ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Congratulations to Ding Liren, who only led right at the death and displayed impressive mental fortitude, as well as some fine play en route to becoming the 17th world chess champion. Kudos too to Ding and his second Richard Rapport for deploying a wide and fairly rich array of openings with the white pieces, including two of our favourites, the London and the Colle!

Download PGN of April ’23 d-Pawn Specials games

>> Previous Update >>

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 Nc6 [A45]

Daniel Naroditsky continues to fly the flag for 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 Nc6?!, which I must admit I still don’t really believe in. After 4 f3! e5!? 5 dxe5 g5 6 Be3 Nc5 White simply has quite a pleasant choice, as indeed we’ve seen before.

One good choice is 7 Nc3 Nxe5 8 Bd4, as we’ll examine in the dramatic encounter that was Djordjevic, V - Naroditsky, D.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 Nc3 d6 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 Nc3 we have a couple of developments to catch up on. One is 5....b6!?, which may not be so bad and quickly enabled Jaime Santos Latasa to seize the upper hand as Black against Veselin Topalov no less at the Salamanca Masters, the other is 5...d6 6 Qd3!?:

To me White should be countering on the dark squares and so the standard 6 Qd2 makes good sense, but this alternative queen move was tried by a Chinese GM in Xu Xiangyu - Sandalakis, A.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 c3 [D00]

One solid way of meeting the solid 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 is 3 e3 c5 4 c3 when Haik Martirosyan faced 4...Nc6 a few times in the recent strong Satty Zhuldyz tournament.

As we’ll see, 5 Nd2 e5!? remains a critical line, in contrast to which 5 Nf3?! Qb6 6 Qb3 c4! already left White on the back foot in Martirosyan, H - Keymer, V.

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

Yes, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bf4 was seen in the world championship match, where 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 cxd4 6 exd4 Bf5 was a solid choice and one met by the fairly critical 7 c3 e6 8 Bb5!? in Ding Liren - Nepomniachtchi, I.

This sidesteps 8 Qb3 Bd6! and led to a very instructive win for the future champion.

The Torre: 3...d5 4 e3 c5 5 c3 Nbd7 6 Bd3 Be7 7 Nbd2 [D03]

We have a few developments to catch up on after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 Nd2 where play transposes from the Trompowsky into the Torre. Some involve the insertion of 3...h6 4 Bh4, but that is by no means obligatory for Black and 3...c5 4 e3 d5 5 c3 Be7 6 Bd3 Nbd7 7 Ngf3 b6 8 0-0 Bb7 9 Ne5 0-0 remains an important line:

I wonder if White should fight for control of e4 here with 10 Qf3!?, since the standard 10 f4 was fairly well met by 10...Ne4! in Schandorff, L - Thybo, J, an encounter which ends with White a queen up, but unable to prevent mate.

The Colle: 3...c5 4 Nbd2 cxd4 5 exd4 [D04]

I wasn’t too surprised by a London, but didn’t expect to see 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 e3 cropping up in Astana, where 3...c5 4 Nbd2 cxd4 5 exd4 Qc7 6 c3 again saw Ding reach a Carlsbad structure, or rare version of a Caro Exchange if you prefer.

With plenty at stake, nerves and some strange decisions would occur in what became a gripping encounter, beginning with 6...Bd7?!, which was surely just asking for 7 Ne5 rather than 7 Bd3, see Ding Liren - Nepomniachtchi, I.

The Colle: 3...e6 4 Bd3 Be7 5 b3 0-0 6 Bb2 [D05]

We also have Vladimir Kramnik’s recent patronage of the Colle-Zukertort to enjoy, including with 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 Be7 5 b3 0-0 6 Bb2 b6 7 Nbd2 Bb7:

This is a very solid line for Black, a notion which even Kramnik was unable to dent for a fair while, despite starting with the slightly unusual 8 Qe2!? in a bid to tempt Black forwards in Kramnik, V - Urazayev, A.

Will we have more top-level games to enjoy next month? I do hope so!

Until then, Richard

>> Previous Update >>