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Much to enjoy this month, not least an unhurried, most impressive demonstration by Marc Narciso Dublan of how Trompowsky players should play against Black’s isolated d-pawn when he also has doubled f-pawns. Elsewhere the Jobava-Prié Attack remains a fairly popular choice for fast time controls and we’ll also see that an old trap of Eric’s is still claiming victims.

Download PGN of January ’21 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Bxf6 exf6 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 Bxf6 Black normally recaptures with the g-pawn. 3...exf6 is somewhat less dynamic, if far from terrible. Often Black lands up with an IQP, as is the case after 4 c3 d5 5 e3 Nc6 6 dxc5 Bxc5:

Here 7 Nd2 0-0 8 Nb3 was the first stage in keeping Black’s counterplay under control in Narciso Dublan, M - Cheparinov, I.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d5 [A45]

We’re also able to enjoy some thematic and instructive play from White after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d5 6 Nd2. Black normally strikes back in French Tarrasch style with 6...c5, in contrast to which 6...dxe4 7 Nxe4 Qd8 8 Nf3 is more like a Rubinstein French:

Despite Black enjoying the bishop-pair, White’s lead in development and grip on the centre promises him a pleasant edge, as we’ll see in Chigaev, M - Deepan Chakkravarthy, J.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bh4 b6 [A46]

I’ve rounded up a number of developments after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 in Vanczak, T - Mendonca, L, including a clash between two Torre aficionados, Andreikin-Nihal. We also get to see a startling early g4 and in our main game, Black sets up flexibly enough with 3...h6 4 Bh4 b6 5 Nbd2 Bb7 6 e3 d6:

After 7 Bd3 there are a number of ways of handling the black position, not least 7...c5, but the rising Indian star makes a decent case for 7...g5!?.

The Torre vs KID 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 c3 d6 6 e3 [A48]

Going 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 followed by 4 c3 0-0 5 Nbd2 d6 6 e3 is, of course, a pretty solid approach as White. Black often hits back with 6...c5:

Here White usually continues development, since 7 dxc5 dxc5 will leave him a tempo down on a main line in the event of any e3-e4. That advance is avoided in Bok, B - Wagner, D, where Black was able to exploit White’s slightly slow approach with a blunt kingside attack.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 Nb5 [D00]

Aleksandra Goryachkina continues to trust 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 in important games, as well as to meet 3...e6 with 4 Nb5 Na6 5 e3:

Here Ju Wenjun gave a check, but 5...Be7 6 Nf3 0-0 is somewhat more normal and was surely OK for Black at this stage before she began to play too slowly in Goryachkina, A - Shuvalova, P.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...c6 4 e3 [D00]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 c6 4 e3 we’re used to Black going 4...Bf5, but 4...Qb6!? asks an early question of White:

This was played twice by IM Matthew Wadsworth, who had a fine result at Hastings. My suspicion is that 5 Qd2, while playable, probably isn’t quite 100% sound and 5 Rb1 was preferred in Howell, D - Wadsworth, M, where first Black and then White was outplayed somewhat ahead of the eventual winner of Hastings rescuing a draw.

The London, Anti-Nimzo: 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 e6 6 Ngf3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 Qe7 [D02]

Meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bf4 e6 4 e3 Bd6 5 Bg3 0-0 6 Nbd2 with 6...Qe7 isn’t such a great idea for Black, although clearly it can’t be too terrible. The main problem arises after 7 Bd3 c5 8 c3 Nc6 9 Ne5:

As long-term subscribers will be aware, Black’s problem is that 9...Nd7?! is but the first step of falling into a rather subtle opening trap - one which was sprung in Stubbs, O - Evans, H.

Will we have any encounters from Wijk to dissect next month?

Until then, Richard

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