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As a preliminary to the big London System VS KID battle, coming soon, one important question in this section is: What happens in my recommended move order 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3!? when Black refrains from stopping the advance of the opposing king pawn with 4...d5?
Has White anything better than 5.e4, then, thus transposing into a 'King-pawn special', or is he better off inspiring himself by the Vorotnikov-Kogan-Hebden Attack and starting with Qd2, intending to exchange the bishops by Bh6!?

Download PGN of August '10 d-Pawn Specials games

London vs KID [A48]

After 4...0-0, the case remains unclear concerning whether to prefer 5.Qd2, providing Black with the possibility of 4...d5! again or 5.e4. After 4...d6 (in this move order or another) however, 5.Qd2! seems to offer White some unusual and quite interesting attacking possibilities:

In Game 1, Black did not allow the weakening of the dark squares in his king's vicinity and played the radical 5...h6!? intending to catch the opposing bishop with his knight after ...g6-g5.

As a result White was just fine after 6.h3 g5 7.Bh2 Bf5 8.e3 Ne4 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.Bd3 Bxd3 11.cxd3, an idea I had seen in the Colle, with a further e3-e4 reviving the 'claustrophobic' Bc1 in that particular case.

By delaying the indication of the king's address 5...c6 prepares some typical Pirc counter play on the opposite wing based on ...Qa5, ...b7-b5.

With an already interesting control of the e5 square, White logically decided to go for the advance of his e-pawn in Game 2. Indeed, after 6.e4 b5 7.a3 (In order to keep the king's bishop for e2 in case of ...Bg4 but also to reinforce the idea of e4-e5 without having to worry about Black's ...b5-b4.) 7...Nbd7 8.h3! he was ready:

5...0-0 6.Bh6 is already dangerous for Black and 6...Re8?! Forced White to play a good move which was part of his attacking plan anyway in Game 3.

As a result Black should never have been able to stabilize the centre by quickly playing ...e5 with the possibility of recapturing with his d6-pawn.

6...c5! is the critical response and White got nothing in Game 4 after 7.Bxg7 Kxg7 8.e3 Bg4 9.Be2 Nc6 10.h3?!, but 10.d5!? is interesting, as is 8.0-0-0!?

Vorotnikov-Kogan-Hebden Attack

4...d5 5.Qd2 inaugurates the VKH attack against which the increasingly popular 5...h6!? (which I briefly dealt with only once previously) is also interesting:

6.e3!? 0-0 7.Bd3 seems an appropriate answer, after which there are no ...Ne4, ...Bg4 or ...Bf5 concerns anymore. Furthermore, White has the strong plan of castling kingside and preparing e3-e4 where the weakness of the h6 pawn may return to haunt Black, as in the case of 7...Nh5 8.Be5 when 8...f6 is impossible.

Nevertheless, Black has the strong reaction 7...c5! 8.h3! Nc6!, sacrificing the c5-pawn, with the idea 9.dxc5 Nd7! 10.Nxd5 e5! 11.Bh2 e4! that led to a fantastic maze of complications in Game 5:

6.0-0-0 is standard but offers the opponent a precious indication as to how to organize his counter-play with 6...c6, intending a further ...b7-b5. After 7.Ne5 not 7...Qa5? however, because after the simple 8.Kb1!:

protecting a2, Black found himself looking stupid in Game 6, unable to play 8...b5 because of 9.Nxd5!

6.h4 prepares a retreat on h2 for the bishop against the idea ...Nh5 and by mixing the two ideas presented in the previous games might seem to be the panacea.

Indeed, by preventing the opposing castles for one move with a less compromising move than castling queenside, White induces Black to show his cards. Unfortunately this laid himself open to 6...c6 7.e3 Nbd7! 8.Bd3 Ng4!, intending the liberating ...e7-e5 in Game 7.

VKH or Pirc/Modern? [B06-07]

1...d6 Probably belongs to another section but I feel "d-pawn specials" players have a special approach to the so-called "daring defences"...

So I wanted to illustrate a part of my repertoire in this update, profiting from the intimately linked themes presented in the previous games after 2.Nf3 (2.Bf4 is clearly inferior because of 2...g6! And in this order of moves, White will not be able to prevent a further two square advance of the opposing e-pawn against his bishop.) 2...Nd7 3.e4! g6 4.Bc4! and after 4...Bg7? In Game 8:

5.Bxf7+! signed the record of the shortest game ever with 'sensible moves' from both sides!

4...e6 with the idea of playing a Hippopotamus, implying a double fianchetto, is about the only move. This can now be thwarted by 5.a4! however, profiting from the inappropriate black move order and directed against the couple Nd7/Bc8, with the idea of castling kingside and an easy course of action for White.

In any case Black chose 4...e5? in Game 9, which should similarly lose to 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Bxf7!!, forming a final flourish for this 'misfortune comes via f7' update!

See you soon, Eric