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MACA Book Review
ABC of the Leningrad Dutch ABC of the Leningrad Dutch
by: Andrew Martin

Price: $39.95
Format: CD/DVD 4 h 10 min
Publisher: ChessBase

Reviewed by: Chess Horizons Editor Mark Donlan
Recommendation: Recommended

Martin begins this DVD by stating that the strongest players in the world have something of a love/hate relationship with this “fascinating and unique” opening. They may admire the spirit and aggression of Black’s first move, but they are intuitively suspicious of the weakening of the kingside. He calls it a “classic risk versus reward opening.” He quotes Bent Larsen in saying that “1…f5 brings out the chicken in many players” and Martin notes that it “frightens the average player.” 

The Leningrad Dutch is characterized by an early fianchetto of Black’s dark-squared bishop via 1…f5, 2…Nf6, 3…g6, and 4…Bg7. This often leads to sharp and difficult play; thus, Martin states not everyone is suited for the Leningrad Dutch, as “you will need good nerves and a thirst for battle.” Martin first looks at three “inspiring” games that show what can happen if White goes even slightly wrong. He claims that theory over-estimates White’s position in the main line and that Black can well expect satisfactory chances on a practical level. 

It is quite amazing that in the first game, explained over the span of twelve minutes, Black makes seven of his first eleven moves with pawns and two moves playing his knight to the edge of the board, and still comes away with a strong attack on the kingside. Martin does a good job of instilling the viewer with confidence in the opening, which can go a long way in helping to achieve successful results. There are segments on each side’s strategic ideas, followed by twenty theoretical clips, and a wrap-up for a total running time of more than four hours. 

The DVD also contains the whole training course in audio-format for Pocket Fritz 3. No additional software is needed to run the DVD as it comes equipped with the ChessBase 9 Reader that installs onto your hard disk. If you already have CB9 or one of the Fritz family playing programs, then you do not need to install the reader. The nice thing in this scenario is that if you have a question concerning a move that isn’t covered, you can just click on Fritz for an answer. The system requirements are Pentium-Processor at 300 MHz or higher, 64 MB RAM, Windows XP/Vista, DVD drive, etc.


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