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This update puts the spotlight on the possessor of the largest progression on the forthcoming July Elo list amongst the 2600+ club.

Download PGN of June '08 d-Pawn Specials games

Trompovsky [A45]

The sharpest play, where no one else dares to tread, and the sharpest preparation (assisted by a computer and a faithful, and hard-working, GM second...), seems to be the only way to gain 50 points in one go at this level!

That this occurred in our world of 'second-rate openings', in the reviving Trompowsky, is rare enough to be spotted immediately. 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 d6 10.Rb1! Nfd7!!:

I suppose I could have thought of this move myself, simply by elimination (although I am not really emotionally involved in this position for either side), but 'undeveloping' Black's only developed piece clashes with my principles too much, without the feeling you may get when thinking in front of a proper chess board.

The reason behind this awkward-looking retreat is obvious enough: anticipate the queen's harassment by freeing the f6-square. Yet, to detect it as the only move (something that no chess program is capable of finding) actually deserves a double exclamation mark... if only for that.

In Game One, after 11.Qa4 g6 12.Ne2 Qd3!, The encounter 1 against 3 (The player, the second and the computer!) rapidly proved too imbalanced. However, after the apparent defection of its hero consecutive to this licking, let us bet there will still be volunteers to take up the torch of White's double pawn sac again with an 11th move of the bishop, to c4 or b5, intending Ne2 on the next move!

If 6.d5 turns out to be impossible in spite of Chernyshov's renewing idea, White has to switch back to the far less economical 6.Nd2 cxd4 7.Nb3 Qf5!?:

The "forced variation", although, as far as topical theory is concerned, things are no less simple after 7...Qb6, and even the 3rd option 7...Qd8 8.cxd4 d5 (which I have never covered in these columns because the first 2 already seemed sufficiently critical to me) represents a certain amount of work, in a completely different position, in order to be able to possibly edge anything out of the opening...

After the further 8.Bxb8 Rxb8 White innovated in Game Two with 9.cxd4?!, refuted by 9...e5 10..a3 e4!:

In this way Black secured some space advantage and a nice active outpost for his queen, in addition to his slight material advantage of the 2 bishops.

When White correctly takes back with the queen by 9.Qxd4, hitting a7, Black needs to be conscious (or not frightened, after working things out, if he discovers this position over the board for the 1st time...) that over the next few moves he will have to put almost all his pieces back to their starting positions by 9...b6 10.e4 Qf4 (Instead, in Game 3 Black erred with 10...Qg6? giving the opponent a nasty attack after 11.e5 Ng8 12.0-0-0) 11.Nh3 Qc7 12.e5 Ng8 13.0-0-0 e6 14.Bd3!?. which is considered to be an inaccuracy, of which Black took advantage in Game Four by 14...Ne7 15.f4 Bb7 16.Qf2 Nd5! 17.Ng5 Bc5! Going for the f4 pawn without fear of the tremendous ensuing complications.

We shall have to wait for a while to see what the current French individual champion had up his sleeve against the normal continuation 14.Ng5 Ne7 15.f4, but probably something like 15...Bb7!? Keeping some flexibility with the knight, and intending 16.Bd3 Bxg2 17.Rhg1(or e1) Bd5:

which looks a bit foolish considering Black's state of development, but very much resembles his, or should I say 'their', style!

Veresov [D01]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 Nbd7! 4.Nf3 h6 5.Bh4 e6 6.e3 c5! 7.a3 Qa5!? represents an interesting alternative to the already satisfactory 7....Be7, with the probable and missed idea 8.Qd2 c4 9.Ra2, which is the only way to prevent both ...Bb4 and the advance ...b5-b4, dislodging the knight from the essential control of the e4 square. Nevertheless, the inconvenience is 8.dxc5 Qxc5:

Which is forced because neither the knight nor the bishop can take back because of the fork b2-b4. Sure, the black queen is not badly placed on the 5th, protecting her bishop on e7, but by managing to implement the liberating advance e3-e4 under normal circumstances, this should have allowed White... to equalize in Game 5!

4.e3 e6! 5.Qf3?! Bb4 6.Bd3:

This novelty is only anecdotic... It is just that I was fortunate to meet it against a decided, sharp, young player just a couple of days after I finished the previous update on the 4.e3 Veresov, see Game 6. Thanks again for your suggestion Mr Davies!

Colle [D05]

By GM Tony Kosten

Since my previous 'Colle update', in February 2007, I have had the opportunity to try my recommendation for Black a couple of times with complete success:

Here, in this important tabia, after my previous move 10...Qc7, my opponent played 11 h3 in Game 7, which loses the bishop pair by force, as I showed before.

I should mention that, while this line is basically for Nimzo/QI players (who play 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 as Black), my 16-move win in the note to move 7 actually started 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5! Now, the reason I played this, rather than 2...e6, was that my opponent was wont to play the London, but had never previously played 3 c4. Thus, I was ready to play Black's optimum setup against the London System (as demonstrated on these pages by Eric) without having to fear White's best line, objectively speaking, the Queen's Gambit. It seems to me that d-Pawn Special players might benefit from playing mainlines occasionally just to make their opponents' preparation more difficult!


Returning to the line I suggested for Black against the Colle-Zukertort, which starts 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 c5 4 Bd3 d5 5 b3 Nc6 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 O-O O-O:

Pytel played 8 a3!? here, against me, which has the advantage of avoiding lines with ...Nb4 or ...Ba3. However, it does waste a tempo, and Black can get a very good position with obvious moves, see Game 8.

The best move is 8 Nbd2, of course, when my preferred 8...Qe7 9 Ne5 Qc7 (or first 9...cxd4 10 exd4 Qc7, transposing) was met by the surprising 10 f4!? in Game 9, and after the obvious 10...cxd4 11 exd4 Nb4 12 Rf3 Nxd3 Colle expert Jussupow played the profound 13 cxd3!:

However, I just can't believe this is really the refutation of Black's system, and in fact I have already made a bet with Tal Abergel that the next time we play together (and I have Black) we will start from this very position!

See you soon, Eric