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Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad (E30)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Bg5

Number of games in database: 651
Years covered: 1920 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 35.0%
   Black wins 33.9%
   Draws 31.0%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Boris Spassky  25 games
Jan Timman  16 games
Vladimir Bagirov  16 games
Viktor Korchnoi  8 games
Wolfgang Unzicker  6 games
Gyula Sax  4 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Larsen vs R Garbarino, 1993
Spassky vs P N Lee, 1966
S Prokofiev vs M Ravel, 1924
Spassky vs Tal, 1973
NN vs Bronstein, 1961
Korchnoi vs B Djurasevic, 1956
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 page 1 of 27; games 1-25 of 651  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Tartakower vs J G Baay  0-1281920Simul, 36bE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
2. Teichmann vs A Selezniev ½-½211921Match 3E30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
3. S Prokofiev vs M Ravel 1-0251924Mont La JoliE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
4. O Naegeli vs Alekhine 0-1491925BerneE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
5. Alekhine vs Znosko-Borovsky 1-0411926BirminghamE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
6. H Ureta vs Alekhine ½-½441927Simul, 30bE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
7. Reti vs Marshall 1-0311928BrnoE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
8. C H Maderna vs A Pokorny  1-0361928OlympiadE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
9. N Sorokin vs Goglidze  0-1301928Georgian ChE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
10. Tartakower vs Nimzowitsch ½-½251928It BSGE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
11. Gustaf Dahl vs Capablanca 0-1451928Clock simul, 7bE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
12. O Barda vs Flohr 0-1221930HamburgE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
13. A Krogdahl vs S R Wolf  0-1431930Hamburg ol (Men)E30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
14. Alie H/Hasan vs Alekhine 0-1391933SurabayaE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
15. F Kibbermann vs Keres 0-1411934Tallinn, Est chE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
16. T G Cranston vs W Hasenfuss  0-1251935OlympiadE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
17. J C Balparda vs J Vinuesa  1-0261936Mar del Plata it-03E30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
18. T Regedzinski vs Gilg 0-1311940GER Ch 7thE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
19. M Dietze vs K Urbanec  0-1461943PragueE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
20. Smyslov vs Lilienthal 0-1421944USSR ChampionshipE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
21. D Rovner vs A Bannik  ½-½311949URS-ch sfE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
22. G Borisenko vs G Fridstein  ½-½281950URS-ch sfE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
23. V Zak vs Lilienthal 1-0321951URS-ch sfE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
24. V Zak vs G Goldberg  ½-½311951URS-ch sfE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
25. Levenfish vs Estrin  0-1731951Ch URS (1/2 final)E30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
 page 1 of 27; games 1-25 of 651  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-12-03  Benjamin Lau: Not to be outdone, white decides to give up his bishop pair too... ;-) Lol, just kidding, the Leningrad has always struck me as strange. The strategic significance of the line is that you want to re-seize control of e4 by nullifying the opponent's knight. But many Leningrad players don't play it that way. After h6, white often retreats the bishop.
Sep-18-03  Kenkaku: This is the opening that taught me the wonderful and important tactic of playing Qa5 in the Nimzo-Indian (through studying certain master games, for some reason I simply never saw it over the board as far as I can remember, being more concerned with other plans). It works particularly well in the Leningrad, especially against players who don't know any theory after 4. Bg5. Black should then attempt to play 4...c5 5...Qa5 6...Ne4 in my experience, though of course this will not always work. Still, it is not a bad general goal, and the moves can be delayed (or not played at all) depending on white's responses.
May-23-04  waddayaplay: I'm so dumb that I give you all my novelities, but on the other hand once a move is played anywhere in the world everyone knows about it. So I might as well post the move here and get some respons.

The thing is, I think it is possible to play 1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 e6 3. ♘c3 ♗b4 4. ♗g5 h6 5.♗h4 c5 6.d5 ♘xd5!? (Even better may be to leave out h6 because it messes with the pawn structure for later)

Then if white plays 7.Bxd8 follows ...Nxc3 8.Qmove Ne4+ 9. Kd1 Nxf2+ 10.Kc1 Kxd8 and later Nxh1.

The black will play d6 and Kc7; keep his black squared bishop on the q-side; if he hasn't played h6 he can play f5 (with h6 white penetrates black with Nf3-h4-g6); if he has played h6 he can try "stonewall" with c5/d6/e5/f6 and later break through with h5.

No time to give further analysis now. Give me your opinion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: it's been played a couple of times with mixed results...looks interesting though...from Megabase 2004

[Event "Kuopio op"]
[Site "Kuopio"]
[Date "1992.??.??"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Yrjola, Jouni"]
[Black "Havansi, Erkki ET"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E30"]
[WhiteElo "2460"]
[BlackElo "2280"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "1992.07.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.11.16"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 h6 5. Bh4 c5 6. d5 Nxd5 7. Bxd8 Nxc3 8. Qb3 Ne4+ 9. Kd1 Nxf2+ 10. Kc2 Kxd8 11. Qg3 Nxh1 12. Qxg7 Re8 13. Nh3 Nc6 14. e3 f5 15. Be2 b6 16. Rxh1 Re7 17. Qf6 Kc7 18. Bf3 Re8 19. Bxc6 Kxc6 20. Nf4 d6 21. Nd3 Ba5 22. a3 b5 23. cxb5+ Kxb5 24. Qf7 Rd8 25. Nf4 Kc6 26. Rd1 d5 27. Nxe6 Bxe6 28. Qxe6+ Rd6 29. Qxf5 Re8 30. Qf7 Ra8 31. g4 Bb6 32. h4 Rad8 33. g5 hxg5 34. hxg5 R6d7 35. Qf5 c4 36. g6 d4 37. exd4 Bxd4 38. Qe6+ Kc5 39. Rf1 Rd6 40. Qe4 Rg8 41. Rf5+ Kb6 42. Rf7 Rgxg6 43. Qb7+ Kc5 44. Rf5+ 1-0

[Event "FRA-chT"]
[Site "France"]
[Date "1996.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Capit, Francois"]
[Black "Lopez, Jorge"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E30"]
[WhiteElo "2170"]
[BlackElo "2185"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "1996.??.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 c5 5. d5 h6 6. Bh4 Nxd5 7. Bxd8 Nxc3 8. Qb3 Ne4+ 9. Kd1 Nxf2+ 10. Kc1 Kxd8 11. Qf3 Nxh1 12. Qxf7 b5 13. a3 Ba5 14. Qxg7 Re8 15. cxb5 a6 16. g4 Bb7 17. g5 axb5 18. gxh6 Nc6 19. Bg2 Kc7 20. h7 Rf8 21. Nf3 Nf2 22. Qg3+ Kb6 23. Qxf2 Nd4 24. Qe3 Nf5 25. Qg5 Ka6 26. a4 b4 27. e4 Bxe4 28. Ne5 Bxg2 29. Qxg2 Nd4 30. Ng6 Nb3+ 31. Kb1 Nd2+ 32. Qxd2 Rf1+ 33. Kc2 b3+ 34. Kd3 Rxa1 35. Qf4 Rd1+ 36. Ke2 Rg1 37. Qc4+ Kb7 38. Qb5+ Bb6 39. Qxd7+ Ka6 40. Qd3+ Kb7 41. Qf3+ 1-0

Black declines the queen here

[Event "SVK-chT3B 9900"]
[Site "Slovakia"]
[Date "2000.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Hanko, Miroslav"]
[Black "Srvatka, Igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E30"]
[PlyCount "140"]
[EventDate "1999.??.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2000.11.22"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 c5 5. d5 h6 6. Bh4 Nxd5 7. cxd5 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qxh4 9. e3 Qf6 10. Rc1 O-O 11. Nf3 b6 12. Be2 Bb7 13. e4 exd5 14. exd5 Qd6 15. c4 Na6 16. O-O Rae8 17. Bd3 Re7 18. Bb1 Rfe8 19. Qd3 g6 20. Qd2 Kg7 21. Qc3+ Qf6 22. Qb3 d6 23. Rc3 Nc7 24. Nd2 Bc8 25. Rf3 Qd4 26. Rd3 Qh4 27. Rg3 Re2 28. Qc3+ Qf6 29. Qc1 Qd4 30. Nf3 Qf6 31. Nd2 Qf4 32. Qc3+ Qe5 33. Qd3 Bf5 34. Qxf5 Qxf5 35. Bxf5 Rxd2 36. a3 Re7 37. Bd3 a6 38. Rb1 b5 39. h3 bxc4 40. Bxc4 Rd4 41. Rc1 a5 42. Rb3 Nxd5 43. Rb5 Ra7 44. Rb2 Nf4 45. Rb5 h5 46. Bf1 Nd5 47. g3 Nf6 48. f3 h4 49. g4 Nd5 50. Kf2 Nf4 51. Rc3 Kf6 52. Rb6 g5 53. Rxc5 Rd2+ 54. Ke1 Rd4 55. Rf5+ Kg6 56. Rbb5 Re7+ 57. Kf2 Rd2+ 58. Kg1 Rd1 59. Rxg5+ Kh6 60. Rh5+ Nxh5 61. Rxh5+ Kg6 62. Rxa5 Ree1 63. Kf2 Rxf1+ 64. Ke3 Rfe1+ 65. Kf2 Re5 66. Ra4 Rd2+ 67. Kf1 Rb5 68. Ke1 Rh2 69. Rb4 Rxb4 70. axb4 Rb2 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: Black seems to fare a little better without ...h6 thrown interesting queen sack and i am going to take a deeper look at it in the upcoming days

[Event "Cordoba op"]
[Site "Cordoba"]
[Date "1970.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Brond, Victor"]
[Black "Bulcourf, Carlos"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E30"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "1970.??.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1998.11.10"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 c5 5. d5 Nxd5 6. Bxd8 Nxc3 7. Qb3 Ne4+ 8. Kd1 Nxf2+ 9. Kc1 Kxd8 10. Qf3 Nxh1 11. Qxf7 b6 12. Nf3 Nc6 13. a3 Ba5 14. Qxg7 Re8 15. Qxh7 Kc7 16. Kc2 Ba6 17. Rd1 Rad8 18. Qh4 d6 19. Ng5 Bc8 20. e3 Rh8 21. Nh7 Ne5 22. Be2 Rd7 23. Rxh1 Rdxh7 24. Qg3 Bb7 25. h4 Be4+ 26. Kb3 a6 27. h5 Kc6 28. Rf1 b5 29. cxb5+ axb5 30. Rf6 b4 31. Qf4 Bd5+ 32. Kc2 c4 33. Rf8 bxa3 34. bxa3 Rxf8 35. Qxf8 Be4+ 36. Kc1 Rb7 37. Qc8+ Kb6 38. Qxe6 Ka7 0-1

[Event "Buenos Aires Stentor"]
[Site "Buenos Aires"]
[Date "1977.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Capellini, Esteban"]
[Black "Pina, Victor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E30"]
[PlyCount "140"]
[EventDate "1977.??.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2002.11.25"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 c5 5. d5 Nxd5 6. Bxd8 Nxc3 7. Qc2 Ne4+ 8. Kd1 Nxf2+ 9. Kc1 Kxd8 10. Nf3 Nxh1 11. e3 Nc6 12. Bd3 b6 13. a3 Ba5 14. b3 Bb7 15. Kb2 h6 16. Rxh1 Kc7 17. Be4 d6 18. g4 Rad8 19. Rd1 a6 20. h4 Rd7 21. Kb1 f6 22. h5 Rhd8 23. Nh4 d5 24. cxd5 exd5 25. Bf5 Rd6 26. Bd3 Kb8 27. Nf5 R6d7 28. b4 cxb4 29. Bxa6 Bxa6 30. Qxc6 bxa3 31. Nd4 a2+ 32. Kxa2 Rc7 33. Qa4 Rdc8 34. Rb1 Rc5 35. Qd7 Bc4+ 36. Ka3 Ba6 37. Nb5 Bxb5 38. Rxb5 Rc3+ 39. Rb3 Rc1 40. Qxd5 R8c2 41. Qg8+ Ka7 42. Qxg7+ Ka6 43. Qxf6 Re1 44. Qh8 Kb7 45. Qh7+ Rc7 46. Qxh6 Re2 47. Rb2 Rc3+ 48. Rb3 Rcc2 49. Qh7+ Ka6 50. Qd3+ Ka7 51. Ka4 Rcd2 52. Qf5 Ka6 53. h6 Ra2+ 54. Ra3 Rab2 55. Qc8+ Ka7 56. Qc7+ Ka6 57. Qc8+ Ka7 58. Rb3 Ra2+ 59. Ra3 Rac2 60. Qe6 Ka6 61. h7 Rb2 62. Qc8+ Ka7 63. Qc4 Rh2 64. Rb3 Ra2+ 65. Kb5 Rxh7 66. Rd3 Rb2+ 67. Kc6 $4 Rc7+ 68. Kd5 Rxc4 69. Kxc4 b5+ 70. Kc5 Bb6+ and ♗lack won 0-1

[Event "Toth mem"]
[Site "Kecskemet"]
[Date "1983.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Eslon, Jaan"]
[Black "Horvath, Tamas"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E30"]
[WhiteElo "2430"]
[BlackElo "2450"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "1983.08.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 c5 5. d5 Nxd5 6. Bxd8 Nxc3 7. Qb3 Ne4+ 8. Kd1 Nxf2+ 9. Kc1 Kxd8 10. Qg3 Nxh1 11. Qxg7 Re8 12. g3 d6 13. Bg2 Nxg3 14. Qxg3 Kc7 15. Kc2 Nc6 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Qg7 Bd7 18. Nf3 Rg8 19. Qxh7 e5 20. Rg1 Rxg1 21. Nxg1 f5 22. Nf3 Re8 23. Ng5 e4 24. Qg6 d5 25. Nf7 d4 26. Qd6+ Kc8 27. Ne5 Rxe5 28. Qxe5 Be1 29. Qf4 Ba5 30. h4 Bc7 31. Qg5 f4 32. h5 d3+ 33. exd3 e3 34. Kd1 f3 35. Qxe3 f2 36. Qxf2 Bg4+ 37. Kc2 1-0

Nov-10-04  siggemannen: <refutor> I let fritz 8 run though that line for a couple of hours. he gives white a little edge after 5... Nxd5 6. Bxd8 Nxc3 7.Qb3 Ne4 8. Kd1 Nxf2 9. Kc2 Kxd8 10. Qg3 Nxh1 11. Qxg7 Re8 12. g4 etc... +0.40 I guess computer should be able to play this line better than any human because of completely unbalanced position
Jan-14-05  azaris: I'm quite certain this little novelty gambit hasn't been tried before, so imagine my surprise when it was sprung against me. Is it sound? Well, the jury is still out on that so let me just give the moves without comment:

[Event "Challenge from arifattar"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.01.11"]
[White "arifattar"]
[Black "azaris"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1200"]
[BlackElo "1613"]
[ECO "E30"]
[TimeControl "1/259200"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 c5 5.d5 h6 6.dxe6 hxg5 7.exf7+ Kxf7 8.e3 d5 9.Qb3 d4 10.exd4 Re8+ 11.Be2 Nc6 12.dxc5 Nd4 13.Qxb4 Nc2+ 14.Kf1 Nxb4 15.Bd1 Nd3 16.Bc2 Nxf2 17.Kxf2 Qd2+ 18.Nge2 Ng4+ 19.Kf1 Qxc2 20.h4 Qf5+ 21.Ke1 Qf2+ 22.Kd2 Rd8+ 23.Kc2 Ne3+ 24.Kb3 Be6 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: We should take a poll, who wants/in favor of changing all Leningrad->St. Petersburg


Apr-27-05  QuestionableAtBest: One vote for Leningrad.
Apr-29-05  TheSlid: I vote St Petersburg, on principle, but recognise the impracticalities.
Apr-29-05  tanginamo: one vote for leningrad. it reminds us of the soviet union. plus, i like saying le-nin-grrrrrrad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: The Leningrad Dutch already exists, so I'm going to call this the Stalingrad.
Apr-29-05  Helloween: <azaris> What a terrible sacrifice White played! Black actually has a positional advantage plus an extra piece afterwards!!! Look at the position after 7...Kxf7. Black has 2 pieces developed to White's 1. Black has a pin on the one developed White piece and can exchange it at any time, damaging White's pawns. Black has a really nice semi-open h-file and his King's Rook is already therefore active. He also has the f- file to use. White isn't anywhere close to developing on the Kingside and his King is therefore quite unsafe. Even if he were able to, castling short looks like suicide. Yes, I'd have to say I'd take Black even if Black didn't have an extra piece.
Apr-29-05  azaris: <Helloween> Quite, a sacrifice to ruin the opponent's king position is not adequate unless followed with active piece play and the initiative.
Feb-08-06  MorphyMatt: Another vote for Leningrad.
Oct-27-06  Archives: Opening of the day!

I use to play <4.e3> in response to the Nimzo, but have started playing <4.Bg5>. The idea behind 4.Bg5 is as someone said above, re-seizing control of e4 by pinning Black's knight.

It received its name because its theory was developed extensively by players from that city, (e.g. Boris Spassky).

The main line <4...h6 5.Bh4 c5 6.d5 d6 7.e3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 e5> and Black has achieved a Hübner Variation-like blockade, the difference being that White's dark-squared bishop is outside the pawn chain. The pin on the f6-knight is very annoying, and Black often breaks it by playing the drastic ...g7-g5, which also clamps down on a potential f2-f4 break by White. Of course, this move weakens Black's kingside, so his king will seek shelter elsewhere, often walking to c7 via d8.

Oct-27-06  Billy Ray Valentine: I love playing the white side of this opening, but it can be rather tricky. So most of the time I just play 3. Nf3 and avoid the whole matter. Spassky seemed to have a knack for playing it well, and there are quite a few examples of his worth looking at. My favorite is:

Spassky vs Short, 2001

But other famous/notable games by Spassky with the Leningrad variation of the Nimzo include:

Spassky vs Smyslov, 1953
Spassky vs Filip, 1955

May-23-07  WTHarvey: Here's a collection of zaps 'n traps in E30 miniatures:
Dec-22-10  nummerzwei: In a recent Internet encounter, I responded to 4.Bg5 with 4...Nc6!?, having in mind some vague ideas about fighting for the dark squares as in 4.Qc2 Nc6.

The game continued 5.a3 BxNc3+ 6.bxBc3 e5!?.

Similar play may have arisen in Jobava vs Carlsen, 2010 had Jobava decided against the radical 6.e4!?.

What do you think of my idea? Does it have any merit?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day:
Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♗b4 4.♗g5
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♗b4 4.♗g5

click for larger view

Oct-21-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5

click for larger view

Opening Explorer

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