Already in 2013 I wrote on this blog that the Dutch is a dubious opening as white has a large choice of possibilities to test black see a dutch gambit part 2. I didn't mean at that time the opening was refuted. Just white has much more options compared with more solid/safe openings to play something dangerous which means you need to study many more different type of lines as black.
However last month Sim Maerevoet wrote in ideas part 2 that nowadays there exist multiple systems against the Dutch which do give an advantage to white so practically closing the opening. You just need to make a serious analysis and black is toasted. Unfortunately I am getting more and more convinced Sim is right. The last couple of months I only was repairing broken lines of the Dutch. Especially by analyzing with the new engine lc0 many persistent problems have occurred in the Dutch. Lc0 continuously finds holes in my old analysis which previously let me believe those lines were playable.
It seems just a matter of time that I will have to stop playing the Dutch opening in standard games. Sim is not yet using lc0 but I do know many other masters already do. Computers achieve autonomy has clearly gained speed again. The Dutch is with the back against the wall but other risky openings are doing even worse. In the interclubs the Belgian FM Frederic Verduyn complained about the bankruptcy of chess due to the engines. I don't want to be so negative but we will have to adopt our play or will lose (a lot of) ratingpoints.
This can be by playing other openings but also by selecting tournaments in which preparations are less likely. Besides I notice many standard tournaments nowadays prefer to play multiple games per day. The time available to prepare is limited to a minimum. This happened for example in the last round of Open Leuven 2019 in which the pairings were announced less than a half hour before the start of the round.
This lack of preparation-time becomes even more clear in rapid or blitz-tournaments. It is very rare that somebody will prepare in such tournaments for somebody specific. This allows you to play some not fully correct openings and get away with it. Sim responded to me that one of the advantages of the Dutch is that finding good moves for black is easy but I don't agree with this assessment. In my first years with the Dutch I experienced multiple miniatures (defeats in less that 20 moves with black). However playing the Dutch non stop for 25 years lets it look to the outside-world that life is simple for black. In the last 2 years I clearly benefited of this advantage in the rapidtournaments which I participated. I only lost 1 game with the Dutch but won countless others even against some titled players like IM Tom Piceu, FM Sim Maerevoet, FM Warre De Waele, FM Sterre Dauw (my student has just climbed above me on the fide-list)....
In part 1 and part 2 I have demonstrated that it is nowadays impossible to compete against a computer-preparation by specializing in 1 opening. In this article I wanted to show the other side of the medal so being an expert isn't fully useless either. Having good knowledge about the pawn-structures is valuable but also knowing the typical piece-maneuvers is, as noticed by Sim in his most recent article. Below attack against the king in the Sicilian Dragon is probably one of the most well-known opening/middlegame themes of chess but there still exist players not familiar with it.
After the game I found in the mega-database the exact same game twice more.
At the other side of the spectrum of known themes stands probably below example which I discovered by analyzing my game against Jan Rogiers and which I published fully already here on this blog see the hyper modern french.
In the rapid-tournament of Gent (24th of November 2019) I didn't miss the chance to execute the same very peculiar theme in my game against Robert Decruyenaere. We played the same opening but a somewhat different line. As the theme pops up very late in the game and the positions are looking totally different, I do wonder if it is just a coincidence. I assume this theme has popped up in other openings too so readers are invited to share if they have encountered something similar already.
So experience exists in different shapes and formats. I am surely not exaggerating that my +25 years of experience with the Dutch is much more than just knowing by heart some opening-moves. That is also why I find it so hard to dish the Dutch. I wrote above that it is a matter of time but I am not in a hurry. Our national youth-coach Arben Dardha said in a recent interview about his son Daniel that time is precious. Indeed time flies for our youth as once they become adults, it will be increasingly difficult to make further progress. Once you are 43 like myself then this isn't an issue anymore. There are still some lines in the Dutch which I like to investigate closer. Only after I did that then I will be mentally ready to close the big book of the Dutch opening.