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After we got to see the Tromp played in New York, hopes were high that the recent world championship match would this time feature a London - but, no. This month I’ve taken a look at a line which Team Carlsen may not have liked, while we also have a couple of lively Trompowskys and a guest annotation from our Open Sicilian expert, Michael Roiz.

Download PGN of November ’18 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 c5 4 dxc5 [A45]

You have to sit up and notice when one of the most experienced Trompowsky practitioners out there, Juan Manuel Bellon Lopez, suddenly surprises Black not with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bh4, but 3 h4. Recent practice has tended to focus on 3...c5 4 dxc5 (4 d5 would still be my preference), when 4...Na6 should be OK for the second player, but 4...d5!? was seen in Bellon Lopez, J - Christiansen, J-S.

Now 5 cxd6? Qb6 would not be wise, so Bellon Lopez preferred 5 Nd2 Nxc5 6 e4!?, which was pretty unclear, but White did soon have the upper hand in what was to be an eventful encounter.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bh4 c5 4 f3 g5 5 fxe4 gxh4 [A45]

To try and discover why Bellon Lopez rejected 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bh4, I’ve taken a look at various recent developments here, not least with the main line, 3...c5 4 f3 g5 5 fxe4 gxh4 6 e3:

Black has long been known to be doing well enough after 6...Bh6, and not 6...Qb6? 7 Nc3!, which quickly led to a crushing victory for White in Sotsky, A - Hajra, D.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 [A45]

A more highbrow encounter is Moiseenko, A - Baldauf, M, where the players went down one of the main lines with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5. Nowadays black players are more and more often side-stepping 6...Qb6 7 e4!?, with 6...e6 growing in popularity:

After 7 e4 Black can, of course, exchange on d5, but there’s also the immediate 7...d6 when 8 dxe6 Bxe6 9 Na3 d5 10 Bxb8 Rxb8 11 Bb5+ Ke7 is quite critical. Previously we’ve focussed on 12 e5, but Moiseenko introduced 12 Nh3!? and won quickly.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 [D00]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 remains a major issue for Trompowsky players. The modern line 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6, as in Carlsen-Karjakin, simply isn’t leading anywhere, with 5 dxc5 e6 6 Ngf3 Bxc5 7 c4 dxc4 very solid for Black:

After 8 Nbd2 c3 9 bxc3 Be7!? Black quickly began to take over in Lindberg, B - Roiz, M, as Michael demonstrates.

The Neo-London v KID: 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 [A48]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 remains pretty trendy as once again we have to take a look at the tabiya which arises after 3...d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4:

One of Black’s better lines has long been known to be 5...0-0 6 h5 c5!, against which I’m yet to find any advantage for White who suffered something of a meltdown in Kravtsiv, M - Gajwa, A.

The London System: 2...e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 e3 Nc6 [A46]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 White can, of course, develop in standard London fashion, but there’s also 5 Nc3!?, a development which might well appeal to Messrs Jobava and Prié. Then 5...cxd4 6 exd4 Bb4 7 Bd3 0-0 8 0-0 feels fairly thematic from both sides:

Previously we’ve taken a look at 8....Be7 and instead 8...d5 9 Ne2! was a fairly effective retreat in Parligras, M - Almasi, Z.

The London System: 2...Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Nd2 Bd6 5 Bg3 0-0 6 Ngf3 b6 [D02]

Team Carlsen may not have liked the possibility of Black meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 with 2...d5 when 3 e3 e6 4 Nd2 Bd6 continues to look quite solid. After 5 Bg3 0-0 6 Ngf3 Black can reveal why he held back on ...c5 with 6...b6:

The main point is revealed after 7 Ne5 c5 8 c3 Qc7 9 Bd3 Ba6, which continues to hold up quite well, as we’ll see in Vachier-Lagrave, M - Giri, A.

Will MVL also be tempted to give the London a punt at the London Chess Classic? We’ll soon find out...

Until next time, Richard

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