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We’ve plenty to update this month, not least in some of the main lines of the London. 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 isn’t as popular as it was at 2600+ level a year or three back, but still remains pretty popular just below the upper echelons of the chess world.

Download PGN of July ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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

We begin, as so often, with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5. Here 2...Ne4 is in danger of dying out in GM practice, with more and more black players opting for the solid 2...e6 and 2...d5. We begin with the former this month, having quickly covered a rapid white win with 2...Ne4 3 h4, and after 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 explore a couple of aggressive sidelines for Black.

Sahoo, UR - Petrosyan, M, sees Black dabble in 5...Nc6!? and after the aggressive 6 e5 create some problems for the first player with 6...Qg6.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 [D00]

This month after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 our focus is on 5...e6, when 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 Be2 is one important line. Instead, 6 c4 dxc4 7 Qxd8+ Kxd8 8 Bxc4 Bxc5 doesn’t feel like it can be too bad a version of a QGA for Black:

With ...f5 on the way and the two bishops, Black must be fine, but he was instructively and even brutally outplayed in surprisingly rapid fashion in Hillarp Persson, T - Blomqvist, E.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 d5 [A46]

We round up a number of ...e6 Torre developments in Lie, K - Risting, E, where the focus is on the bold 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 d5!?:

4...Qa5+! remains the critical response, since 4...exd5 5 e3 d6?! quickly led Black into trouble in another rather brutal miniature.

The Torre Attack v KID 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e3 [A48]

There are also developments to consider after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7, some of them involving Kjetil Lie again, others Alexei Shirov no less. A solid choice for White is 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e3 when 5...d6 6 c3 Nbd7 7 Bd3 h6 8 Bh4 e5 9 0-0 brings about something of a tabiya:

In this reversed Reti position, we’ve mainly focussed on the unpinning 9...Qe8, but Papaioannou, I - Kourkoulos Arditis, S, suggests that 9...Re8!? may well not be an inferior option.

Neo-London System: 1...d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 Bf5 [D00]

We begin our coverage of some important and topical lines of the modern London with 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 Bf5, when White is probably best advised to go 6 Nf3 (rather than the immediate 6 Qb3) 6...e6 7 Qb3:

Here it’s long been known that Black should side-step with 7...Qc8, but he didn’t and was thematically outplayed after 7...Qd7? in Turner, M - Tate, A.

London System, Anti-Nimzo 6...cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5 [D02]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 c5 3 e3 there are a couple of lines which are still very important, if not seen as much as they were last year - and I’m really not sure why. Firstly, we have the Caruana-approved 3...Nf6 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 (a modern move order from White) 5...Qb6!?, which is risky, but also unbalancing and appears fully playable if Black is well prepared. Secondly, we have 3...Nc6 4 c3 Nf6 5 Nd2 e6 6 Ngf3 cxd4 7 exd4 Nh5 when 8 Be3 Bd6 9 Ne5 reaches an important position:

Here Black must choose between the critical and ambitious 9...g6 and the solid 9...Nf6. After the latter, his play can be improved in Hrabua, M - Jurcik, M, but it does seem that returning with 10 Bf4 gives White good chances for a small edge.

London System, Anti-Nimzo Mainline 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Rd1 Re8 11 e4 [D02]

We move on to the main line, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 (8 Bb5 also continues to be seen) 8...b6 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Rd1 Re8 11 e4 Be7 12 e5 Nh5 in Sedlak, N - Noe, C.

After 13 h4!? Black really needs to know what he’s doing and 13...g6? led to a pretty fast and easy victory for the London expert.

I dare say there will be more Londons next month!

Until then, Richard

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