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Despite Magnus Carlsen’s trials and tribulations with the Colle-Zukertort in New York, the Trompowsky and London continue to dominate this month. Look out especially for player of the year Wesley So’s contributions and the latest on a critical double gambit.

Download PGN of December ’16 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 e4 [A45]

The critical test of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 e4 remains 7...Qxb2 8 Nd2 Qxc3 9 Bc7 d6:

Back in October Moiseenko was happy to try the rare 10 Bb5+, but in Moiseenko, A - Vogt, L, he preferred 10 Rb1 when 10...Nfd7 was another good move from the well-prepared German Grandmaster. Here too I feel that White should look into 11 Bb5, since 11 Qa4 has come up short a few times and neither did 11 Ne2 Qf6 12 Ba5 e5! really impress in the game.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 e6 [A45]

If Black isn’t up to date on the gambit, he might try 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 e6, which has been seen more and more often of late. As such, I thought it was high time for an update with the key tabiya arising after 7 e4 exd5 8 exd5 d6:

9 Na3!? Be7 10 Ne2 is not without sting and quickly gave White first a very pleasant edge and then a huge advantage in Kindermann, S - Ragger, M. Black can improve, but I would certainly be tempted to give the knight development to the rim a try. That said, the main line, 9 Qd2, is also a decent chance for an edge, and if 9...Nbd7 10 c4 Qxd2 11 Kxd2, as in Yu Yangyi - Zhou Jianchao.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Nc3 [A45]

I must admit to still having doubts that 2...c5 3 Nc3!? is entirely correct, but it certainly packs a certain punch in practice. That said, after 3...cxd4 4 Qxd4 Nc6 5 Qh4 d6 I would push the e-pawn or castle long, as 6 Bxf6 gxf6 7 e4 Qa5 8 f4 f5 gives Black easy counterplay:

In Bakre, T - Nitin, S, White sensibly caught up in development with 9 Bd3 Nb4 10 Nge2, but his rapid win could only really be attributed to Black now playing the lemon, 10...Qc5?.

The Trompowsky: Torre-like lines, 2...e6 [D00]

After 2...e6 White can angle for an improved type of Torre with 3 Nd2 or 3 e3, both of which have been around for a fair few years now. One possibility is 3 Nd2 c5 4 e3 d5 5 c3 Nc6:

Here White really shouldn’t be greedy and should settle for a direct transposition to a Torre with 6 Ngf3, whereas the 6 Bd3 h6 7 Bh4 of Yu Yangyi - Wei Yi allows Black a pleasant enough choice between 7...e5!? and the game’s 7...Qb6.

The London: 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 Bd6 [D02]

A critical and popular tabiya continues to arise after 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 b6:

This set-up poses a real problem for white players and in the notes to Sedlak, N - So, W, we’ll see many examples of White banging his head against a brick wall after Black’s important ...Ne7 regrouping. Gata Kamsky has endorsed the waiting 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Rd1!, after which 10...Re8 11 e4 Be7 12 e5 Nh5 13 a3 g6! is a recent improvement by Black.

Sedlak doesn’t get anything with 14 Nf1, so Artemiev’s 14 0-0!? seems critical.

The London: 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 [D02]

A rare idea for Black after 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 is 6...cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5!?, but this has begun to attract attention of late, including too from Wesley So:

Provoking 8 Bg5 f6, as in Giri, A - So, W, but seems to give Black a fair amount of dynamic potential, so I would be tempted to prefer 8 Be3 à la Dominguez.

That’s all for this month. I hope to be back early in the new year. Until then, enjoy any holidays! Richard

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