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Our favourite systems remain popular even at the upper echelons of the game, as we'll see this month. Controversially, though, there's not a London in sight (there will be next month!), but there are a number of entertaining games, as well as some very thematic efforts.

Download PGN of July ’16 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 h4 h6 [A45]

We begin by seeing the latest 2600+ test of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 h4!?. Here theory has long rather skirted around 3...h6 4 Bf4, but the insertion of the h-pawn moves does make quite a difference compared to the standard 3 Bf4 lines:

Just as in the main line, Black has a choice between the uncompromising 4...c5 and the solid 4...d5, after which 5 Nd2 Nxd2 6 Qxd2 Bf5 7 e3 e6 8 f3!? was slightly more pleasant for White in Sethuraman - Arabidze.

The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 [A45]

Unsurprisingly White much more often continues to prefer 3 Bf4 when 3...c5 4 f3 Nf6 is rare at GM level these days, but still crops up quite often with club players. A simple response is 5 dxc5 Qa5+ 6 Nc3 Qxc5 7 Qd2 Nc6 8 e4 with a very pleasant and easy-to-play version of the Open Sicilian for White:

Even non-1 e4 players shouldn't be too scared of playing this, although via various adventures and a bit of sub-optimal play the players did actually manage to transpose directly into a line of the Najdorf in Georgiev - Ivic!

The Trompowsky 2...e6 3 Nd2 c5 [A45]

After the solid 2...e6 going 3 Nd2 hints at a Torre Attack, but White doesn't have to transpose and Emanuel Berg's opponents seem to like 3...c5 4 e3 h6 5 Bxf6 Qxf6 6 Ne4 Qd8 7 dxc5 Bxc5 8 Nxc5 Qa5+:

9 c3!? was presumably a prepared novelty in Salomon - Berg, but is not one which black players are going to lose sleep over.

The Trompowsky 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 [D00]

A more uncompromising struggle arises after 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 e3 c5 5 c3 Nc6 6 Nf3 in Vereggen - Sadler:

This was a great scrap and featured a fine sacrifice from the leading English Grandmaster, but theoretically all one needs to know is that Black is likely already for choice after 6...e5.

The Torre Attack v KID with ...g6 [A48]

Krishnan Sasikiran continues to wheel out 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 and score quite well. In this version of the Torre, e3 set-ups have been quite popular of late and 3...Bg7 4 Nbd2 c5 5 e3 d6 6 c3 0-0 reaches a minor tabiya:

White can place his light-squared bishop on c4, d3 and e2, as we'll see, with 7 Bd3 a6 8 0-0 Nc6 9 Re1!? quickly provoking Black into over-expansion in Sasikiran - Cori Tello.

The Torre Attack 2...d5 3 Bg5 Ne4 [D03]

Somewhat less popular and theoretical is 2...d5 3 Bg5, but this remains popular with Kramnik at blitz. 3...Ne4 4 Bh4 c5 5 e3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 g6 quickly reached a very uncharted position in Kramnik - Giri:

Arguably 7 c4!? was now too ambitious, but those who like to avoid the main theoretical highways may wish to look into Kramnik's line, especially by paying attention to Eric's thorough coverage in the Archive.

The Colle-Zukertort [D05]

This continues to pack a certain punch in practice, as after 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 Bd3 d5 5 b3 Nbd7 6 0-0 b6 7 Bb2 Bb7 8 Nbd2 Bd6 9 Ne5 0-0 10 f4, reaching another tabiya:

As subscribers with good memories will recall, Tamaz Gelashvili has been here before and after 10...Rc8 11 Nxd7 Nxd7 12 dxc5 Rxc5? he was able to unleash a classic sacrifice in Gelashvili - Akobian.

Bournemouth and the British Championship lie ahead. Enjoy your summer!


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