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I was trying to recall what the Dutch Defense looks like (I hardly know anything about it), so I opened up Stockfish to put in

[Title "Dutch Defense"]
[FEN ""]

1. d4 f5  2. c4 g6 

and I was surprised to read from the engine analysis that 3. h4! gives White a 1-point advantage.

I can picture how much of a threat it is for White's pawn to crash through with h5 etc. But I thought that ...g6 with the fianchetto was a standard idea in the Dutch.

So, given the engine analysis, is it the case that 2...g6 probably objectively loses?

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  • 1
    As long as chess is not solved , noone knows the result beginning with this position and best play from both sides. It is with high probability still a draw.
    – Peter
    Oct 11, 2022 at 17:36
  • In the best case, white has an edge , but this is not equivalent to a clearcut win.
    – Peter
    Oct 11, 2022 at 17:37

3 Answers 3

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I was surprised to read from the engine analysis that 3. h4! gives White a 1-point advantage.

Engines don't like the Dutch, full stop. Just ask Simon Williams, the GingerGM.

So, given the engine analysis, is it the case that 2. g6 probably objectively loses?

No.
First of all you have given an engine evaluation of -1, which is not analysis. Second, an engine evaluation of -1 does not equate to an "objective loss".

Note that if you are going to play g6 in the Dutch it is probably better to start with 2...Nf6. Then combining that with e6 and g6 gives you what Simon Williams calls the "Christmas Tree Dutch" which he occasionally plays.

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5

Depends on what you mean by objectively loses. A +1 advantage tends to be a draw more often than a loss (say, when Stockfish plays against itself), but sometimes it's a win. In any case, what we can say for sure is that 2...g6 is definitely a poor move. This isn't something that just new engines are saying too - e.g., Avrukh was recommending this 3.h4 idea back in GM Repertoire 2 (2010). Playing this position as Black is also practically difficult, since he has to deal with White attacking early on in the game (and the attack is sound).

To reach a Leningrad Dutch where Black fianchettoes, it's better to answer 2.c4 with 2...Nf6, essentially delaying ...g6 for a move. Then, against 3.Nc3 or 3.g3, you can go 3...g6. White could still answer with 4.h4 if he wants, but it's not as strong here, since you're more developed on the kingside. Another option (mainly in the case of 3.Nc3) is delaying ...g6 even further with 3...d6, and then playing 4...g6 on the 4th move.

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  • I don't play the g6 Dutch but I have seen it often enough on other boards to judge that h4, with what move order ever, is very annoying for Black. Oct 13, 2022 at 7:14
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No. At +1, Stockfish wins against itself at bullet time controls about 40% of the time, which is high but not automatically winning. At longer time controls games are more frequently drawn, so the win rate will also go down. See example of Stockfish failing to win at long time controls with a +1.77 book exit.

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