In the Dutch Defence Back’s aim from the start is an asymmetrical position so as to disturb the balance and to aim for tactical chances in the middlegame. However, the advance of the f-pawn slightly weakens the king’s position which can become a weakness after castling short. But in the middlegame the f-pawn can also help Black to become active.


Staunton Gambit: 1.d4 f5 2.e4

With the Staunton Gambit White would like to use this pawn sacrifice to open the centre straight away. Black should accept the sacrifice, after which White develops his knight to f3 and would like to recover the pawn.

Leningrad Variation: 1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6

In the Leningrad Variation White first occupies the centre with another pawn and fianchettoes his light-squared bishop, Black develops his kingside and fianchettoes his dark-squared bishop, the start of the Leningrad Variation. Both sides continue to develop their kingside before worrying about the queenside and both try to become active in the centre.

Classical System / Stonewall setup: 1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 d5

In the Stonewall setup Black tries to create a bombproof setup in the centre and to attack on the kingside in the middlegame, but he weakens the e5-square which White often exploits to establish a knight there. A further disadvantage of the setup is that Black’s light-squared bishop is walled in by the pawn structure. As a rule things continue as follows, after which a frequently played position is reached. 5. Ng1-f3 c7-c6 6. 0-0 Bf8-d6

Classical System / Main Variation: 1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7

In the main variation of the Classical System Black develops his bishop to e7 and prepares to castle short. One important position in this variation arises after the following moves: 5. Ng1-f3 0-0 6. 0-0 d7-d6 7. Nb1-c3 Here Black has several options. He can play 7...Qd8-e8 to prepare the redeployment of his queen to the kingside, but he can also choose 7...Nf6-e4 to post the knight aggressively in the centre. Both continuations can quickly lead to tactical skirmishes.