Breaking The Rules of the Leningrad Dutch

Neil McDonald

is a English Chess Grandmaster born in 1967, and a prolific author. His Wikipedia page ( shows thirty five Chess titles he has authored, including three on the Dutch.

Opening Guides: Dutch Leningrad, (1997);

Starting Out: The Dutch Defence, published in 2005;

Play the Dutch: An Opening Repertoire for Black based on the Leningrad Variation (2010).

Then there is this one:

Heading into the last round of the recently completed London Classic Open GM McDonald was in the fourth score group, along with a host of other players with 5 1/2 points out of a possible 8. He had black versus fellow GM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan,

who was rated 2500, about one hundred points higher than McDonald.

Vakhidov opened with 1 c4, to which his opponent replied f5! The Dutch, a fighting opening for the last round game! There followed 2 Nc3 Nf6 and 3 d4 g6.

When attempting to play the Dutch four decades ago I was attracted to the Leningrad because of a game between Karpov vs Jacobsen, USSR vs Scandinavia junior match 1968, ( found in a book by Tim Harding, published in 1976, appropriately titled, The Leningrad Dutch.

As I recall one of the first chapters is titled, “Berzerk attacks.” This occurs when the Leningrad player allows white to fire the h4 salvo in the early opening phase of the game. Many failed experiments taught me to avoid h4 if at all possible. One of the ways to do this would be to delay playing g6 until after first playing d6, and then Nf6. White can still fire the h4 salvo, but it turns into a premature ejaculation. As a general rule I usually play d6 after the white pawns come to d4 and c4.

Vakhidov fired the h4 salvo on his fourth move, to which McDonald replied Bg7. Vak, in for a penny, in for a pound, continued pushing it in with 5 h5. Neil takes the sucker offa the board with Nxh5. When Vak fires his King pawn to e4

I am willing to wager Neil was wishing he had already played d6…At this point Stockfish, according to the CBDB would play fxe4. McDonald plays 6…e6. There follows, 7 exf5 exf5 8 Rxh5 gxh5 9 Qxh5+.

How would you like to be sitting behind the black pieces in this position? Me neither…McDonald moved his King to f8 and Vak played 10 Nd5. Neil tried a new move, 10…h6 (10…d6 11. Bg5 Qd7 12. O-O-O Nc6 13. Re1 Qf7 14. Qxf7+ Kxf7 15. Nxc7 Rb8 16. Nb5 Bxd4 17. Nxd6+ Kg6 18. Bh4 Bf6 19. Nf3 Bxh4 20. Nxh4+ Kf6 21. Ne8+ Kf7 22. Nd6+ Kf6 23. Ne8+ Kg5 24. g3 Rf8 25. f4+ Kh6 26. Bd3 Bd7 27. Nd6 Kg7 28. Nhxf5+ Bxf5 29. Nxf5+ Kh8 30. a3 Rbd8 31. Bc2 Na5 32. Re2 Rf6 33. b3 Rdf8 34. Nd4 R6f7 35. Re3 Rf6 36. Nf3 Nc6 37. Ng5 Rh6 38. Rd3 Rh1+ 39. Kb2 h6 40. Ne6 Rf6 41. Nc5 b6 42. Nd7 Re6 43. Rd2 Rhe1 44. Bd1 R6e3 45. g4 Re4 46. f5 Rd4 47. Kc2 Ree4 48. Bf3 Rxd2+ 49. Kxd2 Rd4+ 50. Ke3 Rxd7 51. Bxc6 Re7+ 52. Kd4 Kg7 53. b4 Kf6 54. c5 bxc5+ 55. Kxc5 Ke5 56. b5 Kf4 57. Kd6 Rh7 58. f6 Kxg4 59. Ke6 Kf4 60. f7 Rh8 61. Ke7 Ke5 62. f8=Q Rxf8 63. Kxf8 Kd4 64. Kg7 h5 65. Kg6 h4 66. Kg5 h3 67. Kg4 h2 68. Kg3 Kc4 69. Kxh2 Kb3 70. a4 Kb4 71. Kg3 Kc5 72. Kf4 1-0; Jimenez Martinez,J (2002) vs Encinas Encinas, (2174) Albacete 2004) There followed: 11 Qxf5+ Kg8 12 c5 d6 13 Qe4 Nc6 14 Bc4 Kf8 15 Ne2 Na5 16 Qf4+ Ke8 17 Bb5+

You know you have stepped into some really deep poo when your opponent ALLOWS you to fork two minor pieces with a lowly pawn…

c6 18 Bd3 cxd5 19 Bg6+ Kd7 20 Qxd6# 1-0

Gruesome. When is the last time you saw a GM mated in the middle of the board? The McDonald version of the Leningrad Dutch was obliterated.

Old McDonald turns fifty next month, becoming eligible for the World Senior. Maybe he should consider retiring to the farm…

I do not have either of the Leningrad books authored by GM McDonald. If you do and would like to leave a comment, or send an email ( with what he has to say about handling berzerk attacks with an early h4, inquiring minds would like to know…