Yu Vs Maghsoodloo: Cutting Edge Dutch Theory

Computer programs have revolutionized opening theory in the game of Go with new books being published with regularity. The same is true for the Royal game but without the new books being published acknowledging how the new moves were obtained. For example:

The impact upon the Royal game has been great but what about the acknowledgement? How extensively have the computer Chess programs changed the way the game is played? Do human players find new moves these daze or do they sit back and let the programs crunch the numbers and use what is found?

Yangyi Yu (2763)

vs Parham Maghsoodloo (2644)

FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss 2019 round 07

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 b6 7. c4 Bb7 8. Nc3 e6 9. Bf4 a5 10. Rc1 Na6 11. d5 Nc5 12. dxe6 Nxe6 13. Be5 Bh6 14. e3 Ng4 15. Nd5 Nxe5 16. Nxe5 d6 17. Nd3 Rb8 18. a3 Re8 19. b4 axb4 20. axb4 Ng5 21. b5 Bg7 22. N3b4 Ne4 23. Nc6 Bxc6 24. bxc6 Nf6 25. Nc3 Kh8 26. Ra1 Ne4 27. Nxe4 fxe4 28. Ra7 b5 29. cxb5 Rxb5 30. Qa4 Rbe5 31. Bh3 Rf8 32. Bd7 h5 33. Qa6 Rc5 34. Qb7 Rc2 35. Qb3 Rb2 36. Qe6 Qg5 37. Qxe4 d5 38. Qe6 d4 39. Rb7 dxe3 40. Rxb2 Bxb2 41. fxe3 Rxf1+ 42. Kxf1 Qf6+ 43. Qxf6+ Bxf6 44. Ke2 Kg7 45. Kf3 Be5 46. Ke4 Kf6 47. Be8 h4 48. gxh4 Bxh2 49. Kd5 Bg3 50. Ke4 ½-½

1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 O-O O-O 6 b3 (SF 250919 @ depth 46 plays 6 c4, expecting 6…d6 7 Nc3, which is the Leningrad Dutch. The CBDB shows SF 10 @ depth 43 also playing 6 c4, but SF 260819 prefers the move in the game)

(Until recently 6…d6, known as the Leningrad Dutch, was invariably played. The CBDB shows 6…d6 having been played in 1100 games. 6…b6 has only been attempted a paltry 22 times. The game move, 6…b6, is the move of Stockfish 021019 @ depth 75; SF 10 @ depth 41 plays 6…Na6 with 7 c4 Rb8 following) 7 c4 Bb7 8 Nc3 e6

(The choice of Stockfish, which is a completely different way to play. IM Boris Kogan played 6 b3 but I cannot recall him ever facing an early b6 and would like to know what the Hulk would have thought of the mirror move. For 8…Na6 see Lemos vs Alvarado Diaz below) 9 Bf4 TN (This move, the choice of Komodo, is not shown at the CBDB or 365Chess. 9 Bb2 has been the most often played move. StockFish 10 plays 9 Rb1 while SF 120919 would play 9 Bg5, neither move has yet been seen in action) 9…a5 10. Rc1 Na6 11. d5 Nc5 12. dxe6 Nxe6 13. Be5 Bh6 14. e3 Ng4 15. Nd5 Nxe5 16. Nxe5 d6 17. Nd3 Rb8 18. a3 Re8 19. b4 axb4 20. axb4 Ng5 21. b5 Bg7 22. N3b4 Ne4 23. Nc6 Bxc6 24. bxc6 Nf6 25. Nc3 Kh8 26. Ra1 Ne4 27. Nxe4 fxe4 28. Ra7 b5 29. cxb5 Rxb5 30. Qa4 Rbe5 31. Bh3 Rf8 32. Bd7 h5 33. Qa6 Rc5 34. Qb7


(At the ChessBomb Stockfish gives 34…d5 as best, showing 34…Qh6; h4; and Be5. The following variation is shown: 34… d5 35. Qxc7 Qf6 36. Qf4 Qe7 37. Qh4 Bf6 38. Qh3 Qd6 39. g4 h4 40. g5 Bxg5 41. Qg4 d4 42. c7 Rxc7 43. Rxc7 Qxc7 44. Qxg5 Qxd7 45. Qxh4+ Kg7 46. Qxe4 dxe3 47. Qe5+ Kg8 48. fxe3 Qg4+ 49. Qg3 Qe4 50. Rxf8+ Kxf8 51. Qf4+ Qxf4 52. exf4 Kf7)

35. Qb3?

(As is often the case in top level Chess these daze one ‘red move’ follows another ‘red move’ over at DaBomb. Back to back, or double blunders by the best human players happens with regularity. I’ve no idea why this is happening. Maybe double vision

is the cause. Any ideas? This is the best variation according to the Fish after crunching numbers for all of fifteen seconds) 35. Qxc7 Qxc7 36. Rxc7 Bf6 37. Be6 Bd8 38. Rc8 Be7 39. Rxf8+ Bxf8 40. Bd5 Rc5 41. Bxe4 g5 42. Rd1 Be7 43. f4 Kg7 44. Bd5 gxf4 45. gxf4 Bd8 46. Kf2 Kf6 47. e4 Rc3 48. Rb1 Rc2+ 49. Ke3 Ba5 50. Rb7 Rxh2 51. Rf7+ Kg6) Rb2 36. Qe6 Qg5 37. Qxe4 d5 38. Qe6 d4 39. Rb7 dxe3 40. Rxb2 Bxb2 41. fxe3 Rxf1+ 42. Kxf1 Qf6+ 43. Qxf6+ Bxf6 44. Ke2 Kg7 45. Kf3 Be5 46. Ke4 Kf6 47. Be8 h4 48. gxh4 Bxh2 49. Kd5 Bg3 50. Ke4 ½-½

Damian Lemos (2482) vs Alejandro Alvarado Diaz (2399)

Event: 1st La Palma GM 2019

A80 Dutch

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 b6 7.c4 Bb7 8.Nc3 Na6 9.Ba3 Ne4 10.Nxe4 Bxe4 11.Rc1 c5 12.e3 e6 13.Qe2 Qe7 14.Rfd1 d6 15.Ne1 Bxg2 16.Nxg2 Rad8 17.Rd2 e5 18.dxe5 dxe5 19.Rcd1 Nc7 20.Bb2 Ne6 21.Rd5 Nc7 22.R5d2 Ne6 23.Rd5 Nc7 24.R5d2 ½-½

Gata Kamsky Plays Both Sides of the Leningrad Dutch

Gata Kamsky (2685)

vs Jules Moussard (2608)

Barcelona Open 2019
round 04

1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 d6 4 Nf3 g6 5 O-O Bg7 6 b3 (Although Houdini plays this move Komodo and SF play 6 c4) 6…O-O (The most often played move but would play the little played 6…a5, expecting 7 c4 a4) 7 Bb2 c6 (7…Qe8 has been played a few more times than 7…c6, but SF 250819 at depth 49 plays 7…Ne4, expecting 8 Nbd2 c6. SF 10 @ depth 48 prefers the seldom played 7…e6, expecting 8 c4 Nc6) 8 c4 (SF 9 @ depth 42 plays 8 Nbd2) 8…a5 (SF 120119 @ depth 37 plays the most often played move, 8…Na6, but SF 10 @ depth 37 would play 8…Re8, a move not shown at the ChessBaseDataBase) 9 a3 (Both SF & Komodo play 9 Nc3) 9…Ne4 (This is a TN. Komodo plays Na6, the most often played move in the position. Houdini would play the new move played in the game, 9…Ne4, expecting 10 Nbd2 d5) 10. Nbd2 Nxd2 11. Qxd2 Nd7 12. Rfd1 Nf6 13. Qc2 Ne4 14. Ne1 Qe8 15. d5 Bxb2 16. Qxb2 g5 17. Qd4 Qg6 18. Rac1 c5 19. Qe3 Rf7 20. Nd3 Bd7 21. f3 Nf6 22. f4 h6 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 b6 25. Ra1 Rxa1 26. Rxa1 Ng4 27. Qc1 Qf6 28. e3 gxf4

Reaching a critical position. What would you play as white?

29. gxf4? (According to the ChessBomb this is a dreaded BRIGHT RED MOVE. If this was your move you need to contemplate longer) Qh4 30. h3 Nf6 31. Qe1 Qh5 32. Ra8+ Kh7 33. bxc5 bxc5 34. Kh2 Rg7 35. Ra7 Bc8 36. Nc1 Ne4 37. Ne2 Qg6 38. Bf3 Qf6 39. Ra8 Bb7 40. Ra7 Bc8 41. Ra8 Bd7 42. Ra7 e6 43. dxe6 Qxe6 44. Qc1 Qf6 45. Bxe4 fxe4 46. Qf1 Qb2 47. f5 Qe5+ 48. Qf4 Qxf5 49. Qxf5+ Bxf5 50. Ra6 Be6 51. Rxd6 Bxc4 52. Ng3 Bd3 53. Rc6 Rg5 54. h4 Re5

55. h5? (ChessBomb shows this as a RED MOVE, but not as RED as the earlier RED MOVE, so we will call this one a BLOOD RED MOVE, because the Gator, as Gata is known in the Southern part of the USA, just caused a SELF INFLICTED WOUND)

c4 56. Kh3 Rg5 57. Kh4 Kg7 58. Rc7+ Kh8 59. Rc6 Kh7 60. Rc7+ Rg7? (Yet another BLEEDING MOVE. 60 Kg8 keeps the advantage. Now the game is even, according to the ChessBomb) 61. Rc6 (61 Rc5. Again black has an advantage) 61…Rf7 (61…Rg5 retains the advantage) 62. Kg4 Rf2 63. Rc7+ Kg8 64. Rc6 Kf7 65. Rxh6 c3 66. Rc6 c2 67. Rc7+ Kg8 68. h6 Rg2 69. Kf4 Rg1 70. Nh5 (Rc8+ is equal) 70…c1=Q (70…Rf1+ is strong) 71. Nf6+ Kf8 72. Nh7+ Ke8 73. Nf6+ Kd8 74. Rxc1 Rxc1 75. h7 Rh1 76. Kg5 Be2 77. Kg6 Ke7 78. Ng8+ Kf8 79. Nh6 Rg1+ 80. Kf6 Rf1+ 81. Kg6 Bh5+ 82. Kxh5 Kg7 83. h8=Q+ Kxh8 84. Kg6 Rg1+ 85. Kf5 Kg7 86. Ng4 Rg2 87. Ne5 Rg3 88. Kxe4 Rxe3+ ½-½

Adolfo Diaz Nunez (2145) vs Francisco Vallejo Pons (2415)

Mondariz op

A04 Reti opening

1.Nf3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.d4 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 d6 7.Bb2 a5 8.a3 c6 9.c4 e5 10.dxe5 Ng4 11.Qc2 Nxe5 12.Nbd2 Na6 13.Rad1 Qe7 14.Bc3 Nc7 15.Qb2 Re8 16.Rfe1 Bd7 17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.e4 f4 19.gxf4 Ne6 20.Bxe5 Nxf4 21.Nf3 Bxe5 22.Rxd7 Bxb2 23.Rxe7 Rxe7 24.a4 Rd8 25.h4 Rd3 0-1

Elina Danielian (2476) vs Viktorija Cmilyte (2524)

SportAccord Blitz Women 2012

Beijing CHN 2012

A04 Reti opening

1.Nf3 g6 2.d4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 d6 7.Bb2 c6 8.c4 a5 9.a3 Qc7 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Qc2 e5 12.c5 e4 13.cxd6 Qxd6 14.Ne5 Be6 15.Ndc4 Qc7 16.b4 axb4 17.axb4 Na6 18.Ba3 Nd5 19.Qd2 Bf8 20.Rfb1 Red8 21.b5 cxb5 22.Rxb5 Bxa3 23.Rxa3 Ne7 24.Qb2 Rab8 25.Rc3 Rxd4 26.Ne3 Qd8 27.h4 b6 28.Ra3 Nc5 29.Ra7 Qd6 30.Rxe7 Qxe5 31.Rxe6 Qg7 32.Rexb6 Rc8 33.Rb8 Rdd8 34.Qxg7+ Kxg7 35.Rxc8 Rxc8 36.Rb1 Ne6 37.Nd5 Nd4 38.e3 Ne6 39.Bf1 Rc2 40.Nf4 Nc5 41.Ra1 Nb3 42.Ra7+ Kf6 43.Ra6+ Kg7 44.Rb6 Nd2 45.Rb7+ Kf6 46.Rd7 Nf3+ 47.Kg2 Ne1+ 48.Kg1 Nf3+ 49.Kh1 Rxf2 50.Bg2 Ra2 51.Bxf3 exf3 52.Rd1 Ra3 53.Re1 Ke5 54.Kg1 Ra2 55.Rf1 Ke4 56.Re1 f2+ 57.Kf1 fxe1=Q+ 0-1

Alexander Donchenko (2631)

vs Gata Kamsky (2685)

Barcelona Open 2019 round 05

1. Nf3 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c4 Bg7 5. Nc3 d6 6. d4 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. d5 e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. b3 Na6 11. Ng5 Bc8 12. Bb2 h6 13. Nf3 Be6 14. Nd4 Bf7 15. Qc2 Nc5 (15…Nb4! A FORCING MOVE!) 16. Rad1 Qb6 17. e3 a5 18. Nde2 Rfd8 (18…a4 would seem to be the logical rejoinder) 19. Ba3 Qc7 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. Rd1 Rd6 23. h3 Qd8 24. Rxd6 Qxd6 25. Kf1 ½-½

1 Nf3 f5 2 g3 Nf6 (SF & Komodo both prefer 2…g6) 3 Bg2 g6 4 c4 Bg7 5 Nc3 (SF plays 5 d4; Komodo 5 0-0) 5…d6 (Komodo plays this move but SF would castle) 6 d4 O-O 7 O-O c6 (7…Qe8 was the move of choice by GM Vladimir Malaniuk and is analyzed extensively in his book. At one time or another I attempted the Malaniuk move, and the game move, but settled on 7…Nc6. All of the top programs show 7…c6 as best) 8 d5 (SF 10 @ depth 53 would play 8 Rb1; SF 110719 @ depth 48 prefers 8 b3) 8…e5 9 dxe6 Bxe6 10 b3 Na6 11 Ng5 Bc8 (SF 9 @ depth 28 plays 11…Qe7 expecting 12 Nxe6 Qxe6; Komodo 12 @ depth 26 would play 11…Nc5 showing 12 Bb2 Qe7 to follow) 12 Bb2 (SF says 12 Rb1) 12…h6 13 Nf3 Be6 14 Nd4 (SF 010719 @ depth considers 14 Qc2 superior. The CBDB does not show the game move, but one game with the move was found at 365Chess.com:

Armin Kranz (2145) vs Christoph Renner (2425)
Schwarzach op-A 1999

A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.b3 Na6 11.Ng5 Bc8 12.Bb2 h6 13.Nf3 Be6 14.Nd4 Bf7 15.e3 Re8 16.Qc2 d5 17.cxd5 Nb4 18.Qd2 Nbxd5 19.Nde2 Qe7 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Qd4+ Qf6 23.Rad1 Red8 24.Rd2 Nc3 25.Qxf6+ Kxf6 26.Rc2 Nxe2+ 27.Rxe2 a5 28.Rb1 Rd7 29.e4 fxe4 30.Bxe4 Re8 31.Rbe1 Rd4 32.f3 a4 33.bxa4 Rxa4 34.Rb1 Re7 35.Rbb2 Rd7 36.Kf2 Ra3 37.Rec2 Ke7 38.Re2 Kd8 39.f4 Ra5 40.g4 Re7 41.Rb4 g5 42.Rd2+ Kc7 43.a4 gxf4 44.Kf3 Be6 45.Kxf4 Rf7+ 46.Kg3 Rf1 47.Rdb2 Ra7 48.h4 Ra1 49.g5 hxg5 50.hxg5 R1xa4 51.g6 b5 52.Kf4 Rxb4 53.Rxb4 Kd6 54.Rd4+ Kc5 55.Rd8 b4 56.Ke5 Bd5 57.Kf6 b3 58.Rb8 Ra1 59.g7 Rg1 60.Bh7 Rg2 61.g8=Q Bxg8 62.Bxg8 Rxg8 63.Rxg8 Kc4 64.Ke5 b2 65.Rb8 Kc3 ½-½

Anna Muzychuk Plays Early Qe2 in the B31 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rossolimo Attack

In the post, Women’s Candidates Tournament underway, by Kevin Spraggett, published June 2, 2019, the Grandmaster writes about the second round game between Anna Muzychuk and Nana Dzagnidze. After the moves, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2 !? we read, “Not the mainline according to ‘theory’, but quite possibly the best line! The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.”

The Muzychuk sisters

previously played the Leningrad Dutch and I looked forward to any tournament in which they competed. Then they stopped playing the LD and I spent as much time with them as with yesterday’s newspaper…

Regular readers will immediately know what comes next but for those who know little of the AW I suggest simply putting “Qe2” in the question box and you will learn, grasshopper.

Inquiring minds will want to know if the Qe2 move in the game is “quite possibly the best line!”

Anna Muzychuk vs Nana Dzagnidze

Anna Muzychuk vs. Nana Dzagnidze | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

Women’s Candidate Tournament

Round 2

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2

Kevin writes, “Not the mainline according to ‘theory’, but quite possibly the best line! The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.” 6…O-O 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Rd1! According to my database, a new move. I like it.”

We begin after, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 (Stockfish prefers 3…e6) 4.O-O Bg7 5.c3 (Komodo 13.01 would play 5 Bxc6) 5…Nf6 (The Fish among programs would print out 5…e5)

And here we are: 6 Qe2. Six Re1 has been played most often according to the CBDB, showing 1675 games with the move, which is the choice of the Dragon. The move preferred by the Fish, 6 d3, has only been played a couple of dozen times. Six e5 has been played a couple of dozen times more than 6 Qe2, but fourteen fewer times than 6 Re1)

6…O-O 7. d4 d5 (7…cxd4 has been played most often, and it is the choice of SF 310519 at depth 31, but go one click deeper and the Fish changes it’s mind while deciding on the game move 7…d5)

8. e5 (Almost invariably played but Stockfish would play 8 exd5) Ne4 9. Rd1! (GM Spraggett writes, “According to my database, a new move. I like it.” According the the CBDB Stockfish 310519 at depth 29 would play 9 Be3, but Stockfish 10 at depth 28 would play 9 Rd1 TN)

The rest of the game: cxd4 10. cxd4 f6 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 fxe5 13. Nxe5 Qc7 14. Nd3 Bf5 15. Bf4 Qa5 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Nb4 Rac8 18. Rac1 Be4 19. Bg5 c5 20. dxc5 Qxc5 21. Be3 d4 22. Bxd4 Bxd4 23. Qxe4 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Qe3 25. Qc2 Rc5 26. Nd3 Rg5 27. Qb3+ Kg7 28. Nxf2 Rxg2 29. Qb7 Rxh2+ 30. Kxh2 Rxf2+ 31. Qg2 h5 32. Re1 Qd2 33. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 e5 35. c4 g5 36. c5 g4 37. Rf1 Qh4+ 38. Kg1 Qg3+ 39. Kh1 Qh3+ 40. Kg1 Qe3+ 41. Kh1 Qe4+ 42. Kg1 g3 0-1

From this we can conclude Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett

is on to something when he writes, “The Muzychuk sisters are always on the leading edge of new ideas in the openings.”

I do not know if the sisters Muzychuk utilize the fantastic ChessBaseDataBase (https://database.chessbase.com/) but the CBDB provides anyone who does use it to find new, and/or different opening move choices galore, as shown regularly on this blog. The game with GM Spraggett’s annotations and comments can be found @ http://www.spraggettonchess.com/womens-candidates-tournament-underway/

Launching the h-pawn at the Leningrad Dutch

One of the best things about writing a blog is the response received from readers, most of which, fortunately, is positive. One of the emails received earlier this month, from a young man relatively new to Chess, had an influence on my deciding to continue writing the AW blog.

“I discovered your blog when looking for opening material on the Dutch opening. After reading all posts concerning the Dutch I decided to buy the book on the Leningrad Dutch

by GM Malaniuk which you have written about often. It was one of the best chess moves I have made off of the chess board. What I like about the book the most is how much of it is devoted to earlier deviations from the main lines. Most of my games venture away from the “book” moves very early in the game. Because of this I have found that to be successful in chess one must first study what is not “book” first in order to understand what is “book.” Most of my games do not reach an endgame, and if they do one side has a large advantage. Because of your blog I began playing some of the lesser played variations and found the better players were taking more time in the opening when before they would simply make their replies instantly. I have attempted to play many of the “offbeat” openings you advocate on your blog with success. For example, I have won games with the Bishop’s opening, and many of those have been won because of being able to play the Bxf7+ check. In the past year or so I have gained hundreds of rating points and now am a class D player. I attribute much of my success to your blog. It opened my mind. After looking at a game and making notes I then go to the ChessBomb and compare my notes with the variations given. Seeing the variations of how a game should have developed has helped my understanding of chess.

Before the last round of the 11th dMP Batavia GM 2019 Amsterdam (NED) IM Arthur Pijpers was tied with FM Jasel Lopez, both with 5 points. Pijpers was paired with GM Simon Williams, who had four points, and the white pieces. FM Jasel Lopez had white against Rick Lahaye, the only untitled player, who had 4 points.

The latter game began 1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6. This made me think of something you had written about always playing the move d6 when white plays both d4 and c4, so I looked it up on your blog and found you wrote, “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.” https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/breaking-the-rules-of-the-leningrad-dutch/

Sure enough, Lopez played 4. h4 and Lahaye did not play 4…d6 but 4…Bg7. In the game mentioned above between GM Jahongir Vakhidov and GM Neil McDonald you wrote, “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+.”

Lopez did not play 6. e4 but a ChessBomb red move, 6. Rxh5? If Lopez had played 6. e4 he would have had a large advantage, according to ChessBomb of about a pawn and a half. Instead after taking with the rook he was down about half a pawn. That is a huge swing in the opening. What I do not understand is FM Lopez is rated 2390 and his opponent, even though untitled, is rated 2414, so they are obviously strong players. If a player is going to play an attacking line launching his h pawn, such as in this game it seems he would have at least studied the opening. If Lopez had read your post he would have known to play 6. e4! After the game moves of 6. Rxh5 gxh5 Lopez did play 7. e4 but then it was not good and he lost the game and a chance at first place. IM Arthur Pijpers was winning his game when he offered GM Williams a draw to clinch first place.

Thank you for writing such an interesting blog. I have learned about how to study and play winning chess from your blog. I hope you recover and decide to write again.”

Thank you, sir, for such positive feedback! If only all feedback were so nice…

I decided to put the opening of the game into the ChessBaseDataBase.

Jasel Lopez 2390 (ARU) – Rick Lahaye 2414 (NED)

dMP Batavia Chess Tournament 2019 round 9

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. h4 Bg7 5. h5 Nxh5 6. Rxh5 gxh5 7. e4 O-O 8. Qxh5 fxe4 9. Be3 e5 10. d5 d6 11. Nge2 Nd7 12. Ng3 Nf6 13. Qh1 c6 14. Bg5 cxd5 15. Nxd5 Be6 16. O-O-O Bxd5 17. Rxd5 Qb6 18. Bxf6 Rxf6 19. Nxe4 Rxf2 20. Nxf2 Qxf2 21. Rd2 Qe3 22. Kc2 Rf8 23. g3 e4 24. Bh3 Rf2 25. Be6+ Kh8 26. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 27. Kd1 e3 28. Qe1 Qf3+ 29. Qe2 Qe4 30. Qg4 Qd3+ 0-1

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. h4 Bg7 (Stockfish at the ChessBase Data Base show 4…d6 as the best move) 5. h5 Nxh5 6. Rxh5 (This is shown as a “red move” at the ChessBomb. Both Stockfish and Houdini at the CBDB give 6 e4 as a much superior move) gxh5 7. e4 (Now this move is not best as SF and Komodo prefer 7 Bg5, a move not shown at 365Chess. Only one game has been played with 7 Bg5:

K. Tsatsalashvili (2226) vs N. Batsiashvili (2425) Chennai Open (Women) 2013

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. h4 Bg7 5. h5 Nxh5 6.Rxh5 gxh5 7. Bg5 O-O 8. e3 c5 9. d5 d6 10. Nh3 Nd7 11. Nf4 Nf6 12. f3 a6 13.Bd3 Qe8 14. Qc2 h6 15. Bh4 e5 16. dxe6 Bxe6 17. O-O-O Bd7 18. Ncd5 Nxd5 19. Nxd5 Rf7 20. Re1 Be6 21. e4 f4 22. Qd2 Qf8 23. Nb6 Re8 24. e5 Bxe5 25. Bg6 Rf5 26. Nd5 Kg7 27. Bxe8 Qxe8 28. Ne7 Qf7 29. Nxf5+ Qxf5 30. Be7 Bd4 31. Bxd6 Be3 32. Rxe3 fxe3 33. Qxe3 Kg6 34. b3 b6 35. g3 Qf7 36. Bf8 Qxf8 37. Qxe6+ Kg7 38. Qe5+ Kg6 39. Qe6+ Kg7 40. f4 Qf6 41. Qe5 Kg6 1/2-1/2)

7…O-O 8. Qxh5 (This move, along with 8 e5 and Nh3 have been played, but Komodo and Houdini give 8 Bd3 as best)


Black, Rick Lahaye, has a huge advantage and went on the win the game which put him in a four way tie for second place, a half point behind winner IM Arthur Pijpers of the Netherlands. Tournament information can be found here: http://batavia1920.nl/chess/about/

Here are some previous posts on the Dutch:






Just Checking The End Of The Line

Each issue of the best Chess magazine in the universe, New In Chess, culminates with Just Checking, which is a series of questions for various strong players from various parts of the world. Since I am not a titled player NIC will never interview me, yet I have sometimes fantasized about answering the questions posed. Some of the answers are surprising and each and every answer tells you something about the person providing the answer. Since it is a magazine with limited space most of the answers are short. Since this is a blog I can elaborate at length. Don’t get me started! I hope you enjoy what follows.

What is your favorite city?

Decatur, Georgia, the city of my birth.

What was the last great meal you had?

Something beautiful in its simplicity prepared by the woman with whom I was in love.

What drink brings a smile to your face?

Which book would you give to a dear friend?

I have no “dear friend.”

What book are you currently reading?

Just finished reading, Presumed Guilty: How and why the Warren Commission framed Lee Harvey Oswald, by Howard Roffman. Although it was published in the mid-seventies it had somehow escaped my attention. Although I had read a few books before beginning to work at the Oxford bookstore in Atlanta, my serious reading began a few years after the book was published, yet I missed it. I ordered the book after reading about it in Volume 20, #3 of the JFK/DEEP POLITICS QUARTERLY, published in August of 2018 by Walt Brown and Tim Smith (info @ kiasjfk@aol.com). Upon opening the package and reading the front of the dust jacket I turned to the back and was taken aback, no, ASTOUNDED, to see a picture of a young Justin Morrison, now owner of Kid Chess in Atlanta, Georgia (https://www.kidchess.com/). I kid you not! The picture of the the young man bears an uncanny resemblance to the young Justin Morrison, who was one of my opponents in the 1976 Atlanta Chess Championship. From the jacket: “Howard Roffman, now 23, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., where he attended public school. His interest in the assassination of President Kennedy began when he was fourteen, and he read everything he could lay his hands on on the subject. By 11th grade he had bought all 26 volumes of the Warren Report ($76), and, convinced of the inadequacy of the conclusions, he went to the National Archives and studied the files – the youngest researcher ever to see them. Alarmed at what he discovered, he writes, “I can’t think of anything more threatening than when the government lies about the murder of its leader.” It is a fine book and a clear refutation of the US Government’s “official” finding that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered the POTUS, John F. Kennedy.

What is your favorite novel?

The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse

Do you have a favorite artist?

Maxfield Parrish

Way back in the 1970’s a girlfriend, Cecil Jordan, who was from California, and came to Atlanta to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines, took me to some place in San Francisco where the paintings of Maxfield Parrish were being shown. The colors, especially blue, were so very vibrant it was like they jumped out at you in a spectacular way. I fell in love with the artists work. The pictures one sees in a book or magazine are nice, but absolutely nothing like what one sees if fortunate enough to see the real McCoy.

What is your favorite color?

What is your all-time favorite movie?

When young it was Cool Hand Luke,

then came One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,

but I cannot watch either of them now because they are too depressing. The English Patient

became a candidate, but only one movie has stood the test of time. When channel surfing and the movie flashes upon the screen it matters not what is on any other channel as the surfing ends immediately. That movie is Casablanca.

What is your all-time favorite TV series?

Who is your favorite actor?

Humphrey Bogart.

And actress?

Kim Basinger

and Blair Brown.

To what kind of music do you listen?

Because of tinnitus I now listen to mostly what is called “ambient,” or “electronic,” or “New Age,” or “space” music. (https://www.hos.com/)

I have, at one time or another, listened to every kind of musical genre.

Who is your favorite composer?

Duke Ellington.

Favorite male singer/songwriter?

Bob Dylan


Joni Mitchell.

Best Rock & Roll song of all-time?

Like a Rolling Stone.

Like A Rolling Stone

Written by: Bob Dylan

Once upon a time you dressed so fine

You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?

People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”

You thought they were all kiddin’ you

You used to laugh about

Everybody that was hangin’ out

Now you don’t talk so loud

Now you don’t seem so proud

About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel

How does it feel

To be without a home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely

But you know you only used to get juiced in it

And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street

And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it

You said you’d never compromise

With the mystery tramp, but now you realize

He’s not selling any alibis

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes

And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns

When they all come down and did tricks for you

You never understood that it ain’t no good

You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you

You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat

Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat

Ain’t it hard when you discover that

He really wasn’t where it’s at

After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people

They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made

Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things

But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe

You used to be so amused

At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used

Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse

When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose

You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?

Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

Favorite Rock & Roll song of all-time?

The Night They Drove Old Dixe Down.

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

The Band

Produced by John Simon

Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
‘Til Stoneman’s cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell
It’s a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “La, la, la”

Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me
“Virgil, quick, come see, there go the Robert E.Lee”
Now I don’t mind choppin’ wood
And I don’t care if the money’s no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “La, la, la”

Like my father before me, I will work the land
And like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can’t raise a Caine back up when he’s in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “La, la, la”
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “La, la, la”

Best Rock & Roll band of all-time?

George Harrison of the Beatles said The Band was the best band in the universe. Who am I to argue with him?

What is your all-time favorite album?

The Romantic Warrior.

What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?

“Life is like the Bataan death march. Your best buddy might fall down but you cannot help him up because he will only drag you down so you gotta keep high-steppin’.”

Is there something you would love to learn?

The meaning of life.

What is your greatest fear?

Fear itself.

And your greatest regret?

Regrets? I’ve had a few…

Who is your favorite Chess player of all-time?

Robert J. Fischer.

Is there a Chess book that had a profound influence on you?

Chess Openings in Theory and Practice by I. A. Horowitz

I would also like to mention a Grandmaster for whom I much admiration, Vladimir Malaniuk,

because he devoted his entire life to playing the Leningrad Dutch, and with much success. For anyone desiring to play the Leningrad Dutch his book is de rigueur.

What does it mean to be a Chess player?


Is a knowledge of Chess useful in everyday life?


Do you have any superstitions concerning Chess?


If you could change one thing in the chess world what would it be?

End the offering of a draw, award more points for a win, especially with the black pieces, and rid Chess of all the people in positions of power who do not, and have not, played Chess, most of whom do not even like the game, and only want to “run things.”

That is three things.

You want me to go on?


That’s what I thought…

What is the best thing ever said about Chess?

Before the advent of the computer programs:

I believe in magic … There is magic in the creative faculty such as great poets and philosophers conspicuously possess, and equally in the creative chessmaster. – Emanuel Lasker

After the advent of the computer programs:

“The ability to combine skillfully, the capacity to find in each given position the most expedient move, is the quickest way to execute a well-conceived plan, and is in fact the only principle in the game of chess”- Mikhail Chigorin

What is the most exciting Chess game you have ever watched?

Keep in mind we were unable to “watch” most games ‘back in the day’. Even the World Championship games were replayed from the next days newspaper, which was usually the New York Times. Therefore, I am limited in the number of games I have “seen” in real time. That said, I was working the demo board the day the following game was played at the Church’s Fried Chicken tournament in San Antonio 1972 and managed to watch every move. It was “exciting” to me, and some of the home town crowd, to watch Ken Smith,

who had been manhandled by the GM’s (Ken did manage to draw earlier with Mario Campos Lopez, and beat former World Junior champion Julio Kaplan in the previous round eleven) draw with GM Paul Keres.

After the game someone mentioned something about Ken drawing because Keres was old and obviously tired. I responded, “What? You think Ken was fresh as a daisy? He has probably sat at the board longer and played more moves than any other player during the event because he was the lowest rated player, and the other players were going to test him in the endgame in each and every game.” Ken, known as the “Capablanca of the cattle country,” heard this, and was nice, and gracious to me from that day forward. Some years later I entered an elevator after losing a game in a big tournament, such as the World Open, or maybe the Western States Chess festival in Reno. There were three people on the elevator, one of whom was Ken. “How did you do, Mike?” He asked. I hung my head and answered, “I lost, Ken.”
“What opening did you play?” He asked. “It was a Leningrad Dutch,” I said. “Ah, at least you played a fighting opening!” For some reason that made me feel better and as he exited I smiled in response to his smile. It is difficult to make a player who has just lost a Chess game smile.

Paul Keres vs Kenneth Ray Smith
San Antonio (1972), San Antonio, TX USA, rd 12, Dec-04
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Queen’s Knight Variation (A16)

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c6 3. e4 d5 4. e5 d4 5. exf6 dxc3 6. fxg7 cxd2+ 7. Bxd2 Bxg7
8. Qc2 Nd7 9. Ne2 Nf6 10. Ng3 Qc7 11. Bd3 Bd7 12. Bc3 O-O-O 13. O-O-O Ne8 14.
Rhe1 e6 15. Bxg7 Nxg7 16. Qc3 Nf5 17. Qf6 Rhf8 18. Re5 Kb8 19. Bxf5 exf5 20.
Qd6 Be6 21. Qxc7+ Kxc7 22. b3 Rxd1+ 23. Kxd1 Rg8 24. f4 Rg4 25. Ke2 Rxf4 26. h3
Kd6 27. Ra5 a6 28. Ke3 Rh4 29. Nxf5+ Bxf5 30. Rxf5 Ke6 31. Rg5 Rh6 32. Ke4 Rh4+
33. Ke3 Rh6 34. Kd4 Rg6 35. Re5+ Kd6 36. c5+ Kd7 37. g4 Rh6 38. Rf5 Ke6 39. Rf3
Rf6 40. Re3+ Kd7 41. Re5 Rh6 42. Re3 Rf6 43. Ke4 Ke6 44. Rd3 Rf2 45. Rd6+ Ke7
46. Rd4 Rxa2 47. Rb4 Ke6 48. Rxb7 Re2+ 49. Kd4 Rd2+ 50. Kc4 Rc2+ 51. Kb4 a5+
52. Kxa5 Rxc5+ 53. Kb4 Rc1 54. Rc7 Kf6 55. Ka3 Kg6 56. Kb2 Rc5 57. h4 h6 58.
Rd7 f6 59. Rd6 Kg7 60. h5 f5 61. Rg6+ Kh7 62. gxf5 Rxf5 63. Rxc6 Rxh5 64. b4
Rg5 65. Rc5 Rg8 66. b5 Kg6 67. Kc3 h5 68. b6 h4 69. Kd4 Rd8+ 70. Kc4 h3 71. Kb5
h2 72. Rc1 Kg5 73. b7 Rb8 1/2-1/2

What was your best result ever?

Winning the 1976 Atlanta Chess Championship 5-0.

What was the best game you played?

A win with the black pieces vs Mark Pinto, or possibly a win vs the sour Kraut, LM Klaus Pohl which was published in Chess Life magazine.

FM Mark Pinto

vs Bacon

1986 US Open rd 4

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6
6. c3 Qd5 7. Ne2 Bg4 8. f3 Bf5 9. Ng3 Bg6 10. Qb3 Qxb3 11. axb3 e6 12. Be3 Nd7
13. b4 f5 14. Bc4 Nb6 15. Bb3 Nd5 16. Bd2 Be7 17. O-O h5 18. Ne2 h4 19. Nf4
Nxf4 20. Bxf4 h3 21. g3 a6 22. Be5 Rg8 23. Kf2 Bg5 24. f4 Be7 25. Bc7 Kd7 26.
Bb6 Bh5 27. Rfe1 Bd6 28. Rg1 Rg6 29. Bc4 Rag8 30. Rae1 Bxf4 31. gxf4 Rg2+ 32.
Rxg2 Rxg2+ 33. Ke3 Rxh2 34. Bd3 Ke7 35. Bc5+ Kf6 36. Bf8 Rg2 37. Bf1 Rg3+ 38.
Kf2 Rf3+ 39. Kg1 Bg4 40. Bh6 Kg6 41. Bg5 f6 42. Rxe6 h2+ 43. Kxh2 Rxf1 44.
Rxf6+ Kg7 45. Rd6 Rf2+ 46. Kg1 Rxb2 47. Rd7+ Kg6 48. Rxb7 Bf3 49. Rb6 Kh5 50.
Rxa6 Kg4 51. Ra1 Kg3 0-1

The game was annotated by GM Jon Speelman:


What is your most memorable game?

You and your Chess program will have a field day with this game. After making my twenty third move, which threatened checkmate, in addition to attacking the Queen, and knowing there were four ways my knight could be taken, all of which lose, I sat back and folded my arms with a smug look on my face, expecting my opponent to resign. It is the most beautiful move I have ever played on a Chess board. Instead, he did what a player is supposed to do, he put his head in his hands and “hunkered down.” Although I do not recall, it is highly probable I got up and strutted around the room, waiting for the resignation that did not come… I should have simply taken the knight. I did, though, learn a valuable lesson which I have attempted to teach everyone to whom I have given lessons. “Examine ALL CHECKS.”
The game was played in Midland, Texas, in the Halliburton Open, 1974. If I recall correctly, it was played in the second round, after I had lost to a NM named Gary Simms. I also recall that after I came back to win my last three games Mr. Simms was nice enough to say, “You showed us something by not withdrawing.”

T. Thompson vs Michael Bacon

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2
Qxb2 9. Nb3 Qa3 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Be2 h5 12. f5 Nc6 13. O-O Bd7 14. fxe6 fxe6
15. Rxf6 Qb4 16. a3 Qb6+ 17. Kh1 Ne5 18. Rb1 Qc7 19. Nd4 Rc8 20. Qg5 Be7 21.
Bxh5+ Kd8 22. Rb3 Qc4 23. Rxb7


24. Nxe6+ Bxe6 25. Rf8+ 1-0

A close second would be a game in which I drew with IM Andre Filipowicz

with the black pieces in the first round of a weekend swiss tournament in Atlanta during the FIDE congress. IM Boris Kogan

Boris Kogan with raised hand at Lone Pine

and NM Guillermo Ruiz became excited with the possibility of my nicking an IM for a half-point to begin the tournament. I graciously accepted the draw offer in an even position, which brought relief to the other titled players because they knew I usually disdained a draw, preferring to play on in what was usually a futile effort.

Going back to my first blog, the BaconLOG (http://baconlog.blogspot.com/) I have been blogging, off and on, for over a decade. You cannot please all of the people but evidently, judging from some of the comments received, you can please some of the people. An example of the former would be this email received from the Ol’ Swindler:

raj kipling
To:Michael Bacon
Jul 19 at 9:27 AM
PLEASE remove my email address from any of you “blog” notifications…you are heading for a fall and I do not want to be dragged down with you…in fact do not email me under any circumstances…do not even respond to this email…forget that you even knew me…good luck…neal harris

Judging by the date it would appear Mr. Harris

did not care for my post of the previous day (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/fuck-you-mr-president/). When we were together politics was never discussed. Why would we discuss politics when there was Chess to discuss? I did, though, travel with the Ol’ Swindler to Waynesville to attend the Smoky Mountain Chess Club once and Neal did stop at a survivalist store where it could be gleaned from the very right of center conversation all of the votes there would go to Republican candidates…

Fortunately most of the email responses received have been positive. For example:

Kevin Spraggett

To:Michael Bacon
Nov 3 at 10:02 PM
Great Article, Michael. You have become a wonderful writer!


To:Michael Bacon
Dec 10 at 6:05 AM
Great article! You are a very good writer ( I was an English major and went to grad school so I notice these things!).


That would be Karen Boyd, wife of GM Ben Finegold.

“A man who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” I cannot recall when or where I heard, or read, that, but know it is true. I have had enough blogging. We, dead reader, have reached…

End of the Line
The Traveling Wilburys
Featuring Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne & 2 more
Produced by Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison) & Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne)
Album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

[Chorus 1: George Harrison]
Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand

[Verse 1: Tom Petty]
You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
Waiting for someone to tell you everything
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring
Maybe a diamond ring

[Chorus 2: Jeff Lynne]
Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s all right, everyday is Judgement Day

[Verse 2: Tom Petty]
Maybe somewhere down the road away
You’ll think of me, and wonder where I am these days
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays
Purple haze

[Chorus 3: Roy Orbison]
Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

[Verse 3: Tom Petty]
Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive
It don’t matter if you’re by my side
I’m satisfied

[Chorus 4: George Harrison]
Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and grey
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say

[Jeff Lynne]
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive
Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please

[George Harrison]
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line


After a sports memorabilia show about three decades ago the self-proclaimed Legendary Georgia Ironman and I were at Spondivits, a bar with a seafood motif, when one of the songs, from the album, Tweeter and the Monkey Man began blasting from the excellent sound system. The late afternoon, early evening crowd broke into song, and we were with them. “Wow Mike,” the smiling Tim Brookshear, schooner filled with beer, said, “I’ve never been in a bar when everyone in the place sang along with the song!”

For that reason alone I nominate Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 for best Rock & Roll album of all-time.

What Happens at Chess Club

I attended the Chess club Thursday night at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Because of my age and having only recently sufficiently recovered from illness I informed the TD I would be willing to act as a “filler” in the event there were an odd number of players and would only play in the first two rounds.

Having attended the previous week, the first time I had made it in some time, a few new players were noticed, which the gentleman who runs the club attributed to the recently finished match for the Human World Chess Championship. Most, if not all, of the players who attend are so hungry for a game they play “skittles” games before the G/15 event begins. There was a “newby” who caught my eye because he was wearing sandals during winter. He looked as though he would have fit in at Woodstock in 1969, so I spoke to the young man, saying, “You gotta like a guy who refuses to give in to winter.” His name was Dawson and he was ready to play, someone…anyone, so we sat down for a game after introductions. I had the white pieces and opened with 1 e4. He responded with the French move of 1…e6. After playing the standard 2 d4 he answered with 2…d5, whereupon I advanced my pawn to e5 on my third move. My opponent stopped to cogitate a few moments before playing 3…Nc6 with obvious trepidation, which showed when he kept his finger on the Knight after placing it gingerly on the square. As he did so I took a good look at him while thinking he appeared about the same age as I was when first visiting an official Chess club. He finally removed his finger from the Knight. I continued looking at the young man, wondering if I should say anything…Before speaking a particular scene from one of my favorite movies flashed in my mind:

When he looked up from the board I said, “At the Chess Club we do not, ever, hold our finger on a piece. When you decide upon your move, make it like you mean it and place it firmly on the square with deliberation, and immediately remove your fingers from the piece.”

The young fellow was somewhat taken aback, but gathered himself quickly and nodded in assent. I continued, “Are you playing in the tournament?” He said he was not. “Then I suggest you spend some time watching these gentlemen play, paying particular attention to how they move their pieces.” Again, he nodded. I did not have to mention it again.

Granted, I am no longer the player I was earlier in my life, and having played over many of the games from the recent World Senior Chess Championship,
(http://www.wscc2018.european-chessacademy.com/index.php/en/) I realize how much of a decline there is for an old(er) player, especially in the 65+ section, which is now my category. That said, the young fellow played a decent game, developing his pieces in the opening without any extraneous pawn moves or outright blunders. We arrived at about an even position in the early middle game, before he made a mistake, moving his a-pawn aggressively, but weakening his b-pawn in the process. I secured my b-pawn by playing a3, then picked off his undefended b-pawn. A few moves later there was a tactical skirmish in which I came out a piece ahead, and he sort of went downhill from there. The game ended in mate by my newly minted Queen protected by a lone Knight.

“You played very well, young man,” I said. There were a couple of players watching the game and they seconded my remark. He said graciously, “I appreciate your saying that, sir.” We talked and I learned he was twenty years old, the same age as was I when I first went to the Atlanta Chess club. He mentioned coming because he was beating the players with whom he had been playing and wanted better competition. Wondering how he could play such a decent game I asked if he read any Chess books. “Not really,” he said. “But I’ve been on Chess.com and watched many YouTube videos.”

The tournament began and I was not needed, fortunately. This gave me an opportunity to watch some of the action, talk with some of those who come and play without playing in the tourney, and those who come to simply “hang-out.” It was immensely enjoyable. I watched Dawson play one of the young players who is not a member of the USCF (“It costs $30!”) but comes to play skittles. Dawson was a piece down but came back to win the game.

After becoming a Senior I began staying home at night for a reason. Although exhausted after being at the Chess Club I was unable to sleep soundly and the next day, Friday, was not one of my better days, so I took it easy and relaxed, spending much time reading, and listening to programs via the internet.

Fortunately, Saturday was a totally different story. I read while having my first cuppa joe. After breakfast the web was surfed. Chess is usually saved for last and one of the sites I visit every day is GM Kevin Spraggett’s

website (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/). He has a “Chess News” scroll, “What is Happening Today?” I clicked on the ones new to me and began reading. I read every article and there were many on AlphaZero. I even read an editorial by Garry Kasparov

in Science magazine. (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6419/1087) Then I clicked on to read Mastering board games, by Murray Campbell.

I had intended on watching several videos by GM Matthew Sadler concerning the recent World Human Chess Championship games, but discovered videos at Chess24 in the article, AlphaZero really is that good (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alphazero-really-is-that-good). I watched every video contained in the article superbly elucidated by GM Sadler. I was had by hook, line and sinker, after watching the first one, All-in Defence, “A true Najdorf brawl.”

The Najdorf was my first love. Like many others I played it because Bobby Fischer played the opening. With Bobby the Najdorf was an offensive defense.

While watching the Najdorf “brawl” I noticed another Sadler video over on the right and it looked like the position could have emanated from the Leningrad Dutch, my “second love.” I clicked on and, sure enough, it was a Leningrad! I was compelled to watch.

As if that were not enough I noticed a video by GM Ben Finegold, who married a woman in my home city of Atlanta and they opened the new Atlanta Chess Club & Scholastic Center. (https://atlchessclub.com/) The video is Capablanca Endgames with GM Ben Finegold.

I enjoyed Ben’s commentary while thinking, “I wish the internet existed in 1970.” How can young players, and even older players, not be far superior to those of my generation with tools like this, and the best players giving great advice away for practically nothing? Why would anyone pay someone to teach Chess?

In an email to Karen I wrote, “I did surf over to Twitch the other day to listen to the lonely Ben comment on the game. I was thinking it must be very difficult to do it alone for a long period of time…Ben the Maytag repairman…”

Karen replied, ” I don’t think he gets lonely streaming …. he seems to enjoy it and likes to talk a lot so it works out.” Ben talks a lot because he has something useful to say. He is like the old EF Hutton TV commercial. “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.”

Other articles read:

AlphaZero: Shedding new light on the grand games of chess, shogi and Go

Updated AlphaZero Crushes Stockfish In New 1,000-Game Match

Inside the (deep) mind of AlphaZero
by Albert Silver

Three new articles were found before writing this post at Spaggett On Chess and I intend on reading them later today, even the one by discredited economist and former GM Ken Rogoff:

Commentary: Where is the fun of playing chess against a robot? by Kenneth Rogoff

Saudi Arabia calls Israel’s bluff
If Saudis do not feel like welcoming Israelis on their lands, they are perfectly right

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Image Credit: AFP

Published: December 08, 2018 16:39 Tariq A. Al Maeena, Special to Gulf News

Chess Is An Important Part Of Russian Soft Power
by Joseph Hammond December 3, 2018


Litsitsin’s Gambit on Planet Ivanchuk

It is an off day in the World Human Chess Championship. My intention was to take a break from the Royal Game. Every day I surf to the usual websites leaving Chess sites for last. Today I eschewed the Chess sites and read a book by Peter Dale Scott, Dallas ’63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House.

I read until needing a break and then kicked back and closed my eyes, listening to the rain. This is the third day of rain and tomorrow will be the same before the sun shines again and the temperature increases. It is a wet and miserable day, perfect for Chess!

After resting I was restless and decided to surf the Chess websites with my second cup of coffee. There is was, found at TWIC, what I had been searching for without knowing it, the lead game from the Zagreb Tournament of Peace 2018 being held in Croatia. Vladimir Malakov versus Vassily Ivanchuk in a Litsitsin’s Gambit! Since I played the Leningrad Dutch the gambit has been on my board more than a few times over the years. With Chucky having to battle the Litsitsin this was special. Vassily has grown older and his Chess skill has diminished with age, but he is still Ivanchuk, the man who once repeatedly banged his head against a wall after losing a Chess game. Just thinking about it caused me to go to startpage.com in a futile attempt to find something about it on the internet. I found something at Quora.com (https://www.quora.com/Chess-What-are-some-interesting-stories-about-Vassily-Ivanchuk), but it was not about the head banging episode. To the right I found: “Is Vassily Ivanchuk really a weird and eccentric genius, or does he just act like one?” Clicking on gave me two options to reach the page. I could either use my Facebook account, but I have no, and have never, ever, had a F___book account, and will go to my brave without a F__book account, or I could use Google. I try very hard to stay away from Big Brother, er, Google. In order to obtain the page I would be forced to allow Google to use my information and then transfer it to Quora. If you want the aforementioned question answered YOU can jump through those hoops.

I did, though, find this: What do Ivanchuk’s Grandmaster colleagues think of him?

Here’s former World Champion Vishy Anand

speaking on Ivanchuk:

“He’s someone who is very intelligent … but you never know which mood he is going to be in. Some days he will treat you like his long-lost brother. The next day he ignores you completely.

The players have a word for him. They say he lives on “Planet Ivanchuk”. (Laughs) … I have seen him totally drunk and singing Ukrainian poetry and then the next day I have seen him give an impressive talk.

His playing style is unpredictable and highly original, making him more dangerous but sometimes leading to quick losses as well.”


Vladimir Malakhov (2654)

vs Vassily Ivanchuk (2714)

Tournament of Peace 2018 round 03

1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nc6 (The only move I ever played in this position is 2…d6, the Lenigrad move) 3. e4 e5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. exf5 d5 6. d4 e4 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Bxe7 Ngxe7 9. Nh4 Bxf5 10. Qh5+ g6 11. Qh6 Qd6 12. Bb5

There was a legendary Georgia player who would tell anyone who would listen about the efficacy of “connecting your rooks.” Although I try not to think of the guy I could not help myself when seeing this position. If one teaches Chess it is a no brainer to inform your student he should castle and complete development. Certainly it must be the best move on the board, and one does not need a 3500 rated Chess program to know that fact.

Rf8 (12… O-O-O 13. Bxc6 Qxc6 14. O-O-O b5 15. a3 a5 16. Nxf5 Nxf5 17. Qd2 Kb7 18. Kb1 Rhf8 19. h3 Nd6 20. b3 Kb8 21. Rhe1 b4 22. axb4. This can be found at https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-mira-tournament/03-Malakhov_Vladimir-Ivanchuk_Vassily) 13. Bxc6+ Nxc6 14. O-O-O O-O-O 15. f3 exf3 16. Nxf3 Bg4 17. Rhf1

17… Bxf3 (There was no reason to make this trade. Simply 17…Qd7 retains an advantage) 18. Qh3+ Qd7 19. Rxf3 Qxh3 20. Rxh3 Rd7 21. Re3 b6 22. Re2 Rf5 23. Red2 Rdf7 24. Ne2 Rf2 25. Nc3 Ne7 26. Re1 Kd7 27. Nd1 Rf1 28. Rde2 Rxe1 29. Rxe1 Nf5 30. c3 Re7 ½-½

Incidentally, Vladimir Malakhov may be the only Grandmaster who is also a nuclear physicist:

Vladimir Malakhov: chess player, nuclear physicist

By mishanp on September 5, 2010


IM Y. Dzhumagaliev (2424) FM v I. Bocharov 2472 IM

Novosibirsk, Siberia 2015

1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nc6 3. e4 e5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. exf5 d5 6. d4 e4 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Bxe7 Ngxe7 9. Nh4 O-O 10. g4 g6 11. Qd2 Nxf5 12. Nxf5 gxf5 13.gxf5 Bxf5 14. O-O-O Be6 15. Rg1+ Kh8 16. Rg6 Rf6 17. Rg3 Qf8 18. Bh3 Bxh3 19. Rxh3 Rxf2 20. Qg5 Qf5 21. Rh5 Qxg5+ 22. Rxg5 e3 23. Rxd5 Rg8 24. Re1 Nb4 25.Re5 Nxc2 26. Re2 Nxd4 27. R2xe3 Rxh2 28. Rd3 c5 29. Re7 b5 30. Rxa7 b4 31. Nd1 Rd8 32. Re7 Rh1 33. Rd2 b3 34. a4 Ra8 35. Rg2 Nc6 36. Rc7 Ne5 37. Rd2 c4 38. Rd5 Ng4 39. Rdd7 Ne3 40. Rxh7+ Rxh7 41. Rxh7+ Kxh7 42. Nxe3 Re8 43. Nd5 Kg6 44. a5 Kf5 45. Nb6 Ke4 46. Kd2 Kd4 47. a6 Re7 48. Nc8 Rc7 49. Nd6 Kc5 50. Nb7+ Kb6 51. Kc3 Kxa6 52. Nd6 Ka5 53. Ne4 Kb5 54. Nd6+ Kc5 55. Ne4+ Kd5 56. Nf6+ Ke5 57. Ng4+ Kf5 58. Ne3+ Ke4 59. Nd1 Kf3 60. Kd4 Rd7+ 61. Kxc4 Rxd1 62. Kxb3 Ke4 63. Kc4 Rc1+ 64. Kb5 Kd5 65. b4 Rb1 0-1

GM Stefan Bromberger (2481) vs GM Dimitri Reinderman (2493)

Gausdal Classics GM-A 04/29/2006


1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nc6 3. e4 e5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. exf5 d5 6. Bg5 Nf6 7. d4 Qe7 8. dxe5 Nxe5 9. Nxe5 Qxe5+ 10. Qe2 Qxe2+ 11. Kxe2 Bxc3 12. bxc3 Ne4 13. Bd2 Bxf5 14. f3 Nd6 15. Bf4 O-O-O 16. Bxd6 Rxd6 17. Kd2 d4 18. Bd3 dxc3+ 19. Kxc3 Bxd3 20. cxd3 Rhd8 21. Rhd1 Rc6+ 22. Kd2 Rd5 23. Re1 Kd7 24. a4 a5 25. Re4 Rcd6 26. Ra3 Rd4 27. Rc3 b6 28. Kc2 R6d5 29. f4 c6 30. Rb3 Kc7 31. f5 h5 32. Rc3 Rxe4 33. dxe4 Rd4 34. Rg3 Rxe4 35. Rxg7+ Kd6 36. Rg6+ Kd5 37. Rg5 Rxa4 38. f6+ Ke6 39. Rf5 Kf7 40. Rxh5 Ra2+ 41. Kb3 Rxg2 42. Rh7+ Kxf6 43. Rc7 Kf5 44. Rxc6 Rg6 45. Rc8 Ke5 46. Rh8 Kd5 47. h4 Kc5 48. Rh5+ Kc6 49. Rh8 Rg3+ 50. Ka4 Rg4+ 51. Kb3 Kb5 52. Rh5+ Ka6 53. Rh8 a4+ 54. Kc3 Ka5 55. h5 Rg3+ 56. Kc2 Rh3 57. h6 Kb4 58. h7 b5 59. Kc1 Rh1+ 60. Kc2 Rh2+ 61. Kd1 a3 62. Kc1 a2 63. Ra8 Kb3 0-1

Mikhail Kobalia Wins with the Leningrad Dutch

P. Iniyan IM (2460) India

vs Mikhail Kobalia GM (2599) Russia

A89 Leningrad Dutch

Aeroflot Open 2018 Rd 8

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 (This is the main line of the A87 Dutch, Leningrad. Black now has a choice between three moves, Qe8, the move most often chosen by the man who wrote the book on the Leningrad, GM Vladimir Malaniuk, as it is the only move he considers in his excellent book, The Leningrad Dutch: An Active Repertoire Against 1 d4, 1 c4, 1 Nf3;

Nc6, my move; and c6, the move Stockfish considers best at the CBDB. Yet the Fish shows Nc6 best in the analysis to this game at the ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-aeroflot-open/08-Iniyan_P-Kobalia_Mikhail)!

Nc6 8. d5 (The main move, although Houdini at CBDB considers the seldom played Qc2 equal to d5)

Ne5 (There is disagreement about this move. The Stockfish and Houdini programs at CBDB show Ne5 best, while Komodo prefers Na5. The Stockfish program at ChessBomb has Na5 as much superior.)

9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. e4 (SF has this as first move at DaBomb, while the Dragon considers Qb3 best)

f4 (This has been the most often played move, but SF prefers the little played e6)

11. gxf4? (Although most often played the clanking digital monsters have little respect for it. The first choice of Stockfish at both the ChessBomb and CBDB is a4, a move that has yet to be played. Houdini plays b3, while Komodo plays Qe2! If you are a regular reader of this blog you know why I attach the exclam. This move is not one of the four choices given by SF in the analysis of the game at DaBomb. The other three moves are, in order, b4;b3; & Re1)

exf4 12. e5 (The ‘main’ move, but SF does not even list it! In order we have, Bxf4, by far the best according to SF; Kh1;Rb1; & f3

Ng4 13. e6 Ne5

14. Qa4? (There is total agreement that Re1 is the best move)

f3 15. Bh3

Nd3 (15…c6 16. Rd1 Qe8 17. c5 h6 18. Qe4 g5 19. Bf5 Qh5 20. h3 Kh8 21. d6 Rxf5 22. Qxf5 Bxe6 23. Qxe6 g4 24. Kf1 gxh3 25. dxe7 1-0, Tapani Sammalvuo (2375) v Sami Petteri Pitkanen [no rating given] Espoo op1 1997)

16. Qd1 Nxc1 17. Qxc1 b6 18. Ne4 Ba6 (b5!) 19. Rd1 Be5 20. Qh6 Bg7 21. Qh4 h6 22. Kh1 Bxc4 23. Rg1 Qe8

24. Rg3 ( (24. d6! cxd6 25. Nxd6 exd6 26. Qxc4) Bxd5 25. Rag1 Bxe4 26. Qxe4 g5 27. Bf5 (Bf1 with the idea of Bd3 is better) Rd8 28. Bg6 Rf4 29. Bf7+ Kh8 30. Qxf4 gxf4 31. Rxg7 Qf8 32. R7g4 c5 33. a4 a6 34. h4 b5 35. axb5 axb5 36. Kh2 c4 37. Kh3 b4 38. Rxf4 Rc8 (c3! Passed pawns must be pushed)

39. Rxf3? (This game has been a struggle. Although understandable, as the pawn on f3 has been a constant thorn in white’s side most of the game, this move is an awful mistake. By playing 39 Rgg4, putting pressure on the queen side pawns, the game would have remained in balance. This move takes the game from even to LOST.) c3 (Turn out the lights, the party’s over) 40. Rfg3 c2 41. Rc1 Qd8 42. Rg8+ Qxg8 43. Bxg8 Kxg8 44. b3 Kg7 45. Kg4 Kf6 46. Kh5 Kxe6 47. Kxh6 Ke5 48. Kg7 0-1

Roman Martynov FM 2319 (UKR) v Mikhail Kobalia GM 2599 (RUS)

European Individual Championship 2018 round 03

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 (This system was the choice of IM Boris Kogan from whom I learned much, so I have a great deal of respect for b3 versus the Leningrad.That said, there is total agreement between the Big 3 that 6 c4 is the best move. Yet in actual practice the databases show both b3 and b4 scoring higher than the ‘best’ move))

d6 (The Dragon and the Fish both prefer 6…Ne4)

7. Bb2 Ne4 (GM Vladimir Malaniuk reached this position 45 times, but never played the game move. Although the Stockfish program at Chess Bomb has Ne4 as best, the SF, and Houdini, at the CBDB show 7…e6 as the best move.)

8. c4 (Although 8 Nbd2 is played more often, the clankin’ digital monsters all agree c4 is better.)

Nc6 (8…e5 9. dxe5 Nc6 10. Qd5+ Kh8 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. Bxc3 dxe5 13. Qc5 Re8 14. Rad1 Qe7 15. Qxe7 Rxe7 16. Rd2 Kg8 17. Rfd1 h6 18. e4 g5 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. h3 Bg6 21. Rd7 Rae8 22. Rxe7 Rxe7 23. Nd2 e4 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Re1 Nb4 1/2-1/2, F. Baumbach (2495) v R Langeveld (2681) Mostert Memorial email tt 2006)

9. Nbd2 e5 10. dxe5 (The SF program at ChessBomb shows 10 d5 as best, but the SF program at the CBDB prefers taking the pawn, while Komodo would play a TN, Rc1)

Nxd2 (Although this is the most often played move, there is disagreement between the Big 3. SF takes the knight, but the Dragon and Houdini play 10…Nc5, the move the SF program at DaBomb has as best. Go figure…)

11. Qxd2 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qxd8 (By far the most often played move, but Houdini would play Qc5, as would the SF at DaBomb)

Rxd8 14. Rfd1 Re8 (SF and Houey prefer 14..e4)

15. e4 (This is a TN. The SF at DABomb prefers Rab1, which would be a TN; the SF at the CBDB plays Ng5. Houdini prefers 14 Ng5. See Szmacinska v Lazarevic below. For 14 Rd2 see Izsak v Torma below. The Fish would play 14 Rad1)

f4 16. Bc3 a5 17. Rd2 h6 18. Ne1 g5 19. Nd3 Rf8 20. a3 Kh7 21. f3 b6 22. a4 h5 23. Rf1 Be6 24. gxf4 exf4 25. Bxg7 Kxg7 26. h4 gxh4 27. Kh2 Rad8 28. Rfd1 Kh6 29. Bh3 Bg8 30. Kg2 Rd4 31. Kf2 Rd6 32. Ne1 Rfd8 33. Rxd6+ Rxd6 34. Nd3 Ne5 35. Ke2 Rxd3 36. Rxd3 Nxd3 37. Kxd3 Kg5 38. Kd4 Kf6 39. Kd3 Ke5 40. Bc8 Bf7 41. Bd7 Kd6 42. Bh3 c6 43. Bc8 Be8 44. Bh3 b5 45. axb5 cxb5 46. Kd4 bxc4 47. bxc4 Bd7 48. e5+ Ke7 49. Bxd7 Kxd7 50. Kd5 h3 0-1

Gyula Izsak (2436) v Robert Torma (2455)

TCh-HUN 2015-16 Hungary HUN 04/17/2016

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 d6 7. Bb2 Ne4 8. c4 Nc6 9. Nbd2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Rfd1 Re8 15. Rd2 a5 16. Ne1 e4 17. Bxg7+ Kxg7 18. Nc2 a4 19. Rad1 axb3 20. axb3 Ra6 21. Ne3 Nb4 22. Nd5 Nxd5 23. cxd5 c6 24. dxc6 Rxc6 25. f3 Rb6 26. Rd8 Rxd8 27. Rxd8 exf3 28. Bxf3 Be6 29. Rb8 Bxb3 30. Rxb7+ Rxb7 31. Bxb7 1/2-1/2

Grazyna Szmacinska (2120) v Milunka Lazarevic (2170)
Event: Naleczow (Women) 1985

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 O-O 6. Bg2 d6 7. O-O Ne4 8. c4 Nc6 9. Nbd2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Rfd1 Re8 15. Ng5 e4 16. Rab1 h6 17. Nh3 g5 18. Kf1 Be6 19. f4 g4 20. Nf2 a5 21. a4 Rad8 22. Bxg7+ Kxg7 23. e3 Nb4 24. Ke1 Kf6 25. Rxd8 Rxd8 26. Rd1 Nc2+ 27. Ke2 Rxd1 28. Nxd1 Na1 29. Nc3 Nxb3 30. Bxe4 fxe4 31. Nxe4+ Ke7 32. Nf2 Bxc4+ 33. Kd1 h5 0-1

F. Baumbach (2495) v R Langeveld (2681)
Mostert Memorial email tt 2006

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 d6 7. Bb2 Ne4 8. c4 e5 9. dxe5 Nc6 10. Qd5+ Kh8 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. Bxc3 dxe5 13. Qc5 Re8 14. Rad1 Qe7 15. Qxe7 Rxe7 16. Rd2 Kg8 17. Rfd1 h6 18. e4 g5 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. h3 Bg6 21. Rd7 Rae8 22. Rxe7 Rxe7 23. Nd2 e4 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Re1 Nb4 1/2-1/2

Breaking The Rules of the Leningrad Dutch

Neil McDonald

is a English Chess Grandmaster born in 1967, and a prolific author. His Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_McDonald_(chess_player)) 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, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=karpov+jacobsen) 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 (xpertchesslessons@yahoo.com) with what he has to say about handling berzerk attacks with an early h4, inquiring minds would like to know…

The Evil Empire Battles Ukraine

I usually do not comment on a knock-out type tournament, especially one so-called a “world championship,” but the final match between a Russian and a Ukrainian with the situation, Russian encroachments and troops and tanks one the border, is the closest thing the chess world has seen to the situation when American Bobby Fischer challenged the Russian Boris Spassky for the World Championship in 1972 during the Cold War. GM Kevin Spraggett wrote about Natalia Pogonina and Mariya Muzychuk, “…who I understand are friends.” (https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/pogonina-unstoppable/) That friendship may last no matter which player wins the match, but it will not last when the real war with weapons of destruction begins.

Make no mistake, if the insane Rootin’ Tootin’ Pootin’ does not back down, there will be war. The West has no choice but to call Putin’s bluff. “Let us not forget that Ukraine has been guaranteed, in 1994, the protection of its territorial integrity by the United States. Ukraine gave up nukes! Very few people remember it was the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. [Not honouring the gurantee] is very bad, not only for the United States – Bill Clinton’s signature was there. Ukraine gave up twelve hundred nuclear warheads, more than England, France and China combined, in exchange for guarantees from America and Great Britain. This will have implications way beyond Ukraine’s borders, because it destroys the credibility of the White House, it destroys the credibility of the free world, and it sends a message, let’s say to Iran, that you need nukes to protect your borders. Same can apply to Japan, South Korea, countries that are facing a rising threat from China. It will be a totally different world unless we follow the promises written on paper and signed by the leaders of the free world.” -Garry Kasparov

The lead story in the magazine Modern War #16, March-April 2015, is Visegrad: The Coming War in Eastern Europe, by David March. (http://modernwarmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/MW16-v5F-TOC.pdf)
It is also possible to play a board game before the real war begins. (http://shop.decisiongames.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=VASS19)

I have followed the games of the Muzychuk sisters because they play the Leningrad Dutch, most of which I have played over in recent years, so I would be predisposed to pulling for Mariya in this prelude to war. After reading the article, and Putin as Warlord, by Gilberto Villahermosa, in the same magazine, I believe Russia will lose World War III, just as I expect the Russian, Pogonina, to be stopped and lose the match with the Ukrainian, Mariya Muzychuk.