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The Barry Attack is a fashionable line against which every KID or Grünfeld player should be prepared if he does not play the Pirc. It seems to have suffered a lot, however, in the most recent games. We shall check if it still playable in this update as well as continuing our exploration of an important branch of the most popular 2...Ne4 Tromp.

Download PGN of November '04 d-Pawn Specials games

Barry Attack [D00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2!? Ne4:

The critical move and the reason why World specialist Mark Hebden prefers the conventional 5.e3 here, as in the next game, keeping the d2 square free for his king's knight in case of 5...Ne4? 6.Nxe4 dxe4.

Game one continued 6.Nxe4 dxe4 7.Ne5 b5!?.

An interesting Novelty. Black wants to abruptly refute White's conception by surrounding his exposed knight on e5. After 8.e3 He nonetheless failed to find the difficult 8...c6 and ended up in a very passive position after 8...a6? 9.Qc3! 0-0 10.Nc6.

In Game 2, after the standard sequence 5.e3 0-0 6.Be2 c5! 7.Ne5 Nc6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 Qb6 10.Nxc6 Qxc6:

the English Olympic team member, usually so very professional in his opening preparation, rejected Aaron Summerscale's recommendation in his book "A Killer Repertoire for White" 11.Bb5!? Qb6 12.a4, for some reason, and instead opted for 11.Re1 a6 12.a4 Bf5 13.a5 Rad8 14.Bf1 Rfe8 15.h3 but had to face 15...Ne4! which seems like the end of the Barry!

Trompowsky [A45]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 6.d5 Qb6

It is important to deflect White's king's bishop from the h2-b8 diagonal. 7.Bc1 e6 8.c4 (This is what Fressinet told me he had intended to play in his decisive game against Dominguez in the penultimate round of Wijk aan Zee B this year) 8...exd5 9.cxd5 c4?! Another critical line of the Tromp. Unusually, it is Black's turn to sacrifice a c4 pawn!

Game 3 saw 10.e3 Bc5 11.Kf2 0-0 12.Bxc4 Re8 13.Qb3 Qd6 14.Nc3 Qf4 15.Nge2 Bxe3+ 16.Bxe3? (White should have played 16.Kf1!! and I did not see how to defend Black's position) 16...Qxe3 17.Kf1 d6 18.Ne4

18...Rxe4!! with a winning initiative.

White innovated with the very interesting 10.e4!? in Game 4. As far as my database can tell, this critical move has been only played twice as it seems paradoxical to 'fall in' with Black's idea by opening the a7-g1 diagonal, but it is essential for the estimation of this important branch of the Tromp while also serving as a striking demonstration of the power of the centre.

The game continued: 10...Bc5 11.Nh3 d6 12.Nd2! (the point) 12...Bxh3 13. Nxc4 Bf2+ 14.Ke2 Qc5 15.gxh3 With the result that, while in the short term White may have worries about the situation of his king, at the moment he is a good pawn up with a solid pair of bishops protected behind a strong centre, and therefore holds a big advantage which he should have smoothly converted into a win after the forced exchange of queens a few moves later.

To answer a question on the subject that had been privately asked of me by mail, apart from the beginning of the line with 9...c4, I do not have a clue where Black can improve!

Serious business start with the critical 8...Qb4+ as instead of giving his c pawn on c4, Black takes the opponent's one!:

To this, if White replies with "the natural" 8.Nc3?! Qxc4 9.e4 then Black continues 9...Qb4! 10.Bd2 Qb6 11.Bc4 d6 12.Nge2 e5!, the well known recipe of closing the position.

After either 14.f4 Nbd7 in Game 5 or 14.g4 h5! in Game 6, White appeared with very slim, if not clearly insufficient, compensation in both cases, and although it was more complicated in the latter, duly lost both!

Indeed, the reason why White lost almost without a fight in the previous 2 games is that they sacrificed a central pawn which, as often, turned out to be cruelly missing later on when White hoped to maintain some pressure after the opponent finished development, while offering no semi open files to attack on.

Therefore, 9.Bd2! is the correct move, and this was played in the last 3 games, the point being that the capture 9...Qxc4 looks impossible!

This was shown in Game 7 and Game eight (by transposition) where Black was utterly crushed after 10.e4 Qd4 11.Bd2! exd5 12.Nge2 Qe5 13.Bf4 Qe6 14.exd5 Qb6 15.d6!, this nail literally cleaves Black's position open:

Black took the right pawn in Game nine: 9...Qxb2 10.Nc3 Qb6 11.e4 e5! 12.f4 (Curiously, White has an extra tempo compared to this section's 'favourite' pawn sacrifice 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Qb6 4.Nc3 Qxb2 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.e4 e5! 7.f4 which corresponds to the move c2-c4 which occupies the allegedly most active square for his light-squared bishop! Clearly, whilst not a drawback, this is probably not too relevant.)

Now, of course, Black should have protected his e-pawn with 12...d6!:

"Space, development, initiative. These words mean nothing to some players, who will do anything for an extra pawn"... and then proudly defend against the initiative to eventually take advantage of the gift ...! Will gambiteers ever learn ;o) that an advance in development eventually vanishes and that sacrificing a pawn is just wind if not sustained by deep analysis?

Well, concerning this critical position and therefore THE ENTIRE BODY OF APPROXIMATELY 600 GAMES IN THE 6.d5 ALTERNATIVE OF THE MOST POPULAR LINE IN THE TROMP: as a matter of taste, I would rather be Black but my evaluation is basically the same as in the above-mentioned variation: unclear with balanced chances after 13 f5 (this move is logical in this position as, compared to Bricard-Nevednichy for instance, Black does not have the freeing ...b5 counter gambit at his disposal) 13...h5! as White's g2-g4 cannot be tolerated.

However, in the game, Black spoiled everything with the suicidal 12...exf4?, and after 13.e5 Ng8 came 14.d6! the key idea, as recurs in this study, threatening Nd5-c7+. Black is already strategically lost and the rest was only a (short, though) 'knightmare' for him.

Till next month! Eric Prié.