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There are a few brutal attacking displays to enjoy in this month’s update, which is not always something we associate with our favourite lines. We’ll also see a number of tests of critical lines in the Trompowsky and London, and even feature a couple of encounters from recent games played over the board.

Download PGN of June ’20 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 c5 4 d5 Qb6 [A45]

We begin with a rapid game and evidence that after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 some black players are still being caught out by 3 h4!?. Interestingly 3...c5 and 3...Nxg5 have been seen more than the solid 3...d5 in recent online practice. White players generally welcome the former and after 4 d5 Qb6 5 Nd2 we reach a tabiya:

White undoubtedly obtains full compensation should Black snatch b2 after a trade on d2 or e4, and 5...h6 6 Nxe4!? hxg5 7 c3 was also gambit-like in Ozenir, E - Bjerre, J.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Nd2 c5 4 dxc5 [D00]

There are sound reasons for meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 with 3 Nd2. 3...c5! remains the critical response, whereupon 4 dxc5 reaches another tabiya:

One of White’s ideas is 4...e6 5 e4, but even there Black seems to be OK, just as he was after 4...Nc6 5 e4!? in Holm, K - Sjoberg, I, although 5...e5 likely now wasn’t the best response from a seemingly rusty black player.

The London: 2...c5 3 d5 d6 4 Nc3 e5 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 c5 we have developments after both 3 dxc5, aiming for an Open Sicilian-type position, and 3 d5 to consider. The latter and then 3...d6 4 Nc3 e5 remains quite trendy:

I suspect that Magnus would calmly retreat to d2 here, just as we saw him doing last month with the inclusion of ...a6 and a4, whereas 5 dxe6 Bxe6 6 e4 Nc6 7 Nf3 Be7 8 Bb5?! (rather floating in mid-air) 8...0-0 9 0-0 Qb6 already favoured Black if anybody in Gatineau, Y - Giri, A.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 2...g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 [A45]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 is a trendy development that just won’t go away. I’ve treaded into Pirc territory to bring you a couple of instructive developments after 3...Bg7 4 e4 d6, but our main focus is on 3...d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 0-0 6 h5! c5! 7 hxg6 hxg6:

Here 8 Nf3 Bg4 was seen in Grachev, B - Budrewicz, K, when I’d be sorely tempted to borrow an idea from David Navara with 9 Qd2!?, but 9 Be2 did quickly turn out rather well in the game.

The London: 2...Nf6 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 c5 5 c3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 [D02]

My thanks to subscriber Laurent Selvi who inquired about the main line of the London, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 b6 9 e4!? (White’s most aggressive choice; 9 Ne5 and 9 Qe2 are, of course, important alternatives) 9....Be7 10 e5 Nh5 11 Ng5!?:

If you’re not happy to defend as Black and/or want to avoid a main line which White is very likely to have studied, this position is probably best avoided. Objectively, though, matters are just very unclear, as we’ll see in Munkhgal, G - Baskin, R.

The Colle: 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 c3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 Bd6 7 0-0 0-0 8 dxc5 Bxc5 9 e4 [D05]

It’s not every day you see a grandmaster game in the Colle, and an OTB game at that. 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c3 c5 4 e3 e6 5 Nbd2 Nc6 6 Bd3 Be7 7 0-0 0-0 8 dxc5 Bxc5 9 e4 was, however, seen in Jovanic, O - Plenca, J, from the Croatian Championship.

Now the main line remains the subtle 9...Qc7 10 Qe2 h6 and both that and 9...Bb6!? are a better choice than Plenca’s 9....e5?!.

The Colle-Zukertort: 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 0-0 6 Bb2 b6 7 0-0 Bb7 [D05]

Hikaru Nakamura sensibly aimed to bypass a theoretical duel with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 e3 e6 4 b3 in Nakamura, H - Firouzja, A, where 4...Be7 5 Bb2 0-0 6 Bd3 b6 7 0-0 Bb7 8 Nbd2 c5 was seen:

Now White normally goes 9 Ne5 followed by f2-f4, but Nakamura makes a decent enough case for 9 a3!?, after which he saddled Black with hanging pawns before concluding matters with a brutal attack.

Will we see more Colles, as well as OTB encounters next month?

Until then, Richard

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