Weekly chess column

We are pleased today to present a victory in the fifth round of the US Chess League from the match between the Philadelphia Inventors and the Boston Blitz, won by Boston, 2.5-1.5. William Fisher (White) vs. Kazim Gulamali (Black), was a clever win for Gulamili. To score the point Gulamali used the damned Dutch defense. Pardon the epithet, but this defense creates a stonewall and is one of the most irritating for White to play against. No wonder that Mikhail Botvinnik, the paragon of positional players, was fond of it.

White’s problem against the Dutch is his king’s bishop, which can easily be buried. Here, Fisher dealt with this hardship by putting the bishop on the b2 square on the queen side. Nevertheless, White’s development turned out to be lackadaisical and his pieces found themselves in a coffin before their time. Unable to break the confinement, Fisher moved his king back and forth, awaiting an onslaught. It arrived. Black found a difficult pawn move, which looked like a sacrifice but in fact unlocked his queen’s knight and forced resignation.

a) A natural alternative would be 4…Be7, to play 5…O-O and keep the option of …d7-d6 open.


b) The alternative approach of playing a pure “stonewall” formation of 7…c6 allows White to play 8.d3 (instead of 8.d4, transposing into a Dutch Defense) with the idea of preparing e3-e4.

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c)  I much prefer the more aggressive 8.d4, leading to a kind of reversed Queen’s Indian Defense with Black committed to an early …f7-f5. White would have plenty of chances for advantage there.

d) So now we have an interesting position. On the downside, Black is playing an aggressive setup that is usually played by White, where Black will be an additional tempo behind because he will have taken two moves to push the e-pawn to e5. But on the upside, White’s bishops on e2 and b2 are very poorly placed, which will require more than two tempi to rectify. All in all, the position appears to favor Black, especially as White fails to find a good plan over the next several moves.

e)  Perhaps 12.Ne1 would be better, with the idea of playing Bf3, Nc2 and potentially b3-b4.

f) This move does nothing and only wastes time. And then White moves the king back two moves later!


g) White’s game is so cramped and passive that it seems almost spiteful to criticize this move, but opening the floodgates to the king is a truly awful idea.

h) This is no way for White to prevent his position from collapsing at g2, f3 and d3.

Fisher (Philadelphia) – Gulamali (Boston)

US Chess League

Reti Opening


Fisher Gulamali

Fisher Gulamali

White Black

White Black

1.Nf3 e6

16.Bg2 Bf6

2.c4 f5

17.Kh1? (f) Nc5

3.b3 Nf6

18.Rad1 Qd7

4.Bb2 d5!? (a)

19.Kg1? Rae8

5.e3 Be7

20.Bh3? g5!

6.Be2 0-0

21.Bg2 h6

7.0-0 c5 (b)

22.h4? (g) gxh4!

8.d3?! (c) Nc6

23.Nxh4 Bxh4

9.Nbd2 d4!

24.gxh4 Kh7

10.exd4 cxd4

25.Nf1 Rg8

11.a3 a5 (d)

26.f3 Re6

12.Qc2?! (e) e5

27.Rd2 Reg6

13.Rfe1 Nd7

28.Bc1 e4!

14.Bf1 b6

29.h5 R6g7

15.g3 Bb7

30.fxe4 Ne5 (h) 0-1