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We have a number of instructive games to enjoy this month, many of them featuring some rather brutal attacking play, as well as a couple of encounters from that recent elite tournament, the Chessable Masters.

Download PGN of July ’20 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 [A45]

I always enjoy visiting the double gambit that is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 e4!? Qxb2 8 Nd2 Qxc3 9 Bc7:

Black’s best move is likely 9...g6, as played by AllieStein against Lc0, but 9...d6 10 Rb1 g6? is not the same thing, as we’ll see in Timerkhanov, A - Ivic, V.

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

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 remains a popular choice and after 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 White continues to turn away from 5 dxc5. He settled for the solid 5 c3 e6 (far from forced) 6 Nd2 Nc6 7 Ngf3 Bd7 8 Be2 in Vlasenko, M - Keymer, M:

As I can safely attest, Black underestimates White’s set-up at his peril and in the game the German wunderkind’s king did not prove to be especially safe on the queenside - until there was a sudden turnaround.

The London: 2...e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 e3 Be7 [A46]

Ian Nepomniachtchi appeared happy to rely on some relative sidelines when he duelled against Anish Giri’s London System. 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Be7 can become a main line, but White might prefer 5 dxc5 Bxc5 6 Nbd2 d5 7 Bd3 Nc6 8 0-0 0-0 9 c4:

The best defence appears to be Hikaru Nakamura’s 9...Bd6 rather than 9...b6 10 Qe2 Bb7, not that this was exactly terrible for Black in Giri, A - Nepomniachtchi, I.

The London: 2...g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 c3 0-0 5 h3 [A48]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 we take a look at some developments with 4 Nbd2, as well as present a meister-gegen-amateur encounter following 4 c3 0-0 5 h3 d6 6 e3 Nbd7 7 Be2 Qe8:

Now 8 Qa4 was a little mysterious in the one-sided rating battle Diatsintos, I - Kotronias, V, where Black quickly obtained the upper hand with some powerful and instructive play.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 e3 Bb4 [D00]

Simon Williams continues to wheel out Eric’s old favourite, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4, as we’ll see, and Ivan Saric has also taken up the white side - if only after suffering when he faced it, despite going 3...e6 4 e3 Bb4:

White likely has to go 5 Nge2 here when 5...0-0 6 a3 Be7 7 Ng1!? was an amazing new idea from the world champion no less, while in Niemann, H - Saric, I Black quickly regretted opening the h-file after 5...Nh5 6 a3 Be7 7 Bg3.

The London: 2...Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 [D02]

The move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 remains quite an important one. Against it, Daniil Dubov has remained true to 5...Nh5!? 6 dxc5 Nxf4 7 exf4 g6 8 c3 Bg7:

I suspect that this should grant Black sufficient Catalan-style compensation and 9 g3 wasn’t the most dangerous of novelties in Harikrishna, P - Dubov, D, where Black was quick to seize the initiative.

The Torre: 3...e6 4 e3 Be7 5 Nbd2 0-0 [D03]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 d5 is a very solid line for Black, if also one where he has to be slightly careful. ‘Really?’ you might wonder, but, yes, not only can an early Ne5 be an issue, but also lines like 4 e3 Be7 5 Nbd2 0-0 6 Bd3 h6:

Here White went for the crafty, Carlsenesque retreat 7 Bf4!? and quickly revealed the downside to the extra ...h6 with an early g2-g4 advance in Matlakov, M - Safarli, E.

Let’s hope we’ll have some more top-level encounters and even the odd OTB game to dissect next month!

Until then, Richard

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