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We have some lively encounters to enjoy this month. I’m pleased to report too that even Gata Kamsky has been caught dabbling in the h4 Trompowsky, if less, from a white perspective, to announce that Wesley So’s 7...Nh5 is still holding up pretty well in the London.

Download PGN of April ’18 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 [A45]

It’s not as popular as 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5, but 2...e6 continues to retain its adherents, and if 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3. We round up some recent developments here in Mchedlishvili, M - Anton Guijarro, D, where the slightly surprising 5...Nc6!? was seen:

This is new for us, but was once debated in an encounter between Julian Hodgson and Jonathan Rowson no less. Hodgson went 6 e5!? and this feels more critical than the 6 Nf3 g5 7 Bb5 g4 of the game, which quickly became quite murky.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 c5 4 d5 [A45]

The strong French IM Gabriel Flom is a leading practitioner of the h4 Trompowsky and 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 d5 Ne4 4 h4 Qb6 (Gata Kamsky faced 4...g6 instead, as we’ll see) 5 Nd2 Nxg5 6 hxg5 g6 saw Black shying away from the critical if greedy pawn grab on b2 in Flom, G - Stukan, M.

Fianchettoing here can hardly be terrible, but after 7 Rb1 Bg7 8 c3 d6 9 e3 Qc7 10 Bd3 e6?! 11 Ne2! exd5 12 Nf4 White was already doing pretty well.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Bxf6 exf6 [D00]

Black remains extremely solid after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5, but there might be a gleam of hope for white players in the good, old plan 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 c6 5 Bd3 Bd6 6 Nd2 0-0 7 Qf3!?:

Such aggression hasn’t been topical for a number of years, but unsurprisingly appealed to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Moreover, while 7...a5 8 Ne2 Na6 9 c3 Nc7 10 h4 Re8 11 g4 Ne6 seemed quite sensible for Black in Mamedyarov, S - Kramnik, V, I’m yet to be convinced that he was definitely equal after 12 0-0-0. At the very least White’s position seems easier to play and Kramnik had to defend well to avoid running into serious trouble.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Nd2 e6 4 e3 h6 5 Bh4 c5 [A45]

I had expected to classify 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 Nd2 e6 4 e3 h6 5 Bh4 c5 6 c3 Be7 7 Bd3 as a Torre, but it’s technically not until White plays Ngf3. As such, 7...Qb6 8 Rb1 Bd7 9 a4! should be classified as an important novelty in this Trompowsky-Torre hybrid:

White avoids the exchange of bishops Black had planned with ...Bb5 and after 9...Bc6?! 10 dxc5 Qxc5 11 b4! Black was already in some trouble in Andreikin, D - Wang Yue.

The Torre Attack v KID 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 c3 h6 5 Bh4 d6 6 Nbd2 g5 [A48]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 c3 h6 5 Bh4 d6 6 Nbd2 g5 7 Bg3 Nh5 is most certainly a Torre and after 8 e4 e6 9 Nc4 a critical if fairly rare move is 9...f5!?:

This forces the pace and after 10 Nfd2 Nxg3 11 hxg3 0-0!? 12 Ne3 the position was already becoming rather sharp in another exciting encounter, Naiditsch, A - Vachier-Lagrave, M.

The London System, Anti-Nimzo 6...cxd4 [D02]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 c5 3 e3 Nc6 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 cxd4 White is already at a cross-roads:

The usual recapture is with the e-pawn, but 7 cxd4 is Kamsky-approved. However, White could do with an improvement over 7...Qb6 8 Rb1 Nh5!, which successfully hunted down an important bishop in Artemiev, V - Adhiban, B. As such, I imagine many subscribers will stick with 7 exd4, but despite fairly extensive testing of all the options after 7...Nh5!? White is still to find any advantage against Wesley So’s idea, as we’ll see in Nguyen Van Thanh - Turov, M.

Fingers crossed for more exciting games and new ideas next month. Until then, Richard

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