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As promised we have a number of Tromps and Londons to get our teeth into this month. Look out especially for Timur Gareev showing a young talent that the Vaganian Gambit is a pretty scary beast indeed, and for a couple of crushing but instructive wins by the Spanish GM Alfonso Romero Holmes.

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Download PGN of April '15 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky 2...c5 3 Bxf6 exf6 [A45]

Loek van Wely likes to use 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 as an occasional weapon, but must have been surprised by 2...c5 3 Bxf6 exf6 in Van Wely-Van Kampen. This is a solid choice, if one which also risks passivity and 4 e3 d5 5 Nc3 has long been known to transpose to a favourable type of Veresov:

That said, the younger Dutch GM shows that 5...Nc6 6 Nge2 Be6 7 g3 cxd4 8 exd4 Bb4 may not be so bad for Black before being outplayed.

The Trompowsky Vaganian Gambit 2...c5 3 d5 Qb6 4 Nc3 [A45]

A more aggressive reaction to 2...c5 is 3 d5, after which 3...Qb6 4 Nc3 Qxb2 5 Bd2 Qb6 6 e4 has been seen in a few recent games:

I'm still tempted to slap a health warning on Black's position. Materialists may not find it so bad, but they will want to avoid following up as provocatively as a future American star did in Gareev - Sevian.

The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 [A45]

A somewhat more solid line is 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 e3 e6 5 Bd3 Bd6. Here I've long suspected that White's best route to a small plus is 6 Ne2, but 6 Qg4!? 0-0 7 Bxe4 dxe4 8 Bxd6 Qxd6 9 Nc3 f5 10 Qf4 can also be considered:

White is playing for a good knight against bad bishop scenario and Black was extremely compliant in Romero Holmes-Martinez Ramirez.

The Veresov 3...c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 e4 [D01]

As is his wont, Gareev kept surprising everyone with his choice of openings in Saint Louis. I'm all for some experimentation, but am beginning to feel that 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bg5 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 e4?! dxe4 6 dxc5 is a line best avoided:

I'm still not sure what White should do after 6...f5 and he is also quickly in trouble after 6...Qa5 7 Bb5+?! in Gareev - Robson.

The London System - Anti-Nimzo without ...d5 [A47]

The Mongolian IM Bathuyag Munguntuul employed 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 to good effect in the Chinese League. As we've seen before, 3...b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 c5 6 c3 Be7 7 h3 0-0 8 0-0 can give White an edge after 8...cxd4 9 cxd4!, which may explain why 8...Nc6 was preferred in Munguntuul - Zhao Xue:

Only after 9 Nbd2 did Black go 9...cxd4 when I'd still want to recapture with the c-pawn à la Kamsky, not that 10 exd4 turned out at all badly in the game where the higher-rated player was quickly outplayed.

Morris Gambit 3 e4!? [D00]

It had seemed that 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 c5 3 e4!? had completely fallen out of favour, but this gambit is now being resurrected as a surprise weapon. Romero Holmes is one player who has done so of late and he was swiftly rewarded in Romero Holmes-Fernandez Aguado.

The Torre Attack 3...c5 4 e3 [A46]

Finally, we venture into closely related waters to last month with the 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 e3 h6 5 Bh4 cxd4 6 exd4 Qb6 of Zherebukh - Huschenbeth:

Surely White has to sacrifice the b-pawn here one might think, but even after 7 b3 the Ukrainian Grandmaster scored a surprisingly swift and brutal victory.

Let's hope we have some more crushing attacks to cover next month.

Until then, Richard

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