Novikov vs Shabalov: Leningrad Dutch

This game was played, or maybe “battled” would be a better word, in the same round as the previous game, which meant following two games closely while keeping an eye on the other three. When the Bishop’s opening “truth” and a main line Leningrad Dutch appeared on the board my first thought was…

which was followed by, “Oh happy day!” something for which I was known to say by certain students when they would, like a blind squirrel, find an acorn move.

Igor Novikov (2554)

GM Igor Novikov and GM Petr Velička
GM Igor Novikov and GM Petr Velička (,novinky%20-%20detail/)

vs Alexander Shabalov (2521)

U.S. Senior Championship 2021 round 07

A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation

  1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. c4 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 a5 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 Rb8 11. d5 e5 (TN) 12. dxe6 Bxe6 13. Qd2 Qe7 14. Ng5 Bc8 15. Rbd1 Rd8 16. Ba3 Nb4 17. Nh3 Be6 18. Ng5 Bd7 19. Rfe1 h6 20. Nh3 g5 21. f4 Ng4 22. e4 Qf6 23. Bb2 fxe4 24. Bxe4 d5 25. cxd5 cxd5 26. Bxd5+ Kh8 27. Na4 Qf8 28. Bxg7+ Qxg7 29. Bg2 Bf5 30. Qxd8+ Rxd8 31. Rxd8+ Kh7 32. fxg5 b5 33. g6+ Bxg6 34. Nc5 Qc3 35. Re7+ Bf7 36. Rxf7+ Kg6 37. Ne4 Qe3+ 38. Rf2 Nxf2 39. Nexf2 Nxa2 40. Rd3 Qe1+ 41. Bf1 Nc3 42. Nf4+ Kf7 43. Kg2 a4 44. bxa4 bxa4 45. Rd7+ Ke8 46. Ra7 Qe3 47. Rxa4 Nxa4 48. Bb5+ Kf8 49. Bxa4 Qd2 50. Bc6 Qb2 51. Bd5 Kg7 52. h4 Qd2 53. Kf3 Qc3+ 54. Kg4 Qc8+ 55. Be6 Qc2 56. N2d3 Kf6 57. Kh3 Qd2 58. Bd5 Qd1 59. Bg2 Qc2 60. Bf3 Qc8+ 61. Bg4 Qc6 62. Nf2 Kg7 63. Be2 Qb7 64. Kh2 Qc6 65. Ng4 Qc2 66. Kg2 Qb2 67. Ne3 Kf6 68. Kh3 Qc1 69. Bd3 Qh1+ 70. Kg4 Qd1+ 71. Nxd1 1-0 (
  1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 (According to 365Chess at this point we have the A81 Dutch defence) 5. c4 (After this move it becomes the A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation) 5…O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 (At the Chess baseDatabase one finds Komodo14 @depth 40 has a preference for this move, but Stockfish 220621 @depth 45 likes 8 Be3, a move found in only two games at the CBDB. Then there is Stockfish110521, going way down to @depth 55, playing 8 Qc2) 8…a5 (Komodo 10 likes 8…Ne4; Komodo 13 prefers 8…Na6, but Stockfish 13 going deeper than the two Dragons, would play the move chosen by Shabba Dabba Do, and so should YOU!) 9. b3 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 39 plays 9 Be3, as does Stockfish 13 @depth 55. After 9…Ng4 the Dragon would drop back with 10 Bd2; the Fish would advance into black territory with 10 Bg5, or at least that is what one sees at the CBDB. The thing is 9 Be3 has yet to be attempted in a game! There is not even one example of the move having been played in either the CBDB or 365Chess!) 9…Na6 (SF 151120 @depth 52 would play 9…Ne4. There is only one game in the CBDB with 9…Ne4:

GM A. Nguyen (2478) vs P. Nguyen (2047)

VIE-chT Pairs

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O O-O 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 Nxc3 11.Bxc3 Nd7 12.Ng5 Nf6 13.d5 Qc7 14.Rc1 h6 15.Nf3 e5 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.c5 Nd5 18.cxd6 Qxd6 19.Bxe5 Bxe5 20.Rxc6 Ne3 21.Rxd6 Nxd1 22.Nxe5 Ra6 1-0)

  1. Bb2 (SF 11 @depth 37 plays the move played in the game, but let it run longer and go deeper to depth 47 and it changes its way of ‘puting, switching to 10 d5. There are only four examples of the move at the CBDB. 10 Bb2 has been played 21 times. Komodo, not to be outdone, would play 10 Be3, a Theoretical Novelty) 10…Rb8 (The Fish & Dragon concur, 10…Qc7 is THE move. The game move is not found in the CBDB, but there are two examples found at 365Chess:

Branko Damljanovic (2471) vs Jan Lundin (2335)
Event: Third Sat 116 GM 2019
Site: Novi Sad SRB Date: 07/07/2019
Round: 3.1
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Rb8 11.d5 Bd7 12.Nd4 Qe8 13.e3 Nc5 14.Qc2 Rc8 15.Rfd1 g5 16.Nxf5 Bxf5 17.Qxf5 Nfe4 18.Bxe4 Rxf5 19.Bxf5 ½-½

Fernando De Andres Gonalons (2088) vs Edwin Bhend (2271)
Event: Basel Hilton op 8th
Site: Basel Date: 01/03/2006
Round: 3
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.g3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O O-O 8.Rb1 a5 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Rb8 11.e3 b5 12.Qe2 Nc7 13.Rfc1 b4 14.Na4 Ba6 15.Nd2 Qe8 16.Qf3 Bb7 17.Qd1 Nd7 18.c5 d5 19.Nf3 Ba6 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 e6 22.Qd2 Bb5 23.Nb6 Na6 24.Bd4 Rf7 25.Ra1 Bf8 26.a4 bxa3 27.Qxa5 Rfb7 28.b4 Nxb4 29.Qxb4 Rxb6 30.Qxa3 ½-½
Chess Grandmaster Alex Shabalov lies down in a vibro acoustic sound lounge in prepearation for the US Senior Championship (
Chess Grandmaster Alex Shabalov gets ready to step into a sensory deprivation tank as part of his preparation for the US Senior Championship (

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