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Our most high-profile encounter this month is Duda-Rapport from Wijk aan Zee. If you’re yet to see how Black won in style, do try to spot it in advance! The opening stages were, however, pleasant enough for White, as is the case in most of the games.

Download PGN of February ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 h4 c5 4 d5 [A45]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 d5 allows White to hope for both the Vaganian Gambit and 3...Ne4 4 h4!?. Black has various ways to grab b2 and 4...Qb6 5 Nd2 Nxd2 6 Bxd2 Qxb2 is reasonable, so long as after 7 e4...

...Black goes 7...Qe5. Instead, 7...Qb6 8 Bc3 d6 9 Rb1 left White with promising compensation at this stage in Bellon Lopez, JM - Lalith, B.

The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 d5 Qb6 5 Bc1 [A45]

Of course, Bellon might instead have transposed into the line 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 d5, after which 4...Qb6 5 Bc1 e6 6 f3 Qa5+ 7 c3 Nf6 8 e4 d6 remains fairly topical:

White has a few options here, including the 9 Na3 of Balog, I - Babula, V, a game which is all about the timing of the g2-g4 advance.

The Trompowsky 2...d5 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 [D00]

The position which arises after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 Be6 5 Nd2 c6 looks fairly natural, but has not been so common and is new for us:

With 6 Ngf3 in Duda, JK - Rapport, R, White eschewed any Bd3, Qf3 and 0-0-0 type set-up, and here 6...b5!? already saw the Hungarian star beginning to display his trademark creativity.

The Torre Attack v KID 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 c3 d6 6 e4 c5 [A48]

It’s been a few months since we considered the fairly important line 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e4 d6 6 c3 c5 7 dxc5 dxc5 8 Bc4 Nc6:

White normally castles or goes 9 Qe2 at this point, but he settled for the seemingly modest 9 h3 in Galego, L - Hansen, E, and soon emerged with an edge after Black likely became too ambitious.

The Jobava-Prié Attack 3...c5 4 e3 a6 [D00]

GingerGM have recently released a DVD, The Jobava London System, by Simon Williams and Blair Connell, so don’t be surprised if 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 becomes trendy down the chess club. After 3...c5 4 e3 Black can, of course, take play into a type of Exchange Caro, but 4...a6 5 dxc5! Nc6 6 Nf3 may not be so bad for him:

6...Bg4 is one idea to explore, but 6...e6 7 Na4 Ne4? was certainly not good in Williams, S - Melaugh, S.

The Neo-London 2...e6 3 e3 b6 4 Nd2 [A47]

A very creative idea is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 e6 3 e3 Be7 4 Nd2 b6 5 Qf3, to which I’m tempted to award an exclam.

It was used by the other half of the GingerGM team, IM Simon Ansell, to obtain a significant early gain of space after 5...d5 6 Bb5+ c6 7 Bd3 Ba6 8 Bxa6 Nxa6 9 c3 0-0 10 g4!? in Ansell, S - Cyborowski, L.

The London System 3...e6 4 e3 c5 5 Nbd2 Nc6 6 c3 cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5 [D02]

Ju Wenjun and Wesley So put 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Nf3 c5 5 Nbd2 Nc6 6 c3 cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5!? on the map and it’s now been played almost 200 times. The critical test is arguably 8 Be3 Bd6 9 Ne5 g6 10 g4:

As we’ve seen before, Black should be OK after 10...Ng7, whereas 10...Nf6?! 11 f4 allowed White a clamp in Naroditsky, D - Smirnov, A.

The London may not be as trendy as it was two or so years ago, but I dare say it may well make another appearance next month. Until then, Richard

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