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There's a lack of killer novelties this month I'm afraid, but we do have several instructive encounters, not least on the theme of needing to remember your theory. Yes, even in the quieter lines which can dominate this column there are always a few critical lines which both sides should know.

*Attention visitors from the USCF and Chess Life Magazine: due to an oversight the wrong URL for the sample update was published in the magazine. You can find that sample here*

Download PGN of May '15 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 [D00]

We begin with a further look at the topical 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 e6 6 Nf3 Bxc5:

Here 7 Be2 was Adams-Kramnik, but one can also make a good case for 7 c4!?, as we'll see in Ipatov - Alsina Leal.

The Jobava-Prié Attack [D00]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 continues to be wheeled out by Jobava and is still gaining adherents. In Bortnyk - Kislinsky we examine both 3...c5 and the slower 3...a6, with White winning an instructive game after a bold queenside expansion.

Then in Demidov - Panarin 3...Bf5 and 3...e6 come under the microscope, with the latter followed by 4 e3 Bb4 5 Bd3 c5 6 dxc5 Nbd7 7 Nge2 0-0! the main focus:

White does have reasonable chances of emerging with a nibble, but objectively Black should be fine after his accurate last.

The Barry Attack 6...c5 7 Ne5 [D00]

Eugenio Torre keeps on wheeling out 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4, so the Barry is clearly not yet defunct. After 4...Bg7 5 e3 0-0 6 Be2 c5 7 Ne5 one might have thought that everyone knew to go 7...Nc6. However, 7...b6?! 8 h4 Bb7 9 h5 Nbd7 was seen in a recent game between two pretty reasonable players:

Amazingly in Medina - Espinosa Veloz White had to agree to a draw after just another seven moves, but could you do any better?

The Neo-London System 2...c5, 6 Qc2 Bf5? 7 Qxf5! [D00]

One attraction of the 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 move order is the trap 2...c5 3 e3 Nc6 4 c3 Qb6 5 Qb3 c4 6 Qc2 Bf5? 7 Qxf5! Qxb2 8 Qxd5 Qxa1 9 Qb5 0-0-0:

What's the star follow-up though? Amazingly White didn't know in Kamsky - Reshetnikov and was left badly red-faced after 10 Nf3?? Rd5!. Equally amazingly, though, the American star still won.

The Veresov 3...Nbd7 4 f3 h6 [D01]

If further evidence was needed that meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bg5 Nbd7 with 4 f3 is no longer hugely advisable, take a look at 4...h6 5 Bh4 c5 6 dxc5!? (6 e4 is somewhat more prudent) 6...e6 7 b4 b6 8 c6 Ne5 9 b5?:

Of course, this is critical, but it simply doesn't work due to 9...Bb4 10 Qd4 Nc4, after which White was extremely fortunate to eventually win a dramatic encounter in Dimitrov - Arnaudov.

The Trompowsky 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ [A45]

I'm jumping around a little here, but by letting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 top and tail this update, we can see another example of the need to know a bit of theory. After 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 Bc1 e6 White, of course, faces a major choice:

Here 8 c4 can be met by 8...exd5 9 cxd5 c4!?, so the modern interpretation is 8 e4 when 8...exd5 9 exd5 c4? is no longer advisable, as we'll see in Damljanovic - Ristic.

Try not to forget your theory in any sharp lines of your d-pawn repertoire!

Until next month, Richard

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