Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Studying the Leningrad Dutch

Me and someone who knows how to play the Leningrad

The main line of the Leningrad Dutch runs as follows:

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 c6

White to move.

The main idea for black is to force e5, for instance by playing Qc7 first.

When black arives at this position unscathed he is fine. All the nice things you can do from here are fine of course, but the bane of a patzer like me is 99% of the time: how to punish uncoöperating opponents who are not willing to understand that resistance before this position by is useless?

So I intent to post about opponents who commit the heresy to deviate from this main line early. First I treat two irritating gambits.

Irritating wing gambit at move 2.

1.d4 f5 2.g4

Black to move

This can't be good of course, yet I have encountered it once long ago and lost. It looks a bit like a wing gambit on the kingside. I would choose for the simplest positional continuation:
2. . . . fxg4 3.h3 g3!? 4.fxg3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d5 6.Bge e6 and black is ready to press on the weak g3 square with Bd6.

If white wants to avoid g3 he can play 3.Bf4 Nf6 4.h3 d5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Nb5 e5 7.dxe5 Nh5 8.Bh2 g3 9.fxg3 a6 10.Nxc7 Qxc7 11 g4 Qb6 and white is in trouble.

Or white can play 3.e4 d5 4.e5 Bf5 and black is fine with being a pawn up.

Irritating Staunton gambit at move 2.

1.d4 f5 2.e4

Black to move

2. . . . fxe4 and now white has two possibilities:

A. 3.f3
B. 3.Nc3

The mainlines are given. The order of the moves can change which gives a bunch of variations, but the idea's are the same.

A. 3.f3
If you like to defend you can accept the pawn of course. But this does look way too much alike the Alapin Diemer gambit which I play myself. So if there is a decent way to decline I would prefer that.
3. . . . d5 4.fxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Ne2 e5! 7.c3 Nc6 8.O-O Bg4 and blacks position is acceptable.

B. 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.f3 d5 6.fxe4 dxe4 7.Bc4 Bg4 8.Ne2 Nd7 9.O-O Nb6 10.Bb3 Qd7 and black is ok.

I haven't encountered these gambits in internet games yet. I publish this because that helps me to remember how to play. Secondly to discourage possible gambit players to play these variations since they prove to be futile. My next posts will probably cover my first experiences with the Leningrad Dutch in cc-games. Focussing on irritating early deviations that took me off guard and how to play them well.


  1. That "main line" is pretty. BUT... I played quite a few Leningrad games myself and i found that most of my opponents do NOT play the main line. Better yet, they get out of book at move 3 or 4 or something like that. But hey, you gotta deal with that shit too. So you could've just as well started playing the Benko. As you said you really wanted. Or are you only out to play the accepted variation? Because as with the King's Gambit... You have "accepted" and "declined". So i ask you, first five moves?

  2. The Leningrad Dutch? Kind sir, please tell me you have not abandoned your beloved Faj in response to 1.d4.

    This opening looks like it would do well in quick games because people so rarely see it. Thus if you are booked up you won't eat time while your opponent will waste precious time figure out the moves.

    What made you decide to take on this new opening line. Needed something new? Frustrations with your current repertoire?

  3. PMD,
    you can read about it here. It's mainly because I have no answer to 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3

    Alas at our club we have at least 4 men who play that. And I'm fed up to draw against much lower rated players.

    Besides that I'm outphasing some gambits that don't work in my hands or that I don't trust.

  4. Edwin,
    good point. I couldn't turn the early deviations of the Benko into something useful. It is my strong belief that if you want to transform the slow 1.d4 into an active counterattack with black you must either play f5/e5 or the Benko accepted.

    Since I couldn't force an accepted Benko, I must turn to an opening that forces f5/e5. Which is the Leningrad for instance. As far as I can see, the early deviations in the Leningrad can be dealt with without altering the character of the counter attack. In that it differs from the Benko.

    It has to be proven first of course that early deviations will cause black no problems, but that is what I intend to write about in a next post or two.

    I recognize something in this opening. Maybe it is an indication to what my real chess style will be like. I never had that before with an opening.

    After all there was only one reason I adopted gambits: in order to learn tactics. Besides that a risky style is very alien to me.

    About the KG: a gambit is good when the opponent is worse off when declining it. Which I consider to be the case with the KG.

  5. I recognize something in this opening. Maybe it is an indication to what my real chess style will be like. I never had that before with an opening.

    Ah! I see... In my opinion when you recognize yourself in the opening you're playing, you should play it. I've had that feeling too and it really makes you feel the difference. Because i also played/play openings that just don't feel right but which i just WANT to play. Even though you notice that you just not quite get it. Well, you know what i'm trying to say... Now go and make that Leningrad your own. I offered Samurai some stuff on the Lening including the contents of a ChessBase CD on the opening. If you want it too, let me know and i'll make sure to send it to you.

  6. Edwin,
    now you mention it, I remember that I must have the CD myself somewhere! Thanks for offering.