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We can enjoy some instructive games this month, not least in the Colle-Zukertort structure where White goes for an early c2-c4 and also that blocked queenside structure characterised by white pawns on d4, c5, b2 and b4.

Download PGN of April ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 Nf6 [A45]

One of Black’s most solid of all the 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 lines is 3 Bf4 (we also take a look at a brutal and highly thematic 3 h4 Tromp encounter) 3...d5 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 Nf6, retreating before the knight can be taken:

White has a few options here, but the Jobava-Prié-like 6 Nc3!? certainly poses some problems, not least after the novelty 6...a6 7 dxc5 Nc6 8 Bg5! in Mchedlishvili, M - Raja, R.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6 we’re used to White going 6 Bd3, but 6 Bc4!? has also been used by Trompowsky expert Miguoel Admiraal:

Now Black might try 6...Qg6, but he sticks with conventional development with 6...g6 7 Ne2 Bg7 8 0-0 0-0 9 f4 Qe7 before the play heats up in Admiraal, M - Tregubov, P.

The Pseudo-Trompowsky: 2...h6 3 Bh4 c6 [D00]

A few strong players have dabbled in 1 d4 d5 2 Bg5!? of late. One new idea is Rapport’s prophylactic 2...f6 3 Bf4 Nc6 4 Bg3!?, while 2...h6 3 Bh4 c6 4 e3 Bf5 has been rather neglected in our coverage before (it’s a Slav-like, solid alternative to 4...Qb6 5 Qc1 e5!?).

Following 5 c4 Qb6 6 Qb3 e6 7 Nc3 Nd7 8 c5! Qxb3 9 axb3 a6 10 b4 Rc8 Black had avoided a b4-b5 breakthrough in Dimitrov, R - Di Benedetto, E, but only at the cost of leaving White in full control of the position after 11 Nf3 Be7 12 Bg3.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 Be6 [D00]

1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 was also seen in Movsesian, S - Osmak, I, only for Black to go 2...Nf6. Interestingly Movsesian exchanged straight away and after 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 Be6 5 g3 Bd6 6 Bg2 c6 7 Ne2 Nd7 boldly went 8 0-0:

This rather provokes 8...h5, but 8...0-0 was preferred in the game where Black eventually cracked in a long struggle.

The London: 2...c5 3 d5 d6 [A45]

Quite a decent independent line for Black after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 remains 2...c5 and if 3 d5 d6. After 4 Nc3 there’s still no clear consensus on whether Black should go 4...e5 or 4...a6 5 a4 e5, but taking control of the b5-square can actually matter, as we’ll see.

White expanded with 6 dxe6 Bxe6 7 e4, but failed to gain any advantage in an encounter between two highly creative players, Gareyev, T - Wohl, A.

The Jobava-Prié Attack 2...g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 [A45]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3!? just won’t go away and continues to pack a certain punch, as shown by such ideas as David Navara’s 3...d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 h5 6 Nf3 Bg4 7 Qd2! Bxf3 8 gxf3:

White may lack an obvious pawn break in the resulting structure, but Black can easily still come under heavy pressure, as we’ll see in Gorovets, A - Zhao Jun.

The Colle-Zukertort: 3...d5 4 Bd3 b6 5 b3 Bb7 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 0-0 0-0 8 Nbd2 Nbd7 9 c4 [D05/E14]

A few strong players have dabbled in the Colle and the Colle-Zukertort of late, as we’ll see in Muha, M - Zajic, M. There White meets 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 d5 with 4 c4 b6 5 b3 Bb7 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 Bd3 0-0 8 0-0 Nbd7 9 Nbd2:

Of course, this position also arises with White having only just gone 9 c4. The resulting play, which deviates from a Kramnik game on move 15, isn’t perfect, but is once again pretty thematic and instructive.

Will we see more of the 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 next month? Until then, Richard

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