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Greetings from London, where the 9th London Chess Classic is about to begin. Will we see yet further high-profile outings for the Jobava-Prié Attack and the London System? This month we’ll see that theory doesn’t stand still in the latter, while also examining White’s latest tries to generate something against the brick wall that is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5.

Download PGN of November ’17 d-Pawn Specials games

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

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 e3 Black tends to go 4...c5 or 4...Bf5 5 f3 and then drop the knight back to f6, but 5...Nd6!? was seen in Martinovic, S - Georgiev, K:

However, unusually for Kiril Georgiev it doesn’t seem to have been a case of good preparation or at least 6 Nc3 e6 7 Qe2! already left Black under pressure.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 [D00]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 has been a real headache for Tromp fans in recent years and even Magnus didn’t get anywhere against it in the last world championship match. The most common response these days is 3 e3 when Black can go 3...c6, but White shouldn’t mind this and 4 Bd3 Qb6 5 Nbd2!?, as we’ll see in Bartel, M - Mista, A, where the black queen runs into trouble.

The big problem, however, is 3...c5:

With 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5 largely abandoned, attention has switched to 4 c3, but this isn’t especially threatening and the resulting reversed Slav scenario offers Black a reasonable choice, including the 4...Nc6 5 Nd2 cxd4 6 exd4 g6!? of Timofeev, A - Bocharov, D.

Perhaps this explains why 3 Nd2 has been tried by Carlsen of late in a blitz game and also Timur Gareev. Once again, though, 3...c5 should equalise, whereas 3...c6 4 Nf3 Bf5 5 Nh4! wasn’t so trivial for Black in Gareev, T - Hernandez Carmenates, H.

The London System V KID: 2...g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 4 e3 d6 5 Be2 d6 6 h3 [A48]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 e3 d6 White has a few move orders, including the restrained 5 Be2 d6 6 h3. However, it is possible to play too modestly and make too many useful moves, 6...c5 7 Nbd2?! Nc6 8 c3 certainly being a case in point for the latter:

Can you see what’s wrong with this? Either Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu was happy with a draw or he should have subscribed to ChessPublishing, 8...cxd4 9 exd4 e5! giving Black a very easy draw in Nisipeanu, L - Ragger, M.

The London: 1...d5 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 Nf6 4 Nbd2 Bd6 5 Bg3 Nbd7 [D02]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 d5 4 Nbd2 Black has a few options, but his second choice behind pushing the c-pawn is 4...Bd6. Then 5 Bg3 Nbd7 saw him delaying that strategy in Kamsky, G - Antipov, M:

6 e3 b6 is certainly quite solid for Black, but the thematic 7 a4!? asked some questions and the London King was soon outplaying Antipov to earn a pleasant edge.

The London: 1...d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 [D02]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Nf6 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Nbd2! quite a modern tabiya arises. The Exchange Caro positions after 5...Bg4 are at least easier for White to play than Black I feel, but 5...cxd4 6 exd4 Bf5 is solid enough. Critical, though, is 5...Qb6!? 6 dxc5 Qxb2 7 Rb1 Qc3 8 Bb5 e6 9 0-0 Be7 10 Ne5 Bd7:

This was first played by leading theoretician Markus Ragger back at Wijk at the start of the year, but as I showed at the time, black players should not follow all his resulting moves. Black tried to in Mamedov, R - Pijpers, A, and earnt an impressive draw, but he was surely under pressure after failing to pay attention to, or perhaps remember, our earlier coverage of what to do at move 12.

Until next time, Richard

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