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Paul Keres vs Viktor Korchnoi
USSR Championship (1952), Moscow URS, rd 18, Dec-26
Dutch Defense: Leningrad. Matulovic Variation (A89)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-30-04  Hidden Skillz: it always amazed me how keres exploited very aggressive positions so quickly..no disrespect but korchnoi had nothin to offer here
Mar-23-07  Robotnik: The move 12. c5 opens the hunt on the black queen and so 11th move of Black underestimates the danger!!!
Apr-03-07  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 8...Na5, 8..Ne5 may give Black a good game.
Nov-16-11  Whitehat1963: Excellent Thursday/Friday puzzle after 19. Bxc3.
Mar-12-16  kingfu: These are the 2 best players to never be Champion.

Only Matulovic can play 7...Nc6 in the Leningrad Dutch and not get hammered. I guess that is why they named the variation after him!

Aug-04-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "Viktor Kortchnoi first visited the Estonian capital almost 60 years ago. In 1948 he shared first place with Iivo Nei in the junior championship of the USSR. <Four years later he met Keres for the first time at the 2Oth Soviet Championship in Moscow. The young Kortchnoi, then only a master, managed to hold on for just over 20 moves.>"

- Genna Sosonko, Russian Silhouettes, 3rd ed, p.84

Aug-04-18  madlydeeply: korchnoi played the leningrad because he's from there. don't ever play the opening where you're from, see?
Aug-04-18  ughaibu: <korchnoi played the leningrad because he's from there>

An alternative hypothesis is that it was named the Leningrad because it was played by people from there, for example, Korchnoi.

I'm sure I completely destroyed the joke with this. Call me Joke Destroyer.

Aug-05-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: requote Tomlinsky:

Korchnoi on playing the Leningrad Dutch when he was a junior: <"I used to play the Leningrad System... then after one or two years I realised that NOBODY understands what happens in that system including myself. So I gave up this system and came to play only the modest d6 in the Dutch.">

Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation (A87)

Sep-28-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Octavia: ""...originating from a group of Leningrad masters" Egon Varnuz, Paul Keres best games
Sep-28-20  dhotts: <Whiteshark's> comment from 2018 seems pretty accurate, that Korchnoi did not understand the Leningrad system. Move 11...Na5 was the beginning of a series of poor moves. 11...Ne4 was much better and after White's 14.Bg5, Black was better off with 14...Bc6 instead of Be6? In any case, 11...Na5 was the beginning of the end.
Sep-28-20  SChesshevsky: Think Korchnoi's play here wasn't that indicative of his abilities at the time. While certainly not the player he'd be later, probably much better than shown in this game. After all, he did finish higher than both Keres and Smyslov in this event.

So what happened here? Guessing some combination of a bad day and an experimental opening. Think it might probably pretty close to this time that the main Leningrad Dutch ideas were being goofed around with. Likely by the young Leningrad players like Korchnoi, Lutikov, and Spassky. Maybe looking for Dutch improvements or new ideas on Botvinnik's play in the match with Bronstein.

So the result could be more an opening experiment that Korchnoi wasn't totally sure about and that Keres shot through effectively caused the short day more than anything else. But you probably have to give Korchnoi credit for trying it against such an experienced opponent.

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