ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month, as an introduction to the 1...d5 Torre, which will be coming soon, I continue to look at the fashionable 2...c6 Tromp, but this time dealing with the typical sacrifice of the b2-pawn.

Download PGN of December '09 d-Pawn Specials games

The Tromp [A45]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c6!?:

3.Nd2! (Controlling e4 and therefore more precise than 3.Nf3.) 3...Qb6 4.Ngf3 Of course; we have witnessed more dubious gambits in this section... 4...Qxb2 5.e4:

This position is obviously very dangerous for Black. Actually all the criteria of 'gambitability' are respected by White:

  • 1st of all it is a side pawn that will allow a white rook to immediately join the fight for free
  • 2nd White has gained a big lead in development that will offer him at least a lasting initiative
  • 3rd he has more space thanks to his centre which is ready to get moving
  • and finally, and the most important in my eyes: WHEN ACCEPTED, THERE IS NO SIMPLE WAY TO GIVE BACK THE PAWN TO ACHIEVE EQUALITY; which is sometimes quite pleasant, as in the case of the Lemberger against the BDG...

Hence: 5...d5 6.e5! And with this forgotten move White proved in Game 1 that the "old ones are the best ones"!

More topically, the position resulting from 6.Bd3!? dxe4 7.Nxe4 Nx4 8.Bxe4 also looks dangerous for Black:

but he has the disruptive 8...Qb4+! and after 9.Bd2 Qd6 10.0-0 g6 he somehow managed to limit the opposing compensation after castling kingside in Game 2.

Gambiting is about space and time, and White lost both of these in Game 3, with the added material concession of the pair of bishops, by 6.Bxf6? exf6 7.exd5, answered by 7...Bb4!

When Black is not willing to let the opponent expand in the centre, he may well be advised to delay the capture of the b2 pawn by 4...d5. Then White should follow in the same spirit by 5.e3! Qxb2 6.Bd3:

As instead Black equalized without much effort in Game 4 after 5.Qc1?! Ne4 6.Bf4 Nxd2, forcing 7.Bxd2 Bf5.

When White is absolutely reluctant to part with his b2-pawn 3.Nf3!? is an interesting alternative, with the idea 3...Qb6 4.Qc1 because after 4...Ne4 5.Bf4 d5 he may play in similar style to the 2...Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 Tromp with 6.e3 and the idea Bd3xe4 to get rid of the annoying knight without allowing any leveling Ne4xd2 as in the previous game.

The problem, however, might then be the challenge on the dark squares beginning with 5...d6, as in Game 5, reaching an unusual position for the section after 6.g3!? e5 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 c5 9.Nb3 d5 10.Bg2 Be6 11.0-0:

Actually, White may be ok here by preparing c2-c4 in reversed Grünfeld style.

On the other hand, trying to profit from the opening of the diagonal by 3...Qa5 after 3.Nd2 (or 3.Nf3 transposing) appeared artificial in Game 6.

3.Nc3!? is another serious alternative, which is bound to transpose into the Veresov after 3...d5 (when 4.Qd3! is the move I am interested in studying next, rather than Christoph's favoured 4.e3). Nonetheless, Black may still attempt 3...Qb6!? after which 4.Qd2?! is probably a dubious pawn offer:

Indeed, in comparison with the similar gambit issued from 3.Nd2! Qb6 4.Nf3 Qxb2 5.e4 as in the first games of this update, the white queen turns out to be badly placed here. Furthermore the Nc3 is paradoxically less active on c3, where it hampers the c-pawn, than on d2.

And a third problem for White is the awkward position of his bishop on g5 which, again, is paradoxically less active here than on d2, (as sometimes in the 3...c6 Veresov by the way, transposing into our subject when Back plays a rapid ...Qa5 with the idea ...Ne4!) where he could question the ideal a5-square for the opposing queen, for instance!

As a result, after 4...Qxb2 5.Rb1 Qa3 6.e4 d6 7.f4 Nbd7! 8.Nf3 Qa5! 9.Be2, White was never in a position to prevent Black's liberating 9...e5 (looking similar to the Czech Defence... but without the b2-pawn!) and rapidly collapsed in Game 7.

Hence the idea 4.Qd3!?, solving 2 concerns at the same time, with the idea of developing without f2-f4 so as to always have Bg5-d2.

For this reason, the sedate 4.Rb1, putting a rook opposite the black queen, is more popular, and White actually got a promising position in Game 8 after 4...d5 5.e3 Bf5 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.cxd3 Nbd7 8.Nf3 e6 9.0-0 Be7 10.b4! with the idea Na4-c5.

The last game of the year 2009 is here to mark my love of the Beatrice number (9, according to Dante), my erring when I imagined I was already winning every time I managed to double the f-pawns in the Tromp, and accessorily illustrate the idea 3.Bxf6?! gxf6!? 4.c4! Qb6 5.Qd2 d5 (5...e5 is better, as mentioned last time) with a proper game! See Game 9.

See you soon, Eric