Breaking The Rules of the Leningrad Dutch

Neil McDonald

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

Opening Guides: Dutch Leningrad, (1997);

Starting Out: The Dutch Defence, published in 2005;

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

Then there is this one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Widespread concerns about the potential for cheating”

During the opening of the final round game between Nafisa Muminova and Alexandra Kosteniuk in the Tashkent Women’s Grand Prix being held in Uzbekistan it has been reported that Muminova lost when her cellphone went off. Mark Crowther reported via something called a “Tweet” that, “Muminova’s phone went off for an immediate loss.”
Here is the complete game:
Muminova, Nafisa – Kosteniuk, Alexandra
FIDE WGP Tashkent Tashkent UZB (11.2), 2013.09.30
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.O-O-O h6 9.Bh4 Nxe4 10.Qf4 0-1
A short while ago my friend the Discman, after reading one of my posts concerning cheating, sent me an email asking if FIDE still allowed electronic devices in the playing hall. I was uncertain then, but it is evident from the incident today that FIDE does still allow gizmo’s in the tournament hall. Susan Polgar felt the urge to tweet, adding this on TWIC:
@SusanPolgar @albionado2 “It’s pretty hard to understand someone forgetting to turn off their phone in this day and age. Very careless.”
My mother used to have a saying, “It would not have happened if he had not been there.” I first heard it after the guys I usually drove around on the weekend as what would be called today the “designated driver,” since I did not drink, drove off an embankment and wound up in a hospital. Since I had a date that evening and could not drive them around, I was naturally blamed. If you think about it, in a way it is FIDE’s fault for not banning all gizmo’s.
One of my opponent’s in the Georgia State Championship, a fellow Senior, had his cellphone ring. Rather than answer it he just sat there looking stupid while it continued to ring and ring until he finally took it out of his pocket and turned it off. It was very loud and disrupted everyone in the vast playing hall. For this infraction of the rules he was penalized, losing only two minutes of time on his clock.
Geurt Gijssen discusses the issue in his column An Arbiter’s Notebook, on the Chess Café website of September 18, 2013, titled, “Widespread concerns about the potential for cheating.” Geurt writes in answer to a question concerning a cellphone going off:
“What are appropriate penalties? With the current Laws of Chess, there are few possibilities. See Article 12.3b:
Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, his score shall be a draw.”
There is much more to read and you can find it here: