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Plenty of draws this month I’m afraid, but also plenty of excitement. We’ll see the new U.S. Ladies’ Champion put her king on d2 in the opening, as well as yet another success for a very modern interpretation of the venerable London System.

Download PGN of May ’18 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 f3 [A45]

After 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 Peter Svidler recently plumped for 3...c5, as we’ll see, but the solid 3...d5 4 f3 Nf6 5 e4 e6 was preferred in Alarcon Casellas, R - Gonzalez Zamora, J:

Black declines the pawn and following 6 e5 Nfd7 7 Be3 c5 8 c3 Nc6 reaches a rather French-like position. I don’t mind taking White here, but Black too has his trumps and those queenside trumps soon give him the upper hand after some overly ambitious play from White.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Nc3 [A45]

Meeting the uncompromising 2 Bg5 c5 with 3 Nc3 is equally uncompromising and after 3...cxd4 4 Qxd4 Nc6 5 Qh4 we discuss developments in both the main line with 5...e6 and 5...d6 6 0-0-0 Qa5!? 7 e4 Be6:

Black’s play is admirably direct and currently the ball is in White’s court, at least if he wants to prove an advantage, as we’ll see in Barbero Sendic, A - Asis Gargatagli, H.

The London System: 2...e6 3 Bf4 Bd6 [A46]

We round up some recent developments in the ‘Queen’s Indian’ lines of the London, i.e. 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4, this month in Sedlak, N - Markovic, M, the most striking of which are Daniel Fernandez’s 3...Be7 4 e3 Nh5!? and 3...Bd6!?:

This is certainly quite radical, but the acclaimed London expert didn’t initially find it easy to prove an advantage as White ahead of launching a violent attack which only came up just short after Sedlak missed a deadly quiet move.

The London System: 2...g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 4 e3 0-0 5 Be2 d5 [D02]

The older handling of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 is, of course, 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 e3 when double fianchetto lines remain popular for Black, while 4...0-0 5 Be2 d5 6 h3 c5 7 c3 would be rather classical play from both sides:

Here too a fianchetto is possible and 7...b6 8 a4 Nc6 9 Nbd2 Nd7! 10 Nbd2 Bb7 seems fine for Black who quickly gave up a pawn for the bishop-pair and activity in Altini, N - Dvirnyy, D.

The London: 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 [D00]

Finally we come on to the aforementioned modern interpretation of the London, namely 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4!?. After 5...0-0 6 h5...

...Subscribers should know by now what move Black should play and what he shouldn’t do. Piorun, K - Szczurek, K is a graphic example of the latter.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 Nb5 [D00]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bf4 e6 White has mainly been preferring 4 Nb5 to 4 e3 of late. Play often continues 4...Na6 (4...Bb4+ is a decent alternative) 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 0-0:

White should avoid 7 c3 Nh5 and despite a fine creative recovery job, I wasn’t too impressed by 7 Ne5 in Paikidze, N - Zatonskih, A, so 7 h3 should likely be preferred.

The Colle-Zukertort mainline 8...cxd4 [D05]

We haven’t considered the Colle-Zukertort for a few months, but it retains several loyal adherents and 3...e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 b3 Nc6 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 0-0 0-0 8 Nbd2 can still be considered the main line:

The critical moves for Black are 8...b6 and Tony’s 8...Qe7 9 Ne5 Qc7, whereas 8...cxd4 9 exd4 b6 10 a3 Bb7 11 Qe2 gives White a grip on e5, although after 11...Ne7! Black was still able to defend in Tomashevsky, E - Schroder, J-C.

Will we see more Londons when the elite return to action in Norway later this month?

Until next time, Richard

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