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Bird Leningrad Mainline Intro

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 [3.e3 g6 4.b4 (4.d4) ]

3...g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 [6...Cc6; 6...b6]

7.c3 Cc6 [The absolute Mainline]


8.Ca3 [The move I am going to endorse. I don't believe that much in the lines with
Qe1, h3, g4, Qh4 (too slow). We are going to have a look at a few replies.]


8...b6 [2nd most played]

[8...d4; 8...Dc7; 8...Te8 played by Adams vs Carlsen; 8...Tb8 most popular. Black
removes his rook f 9.Ce5 (9.Cc2 is the other move but feels a bit more passive) 9...Dc7
(9...Cxe5 is also possible 10.fxe5; 9...Cd7 10.Cxd7 Dxd7 11.e4 dxe4 12.dxe4 Dxd1
13.Txd1 Ag4 14.Te1 Tfd8 15.f5 gxf5 16.h3 Ad1 17.Af4 e5 18.Ag5 f6 19.Taxd1 fxg5
20.exf5 Txd1 21.Txd1 Td8 22.Td5 b6 23.Txd8+ Cxd8 24.Ad5+ Rf8 25.Rf2 e4 26.Re3
Ae5 27.g4 Af4+ 28.Rxe4 Ac1 29.Cc4 b5 30.Cd6 Axb2 31.Cxb5 a6 32.Cc7 Axc3 33.Cxa6
Ad4 34.a4 Re7 35.Cc7 Ac3 36.Cb5 Ab4 37.Re5 Cf7+ 38.Axf7 Rxf7 39.Cd6+ Re7 40.Cc4
Ac3+ 41.Rd5 Ad4 42.a5 Rd7 43.a6 Rc7 44.Re6 Rc6 45.f6 Ac3 46.Cd6 Rb6 47.a7
Nakamura, Hikaru - Lahno, Kateryna, 1–0, Oslo BNbank Gp-A, 2010) ]

Bird Leningrad 6th move rare

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 Cc6!? [is actually the comp's
first choice]

[6...c6!? is actually one of the most testing lines for White in this system 7.De1 I think
this is best 7...Db6+ 8.Rh1 Cg4 as per Movsziszian-Einarsson, 2017 and herre 9.a4!?N

a) 9...Axb2 10.a5 Db5 11.Cc3 Axc3 12.Dxc3 is very dangerous for Black;

b) 9...a5 10.Ca3! Ce3 11.Df2 d4 (11...Cxf1 12.Dxb6) 12.Axe3! dxe3 13.Cc4 Da7
(13...exf2 14.Cxb6 Ta6 15.Cxc8 Txc8 16.c3) 14.Dxe3 Dxe3 15.Cxe3 Axb2 16.Tab1 Ag7
17.d4 Td8 18.c3²; 10.a5 Dc5 11.Axe3 Dxe3 12.c3 Cd7 13.d4! Black has to be very
careful not to get the queen trapped. 13...De6 (13...Cf6 14.Ce5) 14.Cg5 Dd6 15.e4
dxe4 16.Cxe4 Dc7 17.Cbd2 and I think White has got a nice edge here able to play on
all sides of the board; 6...b6 will most likely transpose into lines starting with c5 and
then b6, but Black can sometimes completely omit c5. 7.c3 (7.e4!? is an option, though
it brings White very little 7...dxe4 8.dxe4 Aa6 9.Te1 Khandelwal-Lyell, 2014 9...Dxd1
10.Txd1 Cc6 11.e5 Cg4 12.Cc3 Tad8 was fine for Black; 7.Cbd2 Cg4 is the problem with
this move order 8.Cb3; 7.h3 Ab7 8.De1 Cbd7 9.g4 is the caveman approach
recommended by Lakdawala, but I don't believe that White can just neglect the centre
9...c5 10.Dh4 e6 I feel like this is a worse version of some standard Leningrad Dutch
lines with Qe8 11.Cc3 d4µ looks better for Black) 7...Ab7 8.Ca3 a plan we will often see
in the mainlines of the Leningrad 8...c5 9.Cc2 Cc6 10.Ad2 Dc7 11.b4 with a very
unbalanced position; 6...c5]

7.c3 [I like the way Norwood approaches the position]

7...Te8 [standard Leningrad idea to blast open the position with a very quick e5]


8.Ce5!? Dd6 9.d4 [now that Black has already played Nc6 this is fine]

9...Af5 10.Cd2 [with a blocked but playable position for both sides]


Bird Leningrad c5 & b6

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 7.c3 [The starting position
for our Leningrad Bird position]

7...b6 [7...Cc6 8.e4 b6]

8.e4! [in this particular variation I believe White should take the initiative and go with
the natural move]

8...dxe4 [critical]

[8...Ab7 imprecise 9.e5 Cfd7 10.Ca3! a6 (10...e6 11.Cb5 is a problem for Black) 11.Cc2
Cc6 12.d4 e6 13.Ae3 with a lovely French; 8...Cc6 9.e5 Cg4 10.Te1 Ch6 11.Ca3 e6
12.Cc2 Cf5 13.Ce3 Cce7 14.g4 Cxe3 15.Axe3 Dc7 16.d4² again feels more pleasant for

9.dxe4 Aa6 [the move played by all top players]

[9...Cxe4?? 10.Dxd8 Txd8 11.Cfd2+– Cxd2 (11...f5 12.Cxe4 fxe4 13.Axe4) 12.Cxd2;
9...Dxd1?! 10.Txd1 Ab7 11.e5 is very unpleasant for Black 11...Ce8 12.a4 Cc6 13.Ca3
Td8! (13...Cc7?? 14.Td7 Tac8 15.Cb5 Cxb5 16.axb5 Ca5 17.Txa5 Axf3 (17...bxa5
18.Txb7 Tfd8 19.Ae3 Td1+ 20.Rf2) 18.Taxa7+–) 14.Txd8 Cxd8 15.a5±]

10.Te1 Dxd1 11.Txd1 e6 [11...Cc6 best, following Danielsen-Schandorff 2001 12.e5

Cg4 13.Cg5 Tfd8! I agree with Taylor this is best 14.Te1 (14.Txd8+ Txd8 15.Axc6 Td1+
16.Rg2 Txc1) 14...Tac8 and now I believe 15.h3N could be a potential improvement
over Danielsen-Schandorff 15...Ch6 16.Ae3 Cf5 17.Af2 h6 18.Ce4 which White may be
able to press]

12.Cbd2 Cc6 13.e5 Cd5 14.Ce4 Tfd8 15.Cd6 Af8 16.c4 Cdb4 17.b3 Cc2 18.Tb1
Axd6 19.exd6 Tac8 20.Ab2 Ce3 21.Td2 Cxg2 22.Rxg2± [was great for White in
Paravyan-Mokshanov, 2018]

22...Ab7 23.Rf2

(Bird Leningrad Mainline - 8...Rb8 [A03]

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.g3 d5 2.Ag2 g6 3.f4 Ag7 4.Cf3 Cf6 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 7.c3 [7.De1 Cc6 (7...d4
8.c3 Cc6 9.Ca3 Tb8 10.Ad2 b5 11.Tc1 dxc3 12.Axc3 b4 13.Axf6 Axf6 14.Cc4 Ae6
15.b3?! Ac3) 8.h3 d4 9.Ca3 Cd5 10.Cc4 b6 11.Ad2 Ab7 12.c3 e6 13.Tc1 Tc8 14.Df2
Cde7 15.a4; 7.Cc3 d4 8.Ce4 Cxe4 9.dxe4 Cc6 10.e3 e5 11.f5!?]

7...Cc6 8.Ca3 Tb8 [Black's most popular response]

9.Ce5!? [this move is more aggressive than Nc2]

[9.Cc2 is also playable 9...b6 (9...b5 this natural move allows the cute 10.Ae3!? Dd6
(10...Db6 11.b4) 11.b4! cxb4 12.cxb4 Cd7 (12...Cxb4 13.Cxb4 Dxb4 14.Axa7 Ta8
15.Db3! Dd6 (15...Dxb3 16.axb3) 16.Ad4²) 13.Tb1) 10.Ad2 White aims to play b4. This
system seems to be a pet line of Arnold. 10...e6 11.Te1 Aa6 and Black is perfectly fine]

9...Dc7 [the main reply, though]

[9...Cxe5!? 10.fxe5 Cg4 11.d4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Db6 (12...f6? 13.h3 Ch6 14.exf6 exf6
15.Af4 Ta8 16.Tc1+–) 13.e3 Ae6 14.Db3 Dxb3 15.axb3 is a very unbalanced position
that White eventually won 1–0 (48) Vasiukov,E (2451)-Sorensen,B (2262) Vilnius 2014;
9...Cd7 as per Nakamura-Lagno is also a move 10.Cxd7! Dxd7 11.e4 dxe4 12.dxe4
Dxd1 13.Txd1 Ag4 14.Te1 Tfd8 15.f5! gxf5 (15...Td1 was better but White is still a
smidgen better after 16.Txd1 Axd1 17.Ae3²) 16.h3 Ad1 17.Af4 e5 18.Ag5 f6 19.Taxd1
fxg5 20.exf5± 1–0 (47) Nakamura,H (2741)-Lagno,K (2522) Oslo 2010]

10.Cxc6 [best]

[10.Da4 was also tried 10...Cxe5 11.fxe5 Ad7! is problematic for White (11...Dxe5
12.Af4) 12.Df4 Ch5 and I don't think White can equalise 13.Dg5 Axe5 14.Axd5 Af6
15.De3 b5µ]

10...Dxc6 [10...bxc6 is actually the most played move in standard Dutch Leningrad
systems 11.e4 Db6 (11...dxe4 12.dxe4 Aa6 the difference here being White has already
developed the knight to a3 and can make use of it 13.c4!? Tfd8 14.De2±) 12.e5 Cg4
13.c4!? nimzo-indian motif, with a complex position]

11.Dc2N [11.De1?! b5 12.e4 dxe4 13.dxe4 Ab7 is problematic for White; 11.Cc2!? b5
as per Parvanyan-Pustovoitova, 2016 12.De1 b4 and I don't like Black's space gain on
the Q-side (or 12...a5 13.e4 dxe4 14.dxe4 Ab7) ; 11.e4 as per a normal Leningrad
Dutch would be ideal but now there is no Nd2 after 11...dxe4 12.dxe4 Cxe4 I don't think
White equalises here 13.Te1 f5; 11.Cc4!? is another interesting approach 11...Dc7
12.Ce5 b6 13.Dc2 Ab7 14.e4 looks fairly balanced]

11...b5 12.e4 dxe4 13.dxe4 e5 [a typical Leningrad motif]

[13...Ab7 14.e5 Dxg2+ 15.Dxg2 Axg2 16.exf6 Axf1 (16...Axf6 17.Rxg2) 17.fxg7 Rxg7

14.f5 Ab7 15.Ag5 [with a totally unclear position. Chances for both sides]

15...Cxe4 16.Tae1

Bird Leningrad Mainline - 8...Re8

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 7.c3 Cc6 8.Ca3 Te8
[played by Adams vs Carlsen. Black's idea is obvious - he wants to break with a very
quick e5 and exploit weaknesses along the e-file. Interestingly one of Dutch Leningrad's
main moves after Re1 is to play Na6(!) so we have an extra move we could certainly
utilise here.]

9.Dc2 [this is the move I am going to endorse]

[9.Ce5 has a similar feel to 8...Rb8 9...Dc7 10.Cxc6 Dxc6 11.Cc4 As per Aycock-Klewe
11...Dc7 12.Ce5 but once again Black hardly has any serious problems here; 9.Ch4!?
the most played move and Carlsen's choice 9...e5 this might actually be imprecise
meaning that Nh4 has certain practical value

a) 9...b6 Mickey keeps it quiet 10.e4 dxe4 11.Da4? Dxd3! Magnus clearly overlooked
this 12.Dxc6 Ad7 13.Dc7 and here 13...Tec8 would have been winning eg 14.Db7
(14.De5 Ac6! 15.Te1 Dd7–+) 14...Tcb8 15.Dc7 Ce8;

b) 9...h6 is also good 10.e4 e5! 11.f5 g5 we now see the point of h6. Black is for
choice.; 10.f5! Db6 (10...Ce7 11.e4!? c4! (11...dxe4 12.dxe4 Dxd1 13.Txd1² is very
pleasant for White as per Dietz-Apitzsch 13...gxf5 14.exf5) 12.dxc4 Db6+ 13.Rh1 dxe4
14.g4÷ with an almighty mess) 11.e4 c4+ 12.Rh1 cxd3 13.exd5 Ce7 14.fxg6 hxg6
15.Dxd3 e4!µ ½–½ (101) Movsziszian,K (2485)-Forcen Esteban,D (2536) Benasque

9...Db6 [9...e5 Black is direct 10.fxe5 Cxe5 11.Cxe5 Txe5 12.Af4 Te8 13.e4 compared
to standard Dutch Leningrad lines White already has the additional Qc2 move. The
position is very unclear. White has ideas of Nb5, Bg5 and bringing the a1 rook into the
game. Objectively it's balanced but White certainly has chances. (13.Dd2 would
actually be a DIRECT transposition to the main Leningrad Dutch lines) 13...a6; 9...Af5 A
fine move. Black prevents White from playing e4. 10.Ch4 (10.h3!? is also interesting
10...e5 11.fxe5 Cxe5 12.Cxe5 Txe5 13.Af4 De7!? 14.Axe5 Dxe5÷ Black has excellent
play for the sacrificed exchange 15.Tf3) 10...Db6 attempting to meet 11.e4 (11.Rh1)
11...c4+ 12.Df2 dxe4 13.Cxf5 gxf5 14.Dxb6 axb6 15.dxe4 Cxe4 16.Cxc4 b5 17.Cd2
which the machine says is around equal 17...Cc5]

10.Db3 Dc7 [10...Dxb3 11.axb3]

11.Dc2 Db6 [11...Af5 has been seen in two games betwen Arnold and Lundberg
12.Ch4 Tad8 and here I like 13.e4 Ac8 14.e5 Cg4 15.h3 Ch6 16.Ae3² White is slightly
better 16...a6]
12.Rh1 [is the way for White to play on]

[12.Db3 Dc7 13.Dc2 Db6]

12...e5 13.fxe5 Cxe5 14.Cxe5 Txe5 15.e4 [with a really complex middlegame.
Black cannot play de4 on account of Nc4 and White is threatening to take on d5. I think
practically speaking this position is very tough for Black to play and if]

15...Th5!? [15...dxe4 16.Cc4]

16.exd5 Cg4 17.h3 Cf6 18.Rg1 Axh3 19.Cc4 Dd8 20.Axh3 Txh3 21.Dg2 Th5
22.d6 Dd7 23.Af4 [is a real mess but objectively balanced]

Bird Leningrad Mainline - 8...d4

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 7.c3 Cc6 8.Ca3 d4 9.e4
[the Dutch Leningrad reply]

9...dxe3 [9...e5 has also been tried 10.cxd4 cxd4 11.f5!? Arnold-Mergard, 2016, I like
this idea very much (11.Cc4 Daus-Caire, 2010 11...Cg4 12.h3 b5 13.Ccxe5 Cgxe5
14.fxe5 Cxe5 15.Af4 Cxf3+ 16.Dxf3 Ae6 was around level) 11...Cg4 (11...gxf5 12.exf5
Axf5? 13.Cxe5±) 12.Cc2 a5 and here 13.Ch4 Cf6 14.a3 and I think White has excellent

10.Axe3 Af5 [10...b6]

11.Axc5 Axd3 [11...Dxd3 12.Dxd3 Axd3 13.Tfe1 Ae4 (13...Ce4 14.Ad4! is a strong
move 14...Cxd4 15.Cxd4) 14.Cc4 and White might be able to claim a small edge]

12.Te1 [Kokarev-Fakhrutdinov, 2018]

12...Dd5 [12...Da5]

13.Af2 Ae4 14.Dxd5 Axd5 15.Cd4 Axg2 16.Rxg2 Cxd4 17.Axd4 e6 [is a typical
ending that could arise from the Bird Leningrad mainlines. Objectively it's equal but
with the queenside pawn majority it's only really White that can try to make something

Bird Leningrad Mainline - 8...b6 [A03]

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 7.c3 Cc6 8.Ca3 b6 9.Dc2
[we stick with our Qc2 idea]

9...a5 [9...Aa6 10.Td1 Dc7 11.b4! as per Getz-Martinovic, 2017 11...Ab7 (11...cxb4
12.cxb4 Ab7 13.b5) 12.bxc5 bxc5 13.Tb1 a6 and here I like the natural 14.e4 with the
kind of setup we are looking for 14...dxe4 15.dxe4]
10.e4 Aa6 11.e5 Ce8 12.c4 [12.Td1!? not allowing any knight jumps may be more
prudent 12...Cc7 13.Ae3 Ce6 (13...f6 14.d4 fxe5 15.dxe5 e6 16.Af2!?² Ce7 17.c4 Cf5
18.cxd5 exd5) 14.f5!? gxf5 15.d4±]

12...Cc7 13.Te1 Dd7 14.Ae3 Tac8 15.Tac1 Cb4 16.Db1 [Movsziszian, K. -

Henriquez Villagra, C., 1–0, 42nd Sitges Open 2016]

Bird Leningrad Mainline - 8...Qc7

[IM Lawrence Trent]

1.f4 d5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.g3 g6 4.Ag2 Ag7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 c5 7.c3 Cc6 8.Ca3 Dc7
[Black finds another way to organise a quick e5 break]

9.Dc2 e5 10.Cxe5 Cxe5 11.Cb5! Db6 [11...Db8 12.fxe5 Dxe5 13.Af4 Dh5 14.Cc7 Tb8
15.e4! dxe4 16.dxe4 White threatens Nd5 and the position is very unpleasant for Black
16...a6 17.Cd5 Ta8 18.Cxf6+ Axf6 19.Ad6]

12.fxe5 Cg4 [12...Dxb5 13.exf6]

13.Ca3 Ae6 14.Db3 Dxb3 15.axb3 Cxe5 16.Cb5! Cc6 [16...a6 17.Cc7]

17.Af4 a6 18.Cc7 Tad8 19.Ae3! d4 20.Cxe6 fxe6 21.Ad2 [and White had a freeroll
in Kamsky-Tari, 2017]