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A Tromp-free month as the Torre and especially the London continue to grab the attention of the elite. Look out especially for some neat subtleties and a lovely attack from Gata Kamsky.

Download PGN of March ’16 d-Pawn Specials games

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Romanishin System 2 Nf3 e6 3 g3 b5 [A46]

However, we begin with the women's world championship match and a certain anti-Catalan wrinkle, namely 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 g3 d5 4 Bg2 b5. This along with the closely-related 3...b5 has quite a decent reputation, but 5 0-0 Bb7 6 a4 b4 7 c4 is a decent enough challenge:

Now Black really must take on c3, as the ambitious 7...a5!? quickly allowed White the upper hand in Muzychuk - Hou Yifan.

The Torre Attack v KID with ...g6 [A48]

We begin by examining ...d6 approaches by Black after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5, especially 3...Bg7 4 c3 0-0 5 Nbd2 h6 6 Bh4 d6 7 e4 Nc6 8 Be2:

Normally to hunt down the bishop-pair Black flicks in ...g5, but the immediate 8...Nh5!? 9 0-0 Nf4 looks like an underrated alternative, at least on the evidence of Kamsky - Savchenko.

Black can, of course, also set up with ...d5 and 4 Nbd2 d5 5 e3 0-0 6 c3 (David Howell's 6 Be2 Nbd7 7 h3!? Re8 8 Bf4 also deserves definite attention) 6...Nbd7 7 Be2 Re8 8 0-0 e5 remains an important tabiya:

After 9 h3 Black should be able to equalise, but 9...c5!? 10 a4 quickly saw White obtaining the upper hand in Prohaszka - Jinshi Bai.

The London System v King's Indian [A48]

Gata Kamsky continues to go 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 against all-comers with 2...g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 c3 0-0 5 e3 d6 6 h3 b6 7 a4 a6 8 Be2 Bb7 9 0-0 a position which keeps cropping up in his practise:

Now Black usually chooses between 9...c5 10 Nbd2 Nbd7 and 9...Nbd7 10 Bh2 Re8, with the latter holding up well enough in Kamsky - Demchenko.

The London System Anti-Nimzo [D02]

Quite a critical line of the classical London is 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 c3 (other move orders are very possible too, of course) 6...Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 b6. White had been struggling a little here, but Kamsky makes a good case for the Carlsenesque 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Rd1!?, simply waiting while improving:

Whether this is definitely enough for an edge isn't yet clear, but certainly 10...Re8 11 e4 Be7 12 e5 Nh5 13 a3 gave White a decent type of anti-French set-up in Kamsky - Goganov and the 2575-rated young Russian GM was simply blown away.

Vladimir Kramnik rejected such an approach as White, preferring 8 Bb5!? in the Zurich blitz. However, after 8...Ne7 (as recommended by Eric) 9 dxc5 Bxc5 10 Bd3 b6 11 0-0 Bb7 it's hard to believe Black had any problems in Kramnik - Nakamura.

The Torre Attack v 1...d5, 3 Bg5 c6 [D03]

Finally, we return to the Torre, if in a fairly rare form, namely 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bg5. Now 3...Ne4 must be critical, but 3...c6 4 e3 Qb6 5 Bd3 Ne4!? was Nakamura's preference:

However, after 6 Nbd2 Nxg5 7 Nxg5 e6? Black was already simply in some trouble in Kramnik - Nakamura.

Plenty of food for thought, for sure, this month and I hope the Tromp will follow suit in really engaging subscribers' attention next month. Until then, Richard

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