.d3, in which there have been some interesting developments since last examined it.

Download PGN of April '10 Flank Openings games

The Réti Anti-Dutch (1.Nf3 f5 2.d3) [A04]

One of the most effective ways to combat Dutch style formations is to break open Black's pawn structure with e2-e4. This makes the line 1.Nf3 f5 2.d3 very interesting from a strategic perspective. It is entirely logical but could it also be a little slow?

In Jannsen - Wiersma Black adopts a treatment that was previously recommended for Black at - 2...d6 3.e4 e5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.exf5 Bxf5 6.d4 Nbd7:

White produces an interesting new move in 7.Bg5!? and might have presented more of a test had he played 11.Rc1.

In Carlhammar - Marin Black varies with the sharp 6...e4 and then innovates with 10...Nc6:

In a nervy struggle Black emerges triumphant but this had more to do with the relative strength of the players rather than anything else.

If Black plays 4...Nc6 rather than 4...Nf6 he can meet 5.exf5 Bxf5 6.d4 with 6...Nxd4, attempting to simplify:

In Stohl - Heidrich White played somewhat meekly with 9.Bd3 rather than the more testing 9.Bf4 and Black equalised rather easily.

In Bellin - Williams Black tried the fascinating 4...c5!?, preventing White from playing d3-d4 at the cost of time:

Frankly I wonder about White's 5.g3 and suspect it might be better to try opening it up with some kind of pawn lever (b2=b4 or f2-f4). In any case this looks like a wonderful way to reach highly original positions early on.

The attempt by Black to omit ...d6 altogether with 2...Nc6 is very interesting and led to a kind of reverse King's Gambit in Gdanski - Bartel and Zaragatski - Berg. This looks like an interesting line for Black, especially with just Bartel's 6...exd4 (Berg's 6...Qe7 could be strongly met by 7.Be3). The critical line seems to be 9.Bf4!? which 'awaits tests'.

Greenfeld - Rodi features a strange hybrid in which Black plays both ...d6 and ...Nc6 but without ...e7-e5. White's 4.exf5 and 5.d4 looked good but later he could have tried 7.0-0!? or 9.Re1+ and was even better in the endgame.

Finally, in Schandorff - Bartel Black plays a Leningrad style set up with 2...g6 and 3...d6 and outplayed his opponent in the game:

White can probably do better by playing Nb1-c3 on either move 8 or 9 when Black's job is not easy.

Overall this looks like a very interesting try for White.

That's all for this month! Nigel Davies


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