The 'h-file operation' by GM Magesh and GM Arun

The 'h-file operation' by GM Magesh and GM Arun‎

GM gmarunchess
29 | Opening Theory

This week we shall have a look at the Dutch Defence. To begin with we have an interesting concept, the 'h-file operation.' Usually the advancement of the h-pawn occurs in variations like Sicilian Najdorf, Dragon, Classical System, KID samisch variation etc. In all of these systems, white usually initiates the attack after completion of the development of his pieces, using the pawn push in the middle game to ram black's kingside. In this article we shall see how the h-pawn advancement occurs in the early stages of the game in the Dutch Defence.

Usually black's ideas are similiar to the King's Indian Defence (KID) where black has his Indian bishop(g7-Bishop) for his king safety and launches a kingside attack with his pawns. In KID black usually plays his f6-Knight to h5 or d7 or e8 in order to push the thematic central break f5. However in the dutch system Black need not waste time in order to advance his king side pawns like in the KID, but White hopes to use this early f5 push to his advantage by his early h-file break idea threatening to weaken black's kngside and build a strong attack eventually. Looking at it from a logical perspective, once black plays f5, the g6 pawn is left only with the support of the h7 pawn and thus white decides to put more pressure on it. It does sound logical, right?

Our first game is a fine example of the h-file operation by the sensational American Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura. His opponent was a much lesser rated player and could not put up a fight against Nakamura's roller coaster of an attack!


That was a fine show by Nakamura. Our next game is between the Indian Grand Master Sandipan Chanda and Grand Master Bartel Mateusz. This game was played in the Kavala Open and I (Arun) was playing the very next board. I aws amused by this game and it inspired me to write an article on this theme.


Even after a slight inaccuracy in the opening White managed to build up a strong initiative and managed to outplay his opponent. No matter how strong we prepare our openings or how hard we try to outdo our opponents before a game, they always come up with some new ideas to surprise us. In such circumstances we rely on our experience to come to our rescue. In our next game white was surprised with a new idea early on but still he managed to outplay his opponent using the strong idea we have been studying today, the h-file penetration.

In this game even though black surprised white with a new idea in the opening white managed to get the breakthrough using the h-file operation. This is one interesting idea the readers must keep in mind, not just to make use of it, but also to be prepared to fight against it. Knowing when to punch is only as important as knowing when to duck.
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