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Something of a topsy-turvy update this month. White is in good shape in the Trompowsky, especially against a recent black try in the 2...e6 variation, but unfortunately we will witness two painful defeats for leading d-pawn exponents. I've little doubt though that both Mark Hebden and Aaron Summerscale will soon be back to winning ways in their favourite systems.

Download PGN of August '15 d-Pawn Specials games

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

A new idea to me, not to mention to theory this year, is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 e5!?:

This has now had four tests, including two on successive days in recent weeks, but if White is happy to gambit then I suspect that 6 Bc4! should be a good version of an Open Game for him. We check things out in Wen Yang-Kovchan.

The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5, 6 d5 [A45]

Another line new to ChessPub, if one which likely shouldn't be is 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 d6 7 e4 g6:

Black abandons the critical 6...Qb6 to head straight for a Schmid Benoni-type set-up. Such an approach is by no means uncommon at club level, but White ought to be a bit better if he simply manoeuvres his queen's knight from b1 to c4. Laznicka tried something much more ambitious with 8 Qd2 Bg7 9 Bh6 in Laznicka - Tomasi, but it wasn't entirely convincing.

The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5, 6 Nd2 [A45]

Much less topical these days is the more positional sixth move, 6 Nd2. Arguably the critical line is 6...cxd4 7 Nb3 Qb6 8 Qxd4 Nc6 9 Qxb6 axb6 10 Nd4 e5 11 Nxc6 exf4 12 Nd4 Bc5:

Here White should likely try 13 Nh3, as after updating the theory a little it does seem that 13 g3 Nd5! 14 Nc2 doesn't lead anywhere, as we'll see in Wang Chen-Lu Shanglei.

The Torre Attack 3...c5 4 e3 Qb6 [A46]

I gave 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 e3 Qb6 5 Nbd2 a bit of an update earlier this year, but there only considered the immediate snaffle on b2. Black also has 5...cxd4 6 exd4 Qxb2 when 7 Bd3 is probably best, only exchanging on f6 in the event of 7...d5. Instead, 7 Bxf6 gxf6 8 Bd3 Nc6 9 0-0!? Nxd4 10 Rb1 Nxf3+ 11 Qxf3 does give White some lead in development:

However, after 11...Qd4! it's not so easy to generate any actual threats and Black was able to untangle, going on to convert his extra material in Hebden - Fodor.

The Colle-Zukertort 3...c6 [D04]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 c6 4 Bd3 Black should either deploy his bishop to g4 or go 4...Nbd7 5 b3 and then fianchetto on the kingside. Instead, 5...e6?! is almost certainly going to see him losing a tempo after the inevitable ...c5. White ruthlessly exploited his extra move in Yusupov - Jayakumar, concluding with a lovely finish in the following position:

The Colle-Zukertort [D05]

A somewhat more established defence is 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 Nc6 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 Nbd2 0-0 8 0-0 b6 9 Ne5 Bb7 10 f4 Rc8 11 a3 Ne7 12 Qf3 b5!:

This critical line was debated between two ChessPub stalwarts in a recent rapid game at Adam Raoof's leading Kings Place event in London. One of my predecessors tried to hold the queenside and then storm the kingside, but unfortunately 13 c3 didn't turn out too well in Summerscale - Emms.

We round up a number of other recent grandmaster outings with the Colle-Zukertort in Nguyen - Englert, where 6...Be7 7 0-0 0-0 8 Ne5 was very early:

Probably too early even, as 8...cxd4 9 exd4 Nxe5!? 10 dxe5 Nd7 led to a very solid version of the French for Black.

Until next month, Richard

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