7

I have had mixed opinions on if it is tactical or positional, so I'm asking it here as an tiebreaker.

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  • 2
    Which variation are you considering? Depending on the specific line, it varies greatly. For example, the Leningrad can get very tactical, but the Stonewall is usually fairly positional.
    – Andrew
    Oct 4, 2014 at 10:49
  • The more tactical, the better for my style.
    – MikhailTal
    Oct 4, 2014 at 10:51
  • 2
    Then I would definitely recommend the Leningrad Dutch or potentially the Classical Dutch. The main point is that black keeps a fluid pawn center with pawns on d6 and/or e6 and tries to play e5 with a dynamic game.
    – Andrew
    Oct 4, 2014 at 10:55

1 Answer 1

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The Dutch has definitely a sound positional base, that is, with f5 you take under control the center (e4), prepare to develop your knight behind a pawn (which is usually good as the squares diagonally to the pawn are now defended twice. This is the reason you play c4 in the Queens Gambit and only after Nc3 btw) and aim for fast counterplay or a solid setup.

If you want a solid setup and play in a position where it's all about maneuvering, the Stonewall is the setup you desire. It is sound positionally speaking, though you have to take care of the hole you leave in e5. In order to equalize, black has to find a concrete plan and good implementation, as these lines always give a slim but almost perpetual advantage for white. If you want to go for dynamic positions, choose the Leningrad setup, but bear in mind that you are taking some risk because of the early weakening of the kignside. The counterplay many times arise from fianchettoing the dark squared bishop and looking for an attack on the kingside, which you have to be precise when making it as it leaves your king somewhat open and sometimes weaker than the opponents.

There are very powerful upsides to playing the Dutch, one of them being that the most challenging attack for white involves a kingside fianchetto, so the opening preparation becomes somewhat easier in the main lines. The downside is that with f5 so early on in the game, there are multiple gambit opportunities for white that, if accepted, lure black into positions where he must be able to defend precisely and for a long time before cashing in is material advantage (of course, there is always the option of declining the gambit, but some of them are as provocative as 2.g4).

Conclusion:

The Dutch is a sound positional opening. Wehther you want to play positional chess or tactical chess depends almost entirely on your (black) side: go for a Classical (half positional-half tactical), a Stonewall (highly positional) or a Leningrad (highly tactical). However, the player must know a fair amount of theory to be safe.

Edit: You may also look the Dutch as a flipped Sicilian, as the pawn structure is similar. This is also in favor of the Dutch being positionally sound. However, don't look further, as the plans and maneuvers in the openings are in general completely different.

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  • I don't see how it is a flipped Sicilian. Oct 4, 2014 at 18:48
  • This analogy comes with e4-c5 versus d4-f5. Flip the pawn structure along an imaginary axis between the d and e columns and you will obtain the same one. Oct 4, 2014 at 20:26

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