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In his book "Winning with the Trompowsky" (published by Batsford in 2003) Peter Wells treads gingerly with his supposed 'solid repertoire' for White after 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5(!) 3.Bxf6 gxf6 4.d5 Qb6 5.Qc1 f5 and 6.g3 which is considered to be the main line after the doubling of the opposing f-pawns.
However, contrary to what he states, most RECENT sources suggest that White is not even "slightly better" after giving up his bishop for free, both in the case of 2...c5! and also the 2...d5! 3.Bxf6 I examined recently.
This is the first subject of this update, the second is the similar idea of a swift lateral attack with the c-pawn, after first preventing the possibility of the exchange on f6, with 2...Ne4 3.Bf4 c5(!) which, naturally, remains the 2nd most critical line (after 2...c5) against the Tromp.

Download PGN of May '07 d-Pawn Specials games

Trompovsky 2...c5 [A45]

So after 6.g3 Game One continued normally by 6...Bg7 7.c3 d6 8.Bg2 Nd7 9.Nh3:

but then Black played 9...h5! - he initiates some kingside action, and at the same time improves his structure with ...h5-h4, as soon as he sees the opponent's knight on h3 which makes blocking with h2-h4 impossible. Afterwards he quietly plays ...Bd7, after his knight has gone to f6 or e5, with the idea of castling queenside and often retreats the queen to c7 rather than a6 in order to better meet White's only plan of bring a knight to e3, via c4 or f1, and Qc2 hitting f5. Eventually the move ...e7-e6 should come as the crowning of his strategy...

In this same position, Valeri Popov's 9...e5!?, depriving the knight (which is already out of play on the edge of the board) of the f4-square, may also represent a concern, about which Wells confesses : "I am not saying that White has problems, but this does introduce a whole new set of strategic problems and a careful study would be advisable before tackling this from either side."

Tongue in cheek, we know what that means...

The direct attack 7...e6!? (now, or after 7...Na6) also appears critical against this white set-up because if White is forced to take on e6, Black will win a tempo by playing ...d5 in one go, seizing a full centre which is quite constraining for the opponent's minor pieces. Following 8.Bg2 Na6 9.Na3 Nc7:

In Game 2 White went wrong here with 10.Nc4? when 10...Qa6! forced his queen to occupy the square of the knight by 11.Qf4 but without any pressure on the c7-f4 diagonal because of the hanging knight on c4!

I now realize that this idea (which is obviously more difficult to implement when the f1-bishop stays on the a6-f1 diagonal...) is the major drawback of this line with g2-g3, although I am aware that there are problems everywhere, anyhow, after such a commitment as the capture on f6.

White reacted more precisely with 9.Nh3 in Game 3 but against 9...Nc7 should have transposed into the previous game with 10.Na3!, very temporarily sacrificing the d5-pawn. Instead, the immediate 10.Nf4? just led to the quick loss of d5 after 10...e5! 11.Nd3 e4 12.Nf4 Bh6 with only hazy compensation.

Tromp 2...Ne4 [A45]

After the well-known sequence of moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 6.d5 Qb6, Chernyshov's spectacular idea of 7.e4 Qxb2 8.Nd2 Qxc3 9.Bc7!?! has lately been the talk of the Tromp town. But that was before July's 2006's 9...d6!:

Of course, this is the move! Rather than ...b7-b6, as in Pavlovic-Alexandrov, or ...g7-g6, as in the infancy of the line, Black increases his square control with the opening of the c8-h3 diagonal for his queen's bishop, and diminishes the activity of his counterpart by closing the b8-h2 diagonal!

Having chosen to put the games in chronological order rather than by move, Game 4 immediately embarked on the critical continuation after 10.Ne2 Qe3! 11.Nc4 Qh6! before White erred here with 12.Bxb8? Rxb8 13.Qa4+ winning back (little) material in return for some serious worries on the dark squares, with his king stuck in the centre, after the loss of his most valuable piece.

One month later, when Black may not have known the previous Novelty, Game 5 saw the retreat 11...Qg5?!, the dubious side of which was emphasised by the astonishing response 12.Ba5! starting to dangerously surround (that is the word!) the black queen which was, at least for a while, exiled on the kingside.

Similarly, the nice looking centralization 10...Qe5?!, intending 11.Nc4? Qh5, in fact left the queen even more exposed in Game 6 after the accurate 11.g4! taking the h5 square from her.

For better or for worse, the sole (more or less) stable square of retreat for the black queen is h6 and Game 7 continued with Cebalo's dangerous manoeuvre 12.Ba5!, which was answered by 12...g5! hiding the queen home. I have already mentioned this pawn push, which played a certain role in my prudent reserve when I first dealt with Chernyshov's idea...

Naturally, it is better to execute it in one go rather then after having first played 9...g6 as Grischuk did!

Following 13.Bd2! Black replied 13...Qh4!!+ "A typical computer move. I understood the bishop had to be attracted to g2 and the square g3 taken off the king knight so that to prevent Nf5." - Igor Nataf, my friend, who generously annotated this game, and who, like me, never spares the punctuation!

Game 8 is another exclusivity for from my "secret files", featuring 2 attempts at improvement with 11.Rc1?! b5! in a note (the sign that even the inventor of 9.Bc7 has not found the remedy against 9...d6!) and 13.h4 in the main text, depriving the black queen of the check on h4. It quickly led to a perpetual against the restrained black queen after 13...gxh4 14.Bd2 Qg6 15.Rxh4 Bg7?! 16.Rb1 0-0 17.Kf2! conquering the g3 square. However Mark Hebden suggests 15...h5!, providing a bit more room for the queen, and with the possibility of ...Bh6.

I believe this double gambit has lived and now has to be reserved for gambiteers who care more about the emotional aspect of the game rather than its objective final result...

Back to the old recipes, with the conservative but nevertheless provocative 7.Bc1! and 7...e6 8.e4. Is this is the way they play this line nowadays?! Peter Wells does not even consider this move in his book...

In any case, Game 9 was outrageously one-sided when White rapidly obtained the optimal setup in the symmetrical pawn structure resulting from 8...exd5 9.exd5 Be7 10.c4! 0-0 11.Bd3 Re8 12.Ne2 leaving Black with no squares for his pieces, and condemned to the role of a defender against the forthcoming kingside attack.

Black tried to change this fate in Game 10 by directly fianchettoing his king's bishop by 10...d6 11.c4 g6!?, allowing the disruptive check 12.Qe2+, but with the great idea 12...Kd8! 13.Qc2 Bg7 14.Bd3. However, he then opted for 14...Na6!? which was met by 15.a3, when the poor positioning of the queen's knight in this structure (in comparison to the Benoni one, for instance) was only justified by a tactical trick that eventually turned sour; something that must have been quite difficult to estimate at the time.

Instead, I bet we will soon see the position resulting from the obvious alternative 13...Re8+ 14.Ne2 Nbd7 15.0-0 Ne5 on the board:

with the idea of exchanging White's important light squared bishop asset followed by the key manoeuvre ...Ke7!-f8 and probably the modest development ...Bd7 guarding b5, rather than winning a tempo on the white queen with ...Bf5, but leaving the bishop exposed to the counter-idea Ne2-g3-e4.

See you soon, Eric