This is a superb introductory book about the Dutch Defence. It is appropriate for chess players of a wide variety of strengths: the Dutch is a good defence for a beginner to learn. I started out with it, having read Botvinnik's book (One Hundred Selected Games). And I still play it sometimes as Black, after 1 Nf3 f5 (what I play if White continues with 2 e4 I'll leave to your imagination). Occasionally, I also get into the Dutch after inviting a Meran Defence with 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c6. If White now plays 4 e3, I may well reply 4...f5. Others get into the Dutch the way Botvinnik did, by inviting a French Defence with 1 d4 e6 and then (when White plays 2 c4) replying 2...f5. Those who want to get into a "Leningrad Dutch" (makes me wonder when the Dutch will finally invade Russia and capture Leningrad) sometimes start with 1 d4 d6. Of course, they play a Pirc or a Modern Defence if White plays 2 e4.
Reading this book, I got the idea that playing the Dutch means never having to say "I resign!" You simply play on until mate. It isn't tough, generally only one or two more moves.
McDonald is a great chess teacher. He begins by warning us about gambit attacks on the Dutch. Here, he cites an Awful Example: 1 d4 f5 2 h3 Nf6 3 g4 fxg4 4 hxg4 Nxg4 5 Qd3 Nf6? 6 Rxh7 Rxh7 7 Qg6 mate. That was quick! He tells us to play 3...d5 here and avoid this mess.
He gives more examples of gambit lines, such as the hilarious game 1 d4 f5 2 e4 fxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 e6? 5 Nxe4 Be7 6 Bxf6! Bxf6 7 Nf3 0-0 8 Bd3 b6 9 Ne5 Bb7 10 Qh5 Qe7 11 Qxh7+! Kh7 12 Nxf6+ Kh6 13 Neg4+ Kg5 14 h4+ Kf4 15 g3+ Kf3 16 Be2+ Kg2 17 Rh2+ Kg1 (do I get a new King for reaching the 8th rank?) 18 Kd2 mate. We also see some games with 2 Bg5. One of the few lines McDonald omits is 2 Qd3, but 2...d5 is a solid reply here of course.
The author spends some useful time on the Stonewall variation. All Dutch players need to be familiar with its ideas, because it may be best to transpose into them. One terrific example is, of course, with Botvinnik playing Black. 1 d4 e6 2 c4 f5 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 Bb4+ 5 Bd2 Be7 6 Nc3 0-0 7 Qc2 d5! 8 Nf3 c6 9 0-0 Qe8 10 Bf4 Qh5 11 Rae1 Nbd7 12 Nd2 g5! By now, White was ripped. Black simply built up an attack and then ... built up a bigger attack and then ... built up an even bigger attack and finally checkmated White. This is a very instructive game. We also see another example, with Torre as Black: 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 f5 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 d5 5 0-0 Bd6 6 c4 c6 7 Qc2 0-0 8 b3 Ne4 9 Bb2 Nd7 10 Ne5 Qf6 11 f3 Nxe5 12 dxe5? Bc5+ 13 Kh1 Ng3+ 14 hxg3 Qh6+ 15 Bh3 Qxh3 mate.
We are taught about Knight outposts for both sides, and shown Awful examples of what can happen to Black, such as Black being dead lost in an endgame with a Bishop on e8 and eight blockaded pawns against White's Knight on e5 and seven pawns.
We see examples of how to play the Classical Variation, such as 1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 e6 4 Nf3 d6 5 0-0 Be7 6 c4 0-0 7 Nc3 Qe8 8 Re1 Qg6 9 Qc2 Ne4 10 Nxe4 fxe4 11 Nd2 e3 12 White resigns.
And we see examples of how to play the Leningrad. This includes the amusing line 1 d4 f5 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 h4 d6 5 h5 Nxh5 6 Rxh5 gxh5 7 e4 Qd7 8 Qxh5+ Kd8 9 Nf3 Qe8 (who set up this chessboard?).
My favorite of McDonald's Leningrad examples is 1 d4 d6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 Bg7 4 Nc3 f5 5 g3 Nf6 6 Bg2 0-0 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne5 9 Nxe5 dxe5 10 e4 Nd7 11 exf5 gxf5 12 f4 e4 13 Be3? Nf6 14 Qd2 Bd7 15 Rfd1 Qe8 16 Bd4 Qg6 17 Bf1 h5 18 Qg2 Ng4 19 Bxg7 Kxg7 20 Rd2 c5 21 Nd1 Rh8 22 h4 Kh6 23 Rc1 Rhg8 24 Rc3 Qd6 25 Be2 e5 26 Bxg4 exf4 (oh my!) 27 Bh3 f3 28 Qh2 f4 29 Kh1 fxg3 30 Qg1 Qf4 31 Bxd7 Qxh4+ 32 Rh2 g2+ 33 Qxg2 fxg2+ 34 Kg1 Qe1 mate.
This entire book is illuminating and easy to read. I recommend it to all of you who believe, as I do, that the Dutch has a right to exist.