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Eric's still rather busy I'm afraid, but at least the Trompowsky has received a fair bit of grandmaster testing of late. I've also dared to step into London territory and am delighted to be able to present three d-Pawn Specials games from the recent Thessaloniki Grand Prix.

Download PGN of May '13 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 [A45]

Last month we saw a cracking win with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 for Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu, but unfortunately that was the versatile Romanian's only outing with the Tromp in the strong European Individual Championship. Luckily for us, other grandmasters were also happy to give the opening an outing, including the young Russian star, Daniil Dubov. He faced 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 e6:

As Eric has shown, this isn't the poor relation to 6...Qb6 it's sometimes being portrayed as, and after 7 e4 both 7...d6 and the 7...exd5 8 exd5 d6 of Dubov - Sutovsky should give Black a fully playable game, as we'll see.

6 Nd2 is rather in the shadow of 6 d5 these days, but, of course, remains quite viable and was seen in Bartel - Shomoev from the same event. There Black met 6...cxd4 7 Nb3 with the solid 7...Qd8 which hasn't been seen on these pages before:

I should point out that's because Eric considers both 7...Qb6 and 7...Qf5!? to be fine for Black, but even after the queen retreat and 8 cxd4 d5 9 e3 e6 White can hardly claim more than a small plus.

2...c5 3 d5 Qb6 [A45]

Another Trompowsky line which we haven't seen for a while is 2...c5 3 d5 Qb6 4 Nc3 Qxb2 5 Bd2 Qb6 6 e4 d6 7 f4 e5:

Yelena Dembo advocated this bold pawn grab in Fighting the Anti-King's Indians, but it hasn't been so popular of late, partly I suspect because Black finds himself rather cramped after 8 f5. Eric rather likes that advance, which he has even played, but White prefers 8 Bb5+!? Bd7 9 Bxd7 Nbxd7 10 f5 in Kekelidze - Griggs and even with the bishops off, Black finds himself facing certain difficulties.

2...d5 3 e3 c5 [D00]

One can't imagine Ruslan Ponomariov being caught in a sharp line of the Trompowsky unless he'd expected the opening and prepared accordingly. Indeed, 2...d5 was his choice in Morozevich - Ponomariov, where the Muscovite employed 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 Bb5+!? for a second time:

It's hard to believe this check can give White any advantage, but it may well appeal to free-thinkers. Moreover, by holding back Nc3 White retains the option of breaking with c2-c4, as well as of transposing to Veresov waters at a favourable moment.

The Veresov 3...Nbd7 4 Qd3!? [D01]

Just as one wasn't too surprised to see Morozevich employing the Tromp in Thessaloniki, neither was Nakamura's use of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bg5 a total surprise. Moreover, it was nice to see 3...Nbd7 4 Qd3!? finally receiving a high-level test in Nakamura - Ponomariov:

Here 4...c5 must be the critical response, although 4...h6 5 Bh4 e6 6 e4 dxe4 7 Nxe4 wasn't such a bad version of a French Rubinstein for Black in the game, even if there are some potential pitfalls for him, albeit ones which the Ukrainian Grandmaster was able to avoid.

The London System v KID [A48]

It's with a little hesitancy that I examine 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bf4, but 3...Bg7 4 c3 d6 5 h3 0-0 6 Nbd2 was a very interesting move order in Kamsky - Grischuk, staying flexible with the e-pawn:

After 6...c5 7 dxc5 dxc5 8 e4 Nc6 9 Be2 play resembled a line of the Torre Attack and Kamsky was quick to seize an early initiative after 9...Nh5 10 Bh2 b6 11 e5!.

The Colle-Zukertort [D05]

One can learn plenty from the games of that wonderful natural talent, the Peruvian Grandmaster Julio Granda Zuniga. He is but one South American player to have dabbled in 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 of late. After 5...Nc6 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 0-0 0-0 8 Nbd2 b6 we come to a parting of the ways:

Most club players would opt for 9 Ne5, which contains a fair bit of sting as I showed last month, but Granda has never been a fan of the beaten track and prefers 9 c4, going on to win a rather instructive IQP encounter in Granda Zuniga-Vasquez Schroeder.

That's all for this (well, actually last!) month. I hope you'll be back in Eric's capable hands very soon, Richard

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