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Plenty of exciting games this month, as well as the latest London masterclass from Gata Kamsky and an effective if unusually solid piece of preparation from Tiger Hillarp Persson.

Download PGN of May ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 [A45]

Of course, White almost always meets 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 with 4 f3 or 4 d5, but wanting as ever to go his own way, Baadur Jobava tried 4 e3 Qb6 5 Nc3 Nxc3 6 bxc3:

This is a bit ugly, but does lead to a fresh position and one where White was able to exploit the b-file before actually being outdone in the creativity and calculational stage. Jobava, B - Smirin, I is only 14 moves long, but still extremely exciting.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6 [A45]

Last month we saw White trying 6 Bc4 after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6. This time we investigate developments after the traditional development, 6 Bd3, as well as 6 Nd2 g6 7 Bc4!?, which forces both sides into some early precision:

The game soon became a classic battle between the f-file and White’s light-square play against Black’s solidity and bishop-pair in Dragun, K - Gabuzyan, H.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 c3 [A46]

Tuvsanna, N - Lu Shanglei is something of a major upset, and one where White most certainly didn’t get lucky. One wonders if Lu was to regret mixing things up with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 e3 cxd4 6 exd4 h6 7 Bh4 g5!? 8 Bg3 Ne4:

My suspicion is that this asks too much of Black’s position and he was certainly quickly in trouble in the game.

The Torre v KID: 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 [A48]

We round up a number of developments after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 in Lemos, D - Hillarp Persson, T, including seeing Alexei Shirov following in Danny Gormally’s footsteps with 4...0-0 5 e4 d5 6 exd5 Nxd5 7 Nb3!?. Instead, 4...d6 5 c3 Nbd7 6 e3 h6 7 Bh4 0-0 8 Bd3 e5 9 0-0 Qe8 10 e4 reaches a important tabiya:

The creative Swedish Grandmaster came well prepared and 10...Nh5 11 Re1 Nf4!? looked like a good piece of preparation.

The London: 2...g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 [A45]

The modern London with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4 continues to remain topical, unlike, most notably, 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4. In recent months White has struggled a little after 5...h5, as we’ll see, while also investigating 5...c6 6 Be2 Qb6:

The pressure against b2 interferes with White’s aim of castling long, but both 7 a3!? and the 7 Rb1 of Ansell, S - Adair, J are far from unacceptable for him.

The London: 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 [A47]

Gata Kamsky sticks with his preferred move order of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 e6 3 e3 b6 4 Nf3 Bb7 5 Nbd2 Be7 6 h3 0-0 7 Bd3 c5 8 0-0 in Kamsky, G - Nozdrachev, V:

Do note how he how has avoided touching the c-pawn and that soon finds itself not on c3, but c4 as White goes on to win an instructive encounter.

The Barry Attack: 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 e3 0-0 [D00]

Partly due to the modern handling of the London, as in Ansell-Adair, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 e3 0-0 hasn’t been too popular of late and when it is seen, White often tries 6 Nb5. He preferred the older 6 Be2 c5 7 dxc5 in Gaprindashvili, V - Asadli, V:

Now 7...Nbd7 is critical when I’m still not convinced by 8 Nb5?! due to 8...a6, as well as the 8...Nxc5 of the game.

Will the 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 version of the London see a resurgence of interest soon? If it does, we’ll have to cover it!

Until next month, Richard

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