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Modern day chess fans might arguably be considered spoilt by the almost non-stop surfeit of chess to follow. The wait between Wijk aan Zee and Linares in March and then on until the summer and Dortmund feels a very long time ago. On the other hand, we now live in an age of rapid theory advances and that can be true even in some of our favourite lines, as we’ll see this month with games from the European Individual and Norway Chess.

Download PGN of June ’17 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 c5 4 Nd2 [A45]

The gambit 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 Nd2 h6 4 Bh4 c5 5 e4!? has been fairly topical of late and it transpires that White might also try to reach it via 3 e4 c5 4 Nd2!? h6 (4..cxd4, and if 5 e5 Qa5 must be critical) 5 Bh4:

Black’s latest try is to decline with 5...d5, but after 6 e5 g5 7 Bg3 Ne4!? he shouldn’t have managed to equalise in Chigaev, M - Safarli, E.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 [D00]

As we’ve seen on several occasions of late, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 is becoming something of a problem for the Trompowsky player. 3 Nd2 and if 3...c6 4 e3 is a simple approach:

Of course, Black shouldn’t go 4...e6?!, but even a 2380-rated player did of late, accepting the subsequent loss of time with ...c6-c5. This isn’t theoretically relevant, but Ivanisevic, I - Saraci, N is a game which all club players interested in either this line or how to handle the Torre Attack should enjoy.

Likewise, 3 e3 c5 4 Nd2 has seen a few outings of late and after 4...Nc6 5 c3 Black finds himself at a cross-roads:

5...Bg4 is perhaps simplest, whereas 5...Qb6 6 Qc2 cxd4 7 exd4 e5 likely asked too much from Black’s position in Vitiugov, N - Nguyen, T.

The Veresov Attack: 3...Bf5 4 f3 [D01]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 Nc3 hasn’t been too topical of late, whether with this or a pure Veresov move order, but there are developments to consider this month after both the critical 3...c5 and 3...Bf5 4 f3 h6 5 Bh4:

Here 5...c6 has been the most topical choice and should be OK for Black, whereas 5...e6?! 6 e4 Bh7 felt a little too submissive in Ponkratov, P - Druska, J.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 e3 Bd6 [D00]

Baadur Jobava hasn’t touched this of late, shifting his focus towards more fertile, new territories, but 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 was employed twice by the world champion in the Norway Chess blitz tournament and thrice by Richard Rapport during the Zalakaros Open. One of Black’s better defences is 3...e6 4 e3 Bd6 5 Nf3:

Here he can trade on f4 or go 5...0-0 6 Bd3 and then 6...c5, whereas the copycat 6...Nc6?! didn’t seem too impressive in Rapport, R - Horvath, J, a most striking game which was decided by some brutal pawn power.

The Colle Opening: 3...c5 4 Nbd2 [D04]

One of the problems for the Colle player has long been 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 c5. There are a few options here, as we’ll see, but Vladimir Kramnik has tried 4 Nbd2!? in two blitz games of late:

In response Black should continue to hold back on ...e6, preferring either 4...Nc6, as Boris Gelfand did, or 4...cxd4 5 exd4 Nc6 6 c3 Qc7 7 Bd3 Bg4, which quickly turned out rather well in Abdulla, A - Xu Yi.

The Colle Opening: 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 0-0 [D05]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 c5 White tends to push either his c- or b-pawn, partly just to avoid 5 0-0 c4 6 Be2 b5 7 b3 Bb7:

This certainly gives Black a lot of space and even after 8 Nc3!? he has a couple of decent options, no matter how quickly matters went wrong for him in Kramnik, V - Giri, A.

Will we see any more of the elite slaughtered by the Colle next month? Until then, Richard

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