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

Yakubboev vs Eljanov: C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

GM Nodirbek Yakubboev 2621(UZB)

vs GM Pavel Eljanov 2691(UKR)

Photo: ECC/David Llada

FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 round 05
C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation

1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. d3 d6 6. Na4

Black to move

6…Bb6 7. Ne2 Ba5+ 8. Nac3 Bg4 9. O-O Qd7 10. Bg5 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Ng8 12. f3 Bh3 13. c4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 h6 15. Be3 Nge7 16. f4 f5 17. Nc3 O-O 18. Qd2 fxe4 19. Nxe4 Nf5 20. Rae1 b6 21. Nc3 Rae8 22. Nd5 Nce7 23. fxe5 Nxd5 24. cxd5 dxe5 25. c4 c6 26. dxc6 Qxc6+ 27. Kg1 e4 28. Rf4 exd3 29. Qxd3 Nxe3 30. Rxe3 Qc5 31. Re4 Rxe4 32. Qxe4 Rc8 33. Qd5+ Qxd5 34. cxd5 Rc1+ 35. Kf2 Rd1 36. Re7 a5 37. Rd7 Rd2+ 38. Ke3 Rxa2 39. Rb7 Kf8 40. Rxb6 Rxh2 41. Ke4 ½-½

1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 Nc6 (SF castles) 5. d3 (There are 771 games in the ChessBasseDataBase in which the move 5 Nf3 has been played and it has scored 55%; There are 268 games in which 5 Nge2 has been played and it has scored 60%, and it is the choice of SF 9 @depth 43…but SF 13, going deeper to depth 53 would play 5 d3. In the 182 games played in which the modest move of the Queen’s pawn was played it has scored only 53%. Then there is Komodo 14 @depth 64 which would play 5 Na4. There are only 5 games in which the Dragon’s move has been played) 5…d6 (SF 260221 @depth 60 castles. There are 18 games in which Black has castled and White has scored 64% in those games. There are 81 games in which 5…a6 has been played, with White scoring 57%. Fritz prefers 5…d6 and in 80 games it has scored only 47% for White. SF 170921 plays 5…a5. There are 3 games in which that salvo has been fired…) 6. Na4 Bb6 (SF plays 6…Bg4, and so should you) 7. Ne2 (7 Nxb6 has been almost invariably played until now. SF & Komodo both prefer the move played in the game) 7…Ba5+ (The choice of Stockfish. The following game, found only at the ChessBaseDataBase, appears to be the game in which the move was played)

IM Milan Mrdja 2296 CRO vs FM Matej Blazeka 2329 CRO
Zagreb Damjanovic Memorial 2nd 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.d3 d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.Ne2 Ba5+ 8.c3 b5 9.b4 Bxb4 10.cxb4 bxa4 11.Qxa4 Bd7 12.b5 Ne7 13.Qc4 a6 14.bxa6 Qc8 15.d4 Nc6 16.d5 Na5 17.Qd3 Qxa6 18.Qxa6 Rxa6 19.Rb1 Ke7 20.Nc3 Raa8 21.O-O Rhb8 22.Rxb8 Rxb8 23.Re1 Nc4 24.Bf1 Nb6 25.f3 Na4 26.Re3 Nc5 27.Re2 Nd3 28.Be3 Be8 29.Rd2 Nc5 30.Rc2 Rb4 31.Kf2 c6 32.Rd2 cxd5 33.Nxd5+ Nxd5 34.Rxd5 Na4 35.Rd2 Bb5 36.Bh3 Nc3 37.Ba7 Ba4 38.Bf1 Rb7 39.Be3 Nd1+ 40.Ke2 Rb1 0-1

IM Dmitry Sumaneev 2450 RUS vs WIM Fiona Steil Antoni 2129 LUX
Titled Tuesday intern op 02nd Mar 3021

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.Nge2 d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.d3 Be6 8.O-O Qd7 9.Nxb6 axb6 10.c4 Bh3 11.Nc3 h5 12.Bg5 Nd4 13.f3 c6 14.Be3 h4 15.g4 Nxg4 16.Bxh3 Nxe3 17.Bxd7+ Kxd7 18.Qd2 Nxf1 19.Rxf1 Rh6 20.Qf2 h3 21.Kh1 Rf6 22.Qg3 Rh8 23.Qxg7 Rhh6 24.Qg4+ Ke7 25.f4 Rfg6 26.Qd1 Rg2 27.Rg1 Rhg6 28.Rxg2 Rxg2 29.fxe5 dxe5 30.a3 f5 31.exf5 Kf6 32.Ne4+ Kxf5 33.Ng3+ Kf4 34.Nf1 Nf3 35.Ng3 Rxh2# 0-1

Sinister Minister Magnus Carlsen

World Classical Chess co-champion Magnus Carlsen

was an angry man during the recently completed Shamkir Chess tournament where he obliterated the opposition, finishing two full points ahead of the competition. It must have been the beard.

Bearded men look angrier than clean-shaven types when they are angry

Dr Belinda Craig researched the effect men with beards communicating emotion
She found men with beards looked angrier when angry than clean shaven men
The study also found people were quick to recognise a bearded man’s was angry
Dr Craig said: ‘Beards emphasise the jaw… leading to faster recognition of anger’

Decades ago a young lady said bearded men looked “sinister.” Yet she like a man with a beard, and not because of how he looked, but how the it felt…


performance rating for the event was a computer program like 2988. Magnus could have been content with an easy draw versus his last round opponent, Alexander Grishuk,

but left his opponent wondering what had happened while leaving poor Grishuk stunned after winning yet another game.

Magnus has not lost a real, classical, game of Chess since losing to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

in the Biel tournament on the final day of July of LAST YEAR! Magnus has played like a man with something to prove after not being able to win a classical game during the world Chess championship match with Fabiano Caruana.

Rather than present a game from the tournament I would like to feature one from the 2017 Isle of Man tournament which can be found in issue #5 of the American Chess Magazine

in an article by GM Ivan Sokolov, Magnus The King Among Mere Mortals.

Pavel Eljanov (2734)

vs Magnus Carlsen (2827)

Isle of Man Masters 09/28/2017

B00 Owen’s Defense

1.Nf3 b6 (After this move Ivan writes, “This is another rather suspect opening choice. Magnus was definitely in the mood to show he could win with “anything”.) 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 Bb4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Qe2 d5 7.exd5 Qxd5 8.O-O Bxc3 9.bxc3 Nbd7 10.c4 Qh5 11.Bf4 (Improving upon 11.Ne1 Qxe2 12.Bxe2 Be4 13.Nd3 O-O 14.Bf4 Rfc8 15.Rfe1 Ne8 16.Bf1 Bb7 17.c5 Bd5 18.Rec1 bxc5 ½-½ in Eckhard Stomprowski vs Hans Joerg Fritz, GER Police-ch 1st 1997) Rc8 12.a4 a5 13.Rab1 O-O 14.Rb5 c5 15.dxc5 Rxc5 16.Bd6 Rxb5

This is the critical position. How should Eljanov recapture?

Cogitate on this while I pontificate at length on the unfortunate state of Chess after the latest World Chess Championship debacle. The fact is that after only a dozen real games of Chess all the games had been drawn. Carlsen did not beat Caruana in the real Chess games, the only games that actually matter in deciding who is the best human Chess player on the planet. Magnus said Fabiano should be considered co-classical Chess champion. Chess fans want to know which one is the better player. Period. If the match continued until one player actually won a classical game to break the tie, so much the better. If anyone other than Florencio Campomanes thinks more games are deleterious to the health of the players then how about declaring the match a draw and having another twelve game match after a month to rest? If that match is drawn, then hold another one in a month’s time, or as long as it takes until a player wins a classical game of Chess. Can you imagine the excitement that would generate among not only the people who play Chess, but even the general public would be talking about the never ending match.

17.cxb5 (Sokolov writes, ” In a way this is a crucial mistake. Carlsen is now able to target the weakened queenside pawns, which White will not be able to keep together. 17. axb5! was necessary, the point being that after 17…Rc8 [It is probably best for Black to settle for 17…Bxf3 18. Qxf3 Qxf3 19. gxf3 Rc8 with a draw as the most likely result, as the bishop pair compensates for the weakened which pawn structure.] the white c-pawn is not hanging, so White can make a knight jump to e5 or d2.)

Rc8 18.c4 Nc5 19.Bc2 Nce4 20.Bf4 Nc3 21.Qd3 Qg4 22.Be5 Qxc4 23.Qxc4 Rxc4 24.Bd3 Rc8 25.Ra1 Nfd5 26.Nd2 f6 27.Bd6 Nb4 28.Bc4 Bd5 29.Bf1 Nba2 0-1

Béla Fleck & The Original Flecktones – “Sinister Minister” – Mountain Jam VII – 6/3/11