Run, Harry, Run!

Here’s a recent online blitz game against a slightly higher rated opponent.

1. d4 f5

Regular readers will know that I often play the Dutch myself, even though the engines disapprove. I also try a lot of different lines against it with White.

2. Bg5

This is apparently the Hopton Attack, from a game Hopton – Eastwood (1860) which, it is claimed, went 1. d4 f5 2. Bg5 h6 3. Bh4 c5 4. e3 Qb6 5. b3 Nf6 6. dxc5 Qb4+ and White resigns. Not a very good advertisement for either Hopton’s move or his chess skills, but it’s a continuation which scores well over the board. Many years ago IM Gavin Wall, another Dutch practitioner, advised me to play g6 here to avoid the doubled pawns. 2.. h6 is also possible as long as you manage to avoid getting mated on the h5-e8 diagonal. You’ll probably know the Famous Game Teed – Delmar (New York 1896): 1. d4 f5 2. Bg5 h6 3. Bf4 g5 4. Bg3 f4 5. e3 h5 6. Bd3 Rh6 7. Qxh5+ Rxh5 8. Bg6#. So this is an opening where either player might score a quick victory against a careless opponent.

2.. Nf6
3. Bxf6 exf6
4. Nc3

Hoping for a quick e4 but the engines prefer 4. c4 or 4. e3 d5 5. c4, when White is about +1.

4.. d5
5. e3 Bb4

Probably misguided. The engines like Be6 or g6 here, but Black always has to watch out for quick attacks based on moves like Bd3, Qh5 and h4. Not so easy in blitz. Now White should play h4, Bd3 and Nge2 in some order, perhaps with Qf3 as well. My plan is dangerous but not the best.

6. Qh5+ g6
7. Qh6

This was my plan, hoping Black wouldn’t play Bf8 here. In fact both Bf8 and Qe7 are fine for Black, but if he overlooks my threat, as he did, he’ll lose quickly.

7.. c6?
8. Qg7

Now it’s all over. It must be rare for the white queen to reach g7 as early as move 8.

8.. Rf8
9. Qxh7 g5
10. Qg6+

The immediate 10. h4 was stronger as the black king can now run to d7 and c7.

10.. Rf7
11. h4 Bxc3+
12. bxc3 Qa5
13. Kd2 g4
14. h5 Be6
15. h6 Nd7
16. h7

And Harry the h-pawn is going to promote so:

Black resigns.

There are a number of dangerous lines that White can try against Black’s slightly weakening 1.. f5, but 2. Bg5, unlike some of the others, has a sound theoretical basis. It also has a higher percentage score than any other 2nd move (closely followed by the slightly more popular 2. Nc3) on MegaBase. This explains why those Dutch players who also like the French will start 1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5.

Richard James

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Richard James

Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy ( or and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon. Richard is currently promoting minichess (games and puzzles using subsets of chess) for younger children through his website, and writing coaching materials for children (and adults) who want to start playing serious competitive chess, through View all posts by Richard James

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