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 (

Kazim Scores with the Leningrad Dutch!

After losses to GM Yury Shulman (2568) and IM Lev Milman (2437), with a win vs unrated Siddharth Barot, who upset Justin Burgess (2160) the previous round, sandwiched in between, Kazim Gulamali sat down to begin the fourth round of the 42nd World Open, being held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, located at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virginia, behind the Black pieces vs IM Justin Sarkar (2414). In reply to his the opening move of 1 d4 Kazim played 1…f5! It turned into one of the main Leningrad Dutch variations.
Kazim was known as the “Little Grandmaster” at the House of Pain. He cut his chess teeth at the House. It was thrilling to watch the game today because I LOVE the Leningrad Dutch! I was also elated to learn the Master of the Leningrad Dutch, none other than GM Vladimir Malaniuk, has written a book entitled, “The Leningrad Dutch: An Active Repertoire Against 1.d4, 1.c4, 1.Nf3” published by Chess Stars, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, although it was supposedly published June 9, I cannot find it for sale. I checked with the Gorilla only to find, “Out of Print-Limited Availability.” If anyone knows how to locate a copy, please let me know!
Justin Sarkar (2414)vs Kazim Gulamali (2300)
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 O-O 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Qb3 Kh8 11.c5 e4 12.Rd1 b6 13.Bf4 bxc5 14.Qa3 c4 15.Qc5 Ne8 16.Qxc4 a5 17.Rac1 Nd6 18.Qc5 Bd7 19.Rc2 Qb8 20.Be3 Rc8 21.Bd4 Qb4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qd4 Qxd4 24.Rxd4 c5 25.dxc6 Bxc6 26.Bf1 Rab8 27.e3 Nf7 28.Ba6 Rd8 29.Ne2 Bd5 30.Ra4 Ng5 31.Kf1 Nf3 32.Nd4 Nxh2 33.Ke2 e5 34.Nb5 Nf3 35.Nc7 Bf7 36.Rxa5 Rb6 37.g4 Rbd6 38.gxf5 Rd1 39.Ne6 Kh6 0-1

Here are some other games with this variation I found on the Chessbase database and at

Monnard, Laurent (2285)- Spraggett, Kevin (2495) 0-1
A89 Andorra op 9th 1991
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Qb3 Kh8 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. c5 h6 12. a4 a6 13. a5 g5 14. c6 bxc6 15. dxc6 e4 16. Rd1 Qe8 17. Qc4 Ng4 18. Nd5 Rb8 19. Nxc7 Qh5 20. h3 Ne5 21. Qc2 f4 22. gxf4 Bxh3 23. Qxe4 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Rb4 25. Qxb4 Qg4+ 26. Kh2 Qh4+ 27. Kg2 Ng4 28. Be3 Qh2+ 29. Kf3 Ne5+ 30. Ke4 Rxf4+ 31. Bxf4 Qxf4+ 32. Kd5 Qxb4 33. Nxa6 Qc4# 0-1

Behling, Robert (2290)- Spraggett, Kevin (2540) 0-1
A89 Vienna op 1990
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 Kh8 11. c5 h6 12. Rd1 g5 13. a4 f4 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Qe8 16. Ra3 Qh5 17. Qd3 g4 18. Rd2 Bf5 19. Rc2 Rad8 20. gxf4 exf4 21. Bxf4 Bxe4 22. Qxe4 Rxd5 23. Rd3 Rxd3 24. exd3 g3 25. f3 gxh2+ 26. Rxh2 Qxc5+ 27. Be3 Qd6 28. Rg2 b6 29. Rg6 Rf6 30. Rg2 Qe6 31. b4 Qxe4 32. fxe4 Rf3 33.Te2 Txe3 – + 0-1

Sherwin, James T (2309)- Hague, Ben (2227) 0-1
A89 BCF-chT2 0304 (4NCL) 2004
1. Nf3 d6 2. d4 f5 3. c4 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 Kh8 11. c5 h6 12. a4 g5 13. Bd2 a6 14. Rad1 Qe8 15. Qb4 f4 16. Qa5 Qh5 17. f3 g4 18. gxf4 gxf3 19. exf3 Bh3 20. fxe5 Bxg2 21. exf6 Rxf6 22. Kxg2 Rg6+ 23. Kh1 Be5 24. Rf2 Bxh2 0-1

Novikov, Igor A (2591)- Braunlich, Tom (Unr) 1-0
A89 Portsmouth Millennium op 2000
1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 Kh8 11. c5 a6 12. Rd1 Rb8 13. Bd2 Bd7 14. Rac1 h6 15. Qa3 g5 16. c6 Bc8 17. cxb7 Bxb7 18. Na4 e4 19. Ba5 Ne8 20. Nc5 Qd6 21. Bb4 Bc8 22. Rc4 Qg6 23. Bc3 Nd6 24. Rb4 Rb5 25. Nxa6 Bxa6 26. Qxa6 Rxb4 27. Bxb4 Bxb2 28. Qc6 f4 29. Qxc7 Qf6 30. Bxd6 exd6 31. Bxe4 Rf7 32. Qb8+ Rf8 33. Qb7 Rf7 34. Qc8+ Rf8 35. Qe6 fxg3 36. Qxf6+ Bxf6 37. hxg3 Ra8 38. Rd2 Bc3 39. Rc2 Ra3 40. Bd3 Kg7 41. Bc4 Bd4 42. Bb3 Bc5 43. Rc4 Ra7 44. Re4 Rf7 45. e3 h5 46. Kg2 g4 47. Ba4 Ra7 48. Kf1 Kf6 49. Bb3 Ba3 50. Re6+ Kg5 51. Bc2 Rg7 52. Kg2 h4 53. gxh4+ Kxh4 54. Re4 Kh5 55. Bd1 Bb2 56. Rxg4 Rxg4+ 57. Kh3 1-0

Thingstad, Even (1893) v Mikalsen, Erlend (Unr)
Arctic Chess Challenge Tromsoe
08/07/2007 Round: 4
ECO: A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6
1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O d6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. c5 e4 11. Qb3 Kh8 12. Rd1 b6 13. Bf4 bxc5 14. Qa3 Nh5 15. Be3 f4 16. Bxc5 f3 17. Bf1 Rf7 18. Nxe4 Bg4 19. Ng5 Rf5 20. exf3 Rxg5 21. Bxe7 Qb8 22. Bxg5 Bxb2 23. Qe3 Bxf3 24. Qxf3 Qb4 25. d6 1-0

Yannick Pelletier (2571) v Francisco Vallejo Pons (2648)
Biel 2002 A89
1. d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. c5 Kh8 11. Qb3 h6 12.Rd1 a6 13. Bd2 Qe8 14. Rac1 g5 15.Na4 e4 16. Ba5 Bd7 17. Nc3 Rc8 18. Qxb7 Rb8 19. Qxc7 Rc8 20. Qb7 Rb8 21.Qxa6Ra8 22. Qb6 Rb8 23. Qa6 Ra8 24. Qc4 Rxa5 25. c6 Bc8 26. b4 Ra8 27. b5 Qd8 28.Qc5 Ne8 29. b6 Nd6 30. Rb1 Ba6 31. a4 Qb8 32. Nb5 Bxb5 33. axb5 Ra2 34. b7 Be5 35. Rdc1 Ra4 36. e3 Kh7 37. Bh3 h5 38. Qc2 Ra5 39. Bf1 f4 40. Bg2 fxe3 41. fxe3 Kg7 42. Bxe4 Rxb5 43. Bh7 Rxb1 44. Rxb1 Ne8 45. Qg6+ Kh8 46. Qh6 Bg7 47. Qxg5 Kxh7 48. Qxe7 Rf5 49. c7 Nxc7 50. Qe4 Kg6 51. Rf1 Qxb7 52. Qxf5+ Kh6 53. d6 Nd5 54. Qe6+ Kh7 55. Qe4+ 1-0