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We have plenty of instructive games and top-level material to enjoy this month, not least London king Gata Kamsky in action with his favourite opening and Magnus Carlsen’s latest outing with the Colle.

Download PGN of October ’18 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 Nd2 [A45]

As so often, however, we begin with the Trompowsky and arguably its main line, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6. I’ve rounded up some recent developments after 6 d5 e6 in the notes to Ballmann, M - Huzman, A, which saw instead 6 Nd2 cxd4:

Now 7 Nb3 has been virtually de rigueur, but Ballmann preferred 7 Nc4!? Qd8 8 cxd4. I have my doubts about what the knight is doing on c4, though, and 8...g6 looked like a decent response before an unbalanced and entertaining game ensued.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 d5 Qb6 5 Qc1 f5 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 Trompowsky authority Ziaur Rahman alternates between 3 d5, when I’m still far from totally sold on 3...Ne4 4 Bf4 Qb6 5 Nd2!? for White, and 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 d5 Qb6 5 Qc1 f5. Here White has a choice of set-ups, with 6 c4 Bg7 7 Nc3 d6 8 e3 Nd7 9 Qc2 his most ambitious:

White certainly has chances of an edge here, but Black makes a decent case for the hitherto rare 9...e5!? in Rahman, Z - Perez Candelario, M.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 d5 Qb6 5 Bc1 [A45]

After what’s just been written, it should come as no surprise to see 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 d5 Ne4 4 Bf4 Qb6 5 Bc1 the feature of a main game this month:

What would you play here as Black? Yes, 5...e6 is critical, although Black can also fianchetto. 5...Qf6?!, however, seems too crude to be good and after 6 Nf3 e6 7 g3 h5?! White remained calm en route to demolishing his much lower-rated opponent in Salgado Lopez, I - Arroyo Rodriguez, J. This is not the most theoretically relevant game ever, but should especially be of use to those who fear an early attack against their king.

The London, Jobava-Prié Attack: 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 [A45]

The modern London remains alive and well, if not quite as topical at 2700+ levels as it has been. This month we round up various developments after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4:

A fairly popular choice has been 5...c6 6 Be2 h5, but after the Barry transposition 7 Nf3, and if 7...Bg4 8 Ne5, White’s set-up is simply quite an attractive one, as we’ll see in Esipenko, A - Gutenev, A.

The London v KID: 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 4 e3 0-0 5 Be2 d6 [A48]

Somewhat more traditional, solid and less exciting is the London King’s Indian line 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 4 e3 0-0 5 Be2, as tried twice by Inarkiev in his recent match with Wei Yi. Both times play proceeded 5...d6 6 0-0 c5 when 7 h3 was Inarkiev’s first try and 7 c3 cxd4 8 exd4 Nc6 9 Nbd2 Nd5 10 Bg3 his later one:

Wei Yi consistently went for 10...e5, but it’s too early to say whether this definitely equalises, even though Black soon enjoyed decent counterplay in Inarkiev, E - Wei Yi.

The London, Anti-Nimzo: 1...d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 c3 e6 6 Nbd2 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 [D02]

Gata Kamsky faced one of the trendier lines of the London in Kamsky, G - Savchenko, B, where 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 (and notably not 2 Bf4) 2...e6 3 Bf4 d5 4 Nbd2 c5 5 e3 Nc6 6 c3 Bd6 7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bd3 b6 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Rd1 Re8 was seen:

Here Kamsky remained loyal to 11 e4 Be7 12 e5 Nh5 13 a3!, after which it appears that the onus remains on Black to demonstrate that he can equalise, not suffer in a French formation with two bishops outclassed by two knights.

The Colle: 2...e6 3 e3 c5 4 Nbd2 [D04]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 c5 4 Nbd2 keeps White’s options very much open (c3, b3 or even c4 may follow), and has appealed to both Carlsen and Kramnik. After 4...cxd4 5 exd4 Nc6 6 Bb5 I have my doubts about 6...Qb6?!:

Certainly 7 c4 dxc4 8 a4! a6 9 Nxc4 Qc7 10 Bxc6+ Qxc6 11 Nce5 gave White the initiative in Carlsen, M - Donchenko, A, where Black wasn’t overawed and battled back to draw a fascinating encounter.

Will we get to see any Colles or Londons in the Carlsen-Caruana match next month?

Until then, Richard

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