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Happy New Year! It's something of a Torre fest this month, but we have some impressive, not to mention instructive performances, and White's overall score of '+5' should supply some warmth for subscribers during these wintry days.

Download PGN of January '15 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Torre Attack 2...e6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 e4 [A46]

We begin with that Torre/Trompowsky hybrid, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 (2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 Nf3 is the other route) 2...e6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 e4. After 5...d6 White usually develops his knight to c3, but Nogueiras makes a good case for 6 c3!?:

It's hard to believe White can be better with his f-pawn impeded, but it soon gets motoring after the provocative 6...g5!? in Nogueiras Santiago-Pozo Vera.

The Torre Attack 2...e6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bh4 d6 5 c3!? [A46]

On balance, I still prefer the bishop retreat and 4 Bh4 d6 5 c3!? g5 6 Bg3 Nh5 7 e4 packs more venom than one might at first imagine. One point behind White's move order is the option to meet 7...Bg7 with 8 Nfd2:

A Torre expert gives a model demonstration in Hebden - Haimovich.

Torre Attack 3...c5 4 Nc3!? [A46]

Black's other big third move is, of course, 3...c5 when 4 Nc3!? is a response I can't really endorse. That said, it does have some practical sting and can work against the right opponent, as we'll see in Andreikin - Karjakin.

Torre with ...e6 and ...c5, 4 c3 [A46]

More normal are 4 e3 and 4 c3, with the latter and then the classical 4...d5 5 e3 Nbd7 6 Nbd2 Be7 7 Bd3 b6 8 Ne5 Nxe5 9 dxe5 Nd7 10 Bxe7 Qxe7 11 f4 debated in Gormally - Cobb:

James Cobb has experience on the white side of the Torre and here tried 11...Qh4!?, a new move for the site. It may seem strange to spend two tempi forcing g2-g3 out of White, but that does block the third rank and so impedes any rook or queen swing. Black emerges with a very solid position, if not complete equality from what I can see.

Torre Attack 2...g6 [A48]

Switching branches of the Torre, we find 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 c3 0-0 5 Nbd2 d5 6 e3 Nbd7 7 Be2 c5 8 0-0 b6 in Gunina - Kashlinskaya:

Valentina Gunina is on the rise at the moment and no wonder when she incorporates the Torre in her repertoire. Here she goes on to prevail in quite a messy encounter and White should have a small pull after 9 a4, beginning to probe.

The London System 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nc3!? [A46]

The Russian Superfinals also threw up the game Vitiugov - Lysyj where 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nc3!? took a leaf out of Andreikin's book and, more directly, Richard Rapport's:

After 5...cxd4 6 exd4 Bb4 7 Bd3 0-0 8 0-0 Be7 9 Ne4 White had no grounds for complaint, but very quickly became too ambitious.

The Colle-Zukertort [D05]

Following 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 Nc6 6 0-0 Bd6 7 Bb2 0-0 8 Nbd2 b6 there's a reason why White often goes 9 a3 or 9 Ne5 Bb7 and then 10 a3. Instead, 10 f4 cxd4 11 exd4 Nb4!? 12 Be2 Ne4 is an attempt to punish the omission of the little rook pawn move:

We take a look in Vakhidov - Sowray where Black quickly obtains a comfortable position before the higher-rated player gradually starts to take control.

Whatever your d-pawn speciality, good luck with it in 2015! Richard

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