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The Trompowsky is once again experiencing a surge in popularity. It's even becoming tricky to keep up with all its developments every month. We have games in it from various recent events, not least the ever-strong Politiken Cup from the land of Hamlet and the British Championship.

Download PGN of August '14 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 h4!? [A45]

I've long wanted to give 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 h4!? a punt and should clearly play more just so I can. Richard Rapport is not a man whom one can accuse of struggling to find time to play and I suspect too it won't come as a surprise to learn that he is the latest adherent to the white cause. Julian Hodgson is sadly long in retirement and Igor Miladinovic no longer an exclusive user of 3 h4, so it's good to see the surprise move gaining a new advocate.

After 3...c5 4 dxc5 (I continue to be surprised that this is invariably played; 4 d5 isn't that bad) 4...Qa5+ 5 Nd2 Nxg5 6 hxg5 g6 7 c3 Qxc5 Rapport typically came up with a new idea: 8 Ne4!?

The critical line may well be 8...Qb6 9 Qd4, which Black should enter as 8...Qe5?! 9 Rh4! Bg7 10 Nf3 Qc7 11 e3 is not without its dangers for him, as we'll see in Rapport - Damljanovic.

Tromp 2...c5 3 d5 Ne4 [A45]

Another new convert to the Tromp is Mark Hebden, who readily embraced it in Aberystwyth, as we'll see. Notably Hebden was happy to try 2...c5 3 d5 Ne4 4 Bf4 Qb6 5 Nd2!?:

Hebden - Kett merely reinforces the long-held belief that 5...Nxd2?! 6 Bxd2 Qxb2 7 e4 is not what Black should be doing, while the notes show Richard Pert pioneering the fresh try 5...Qxb2 6 Nxe4 Qb4+ 7 c3!?.

Tromp 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 c4 e5!? [D00]

Finally, we come to 2...d5 and encounter two important lines. In that most high level of games, Adams-Kramnik, I rather like White's simple set-up 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 e6 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 Be2, which sure enough leads to an edge. Good preparation from the English no.1. More messy is 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 c4 e5!? 5 Nc3:

As we've seen before, 5...c5!? would now be very ambitious, but also quite principled. Instead, 5...dxc4 6 dxe5 Qxd1+ 7 Rxd1 fxe5 8 Nf3 saw White regaining his pawn with a pull in Smerdon - Salomon.

The Torre Attack 2...d5 [D03]

It's via 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 that Jones - Meier begins, entering Torre waters only after 2...d5 3 e3 e6 4 Nd2 c5 5 c3 Nbd7 6 Ngf3. Here the highly theoretical German Grandmaster remained true to a set-up he'd used before, namely 6...Qc7 7 Bd3 Be7 8 0-0 0-0:

At this stage I believe 9 Rc1 to be White's most accurate choice, but something similar soon happened in the game, in which Jones' preparation proved the more relevant and in which he eventually triumphed with a well played opposite-coloured bishop attack.

The Torre Attack 3...h6 4 Bh4 g5 [A46]

It's not only Dave Smerdon who likes to venture into d-pawn Specials territory on occasion, but also Chris Ward, who went 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bg5 in Ward - Howell, a pivotal clash from the British. With 3...h6 4 Bh4 g5 5 Bg3 Ne4 6 Nbd2 Nxg3 7 hxg3 Bg7 8 c3 b6 Howell showed himself happy to set up along Hippo lines:

I can't really explain why Chris avoided 9 e4 followed by Bd3 and Qe2, but his 9 e3 wasn't without its points before he put the wrong piece on e4 and was outplayed by the defending champion.

The Colle Stonewall approach [D05]

I was asked to give a bit of coverage to White's Stonewall approach and 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 e3 d5 4 Bd3 Bd6 5 0-0 b6 6 Nbd2 Bb7 seemed a good place to begin:

Here 7 Ne5 is far from forced, but is very principled. Unfortunately for White, though, 7...c5 8 f4 c5 9 c3 Ne4! is an obvious counter and one which fully equalises, as we'll see in Bakre - Vidit.

Colle-Zukertort [D05]

The Colle-Zukertort continues to pack more danger, even for grandmaster opponents. After 7 b3 c5 8 Bb2 0-0 9 Ne5 Nc6 10 a3 Rc8 11 f4 we reach something of a tabiya

11...Ne7 continues to hold up well for Black, but after 12 Qf3 Rc7 (12...b5!? remains critical) 13 Qh3 Ne4?! 14 dxc5! Bxc5 15 b4 Bd6 16 Rad1 he found himself unpleasantly worse in Markowski - Mista and lasted only another seven moves.

I hope you all manage to enjoy some chess this summer. Until September, Richard

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