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Some very high-level chess this month with one encounter from the Sinquefield Cup and two from the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz. Levon Aronian takes the white pieces in two of those games, and also features as he is outplayed by the world champion in model London fashion...until White makes a horrible oversight.

Download PGN of August ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 d5 4 Nd2 Bf5 [A45]

Black’s most solid and, from White’s perspective, most annoying response to 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 h4!? is 3...d5 4 Nd2 Bf5. The young Turkish Grandmaster Cemil Ali Marandi recently tested 5 Nxe4 Bxe4 6 f3 twice:

We take a look at how he got on in the Turkish Team Championship in Ali Marandi, C - Ozer, O.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 d5 d6 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 we examine developments following both 3 Bxf6 and 3 d5 Qb6 4 Nc3, the Vaganian Gambit. The former and then 3...gxf6 4 d5 d6 5 c4 (this now seems like a much more standard set-up than it used to) 5...Bg7 6 Nc3 f5 7 e3 Nd7 8 Qc2 Qa5 9 Bd3 Ne5 10 Nge2 sees White developing quickly and logically:

However, Black can blow open lines with 10...b5!?, which generated good counter-chances in Hernandez Guerrero, G - Perdomo, L.

The Torre Attack v KID 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 c3 0-0 5 Nbd2 d5 6 e3 [A48]

In Kramnik, V - Svidler, P we cover recent developments after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5, as well as welcoming the temporary return to the board of the 14th world champion. Following 3...Bg7 4 c3 0-0 5 Nbd2 d5 6 e3 Nbd7 7 Be2 0-0 8 0-0 e5 Kramnik settled for 9 Rc1!?:

The resulting positions are more rich than may at first seem apparent and Svidler soon overplayed his hand.

The Flexible Anti-King’s Indian: 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nbd2 [A48]

I’m not entirely sure what 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nbd2 should be called, but in speed games it has attracted the interest of some strong players of late.

White angles for 3...Bg7 4 e4 and after 3...d5 4 e3 Bg7 can expand with 5 b4, as we’ll see in Aronian, L - Vachier-Lagrave, M.

The London: 2...Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 Qb6 [D00]

Quite an ambitious choice for Black after 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 is 2...Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 Qb6, intending 6 Qb3 c4 7 Qc2:

Black has a few options here. He is unable to equalise from what I can see, although 7...g6!? 8 e4 Qd8 wasn’t such a bad try in Edouard, R - Feller, S.

The London, Anti-Nimzo 4 e3 Bd6 5 Bg3 0-0 6 Nbd2 b6 [D02]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bf4 e6 4 e3 Bd6 5 Bg3 0-0 6 Nbd2 Black doesn’t have to hurry with ...c5 and 6...b6 7 c3 Bb7 8 Bd3 Nbd7 is most certainly not without its logic:

9 Qc2 saw White taking control of e4 in Carlsen, M - Aronian, L, where Black was quickly in trouble after hurrying to resolve the central tension.

The Colle-Zukertort: 3...e6 4 Nbd2 c5 5 b3 [D05]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 e3 e6 4 Nbd2 c5 5 b3 b6 6 Bb2 Bb7 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 0-0 Bd6:

we’ve only ever considered one approach for White before, namely the direct and dangerous 9 Ne5 0-0 10 f4. However, it’s also possible to play in more positional fashion with 9 dxc5, as we’ll see in Aronian, L - Karjakin, S.

Fingers crossed for more high-level games to bring you again next month.

Until then, Richard

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