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The London System isn’t quite as popular as it was two years ago, but still remains quite topical. It dominates our update, as do a number of fine practical performances and the odd shocking oversight.

Download PGN of January ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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

We return to the solid line 2...g6 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 d5 with an encounter from Wijk aan Zee. After 5 c4 dxc4 6 Bxc4 Bd6 7 Nf3 Black held back on ...c6 with 7...Qe7!?:

This novelty is unlikely to set the world on fire, but soon left Black very close to equality in Bareev, E - Chigaev, M, which became quite a good scrap.

The Trompowsky 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 [D00]

We cover that modern main line, 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 e3 c5 5 dxc5 in Krassowizkij, J - Sumets, A, where 5...e6 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 Be2 reminds us of the key game which put this line on the map, Adams-Kramnik, Dortmund 2014.

Sumets tried 7...Nd7!?, whereupon he was quite solid, while White had some chances to obtain an edge.

The Neo-London 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Nd2 Bd6 5 Bg3 c5 6 c3 Qc7 [D02]

I was keen to explore the rare 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Nd2 Bd6 5 Bg3 c5 6 c3 Qc7!? 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 Ngf3 b6 as it was Magnus Carlsen’s choice en route to winning the World Blitz:

Moreover, after 9 0-0 Bxg3 10 hxg3 Bb7 Black doesn’t seem to have any problems whatsoever and even rapid queenside expansion didn’t give White anything at all in Deepan, C - Sharma, D, which is another tense struggle subscribers may well enjoy.

The London, Anti-Nimzo 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Nbd2 Nc6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 [D02]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Nbd2 Nc6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 (or one of a great many other possible move orders), an important tabiya arises:

Should White move his bishop to d3 or b5? Even after hundreds of games with both, we’re still no nearer a definite conclusion. We’ll examine recent developments after 8 Bd3 in Esipenko, A - Popov, V, and 8 Bb5 in Nabaty, T - Movsesian, S.

The Colle-Zukertort 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Bb2 Nc6 8 Nbd2 [D05]

Of course, 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 Be7 5 b3 c5 6 0-0 0-0 7 Bb2 Nc6 8 Nbd2 is the main line of the Colle-Zukertort. Here subscribers should be aware that 8...cxd4?! 9 exd4 b6 10 Ne5 Qc7 11 a3 grants White a very pleasant edge due to his hold over e5. How would you, though, meet 11...Nd7?! 12 f4 f6?

The tempting move was now played in Yusupov, A - Uurits, K, where Black was unrated, but might well have drawn had he been a little stronger.

The Colle System 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 c3 Bd6 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nbd2 Nbd7 [D05]

1 Nf3 c5 2 e3 Nf6 3 d4 e6 4 Bd3 d5 5 c3 Bd6 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nbd2 Nbd7 8 Re1 Qc7 9 e4! leads to an IQP struggle:

White hopes that the black queen will prove to be misplaced on c7 and both sides play well in Flores, D - Martinez Alcantara, J, before White picks the wrong way to crash through.

Let’s hope for some more exciting struggles next month. Until then, Richard

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