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Our favourite d-pawn openings may be quite easy to play at times, but that does not mean that they don’t pack a certain attacking punch. Look out this month for some fine displays of aggression from Messrs Adhiban, Prié and Wells.

Download PGN of April ’17 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 Nc3 [A45]

The trendy course after 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 remains 5 c3, but 5 Nc3 is still quite playable and might even surprise the odd opponent. This month I’ve taken a look at an old favourite of mine, 5...Bb4 6 Qd3!?:

As we’ll see in Schneider, I - Tuncer, U, both 6...c5 and the game’s 6...0-0 should give Black an equal share of the chances.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 [D00]

Arguably the trendy line of the Trompowsky remains 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6:

Some 30 years ago Julian Hodgson tried 5 Nf3 cxd4 6 exd4 Bg7 7 c4 dxc4 8 Bxc4 0-0 9 Nc3, but then refined the idea since Black is pretty comfortable here, as we’ll see in Cordova, E - Swiercz, D.

The modern choice is, of course, 5 dxc5 when after 5...Nc6 we’ll see a few developments this month, not least with 6 c3 against which Black won a lovely, crisp game in Merry, A - Wells, P. Playing the Trompowsky against one of its leading adherents was really not a good idea.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 d5 [A46]

Baskaran Adhiban has twice faced quite classical defences to 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 of late, including 3...d5 4 e3 c5 5 c3 h6 6 Bh4 Nc6 7 Nbd2 Qb6:

This just misplaces the queen I fear and after 8 Rb1 White should emerge with an edge, as he did in Adhiban, B - Swayams, M.

The Torre Attack: 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 d6 5 c3 h6 6 Bh4 0-0 7 e3

Meeting 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 d6 5 c3 h6 6 Bh4 0-0 with 7 e3 rather than 7 e4 is playing it quite safe, but has been used by Kramnik, as we’ve seen before. It’s not entirely without sting, even if White may well have to lose a tempo with 7...Nbd7 8 Bd3 e5 9 0-0 Qe8 10 e4:

Nepomniachtchi tried 10...b6 against Kramnik, but 10...Nb6!? looks like a better way of developing the black queenside, as was tried in Artemiev, V - Demchenko, A.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...a6 [D00]

I’m delighted to say that we have a contribution from Eric this month. Our former d-pawn guru faced 3...a6 4 e3 e6 5 Bd3 c5 6 dxc5 Bxc5 7 a3 Nc6 8 Nf3 0-0 9 0-0 h6 10 e4 Re8!? in Prié, E - Arnaudov, P:

It’s not clear this improves on 10...d4 and after 11 e5 Nd7 12 Qd2 Bf8 13 h4 Eric was quick to build up a strong attacking position, as we’ll see with his variations to which I’ve added a few comments.

The London System: 2...e6 3 Bf4 d5 4 e3 c5 5 c3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5 [D02]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 d5 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 we have some topical lines to consider this month. Firstly, Markus Ragger has done his homework and made 5...Qb6!? playable, as we’ll see in the notes to Kamsky, G - Nakamura, H. That game saw, instead, 5...e6 6 c3 cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5!?, Wesley So’s idea from the London Chess Classic.

After 8 Be3 Bd6 9 Ne5 g6 White has a few ideas and Kamsky uncorks the aggressive pawn sacrifice 10 g4!? Ng7 11 h4, only for Nakamura to defend well and neutralise the early danger.

No doubt there will be more London developments next month. Until then, Richard

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