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The London does, of course, remain quite topical and we couldn’t have an update without discussing it at least a little, but our main focus this month is those lines where White prefers to deploy his dark-squared bishop to g5. Attacking Trompowskys as well as model positional Torres are to the fore.

Download PGN of March ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 there’s not much to report on 3 Bf4, except that Baadur Jobava deployed it recently. Instead, I’ve supplied a short overview of 3 h4!?, especially the 3...c5 lines. Here I still quite like 4 d5, but 4 dxc5 Qa5+ 5 Nd2 Nxg5 6 hxg5 is also quite appealing for White:

6...g6 7 Rh4!? is one idea, 6...Qxc5 7 g6!? an even more important one, as we’ll see in Kanep, M - Soumya, S.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 d5 [A45]

We have a couple of unusual ideas to catch up on after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 d5, namely 3...Qb6 4 Nc3 d6 and especially 3...d6 4 Nc3 h6!?:

This continues to be a little frustrating for White and appears to be catching on for Black, who obtained good counterplay after 5 Bd2 b5! 6 Nxb5 Nxd5 in Paravyan, D - Anton Guijarro, D.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 [A45]

An important alternative is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 d5 when the set-up with 4...Qb6 5 Qc1 f5 6 c4 Bg7 7 Nc3 d6 8 e3 remains quite an attractive and popular one for White:

Black certainly must be quite precise, with 8...Nd7 9 Qc2 Nf6?! 10 Bd3 e6 11 Nge2 quickly turning out very well for White in Rusev, K - Badev, K.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 [D00]

White continues to struggle after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 e3 c5. Unsurprisingly Rustam Kasimdzhanov knew exactly what to do as Black after 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 Nc6, and 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 cxd4 6 exd4 h6!? 7 Bxf6 gxf6 also appears to offer Black sufficient dynamic counter-chances:

As far as I can see, 8 Bb5 Qb6 9 Qb3 a6 was just a fairly easy equaliser in Fedoseev, V - Nihal, S.

The Torre Attack: 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e3 [A48]

World Junior Champion Parham Maghsoodloo gives a positional masterclass after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e3 d6 6 Bc4!?:

This hopes for a well-known trap, but if Black avoids it White can still achieve quite a decent set-up, as we’ll see in Maghsoodloo, P - Gordievsky, D.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 e3 d5 5 Nbd2 Nbd7 [D03]

1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 Nf6 3 Nd2 Nbd7 4 Ngf3 c5 5 e3 e6 transposes to one of the main lines of the Torre and after 6 c3 Be7 7 Bd3 Black finds himself at something of a tabiya:

7...h6 is seen fairly often, when 8 Bf4!? is quite a clever idea, switching to a London approach where Black’s set-up suddenly looks a little passive, partly as ...Ne4 won’t free his position to the same extent as it does with the bishop on h4. See Megaranto, S - Pham Chuong for details.

The Jobava-Prié Attack 2...g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 [D00]

It was never going to be possible to have a London-free update, partly because 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 remains quite popular. Our main focus this month is on 3...d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 h5:

After 6 Nf3 a common inaccuracy remains 6...c5, which was brutally dealt with in Delchev, A - Vasilev, N.

Let’s hope for more exciting games next month! Until then, Richard

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