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Recent weeks have seen the Colle enjoy a rare day in the limelight, with the opening seemingly suddenly as popular as back in the day of Edgard Colle himself. The cause for this growth in interest? No less a player and theoretician than Vladimir Kramnik. Perhaps the 14th world champion was fed up with everyone copying his 1 Nf3 and 2 g3 approach, and so decided to take a deeper look at 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3...

Download PGN of November '15 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Colle Queen's Indian 6 c4 [E14]

Yes, I'm afraid that we will begin by returning to that infamous crossover territory (mislabelled or not 'E14' by the chaps at Chess Informant), namely 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 c5 4 Bd3 b6 5 0-0 Bb7 6 c4:

Veselin Topalov opted for one of the critical continuations in 6...cxd4 7 exd4 Be7 8 Nc3 d5 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Ne5 0-0 11 Qg4 and then wisely closed lines with 11...f5. However, after 12 Qe2 Bf6 13 Bc4 Re8 14 Rd1 White has quite a pleasant position to my eyes:

Indeed, after 14...Nd7 15 Bb5! White was pressing and won a fine game in Kramnik - Topalov.

A more ambitious line for Black is 6...g6 7 Nc3 Bg7, but 8 d5 exd5 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Nb5! 0-0 11 Nd6 Bc6 12 e4 still looks like good compensation:

Black wasn't well prepared and was quickly put to the sword by another modern-day Colle hero in Kovalenko - Almasi.

We also see Kovalenko in action in Kovalenko - Ivanchuk where Black held back on ...c5 with the solid 3...b6 4 Bd3 Bb7 5 0-0 Be7 6 c4 0-0 7 Nc3 d5. Following 8 cxd5 exd5 9 b3 Nbd7 10 Bb2 a6 11 Ne5 Re8 12 f4 c5 both Queen's Indian and Colle-Zukertort fans should be happy with the respective sides' set-ups:

Here 13 Qf3 looks natural to me, taking control of e4, but Kovalenko preferred the even more direct 13 Rf3. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the move, but White did have his chances before Ivanchuk gradually took over.

The Colle-Zukertort 8 Ne5 [D05]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 c5 4 Bd3 d5 5 b3 Nc6 6 Bb2 Bd6 7 Nbd2 0-0 is definitely pure Colle territory:

Here White tends to castle, but in the blitz game Shabalov - Ponkratov he preferred to gamble with 8 Ne5 and was quickly rewarded.

The Colle System 8 Qe2!? [D05]

And, yes, that does all mean that after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 c5 4 Bd3 Nc6 5 0-0 d5 Vladimir Kramnik eschewed 6 b3 to go 6 c3 Bd6 7 Nbd2 0-0:

Here he wisely avoided the main line and exchange on c5 for 8 Qe2!? e5 9 dxc5 Bxc5 10 e4, which has some subtle points, as we'll see in Kramnik - Aronian.

The Colle 2...g6, Speckled Egg 4 b4 [A48]

Staying in definite Colle territory, I thought we should have a quick look at 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 e3, unthreatening though such an approach is. White has a few ideas after 3...Bg7, with one of the better ones 4 b4 0-0 5 Be2:

However, even in the Speckled Egg variation, Black must be fine and quickly counters with ...c5 after 5...b6!? in Bocharov - Dominguez.

The Torre Attack v KID [A48]

Finally, we just have time to see another superstar, namely Magnus Carlsen, who had 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 d6 5 c3 h6 6 Bh4 g5 7 Bg3 Nh5 in one game in the World Rapid:

I'm still not overly won over by this approach by Black and sure enough 8 e4 Nxg3 9 hxg3 c5 10 dxc5! dxc5 11 Bc4 gave White a pleasant pull in Carlsen - Guseinov.

Here's hoping for more high-level Colles and Torres next month, as well as the odd Trompowsky! Richard

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