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Rather than "killing" attacks we are going to look at some interesting endgame stuff this month based around the 1...d5 Torre and the 2...d5 Tromp with both openings originally connected by the Bg5xf6 objective.

Download PGN of March '10 d-Pawn Specials games

Torre Attack [D03]

We start with 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bg5 Ne4, as last month, but now the more interesting retreat 4.Bh4, at least pinning Black's e-pawn, in comparison to the poor 4.Bf4?! I studied last time.

I played this system for a couple of months in 2007, alternating it with the "Prié Attack" (3.a3) just before convincing myself that I had possibly better avoid putting the knight on f3 on move 2 altogether ...!

4...c6, Black needs to move his queen away from the d1-h8 diagonal in order to complete development (and when he is not well prepared he might be afraid of the consequences of 4...c5! [To be examined next month with the same map of variations as after 4.Bf4?! c5!, for the sake of comparison] 5.dxc5 Nxc5?? 6.Nc3) 5.Nbd2 Qb6 6.e3:

This, after following the teaching of the previous months by sacrificing the b2 pawn, provided White with a strong initiative in Game 1.

Having already treated the 4...c6 question when the bishop is on f4 in the Tromp, 4...Qd6!? is, with the previous game and a similar idea to move the queen away from the pin, another option specifically linked to the different position of White's queen's bishop on the edge of the board, 5.Nbd2 (Firstly parrying the threat of Qb4+) 5...Qh6 (threatening ...g5) 6.Qc1 reaching the critical branch:

6...c5? 7.dxc5 Nc6 8.Nxe4 Qxc1 9.Rxc1 dxe4 10.Nd2 Bf5 11.e3 when 11...e5 was probably not the best option, as in Game 2 White proved able to trade his c5-pawn against the much more valuable e4-pawn thus preparing the return of his h4-bishop into play.

Even so, the truth is that he was just a healthy pawn up at move 11 with various possible set-ups to consolidate his advantage.

6...Qh5!?, not necessarily threatening g7-g5 but surely avoiding the exchange of queens, 7.h3!, preventing ...Bg4 as well as introducing the possibility of g2-g4 in some cases, and after 7...f5? White seized a strong initiative by 8.c4! in Game 3.

The ending resulting from the reasonable 6...Nxd2 7.Qxd2 Qxd2 8.Kxd2 is what I would have considered to be the principal variation, and definitely the line that annoys me most! However, the resulting ending is slightly better for White according to Jussupow himself and White indeed got something in Game 4 after 8...c6 9.e3 Bf5 10.Bd3 e6 11.Bxf5 exf5 12.b3!:

Since White it is not really threatening to play c2-c4 prior to e2-e3, Black might as well develop in the meantime by 8...Bf5 9.e3 e6 instead, when White has to waste a tempo with 10.a3 if he wants to open the c-file with c2-c4. (In comparison to the previous game the exchange 10.Bd3 Bxd3 11.Kxd3 leads nowhere after 11...c5!) Nonetheless, this 'wasted move' did not prevent White from again gaining a strong initiative in Game 5 thanks to his lead in development following the temporary pawn sacrifice 10...c5 11.c4 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nc6 13.Rac1! cxd4 14.Bb5! dxe3+ 15.Kxe3:

A radically different approach to this ending, not based on the c2-c4 thrust, is presented in Game 6, where another legendary technical player was just happy with playing a bishop vs knight plus rooks ending after having succeeded in catching the opposing bishop on f5 with his already well-placed king's knight following 10.Be2 Bd6 11.Bg3 with the idea Nh4.

6...g5 is the critical continuation, which led to a complicated middle game in Game 7 after the forced 7.Nxe4 dxe4 8.Bxg5 Qg7 9.Nh4 Qxd4:

2...d5 Tromp [D00]

3...c5!? (instead of 3...Ne4) 4.Bxf6 gxf6 5.c4 makes a convenient link with the Tromp line 1...Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.Bxf6 gxf6!? 4.c4 that I have seen discussed on the forum lately:

It is important to recall (from the eBook) that 4...c5! is the right move here (and not 4...dxc4?! 5.e3 followed by Bxc4 with interesting attacking prospects for White). Now 5.Nc3!?, instead of the commoner 5.Nf3, is not considered by Wells, possibly because Black can continue in the same provocative style as his 4th move with the tit for tat 5...Nc6!? Instead, 5...cxd4 6.Qxd4 dxc4 is more classic, and as usual White got less than nothing in Game 8 in the ending after 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.e4 e6 9.Bxc4 Nc6:

Keeping the queens on by 7.Qxc4 is already more interesting, although obviously White would have preferred to have his king's bishop on this square rather than his queen... Actually, after 7...Nc6 8.Rd1 Bd7 9.g3! presented Black with some problems in Game 9:

The latter should have been inspired to repeat his 8...Qa5!, and instead of the poor 9.g3 e6?, which saw the opponent gain the upper hand in Game 10, find 9...Be6! 10.Qb5 Qxb5 11.Nxb5 Rc8:

with comfortable equalization.

See you soon, Eric