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The Trompowsky and, of course, the good, old London System rather dominate this month. Do look out for Jobava’s new patent set-up after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 Nd2, while if you can explain how Manuel Apicella managed to survive a monstrous kingside attack in the London...

Download PGN of May ’17 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4!? [A45]

Continuing with 3 Bf4 after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 might remain by some margin White’s most popular move, but those looking for something a little different should continue to remain very much aware of 3 h4!?:

We take a look at a few developments in this sub-variation this month, including seeing White setting up a rather fine pawn chain with 3...d5 4 Nd2 Nxg5 5 hxg5 g6 6 e3 Bg7 7 f4 in Ouakhir, M - Bellahcene, B.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 Nc6 [A45]

I’ve previously denoted 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 Nc6?! as dubious, so imagine my surprise to see a small flurry of recent interest here. However, white players shouldn’t worry: they are better after both Richard Pert’s 4 Nd2 Nxd2 5 Qxd2 and in the more ambitious main line, 4 f3 e5 5 dxe5 g5:

This looks rather futuristic, as well as slightly Budapest-like, and is not especially convincing. The only issue for White is where should the bishop retreat: f2 or c1. Both seem strong - see Stopa, J - Naroditsky, D.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 [A45]

We’ve seen Stefan Kindermann making good use of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 on a few occasions of late, but I’m afraid I must report that 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 hasn’t been such a happy hunting ground for him. 5 c3 d5 6 Nd2 c5 7 Ngf3 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 N2b3 is all quite French Tarrasch-like, as well as fairly critical:

Unfortunately for the Trompowsky player, Black appears to be fine here whether he exchanges on d4 or drops back to b6 and accepts an IQP, as he did in Kindermann, S - Parligras, M.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 Nd2 [A45]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 Nd2 h6 4 Bh4 c5 5 c3 is Jobava’s latest weapon:

Like many of his creations, initially it doesn’t look too dangerous, but Jobava has clearly delved more deeply than many have here. Nils Grandelius and Nigel Short went in for Exchange Slav-type play with 5...cxd4 6 cxd4 Nc6 and Black should prefer that to allowing the 5...Nc6 6 e3 b6 7 Ne4! of Jobava, B - Stefansson, H.

The London System: 1...Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 b6 [A47]

Meeting 1 d4 Nf6 with 2 Bf4 remains quite topical and I’ve focussed on 2...e6 3 e3 b6 4 Nf3 Be7 5 h3 0-0 6 Nbd2 c5 this month:

This prefaces what Eric referred to as ”the equalising plan“, namely 7 c3 cxd4 8 exd4 Ba6, as seen in Li Chao - Wojtaszek, R. This Leko-approved approach is certainly a tough nut for White to crack, but there might be a glimmer of hope in Kamsky’s 7 a4!?.

The London System: 1...d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 Nc6 6 Ngf3 Bd6 7 Bd3 [D02]

The main line of the London is very much 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nd2 Nc6 6 Ngf3 Bd6 7 Bg3:

A few players continue to try and rehabilitate 7...Bxg3 8 hxg3 Qd6, but I can’t really recommend doing so: both 9 Bd3 and 9 Bb5 continue to look quite good for White, as we’ll see in Bachmann, A - Milov, V.

That game is from the recent French Team Championship in Chartres, as is Rambaldi, F - Apicella, M, where the modern main line 7...0-0 8 Bb5 was discussed:

The most important developments of late have come after 8...Bxg3 9 hxg3 Qb6, as we’ll see, whereas white players should be delighted if Black repeats Apicella’s 8...Ne7?! 9 Bd3! Ng6 - Rambaldi might well have won within 20 moves or so.

That’s all for this month. Will Black pull off more miracle saves next time? Until then, Richard

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