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From the Colle-Zukertort to the trendy Jobava-Prié, the Women’s World Championship match showed that our favourite weapons are not to be underestimated, even if they may just lead to unbalanced, tough middlegame battles. In contrast, the Trompowsky still results in a number of fairly quick knock-outs

Download PGN of January ’20 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Colle-Zukertort: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 b3 Nc6 5 Bb2 a6 [A06]

Yes, 1 Nf3 d5 2 b3 c5 3 e3 a6 4 Bb2 Nc6 5 d4 is not our normal move order nor even a position officially classified as a Colle-Zukertort. Following 5...Nf6 6 Nbd2 cxd4 7 exd4 g6 8 a3 Bg7 9 Bd3 White had, though, certainly set up very much in Colle-Zukertort fashion.

Black must be fine here with her king quite safe, but impressively the board still quickly caught fire in Ju Wenjun - Goryachkina, A.

The Colle-Zukertort: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 Nc6 6 0-0 [D05]

The tabiya which arises after 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 c5 3 e3 Nf6 4 Bd3 d5 5 b3 Nc6 6 0-0 b6 7 Bb2 Bb7 8 Nbd2 Bd6 9 Ne5 0-0 10 a3 Rc8 is definitely a Colle-Zukertort, both in spirit and ECO code:

Unfortunately for White, 11 f4 Ne7! continues to hold up quite well for Black, as we’ll see in Bukal, V - Shariyazdanov, A.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 f3 [A45]

For a long time White preferred to meet the solid 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 with 4 e3, but recently, in part thanks to the rise of the Jobava-Prié, he has gone back to 4 f3 Nf6 5 Nc3:

Here 5...Bf5?! 6 g4 simply left Baadur Jobava a tempo up on his old favourite and Black was quickly butchered in Jobava, B - Minhazuddin, A.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6 [A45]

Another tabiya arises after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6 6 Bd3 e5 7 Ne2 g6 8 0-0 Bg7 9 f4 Qe7:

This remains pretty solid for Black even if White tries 10 f5!? and 10 Nd2 0-0 11 Nf3 Nd7 12 Qc2!? was a new if not overly impressive try in Piorun, K - Tregubov, V.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 g6 [D00]

The less said about the recent PRO League match between the UK Lions and the New York Marshalls, the better, but I should really have given us a full point early on. 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 e3 g6 4 Bxf6 exf6 5 c4 dxc4 6 Bxc4 is normally met by 6...Bd6, which should be fine for Black. 6...Bg7 doesn’t look as good, but is still playable, and if 7 Nc3 0-0 8 h4 h5 9 Nge2 Bh6!:

The resulting middlegame battle between White’s knights and Black’s bishops was at least quite instructive, even if I’d prefer you to skip the numerous howlers near the end of Palliser, R - Fedoseev, V.

The Jobava-Prié: 3...c5 4 e3 cxd4 5 exd4 a6 [D00]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 d5 3 Nc3 c5 4 e3 cxd4 5 exd4 a6 is Exchange Caro-like, pretty solid for Black and has been faced twice in recent weeks by Lawrence Trent. Both games proceeded 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Ne5 Bd7 8 Qd3 e6 9 Be2 Qb6 10 Nxc6 Qxc6 11 0-0 Rc8:

Lawrence’s first try was 12 Rfc1, his second the more dangerous 12 Qg3!?, gambitting the d-pawn after 12...Qb6 13 Rab1 for early pressure in Trent, L - Abergel, T.

The Jobava-Prié: 3...e6 4 Nb5 [D00]

It was the Réti which featured back in 1987 when Garry Kasparov needed to win the final game in Seville, it was 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 which featured in 2020 when Aleksandra Goryachkina also found herself in a must-win situation. A surprised Ju Wenjun opted for 2...Nf6 3 Bf4 e6 4 Nb5 Na6 5 e3 Bb4+ 6 c3 Be7, which doesn’t make a huge amount of sense:

Black can check, but should do so the move before, then come round to a5. As played, Goryachkina enjoyed a pleasant edge, squandered it, and then outplayed Ju all over again to force a play-off in Goryachkina, A - Ju Wenjun.

Will we have more such gripping struggles to enjoy next month?

Until then, Richard

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