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This month's update is divided into two parts. The first deals with Sneiders Attack against the Lemberger in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, (phew- what a mouthful!) hoping to 'refute' it, as I boasted some months ago, while the second is dedicated to some original developments (at least in this section) at the highest level in the most popular line of the Trompowsky - 2...Ne4.

Download PGN of October '04 d-Pawn Specials games

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit [D00]

After the introductory 1.d4 d5 2.e4?! (The BDG) dxe4 3.Nc3 e5! (The Lemberger) 4.Qh5 (The Sneiders Attack):

4...Nc6 We eventually get to the main line, faithful to the 'philosophy' of the opening from Black's point of view, 5.dxe5.

Now Black played 5...g6 in Game one, against which the 'father' of the line replied with the inferior 6.Qg5 when having weakened some black squares on the king side, his queen should have stepped back to e2. That allowed Black to react with 6...Ne7 7.Qf4 f5! 8.exf6 ep Nxf6 9.Nxe4? Nxe4 10.Qxe4

The BDG fan likes tense tactical struggles, but unfortunately for him that greediness, that time, lost almost by force to 10...Nb4!

Game 2 saw the momentarily less compromising 5...Bb4 with the idea Qd8-d4, forcing 6.Bd2 g6, more or less, as, in fact, it turns out that Black can hardly do without this move and that institutes the real debate of ideas around this variation: Black has a slight lead in development, in this symmetrical structure, and in consequence is the first to hit the opponent's e-pawn, but in return has conceded some annoying dark-squared weaknesses on the kingside. 7.Qe2 Nd4 8.Qd1 Bf5 9.Be3:

When the theoretical move is 9...Nc6, (although the novelty 9...c5! supporting the strong knight on d4, looks strong, i.e. keeping some advance in development, preparing the sortie of the black queen and therefore long castling after which the dark-squared weaknesses on the kingside will be less relevant since the king has emigrated to the other flank. This could give White some serious headaches and possibly make him change his optimistic 2nd move!) 10.Bb5 Nge7 11.Bh6 Qd5! After which the position completely levelled to reach a dead drawn opposite colour bishop ending a couple of moves later.

White improved in Game 3 with 11.Nge2! Asking the question whether or not Black should have taken on c3 when he had the chance to double the opponent's c-pawns. In fact, ceding his dark-squared bishop in return for a very superior pawn structure would be fine if only Black's pawn was not on g6, as he has to seriously watch out for the ensuing weaknesses on the dark squares. This is the tricky stake of this line and, the more you study it, the more you will realize that it is more a race for development than anything else, where neither side should waste any tempo by trying to double the c-pawns or exchanging the queens.

It was less easy than in game 2 but this debate with Teyko (whom I thank for his militating ... and stubbornness to defend a moribund opening ;o) ) which took place on the forum, some months ago under the thread "Lemberger counter-gambit", ended one more time in a completely 'flat' opposite colour bishop ending or a forced draw by repetition, at Black's choice.

Trompowsky [A45]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3:

Now, when Black does not give the check on a5, and plays 4...Nf6 this means that White's queen's knight will have the c3 square, and accordingly the best response is 5.dxc5!:

5...e5? Was the surprise that Black had concocted in Game 4, but after the simple 5.Bxe5 Bxc5 6.Bd6! Qb6 7.Bxc5 Qxc5 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.0-0-0 d5 11.e3 Re8 12.Nge2! Rxe3 13.Nd4 he just landed up with a completely rubbish position, testimony by itself to the erroneousness of his idea, provided that the opponent abstained from accepting his gambit play. White then lost the thread and even the game, eventually.

Black accepted transposition into a Scheveningen-Najdorf set-up in Game 5 after the standard sequence 5...Qa5+ 6.Nc3 Qxc5 7.e4 d6?! (Better 7...g6) 8.Qd2 As a result, White got a very nice (and rapid!) sort of English attack (as often happens in this system, sometimes, with clear extra tempi on known positions, where one characteristic is the difficulty Black has to develop his king's bishop) which he made good use of by swiftly crushing his opponent in typical White sided Sicilian style.

White changed in Game 6 with 5.d5:

which, if not the worst moment for White in the jungle of variations with that pawn push after 3...c5, is at least the one offering the opponent the widest choice of replies, including the quite annoying one given in the next game, with likely transpositions into other Tromp systems, as after 5...Qb6 6.Nc3!? Qxb2 7.Bd2 Qb6 8.e4 e5 White has an extra-tempo compared to the critical Tromp line 2..c5 3.d5 Qb6 4.Nc3 Qxb2 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.e4 e5, which corresponds to the f2-f3 move looking useless when theory recommends precisely 7.f4!

However, in the featured game White ignored this suggestion and followed up with 8.dxe6?!. He consequently obtained very little compensation for the pawn but still saved the game thanks to his fantastic tactical ability.

Game 7 stresses the problem of 5.d5 with the unconventional but, according to me, strong 5...Nh5!? (with the idea 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Qb6 forcing White to give up the b2 pawn, in view of the main threat ...Qb4+ winning the bishop on h4, in much worse conditions than the 2...c5 Tromp main line as we discussed this summer).

So White preferred 6.Be3 then, and after 6...e5! 7.Bf2 but when the utility of the f3 move sees itself reduced to making a square for the Tromp bishop, instead of proudly support the e2-e4 central advance, there must be something wrong with White's way of handling the opening... and he never recovered from it.

Game eight is a special present for the readers of, from my friend Laurent Fressinet of whom I had the chance to coach in a couple of World competitions when he had not yet reached the World's Top 50, that is to say in the days of his youth titles.

In this game Black then played the correct and disruptive 4...Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 and only now White played 6.d5!?:

Although Laurent should have won this game and then the tournament, thereby qualifying for the 'Big one' at Wijk aan Zee 2005, it was a tense and great struggle where his opponent (the n°1 Cuban player) defended very well.

Till next month! Eric Prié.