I've been playing the Dutch defense, mainly the Leningrad, although sometimes I'll delay the fianchetto, starting off in more of a Hort-Antoshin Dutch. My biggest trouble has been when white avoids the main lines and plays an early Bc4 or Qb3, making it impossible to castle without e6, or d5, which completely changes the nature of the opening.

I'm referring to positions like the following:

rnbqkb1r/ppp1p1pp/3p1n2/5p2/3P4/1QP2N2/PP2PPPP/RNB1KB1R b KQkq - 1 4


rnbqkb1r/ppp1p1pp/3p1n2/5p2/2BP4/4PN2/PPP2PPP/RNBQK2R b KQkq - 1 4

What can I do to counter this?

  • 1
    I think it should be fine to play e6, and either remain the normal leningrad plans or switch to a classical dutch. If e6 pawn is attacked to much, then push d5 and transpose to stonewall. Mar 23 '17 at 5:14
  • The problem with e6 is that black loses 2 tempi, between moving kg8-h8, to break the pin, and then playing e6-e5, as opposed to playing e7-e5 in one move, which happens in the main lines of the Leningrad.
    – Herb
    Mar 23 '17 at 12:43
  • @HerbWolfe this is true but white hasn't achieved very much with Qb3 and c3.
    – magd
    Mar 23 '17 at 14:57
  • @magd Fair point. I should expect more odd variations like this at my level. (USCF class B)
    – Herb
    Mar 23 '17 at 22:52

Playing ...e6 should be totally fine to counter these setups from White. I saw you claim in the comments that this would lose tempi for Black compared to the main lines of the Leningrad Dutch. This is not true, since White never plays:

  • Bc4 in the mainline Dutch;
  • c3 in the mainline Dutch.

So White has made at least one completely useless move in direct conflict with the ideas of the mainline systems for White in these cases. What does this mean in the long run? It basically means that you have more freedom in carrying out your plans, since the plans you mentioned only serve one purpose which is terminated by the move ...e6.

Tempi will most likely have to be wasted trying to rectify White's mistakes in the opening (because c3 seems terrible and will probably have to be corrected by playing c3-c4 at some point anyway, and Bc4 is an easy target for the black pawns now that it isn't safely placed on g2 staring down Black's queenside).

You don't have to be worried about potential tempi for a standard plan in the MAINLINES when White is playing a total SIDELINE IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH THE IDEAS OF THE MAINLINES which will enable you to play according to different ideas.

In general, when your opponent does something strange/non-standard in the opening you should try to think of the possible drawbacks of the deviation played, and when you study the opening you should try to figure out why the mainline is played the way it is by both sides.


My suggestion would be to go for the g6 setup right away, and then if White plays Bc4 or Qb3 you can counter with d5 or e6. In this case you could combine the Stonewall setup with the Leningrad setup, for example. While not perfectly ideal, Nakamura himself has played it a few times (in the main line!), and it's a respectable setup in the Leningrad.

The good thing too is that White usually has to go for a less than ideal setup against the Dutch in order to play Bc4 or Qb3. The positions you showed aren't that great for White, so the small compromise you would have to make with e6 or d5 is completely worth it.

Here is a link to a Chess Publishing article where a Leningrad game with ...e6 is discussed:


  • I've heard of combining the Leningrad and Stonewall setups, but haven't seen much on them. Unfortunately, the article is pay-walled, so only the intro to the game is available.
    – Herb
    Mar 25 '17 at 4:14

...e6 is fine with the option of transitioning to a stonewall setup and gaining a tempo against the Bc4 with d5,c6,Be7/Bd6,Qe7. The bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal is now a bit offsides. that is how I look at it.

Don't fall in love with the "Leningrad" and hang on to dear life to it's precepts if transitioning into another system warrants it. That seems the case here.

Black should be fine.


In both diagrams I see you have played d6 . Already Dutch provides a Weakness on the e6 Square and now d6 again makes it more vulnerable . Instead of d6 play e6,Be7 0-0 and then you can go on .

  • 1
    I play d6 because I want to play the Leningrad, not the classical Dutch.
    – Herb
    Mar 23 '17 at 12:52
  • ok I see that ....Your Opponent is not playing according to the rules of Dutch . He is breaking the rules . Dutch often invites Fianchetto of the K-Bishop and Pawn on c2 moves to c4 . Here your Opponent is familiar and he knows that you are going to play the Leningrad so you also need to neutralize and break your own rules . There is no other way . If you analyse with a Computer/App then it will recommend either d5 if u already played d6 or play e6 . You need to be flexible to transition your openings . Mar 23 '17 at 13:32
  • @HerbWolfe Did u find my answer useful ...if yes kindly vote . Mar 24 '17 at 8:20

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