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This month we have a combination of fairly high-level online experience and over-the-board action. Notably our focus is on those favourite lines of ours characterised by an early Bg5; the London will just have to wait a month I’m afraid!

Download PGN of October ’20 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 c6 [A45]

We begin with the lovely if also rather meister-gegen-amateur encounter Golubka, P - Walek, P, where White wheels out one of my favourite occasional weapons, namely 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 h4!?. In the notes we’ll examine developments after the solid 3...d5, but Walek preferred 3...c6, which doesn’t seem to equalise after 4 Nd2:

It’s a brave player who exchanges on g5 here, but 4...Qa5 5 Nf3 d5 6 c3 Bf5 7 Nxe4! Bxe4 8 Nd2 Bf5 9 f3 seized a handy lead in development. Look out for Golubka’s neat if fairly obvious silent sacrifice 16 Nc6, as well as a most aesthetic silent queen sacrifice in the notes to Black’s 11th move.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Nf6 [A45]

We check out another lively sideline, this time for Black in Rahman, Z - Priasmoro, N, where Black meets 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 with 4...Nf6 5 dxc5 b6!?:

The jury is still out over this gambit. My suspicion is that it is a decent practical weapon, but objectively not good enough for equality and certainly 6 e4 Bb7?! 7 Nc3 bxc5 8 Bb5 Nc6 9 Nge2 g6? was a not a good version of the Dragon in the game.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 f3 [A45]

Against the solid line 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 Dmitri Andreikin’s recent preference has been not 4 e3, but 4 f3 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 e4:

I still suspect that the Winawer-like 6...Bb4 should be critical, whereas 6...a6 might just be met by 7 Qd2 rather than 7 Qd3 when 7...Nc6!? turned out OK for Black in Andreikin, D - Martinez Alcantara, J.

The Trompowsky/Torre: 2...c5 3 Nc3 cxd4 4 Qxd4 Nc6 5 Qh4 e6 [A46]

You might be forgiven after 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bg5 in Andreikin, D - Spata, G, for assuming that we were also going to enjoy one of the leading Russian Grandmaster’s outings in another of his old favourites, the Torre - but no! After 3...c5 Andreikin went 4 Nc3!?, transposing after 4...cxd4 5 Qxd4 Nc6 6 Qh4 to a sideline of the Trompowsky:

After 6...Be7 7 0-0-0 Black appears best advised to reject 7...d5?! on account of 8 e4, with 7...Qa5 8 e4 a6 the Sicilian-like course of the game where Andreikin was to receive an early present.

The Pseudo-Trompowsky: 2...h6 3 Bh4 [D00]

Another line which remains a decent enough choice for speed games is 1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 when Black often flicks in 2...h6 3 Bh4 and now we’ll consider two approaches this month. Firstly 3...c5, which is Avrukh-approved, but after 4 dxc5 Black may want something more dynamic than going in for 4...Qa5+ 5 Nd2!?:

Black must be OK after 5...Qxc5, but 5...e6 6 e4! is a little awkward for him and 5...e5? 6 c3! Qxc5 7 e4 was even more so in Laurusas, T - Vorobjov, P.

A more solid approach is 3...c6 when 4 a3!? Qb6 5 Ra2 was once a favourite of Eric’s:

The rook may not be misplaced, especially if White can get in c4-c5 and b2-b4. That approach was seen in Bauer, C - Ivanchuk, I, which wasn’t flawless, but was still a fairly instructive positional struggle.

The Torre Attack v KID: 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 c3 d6 6 e4 c5 [A48]

After 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 d6 we’ll examine Vladislav Artemiev’s latest outing with 5 e3, which actually quickly became quite sharp, as well as 5 c3 0-0 6 e4 c5 and then not 7 dxc5, but 7 d5:

Outwardly this looks a more ambitious choice, but after 7...e6 (or 7...h6 8 Bh4 e6) 8 dxe6 Bxe6 Black really should be active enough to claim equality, as we’ll see in Miljkovic, M - Popovic, D.

Fingers crossed for more entertainment and instruction next month.

Until then, Richard

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