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Plenty to enjoy and even an over-the-board encounter this month, but the update is dominated by Gata Kamsky, the king of the London System producing three instructive efforts

Download PGN of June ’21 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 Bc1 [A45]

The London may remain pretty fashionable, but it’s still nice to include a game from the old main line of the Trompowsky, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 Bc1, although I fear Tromp fans may find it a little painful. After 7...e6 8 e4 d6 9 c4 g6 White is at a crossroads:

‘Knights before bishops’ is all well and good, not least here where I really would prefer 10 Ne2 to the 10 Bd3 of Rasti, A - Bernardskiy, V.

The Pseudo-Trompowsky: 2...h6 3 Bh4 c6 [D00]

These days 1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 h6 3 Bh4 c6 just looks quite decent for Black, at least so long as he is prepared to grab d4 after 4 Nf3 Qb6 5 Qc1 g5 6 Bg3 g4 7 Ne5 Qxd4. The alternative as White is 4 e3 Qb6 5 b3, but here 5...e5! is an easy equaliser-plus:

6 Nf3 Nd7!? renewed the underlying tactic (7 dxe5?! Nxe5! 8 Nxe5 Qb4+), and Black was quickly pleasantly for choice in Mehmeti, D - Zvjaginsev, V.

The Torre Attack v KID: 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 e3 0-0 5 Be2 [A48]

With international travel still by no means common, plenty of the places for July’s World Cup in Baku were decided by hybrid events. We feature two hybrid games after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7, one in the main line and with 4 e3 0-0 5 Be2 featured in Laznicka, V - Fedoseev, V.

Levon Aronian has employed this move order as White, but after 5...c5 it’s simply not a good idea to delay c2-c3 too long as Laznicka quickly and painfully discovered.

The London: 2...c5 3 d5 b5 [A45]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 c5 3 d5 b5!? also unbalances the position at a rather early stage when 4 f3 is fairly critical:

Here Black most likely shouldn’t react in Blumenfeld fashion with 4...Bb7 5 e4 e6?!, as we’ll see in Howell, D - Solon, N.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 2...g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 c6 [A45]

Another trendy and important line of the modern London is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 when 4...c6!? is a fairly flexible try:

As White I’d still go 5 h4 or 5 Be2, whereas 5 Nf3 transposed into a Barry Attack in Shapiro, D - Kamsky, G, where Black was quite comfortable after 5...Bg4 6 Be2 Bxf3 7 Bxf3 Nbd7.

The London: 2...e6 3 Bf4 Bd6 [A46]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 Bd6!? is the sort of sideline which worries some folk, but not Gata Kamsky who simply reacted in standard London fashion with 4 Bg3 Bxg3 5 hxg3 b6 6 Nbd2 Bb7 7 e3 c5 8 c3 Nc6 9 Bd3:

This already feels slightly better for White, whose greatly flexibility and safer king quickly began to tell after 9...h6 10 Qe2 in Kamsky, G - Shahaliyev, I.

The London: 3...e6 4 e3 c5 5 Nbd2 Nc6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 [D02]

1 d4 e6 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 Nf3 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 d5 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 b6 is, of course, the modern main line of the London:

Here 9 e4 Be7 10 e5 Nh5 11 Ng5!? continues to look quite dangerous for Black and quickly netted White a clear plus then pawn in Firouzja-Svidler from the Paris GCT, as we’ll see. Kamsky, though, still prefers the flexible 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Rd1, with his latest instructive win Kamsky, G - Diaz Camallonga, C.

No doubt I’ll be back with more Londons shortly! Until then, Richard

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