TCEC Championship Leningrad Dutch Battles

The Chess program known as Stockfish is in the process of drubbing the Chess program known as Komodo in the latest battle for supremacy of the “engines.” What is the point? To make things worse, some obviously inept human has chosen the openings for the “players.” I can understand assigning a particular opening, such as the Sicilian, and making the opening moves of 1 e4 c5 for the programs and let them go from there. I could even understand forcing the programs to play the Najdorf, far and away the most often played Sicilian, by beginning the game with White choosing the sixth move after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6. I cannot understand a game beginning after ten inferior moves, as is the case in the following examples. The TCEC show seems to be a complete exercise in futility. The only interesting thing about TCEC is what move the top programs will play in the opening when out of ‘book’. That said, you know this writer found interest in the two Leningrad Dutch games which follow. I must add that the move 7…Nc6 is no longer the “main variation” of the Leningrad Dutch. Stockfish prefers 7…c6, and so should you.

KomodoDragon vs Stockfish
TCEC match game 51.1
A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6

  1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. c4 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 h6 11. Be3 Ng4 12. Bd2 e4 13. Rad1 a5 14. Kh1 Kh7 15. Qc2 Qd6 16. f3 e3 17. Be1 Nf2+ 18. Bxf2 exf2 19. f4 e5 20. dxe6 Qc5 21. Na4 Qb4 22. a3 Qe7 23. Rxf2 Bxe6 24. Bxb7 Rad8 25. Rff1 Bd7 26. Bf3 Bxa4 27. Qxa4 Bxb2 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Qxa5 Bxa3 30. Rb1 Bc5 31. Kg2 Bb6 32. Qb5 h5 33. h4 Kh6 34. Qa4 Qe8 35. Qc2 Qe3 36. Qb2 Bd4 37. Qb7 Qe7 38. Qc6 Rd6 39. Qa8 Rd8 40. Qa5 Bb6 41. Qb5 Qd6 42. Qa6 Bd4 43. Qa5 Bb6 44. Qa1 Bd4 45. Qa2 Be3 46. Kh3 Bf2 47. Qa4 Qd7 48. Qb3 Qd6 49. Kg2 Bd4 50. Qa4 Be3 51. Bd5 Qc5 52. Qa6 Bd4 53. Kh3 Qe7 54. Bf3 Qd6 55. Qa4 Bf2 56. Qa5 Qc5 57. Qxc5 Bxc5 58. Rb5 Ba3 59. Re5 Rd7 60. Re6 Re7 61. Rc6 Bb2 62. Kg2 Bd4 63. Kf1 Bb2 64. Bd5 Kg7 65. c5 Bd4 66. Be6 Kh7 67. Bc4 Kg7 68. Kg2 Kh7 69. Kf1 Kg7 70. Bd3 Be3 71. Bc2 Bd4 72. Bd1 1/2-1/2

1.d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. c4 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 h6 (The was the last ‘book’ move. I kid you not. Some inept human forced the programs to begin playing in this position. It makes me wonder what’s going on…I was curious, so regular readers know what comes next…Let us begin anew…)

  1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 (Although Stockfish 14 @depth 52 prefers the move played in the game, SF 14.1 will fire 2 Bg5 at you! Is that amazin’, or what? If you play the Dutch you had better come to the board armed with the latest ideas after 2 Bg5 or you will go down HARD, like rot-gut whiskey. According to the ChessBaseDataBase the most often played move has been 2 g3, with the CBDB containing 8954 games with the move. Deep Fritz 13 prefers this move, which has scored 59%. The game move shows 5006 games with white scoring 56%. 3 c4 comes in third with 4240 examples scoring 56%. In fourth place is the move 2 Nc3. In 2923 games it has scored 57%. 2 Bg5 comes next with 1895 games that have scored 58% for white. The move 2 e4 is next and it has scored only 48% for white in 707 games) 2…Nf6 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 48 will play this move, as will Fritz 17 @depth 28, but leave it running a little longer and at depth 29 the program plays 2…e6, which is proof positive there is something amiss in the bowels of Fritz 17) 3. g3 g6 (Although Sockfish 14 plays 3…e6, SF 14.1 corrected the obvious problem by switching to 3…d6, which has scored the highest, 58%, albeit in limited action of only 555 games. The game move has been the most often played move while scoring 55% in 2409 games) 4. Bg2 (According to the CBDB this move has been played far more than all other moves shown combined and it is not even close, as the game move has been played 5094 times while scoring 56%. With 863 games the move 4 c4 is next, and it, too, has scored 56%. It is indeed interesting that Stockfish 14.1 @depth 47 will play 4 Bg2, but @depth 51 shows 4 b3, a move having been seen in only 108 games while scoring 59%. But then at depth 60 it reverts to 4 Bg2. It makes me wonder, why?) 4…Bg7 (This move has been played in 5496 games and has scored 57%, but in 1079 games 4…d6 has scored 59% for white. Here’s the deal…@depth 44 Stockfish will play 4…Bg7, but leave it running only a short time and @depth 45 it changes it’s algorithm to 4…d6…) 5. c4 d6 (5…0-0 has been the most often played move, and it is the choice of Stockfish 10 [TEN? What happened to the latest programs? The CBDB is in dire need of a tune-up!]. Fritz 17 will play the second most often played move of 5…d6. Deep Fritz 13 will play 5…c5. The CBDB contains only ONE GAME with the move 5…c5) 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 (As has been written on this blog previously, 7…c6 is the best move in the position. 7…Qe8 was the choice of the leading exponent of the Leningrad Dutch, GM Vladimir Malaniuk. sent two new books

which were downloaded onto the laptop, and were the first two books read via computer. Unfortunately, the author, Mihail Marin,

focused exclusively on the above mentioned, second-rate move, 7…Qe8 for the Leningrad Dutch. Not wanting to write a negative review, I eschewed writing about the book. Marin dedicated the book “To my late mother, who used to tell me: “Play beautifully, Bobita!” The author writes, “…I became so deeply involved in the world of the Leningrad that in five consecutive tournaments I played 1…f5 in all my games, except those starting with 1 e4. I actually adopted a similar strategy with White, starting all my games in those tournaments with 1 f4.” Regular readers know what that meant to the AW! Before reading the books I ‘just had’ to replay each and every one of those games, while making notes for the review that never was…You, too, can reply the games, which are easy to locate at Let me say that the book was enjoyed immensely, but I have trouble recommending any book using an antiquated line as the basis for the book. On the other hand, his other Dutch book, Dutch Sidelines, is an EXCELLENT book that I highly recommend, and it should be read prior to any player attempting to play the Leningrad Dutch, or any opening beginning with 1…f5, because the players sitting behind the White pieces will throw everything including the kitchen sink at you before you ever get to play a Leningrad Dutch proper, so you better be prepared for all the sidelines, and this is a FANTASTIC book for just that purpose! See ( You can thank me later…) 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 h6 (In 128 games this move has allowed White to score 64%. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 46, and Komodo 14 @depth 37, will play 10…e6, a move shown in only 24 games at the CBDB. White has scored 69% against the move, so if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch you need to produce better moves before reaching this position.

White to move after 10…h6

Stockfish vs KomodoDragon
TCEC match game 52.1
A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6

  1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. c4 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 h6 11. Bd2 e6 12. e4 f4 13. Rac1 Kh7 14. Rfd1 exd5 15. cxd5 Ng4 16. f3 Ne3 17. Bxe3 fxe3 18. Ne2 h5 19. Qxe3 Bh6 20. f4 Bg4 21. Bf3 Bd7 22. Rc3 a5 23. d6 c6 24. Rb3 Rb8 25. Rbd3 h4 26. b3 Qf6 27. Rf1 hxg3 28. hxg3 g5 29. fxe5 Qxe5 30. g4 Kg6 31. Kg2 Bg7 32. Ng3 Rf4 33. Nh5 Rf7 34. a4 Rbf8 35. Ng3 Rh8 36. Nh5 Rhf8 37. Ng3 Rh8 38. Rf2 Rh4 39. Rc2 1/2 – 1/2

I wondered about the move 11 Be3 in the first game and was therefore not surprised when Stockfish varied. 11 Bd2 (varies from 11 Be3 in the first game of the mini-match. Komodo 14 @depth36 will play 11 Rd1. The CBDB contains 48 games with the move and it has scored 66% versus 2445 opposition. Going one fathom deeper to depth 37 Komodo 14 plays 11 Bd2. There are only 4 games in which this move has been attempted while scoring 50% against a composite player rated 2433. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 41 prefers the move 11 a4. Only two games are shown at the CBDB, and both ended in wins for players of the White. At depth 39 Stockfish 11 [SF 11?! How many years has it been since SF 11 was state of the art?] will play 11…e4. Going one fathom deeper the same antiquated ‘engine’ plays 11…e6…

Pavel Eljanov (2680) vs Gary William Lane (2358)
Event: Gibraltar Masters 2019
Site: Caleta ENG Date: 01/22/2019
Round: 1.20
ECO: A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6
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 h6 11.a4 g5 12.a5 a6 13.Be3 Qe8 14.Bc5 Qf7 15.Qa3 Re8 16.e3 g4 17.Rad1 Rb8 18.Rfe1 Nd7 19.Bb4 e4 20.Ne2 Ne5 21.Qb3 Nf3+ 22.Bxf3 gxf3 23.Nf4 e5 24.dxe6 Bxe6 25.Bc3 Bxc4 26.Qa3 Bf8 27.b4 Rbd8 28.Ba1 Bd6 29.Qc3 Kh7 30.Rd4 Bb5 31.Red1 Be5 32.Rxd8 Bxc3 33.Bxc3 Bd3 34.Rd4 Re7 35.Nxd3 Qb3 36.Nf4 1-0

The Queens Were Dancing At The Uppsala Chess Festival

After seeing the players in the GM section of the Uppsala Chess Festival I looked forward to watching the action for several reasons. First, the Tiger was participating. That would be GM Tiger Christopher Robin Hillarp-Persson,

about whom I wrote a post, not because of Chess, but because he plays the ancient oriental game of GO ( Tiger has a website ( but has not posted since May 6, 2020.

Another reason was that GM Mihail Marin

was playing. He is a prolific author and also has a website. ( The last post was May 14, 2020 and includes this picture:

Then there is the fact that the two wily old veterans were to battle players young enough to be their children, and/or grandchildren.

After being away from the board for so long recent over the board Chess tournaments have a sort of petri dish quality. The question of what kind of effect playing no Chess, or online Chess, would have on the players and the quality of the games was in the air.

The website contains many pictures. Unfortunately the only name to be found is of the photographer. From the website: The two new Swedish champions Jung Min Seo

and junior champion Ludvig Carlsson

are two of the participants in the grandmaster tournament. The will meet strong competition, among them some other players from the Swedish junior elite, such as Milton Pantzar and Isak Storme.

Tiger Hillarp is one of the most well known Swedish grandmasters and will together with Romanian GM Mihail Marin represent the experience, and in addition to the Swedish young stars, they will face the shooting stars as Plato Galperin from Ukraine and Valery Kazakovsky from Belarus.

GM Tiger Hillarp, ​​Sweden, 51 (2542)
GM Mihail Marin, Romania, 56 (2502)
IM Valerij Kazakovskij, Belarus, 21 (2499)
IM Plato Galperin, Ukraine, 18 (2490)
IM Jung Min Seo, Sweden, 19 (2453)
GM Emil Mirzoev , Ukraine, 25 (2437)
IM Milton Pantzar, Sweden, 20 (2421)
FM Isak Storme, Sweden, 20 (2397)
FM Kaan Küçüksarı, Sweden, 18 (2365)
CM Ludvig Carlsson, Sweden, 18 (2258)

The average age of the field was avg 27.6. Without the two Seniors the average age was 21.125.

The tournament organizers provided a nice perk for the players:

Posted on 9 August, 2021
Coffee free of charge

We are happy to offer free coffee throughout the tournament. The coffee is available in the lobby, next to the secretariat.

I know my friend GM Kevin Spraggett would approve! Maybe the organizers could invite Kevin next year. They would not even have to pay him an appearance fee as the free coffee would be inducement enough for the ‘not enough coffee man’!

The tournament began with much blood being spilled on the board in every round. Four of the five games in the first round were decisive, with white scoring three wins. Black won the only two decisive games in the second round. There was blood on each and every board in round three as all five games ended decisively with white again scoring the most, four, wins. Round four was a mirror image of round two, as black again scored two wins in the only games to end in victory. White won the only decisive game in the fifth round. White won two games in the sixth round with black scoring once. The seventh round saw one win for each color, and white scored the only win in the eight round. The last round sputtered to a conclusion with each and every game ending in a draw. Maybe the players had lost so much blood earlier in the tournament they were too weak to battle…

All the games can be found at Chess24 ( Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the ChessBomb, as there were myriad problems. See for yourself: (

As it turned out this game played a significant role in the tournament:

IM Platon Galperin (2490) vs GM Mihail Marin (2502)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 03
A04 Reti v Dutch

1.Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nc6 3. e4 e5 4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 6. Be2 Be7 7. c4 d6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. O-O Qe8 11. f3 exf3 12. Bxf3 Bd7 13. Re1 Qf7 14. Qa4 c5 15. Qd1 Rae8 16. Nd5 Bd8 17. Bg5 Rxe1+ 18. Qxe1 Be6 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Nxf6+ Qxf6 21. dxc5 Bxc4 22. cxd6 cxd6 23. b3 Bf7 24. Rd1 d5 25. Qa5 d4 26. Qxa7 Rd8 27. Be4 Bh5 28. Rf1 Qg5 29. Qc7 Qe3+ 30. Kh1 Re8 31. Qc4+ Kh8 32. Qc6 Kg8 33. Qd5+ Kh8 34. Qf5 1-0

1.Nf3 f5 2. d3 (SF 060621 @depth 49 plays 2 c4; SF 12 at the same depth shows 2 g3) 2…Nc6 (SF & Komodo both go with the most often played move of 2…d6) 3. e4 (Although the most often played move, SF goes with 3 d4) 3…e5 4. d4 (The number of games in which this move has been played dwarfs, by a 10-1 margin, the second most played move, and is the choice of SF 11, but SF 12 @depth 39 would play 4 Be2, a move that has seen action in only one game in the CBDB!) 4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 (SF 180621 plays 5…Qf6, a move that has only scored 49% according to the CBDB. The game move has scored 53%. You cannot go wrong if you go with the Fish!) 6. Be2 (SF 14 @depth 39 plays 6 Bc4 and it has scored at a rate of 58%, with 6 Be2 scoring only 53%. Just sayin’…) 6…Be7 (Komodo prefers 6…Bd6. There are only two games in the CBDB with that particular move. Fritz, and Deep fritz both play the most often played move, 6…Qe7) 7. c4 (This Theoretical Novelty is a New move! See below for 7 0-0)

Vilmos Balint (2288) vs (FM) Mark Lyell (2313)
Event: FSIM September 2015
Site: Budapest HUN Date: 09/12/2015
Round: 7.4
ECO: A04 Reti v Dutch

1.Nf3 f5 2.d3 Nc6 3.e4 e5 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe5 Nf6 6.Be2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.f3 d6 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Nc3 exf3 11.Bxf3 Bd7 12.d5 c5 13.b3 Qe8 14.Qd3 Ng4 15.Bb2 Ne5 16.Qe2 Nxf3+ 17.Rxf3 Rxf3 18.Qxf3 Qg6 19.Qe4 Qg5 20.Rf1 Bf6 21.Nd1 Bxb2 22.Nxb2 Re8 23.Qf3 Qe3+ 24.Qxe3 Rxe3 25.Nd3 Bb5 26.Re1 Rxe1+ 27.Nxe1 Kf7 28.Kf2 Kf6 29.Ke3 Bd7 30.a3 a5 31.Nf3 Bf5 32.c3 Bg4 33.Kf4 Bf5 34.Ng5 Bd3 35.Ne4+ Kg6 36.Ng5 Bc2 37.b4 cxb4 38.cxb4 axb4 39.axb4 Bb3 40.Ne6 c6 41.Nc7 Ba4 42.g3 Kf7 43.dxc6 Bxc6 44.b5 Bg2 45.b6 Ke7 46.Nb5 Kd7 47.Nd4 Bd5 48.Kg5 Be4 49.h4 Bd3 50.g4 Be4 51.h5 Bd3 52.Kf4 Ba6 53.Nf5 g6 54.hxg6 hxg6 55.Nd4 Kc8 56.Kg5 Bd3 57.Kf6 Kb7 58.Ke6 Kxb6 59.Kxd6 g5 60.Ke5 Bf1 ½-½

GM Emi Mirzoev (2437) vs GM Mihail Marin (2502)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 05
B20 Sicilian, Keres variation (2.Ne2)

  1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 e5 7. Na3 Nge7 8. Nc2 d5 9. d3 O-O 10. Bg5 Be6 11. b4 cxb4 12. Nxb4 Nxb4 13. cxb4 d4 14. Qa4 a6 15. Rfc1 Qd6 16. a3 Rfc8 17. Qd1 Rxc1 18. Rxc1 Rc8 19. h4 Rxc1 20. Qxc1 f6 21. Bd2 Qc6 22. f4 Qxc1+ 23. Nxc1 Nc6 24. Kf2 Bf8 25. Bf3 Bd6 26. Bd1 Kf7 27. h5 Ke7 28. hxg6 hxg6 29. Bb3 Bxb3 30. Nxb3 Ke6 31. Kf3 Be7 32. Bc1 ½-½

1.e4 c5 2. Ne2 (SF 13 @depth 69 calculates 2 Nc3 the best move. 2 Ne2 cannot be found in the CBDB. It can be found at and the following game shows that Mirzoev deviated at move 11, thereby producing a Theoretical Novelty with 11 b4)

GM Valeriy Aveskulov (2539) vs Jeff Reeve (2205)
Event: Edmonton 2nd
Site: Edmonton Date: 08/02/2007
Round: 1
ECO: B20 Sicilian, Keres variation (2.Ne2)

1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.c3 e5 7.Na3 Nge7 8.Nc2 d5 9.d3 O-O 10.Bg5 Be6 11.Qc1 Qd7 12.b3 f6 13.Be3 d4 14.cxd4 cxd4 15.Bd2 Rfc8 16.Qb2 b5 17.b4 Rc7 18.Rfb1 Rac8 19.Ne1 Nd8 20.Nc1 Nb7 21.Nb3 Bf8 22.a3 a6 23.Rc1 Rxc1 24.Nxc1 Rc7 25.f4 Nc8 26.fxe5 fxe5 27.Nf3 Bd6 28.Ng5 Nb6 29.Nxe6 Qxe6 30.Qa2 Qxa2 31.Rxa2 Na4 32.Kf1 a5 33.Nb3 Nc3 34.Ra1 axb4 35.axb4 Bxb4 36.Bh3 Kf7 37.Ra6 Bd6 38.Ke1 Na4 39.Na5 Nac5 40.Nxb7 Nxb7 41.Bg4 b4 42.Bd1 Be7 43.Bb3+ Kg7 44.Ra7 Bc5 45.Ra8 Bf8 46.Ra7 Bc5 47.Ra8 Bf8 48.Ke2 h6 49.Bd5 Bc5 50.Rg8+ Kh7 51.Re8 Be7 52.Rb8 Nd8 53.h4 g5 54.h5 Kg7 55.Bxb4 Bxb4 56.Rxb4 Nf7 57.Kf3 Nd6 58.Rb6 Rd7 59.Rb8 Re7 60.Kg4 Ne8 61.Kf5 Nd6+ 62.Kg4 Ne8 63.Rb6 Nf6+ 64.Kf5 Nd7 65.Rg6+ Kh7 66.Bg8+ Kh8 67.Be6 Nc5 68.Rxh6+ Kg7 69.Rg6+ Kh7 70.Bg8+ Kh8 71.Bc4 1-0

The following game illustrates what is wrong with Chess these daze. Take a look at the position after Galperin made his last move. Why would his 18 year old opponent agree to a draw? The only way he is going to improve is to PLAY! He will not improve his game by meekly acquiescing to a short draw. It is games like these that show why ALL TOURNAMENTS SHOULD IMPOSE A NO AGREED DRAW RULE! Take a good look at the position when the game was truncated:

IM Platon Galperin (2490) vs CM Ludvig Carlsson (2258)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 08

A40 Modern defense; after black move 2 it becomes the: B06 Robatsch (modern) defense; then after white move five it becomes the: B08 Pirc, classical system, 5.Be2

  1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Be2 Nf6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. O-O a6 7. Re1 Nc6 8. d5 Na7 9. h3 b5 10. a3 Bb7 11. Bf1 c6 12. dxc6 Nxc6 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bf4 Nh5 15. Be3 Nf6 16. Bf4 Nh5 17. Be3 Nf6 18. Bf4 ½-½
Black to move accepts draw offer

The two old-timers showed the children how to battle to a draw:

GM Mihail Marin (2502) vs GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (2542)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 08
B20 Sicilian defence

  1. e4 c5 2. d3 g6 3. f4 Bg7 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Be2 d6 6. O-O e6 7. c3 Nge7 8. Na3 f5 9. exf5 Nxf5 10. Qe1 Qd7 11. Ng5 h6 12. Ne4 h5 13. Bf3 O-O 14. Nc2 b6 15. Ng5 d5 16. Ne3 Nce7 17. Nxf5 Nxf5 18. h3 Bf6 19. g4 hxg4 20. hxg4 Nd6 21. Qh4 Qg7 22. Qg3 Nf7 23. Nxf7 Qxf7 24. Bd2 Bb7 25. Rae1 Rae8 26. Re2 Bg7 27. Qh4 Qf6 28. Qh3 Ba6 29. Bg2 Qd8 30. f5 exf5 31. Rxe8 Rxe8 32. gxf5 Bc8 33. Qf3 Bxf5 34. Qxd5+ Qxd5 35. Bxd5+ ½-½
  1. e4 c5 2. d3 g6 (SF 13 @depth 51 plays 2…Nc6) 3. f4 (SF 14 agrees) 3…Bg7 (SF & Komodo both play the most often played move of 3…Nc6. There is a reason…) 4. Nf3 Nc6 (Although Komodo plays this, the KingFish prefers 4…Nf6. The CBDB contains only two games with the move. Go figure…) 5. Be2 (SF is high on 5 c3) 5…d6 6. O-O e6 (This is the second most often played move. SF 050621 @depth 44 plays the most often played move 6…Nf6, but SF 13 @depth 52 would play 6…b5. There are only 4 examples of that move contained in the CBDB) 7. c3 (7 Na3, by transposition, did not turn out well for
    GM Bent Larsen (2660) vs Robert James Fischer (2760)
    Event: Candidates sf1
    Site: Denver Date: 07/20/1971
    Round: 6
    ECO: A02 Bird’s opening

1.f4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.e4 Bg7 4.Be2 Nc6 5.O-O d6 6.d3 e6 7.Na3 Nge7 8.c3 O-O 9.Be3 a6 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 b5 12.Nxc6 Nxc6 13.Qd2 Qc7 14.Rad1 Rd8 15.Nc2 Rb8 16.a3 Na5 17.e5 Bf8 18.b4 Nc6 19.Nd4 dxe5 20.fxe5 Nxe5 21.Bg5 Rd5 22.Qf4 Bg7 23.h4 Rb7 24.Bf6 Bxf6 25.Qxf6 Qxc3 26.h5 gxh5 27.Kh1 Ng4 28.Bxg4 hxg4 29.Qh6 Bd7 30.Rf4 f5 31.Qf6 Bc8 32.Rff1 Rf7 33.Qh6 Bb7 34.Nxe6 Qf6 35.Qe3 Re7 36.Rde1 Rd6 37.Qg5+ Qxg5 38.Nxg5 Rxe1 39.Rxe1 Bd5 40.Re8+ Kg7 0-1)

7…Nge7 (SF plays this, by far the most played move. Komodo plays 7…Nf6. There are two examples of the move at the CBDB) 8. Na3 (SF plays 8 Be3) 8…f5 (SF 8 @depth 26 plays 8…a6, a TN. Komodo @depth 31 castles)

White to move

9. exf5 (This is a TN. SF would play 9 Be3, and if you ever reach this position, so should you!)

What would GM Ben Finegold say about the following game? I was shocked, SHOCKED! to see 5 f3 has been played in 2684 games. Those players have obviously never heard of the Ben Finegold rule, which is, “Never play f3!”

Even more shocking was the Tiger response of 5…Nc6, when every Russian school boy knows 5…e5 is the move. Go figure…The other thing to be said about this game is that both players have a position in which it can be proven that “a knight on the rim is dim,” and or grim, depending…At Chess Bomb one sees that Stockfish would play 42 Ng3 with black to follow with 42…d5, and shows white with a substantial advantage of over two points in computer calculation. With that knight leaping to f5 things are looking good for the kid. Well, you know, Ludvig is only 18, and possibly playing his idol…and it’s the last round…and he has already acquiesced to one short draw with black, so what is another one? THAT IS WHY THERE SHOULD BE A NO DRAW OFFER RULE!!! Then again, from the website it appears all the kid needed was a draw to earn an IM norm…What if the players only received pay for winning a game? Just askin’…

CM Ludvig Carlsson (2258) vs GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (2542)
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. f3 Nc6 6. c4 Qb6 7. Nc2 e6 8. Nc3 Be7 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Nb5 Qb8 11. Nc3 O-O 12. Qd2 b6 13. Be2 Bb7 14. O-O Ne5 15. Rfd1 Rc8 16. b3 a6 17. Nd4 h5 18. Rac1 Re8 19. Bf1 h4 20. Qf2 h3 21. gxh3 Ned7 22. Bg2 Bf8 23. Nde2 b5 24. Ng3 bxc4 25. bxc4 Rc8 26. Bf1 Rc6 27. Nce2 Qe8 28. Nd4 Rc7 29. Nb3 Rac8 30. Na5 Ba8 31. Kh1 Nc5 32. Nb3 Nfd7 33. Be2 Na4 34. Rg1 Ne5 35. Bd4 Ng6 36. Nh5 e5 37. Be3 Qe6 38. Qg3 Rxc4 39. Bxc4 Rxc4 40. Qg4 Rxc1 41. Rxc1 Qe7 ½-½

Here we have a case of two players being from the same country with one, Galperin, needing only a draw to secure a GM norm. Thing is, his opponent is a 2437 rated GRANDMASTER! Back in the day a 2400 player was considered a SENIOR MASTER! Think about it for a moment. In the US each rating group is a 200 point group. 1200 to 1399 is class D; 1400 to 1599 is class C; 1600 to 1799 is class B; 1800 to 1999 is class A; 2000 to 2199 is Expert; 2200 to 2399 is National Master. Then it gets murky…A player must have a 2500 rating to earn his Grandmaster title, which leaves only one hundred points for International Master. In that case, what is a Senior Master? There was a time when a Chess aficionado could name all the Grandmasters in the world. I have the 2021 Chess calendar and will tell you I have never heard of half the names printed on the pages. It is long past time to raise the GM bar to 2600. Frankly, the title has been so cheapened it would be better to raise the bar to 2700 and then the IM title would mean something.

What were the odds it would come to two players from the same country facing each other in a last round game with a GM title, or norm, I was unable to find which one, on the line? As my old friend Ron Sargent, ‘Lieutenant Shoulders’ in Viet Nam, was so fond of saying, “Spozed to happen.” This is a perfect example of why the the three time repetition rule must be abolished. A player repeating the same position for the third time should automatically lose the game. The less said about this ‘game’ the better.

GM Emi Mirzoev (2437) Ukraine vs IM Platon Galperin (2490) Ukraine
Uppsala Chess Festival GM 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. e4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Qxd4 7. Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8. Be2 Na6 9. Bd6 Qxg2 10. Qd2 Nf6 11. Bf3 Qg6 12. O-O-O e5 13. Ne2 Be6 14. Bxe5 Qf5 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. Nd4 O-O 17. Qc3 Qh6+ 18. Kb1 Qg6+ 19. Kc1 Qh6+ 20. Kb1 Qg6+ 21. Kc1 Qh6+ ½-½
Final position

Leningrad Dutch Daze

It all began on the early in the week when I opened an advertisement from New In Chess with notification of the publication of two books by the excellent writer GM Mihail Marin:

Then on Thursday, June 17, GM Kevin Spraggett posted Chess and the AfterLife on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess, ( which includes a segment about Chess in the cemetery, in which one sees this picture:

I was reminded of a time when a lovely young woman, Cecil Jordan, drove an old, beat up, green DeSoto all the way from Sacremento, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines. The apartment we shared happened to be close to a cemetary. One evening we went for a walk and she brought along her camera…to take pictures of us in the cemetary. Can you believe some of our friends could not understand why?

Fortunately, Kevin’s article also includes the game between the late Cuban Grandmaster Roman Hernandez and a talented 17-year old Spanish expert, David Rivas Vila, which happened to be a Leningrad Dutch! I urge you to surf on over and play over the game, of course, after reading this post and playing over all of the games, all of which are open with the Leningrad Dutch!

Then in the opening round of the National Open this game was seen at the ChessBomb:

Rochelle Wu, (2144) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 01

  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c6 4. Nf3 Qa5 5. Qd2 d5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxd7 Bxd7 8. e3 g6 9. Be2 Bg7 10. h4 b5 11. a3 O-O 12. b4 Qd8 13. O-O a5 14. Qc1 Be8 15. Qb2 a4 16. Rad1 Nd7 17. Na2 h6 18. Bf4 e5 19. dxe5 Qxh4 20. Qc3 Ra6 21. Nc1 Qe7 22. Nd3 g5 23. Bh2 Nb6 24. Nc5 Ra8 25. Qd4 Bg6 26. Rd2 f4 27. exf4 gxf4 28. Bxf4 Rae8 29. Bd3 Bxd3 30. cxd3 Bxe5 31. Bxe5 Qxe5 32. Qxe5 Rxe5 33. Rc1 Rfe8 34. Kf1 Rh5 35. Kg1 Rhe5 36. Kf1 Rh5 37. Kg1 Rhe5 ½-½
  1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c6 (Stockfish plays 3…d5) 4. Nf3 (SF plays 4 e3) 4…Qa5 5. Qd2 (TN)

Hottes, Dieter vs Kauder, Hartmut
Event: FRG-chT fin
Site: Minden Date:1959
Round: 2.3
ECO: A80 Dutch

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 c6 4.Nf3 Qa5 5.e3 Ne4 6.Bd3 d6 7.O-O Nxc3 8.bxc3 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Bg7 11.Nd2 O-O 12.f4 gxf4 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.exf4 Nd7 15.Qe2 Nf6 16.Bh4 Nd5 17.Qd2 Bd7 18.Rae1 e6 19.Ne3 Qa5 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Rb1 Bxd4+ 22.Kh1 Bxc3 23.Qe2 Qc7 24.g4 Rae8 25.Rg1 Kh8 26.gxf5 exf5 27.Qh5 Bc6 28.h3 Qf7 29.Rg6 Bg7 30.Rxh6+ Bxh6 31.Qxh6+ Qh7 32.Bf6+ Rxf6 33.Qxf6+ Qg7 34.Qh4+ Qh7 35.Qf6+ Qg7 36.Qh4+ Qh7 37.Qxh7+ Kxh7 38.Bxf5+ Kh6 39.Kg2 Rf8 40.Bd3 Rxf4 41.Kg3 Ra4 42.Re1 Rxa2 43.Re7 Kg5 44.Re6 Ra3 45.Rxd6 a5 46.h4+ Kh5 47.Rf6 Rc3 48.Kf4 Rxd3 49.cxd3 a4 50.Rf8 Kg6 51.Ke5 Kg7 52.Ra8 Kg6 53.Kd6 Kg7 54.Kc5 Kg6 55.d4 Kh5 56.Rh8+ Kg6 57.Rf8 Kh5 58.Rh8+ Kg6 59.Kb6 a3 60.Ra8 Kh5 61.Rxa3 Kxh4 62.Rf3 Kg5 63.Kc5 Kg6 64.Kd6 Kg5 65.Rf2 Kg4 66.Ke5 Kg3 67.Rf4 Kh3 68.Kf5 Kg3 69.Kg5 Be8 70.Rf5 Bc6 71.Rf7 Kh3 72.Rf3+ Kg2 73.Kf4 Bb5 74.Ke3 Bc4 75.Rf6 b5 76.Kd2 Kg3 77.Kc3 Kg4 78.Kb4 Kg5 79.Rf2 Kg4 80.Kc5 Kg5 ½-½

Shabba, my man, four time winner of the US Championship,

brought the Leningrad back into action again a few rounds later:

FM Eric Li (2278) vs GM Alexander Shabalov (2532)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 04

c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 Na6 11. Ng5 Re8 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 15. e3 Qf7 16. b3 h5 17. Bb2 h4 18. Ne2 hxg3 19. hxg3 Rd8 20. Bd4 Nce4 21. Nc3 Rf8 22. Nxe4 Nxe4 23. Qb2 Bh6 24. b4

Black to move

This position vividly illustrates something I have told students over the years, which is to count the pieces on each side of the board, or total the points of each piece, if you prefer. Looking at this position Mr. Li has a lone Bishop on the King side of the board. The remainder of his army, the Queen, both Rooks, and the other Bishop, are on the Queenside of the board. All five pieces of Shabalov’s army are on the Kingside! This means the General of the black army MUST PLAY ON THE KING SIDE OF THE BOARD! Black must attack NOW. The move that best satisfies that objective is 24…g5.

24…b6 25. Rac1 g5 26. Qc2 g4 27. Rd3 Bg5 28. c5 bxc5 29. bxc5 d5 30. Rb1 Bf6 31. Qa4 Ng5 32. Kf1 Qh7 33. Rdd1 f4 34. gxf4 Nf3 35. Bxf6 Qh2 36. f5 Qg1+ 37. Ke2 Rxe3+ 38. Kxe3 Re8+ 39. Kd3 Qxg2 40. Qxc6 Ne5+ 41. Bxe5 Qe4+ 42. Kd2 1-0

  1. c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 (SF plays 2…e5) 3. Bg2 (SF 240521 @Depth 43 plays 3 Nf3; SF 13 @Depth 30 plays 3 d4) 3…g6 (SF plays 3…e5) 4. Nf3 (SF 170621 @Depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 13 at the same depth would play 4 d4) 4…Bg7 (SF 070321 @Depth49 and Komodo @Depth 36 both play this move, but SF 070420 plays 4…d6) 5. 0-0 (Interestingly, SF 13 @Depth 35 plays this move, but SF 070321 @Depth 52 plays 5 d4; while Komodo at depth 40 plays 5 Nc3) 5…O-O 6. d4 (SF plays 6 Nc3) 6…d6 (Although SF 13 @Depth 40 plays this move, SF 190521 @Depth 44 prefers 6…c6, as does Houdini) 7. Nc3 c6 8. d5 (Although far and away the most often played move SF 110521 going deep @Depth 55 would play 8 Qc2; Komodo @Depth40 plays 8 Rb1) 8…e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd3 (The old move. Three different SF engines show 10 b3) 10…Na6 (Again, the old move. Both SF and Houdini play 10…Re8) 11. Ng5 (Three different programs conclude 11 Bf4 is the best move) 11…Re8 (SF plays 11…Nc5) 12. Rd1 Nc5 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Qc2 Qe7 (TN)

I vividly recall watching a game at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center (aka House of Pain) when a young player by the name of Matthew Puckett, from the Great State of Alabama, played the Leningrad Dutch against Grandmaster Sam Palatnik. It was not often we saw a GM go down at the House of Pain, but this was one of those times. Although on duty that Sunday afternoon I continued to ask someone to watch things while I made another trip up the stairs. I was worn out that night and my knees hurt from going up and down the stairs so many times, but it was worth all the pain.

Grivas, Efstratios (2465) vs Palatnik, Semon (2510)
Event: Iraklion op
Site: Iraklion Date:1992
Round: 6
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Qd3 Na6 11.Ng5 Re8 12.Rd1 Nc5 13.Nxe6 Rxe6 14.Qc2 Nfe4 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 16.Be3 Qe7 17.Bd4 a5 18.e3 h5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rd4 Re8 21.Rad1 Qc7 22.h4 Kf7 23.Bf3 R8e7 24.Kg2 Ke8 25.a3 Nf6 26.b4 axb4 27.axb4 Ng4 28.Bxg4 fxg4 29.Qd3 c5 30.bxc5 dxc5 31.Rd5 Kf7 32.Ra1 Qc6 33.Kg1 b6 34.Rd1 Rf6 35.Qc2 Qe6 36.Qb2 Qe4 37.Rd6 Rxd6 38.Rxd6 Re6 39.Rd7+ Re7 40.Rd8 Re8 41.Rxe8 Kxe8 42.Qxb6 Qxc4 43.Qxg6+ Ke7 44.Qxh5 Qc1+ 45.Kg2 c4 46.Qc5+ Ke6 47.h5 Qc2 48.Qc8+ 1-0

The next game features Georgia resident GM Alonso Zapata. There are now two Grandmasters living in the greater Atlanta area, the other being GM Ben Finegold, who lives in Roswell with his wife, Karen:

where the new Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Atlanta ( is located. I can recall a time when Atlanta area players wished and longed for just one Grandmaster for the area, one in particular, an educated fellow called “Foghorn,” who was particularly strident about the need for a Grandmaster, as if that would cure all that ailed Chess in the metropolitan area. The foghorn stopped blowing one day when a much higher rated player said, “Quit your belly aching, Foghorn. Not even the World Champion could help your game!”

Adharsh Rajagopal (2051 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 01

  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 O-O 8. Bb2 Qe8 9. Nc3 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 Rd7 13. Qc2 h6 14. Nh3 Na6 15. Rad1 Rxd1 16. Rxd1 Be6 17. f3 Rd8 18. Nf2 Bf8 19. Bxf8 Qxf8 20. Nd3 Nb4 21. Nxb4 Rxd1+ 22. Qxd1 Qxb4 3. Qd2 Kf7 24. Qe3 Nd7 25. Kf2 a5 26. Nd1 Qc5 27. f4 exf4 28. gxf4 Qd6 29. Ke1 a4 30. Qd2 Qc5 31. Qe3 Qa3 32. Qc3 Qc5 33. Qe3 Qd6 34. Qd2 Qe7 35. Qc3 axb3 36. axb3 Qa3 37. Qb2 Qc5 38. e3 Qb4+ 39. Qc3 Qxc3+ 40. Nxc3 Nc5 41. e4 Nxb3 42. exf5 gxf5 43. Bf1 Ke7 44. Nd1 Kd6 45. Ne3 Kc5 46. Bh3 Nd4 47. Bf1 Kb4 48. Kf2 Kc3 49. Bh3 Kd2 50. c5 Kd3 51. Bg2 Nb3 52. Bh3 Ke4 0-1
  1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 (Stockfish plays 7 Nc3) 7…O-O (SF plays 7…e5) 8. Bb2 Qe8 (SF plays 8…a5; Komodo chooses 8…Na6) 9. Nc3 (Komodo plays the game move, but SF plays the most often seen move according to the CBDB, 9 Nbd2; Houdini likes 9 Re1, a move seen in only one game) 9…e5 (SF plays this, but the Dragon prefers 9…Na6)10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Ba3 Rf7 12. Ng5 (TN)

Braum, Hermann Josef vs Weiland, Thomas
Event: Wiesbaden op 17th
Site: Wiesbaden Date: 08/27/1998
Round: 7
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.b3 Qe8 9.Bb2 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Ba3 Rf7 12.Qc2 e4 13.Ng5 Rd7 14.Rad1 h6 15.Rxd7 Nbxd7 16.Nh3 Ne5 17.f4 Neg4 18.Qd2 Qd7 19.Rd1 Qxd2 20.Rxd2 Be6 21.Be7 Kf7 22.Rd8 Rxd8 23.Bxd8 Ne3 24.Bc7 Nd7 25.Nb1 Bd4 26.Ba5 Nxc4+ 0-1

Nicholas Ladan (2095 USCF) vs Alonso Zapata (2518 USCF)

Carolinas Classic 2021 round 03

  1. d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nh3 Bg7 5. Nf4 Nc6 6. h4 e5 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 Ne4 9. Bxe4 fxe4 10. Kf1 Ng4 11. c3 c6 12. f3 Nf6 13. Qd6 Kf7 14. Ba3 Re8 15. Kg2 b6 16. Rd1 Bb7 17. g4 Kg8 18. h5 g5 19. Nh3 Nd5 20. Kf2 Re6 21. Qg3 c5 22. Bc1 h6 23. f4 e3+ 24. Kg1 Qc7 25. Rxd5 Bxd5 26. Bxe3 Rae8 27. Bf2 Rxe2 28. Na3 Bb7 29. Nc4 Qc6 30. Kh2 d5 31. Ne3 R8xe3 0-1

d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 (SF & Komodo play 3 h4) 3…Nf6 4. Nh3 (SF plays 4 c4; Komodo prefers 4 Nd2) 4…Bg7 5. Nf4 (SF plays 5 c4) 5…Nc6 (SF plays 5…c6) 6. h4 (SF plays 6 c4) 6…e5 (SF & Komodo both choose 6…d6) 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. b3 (TN) (If given the chance SF 12 @Depth 29 would play 8 Be3, which would be a TN. SF 11 @Depth 42 would play 8 Nd2, as would Komodo. Which gives me a chance to show a game from the Magister of the Leningrad Dutch, the man who wrote, literally and figuratively, the book on the Leningrad Dutch:

Calin Dragomirescu (2259) vs Malaniuk, Vladimir P (2532)
GM Vladimir Malaniuk

Event: Timisoara Brinzeu mem
Site: Timisoara Date: 03/22/2006
Round: 5
ECO: A81 Dutch defence

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nh3 Nc6 5.Nf4 Bg7 6.h4 e5 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Nd2 c6 9.Nf3 Nfg4 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.O-O d5 12.Be3 O-O 13.Bd4 Nc4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.b3 Ne5 16.Qd4 Qf6 17.Rad1 Kg8 18.e3 Be6 19.Nd3 Nd7 20.Qxf6 Rxf6 21.Nf4 Nb6 22.Rd4 Re8 23.Rfd1 Bf7 24.a4 a5 25.Bf1 Kf8 26.Bg2 Bg8 27.Nd3 Rf7 28.Nc5 Rc7 29.Bf1 Ke7 30.b4 Ra8 31.Rb1 Kd6 32.bxa5 Rxa5 33.Rxb6 Kxc5 34.Rb1 Be6 35.Rdb4 Bc8 36.Rf4 Re7 37.Bd3 Kd6 38.c4 dxc4 39.Rxc4 Kc7 40.Re1 Rd7 41.Bc2 c5 42.Rf4 Rd6 43.Rd1 Rxd1+ 44.Bxd1 b5 45.Bc2 b4 46.e4 Kd6 47.h5 Ke5 48.hxg6 hxg6 49.Rh4 Be6 50.exf5 gxf5 51.f4+ Kd4 52.g4 b3 53.Bb1 Rxa4 54.gxf5 Bd5 0-1

The Leningrad Dutch book by Malaniuk is currently booking for about $900 US at the Gorilla, aka, Amazon. It can be downloaded FREE here: