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In order to vary from the queenless positions of the previous update, we continue the exploration of the Tromp main line with two interesting ideas that stray from the beaten tracks, one for White, one for Black.

Download PGN of September '05 d-Pawn Specials games

Trompowsky [A45]

Game one is an important recent high level game that I had missed last month because of the slightly unusual move order employed by Black (which is probably inaccurate by the way): 7...Qb6 8.Qxd4 Nc6 9.Qxb6 axb6 10.Nd4 e5 11.Nxc6 dxc6 12.Bxe5 b5?!

By returning the pawn to complete development with a strong knight installed on d4 and his dark-squared bishop on his best diagonal, after 13.e4 Be6 14.Ne2! Nd7 15.Bg3 Rxa2 16.Rxa2 Bxa2 17.Nd4!, White was rewarded with a small edge in the ending which he convincingly conducted to a win.

Alas, had Black played 12...Be6 instead, to keep the option of playing in dangerous gambit style, much as in the Berzinsh game from the last update, this safe strategy that I have always advocated would have been impossible...

The next 5 games are dedicated to the forcing line 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 6.Nd2 cxd4 7.Nb3 Qf5!? 8.Bxb8 Rxb8 9.Qxd4 b6 10.e4 Qf4 (even if it costs another tempo the Black queen should retreat to the defence of the uncommonly vulnerable d7 point) 11.Nh3 Qc7 12.e5 Ng8 13.0-0-0 e6:

Here Black has gained the two bishops at the cost of some severe development problems that he hopes to compensate precisely thanks to his enhanced dark-squared control.

The elite Game 2 saw 14.Bd3!?. The idea behind this move is to keep the queen centralized by being ready to exchange this light-squared bishop against the black knight (when it gets to c6), and then bring the king's knight from h3 to d6 via g5-e4 or f2-e4 in order to get rid of Black's strong dark-squared bishop and try to take advantage of the d-file domination and anchor on d6.

It did not work ideally though, as Black succeeded in implementing the strong thematic plan of undermining the e5 pawn with ...f7-f6, a bit like in certain Paulsen Sicilians, but then probably missed a win in the complications.

As opposed to the previous game, although maybe it was due to a hole in his preparation, in Game 3 White failed to show the necessary comprehension behind this ordinary development move and after 14...Ne7 invented 15.Qd6?! (instead of Moiseenko's 15 Be4):

Such straightforward attempts to split the enemy camp in two and short circuit its lines of communication have to be worked out very carefully in closed positions. One forgotten or wrongly evaluated reorganization and the 'nail' on d6 may all of a sudden become an irrevocably condemned weakness!

Black continued 15...Qxd6 16.exd6 Nd5! - as from the stable f6-square this knight will be controlling a bunch of important squares. Then the siege of d6 began, including the possible manoeuvre ...Kd8, and ...Ne8, and as White could only support it with his 2 rooks (since a knight on c4 or b5 can be chased away or exchanged) Black later won the pawn and the game.

This simple mathematic observation (apart from any tactical consideration) should have occurred to White before he embarked on such an inflexible line - and pawns cannot go backwards!

So, 14.Ng5! is the most precise move with the direct intention of Ne4-d6+ followed by recapturing with the queen in order to maintain pressure against d7:

Black reacted with the natural 14...Ne7 15.f4 Nf5 in Game four - if he could only complete his development this would be an excellent square for the knight, controlling d6. Unfortunately, he is actually so behind in development that, on f5, the knight only becomes a target thus adding more problems to the second player.

The game continued 16.Qf2! (controlling as many squares as possible while already threatening g4) 16...Be7 17.Bd3! h6 18.Nf3! renewing the threat, and the position was soon strategically winning for White.

Probably aware of this problem Black deviated with 16...h6 in Game five, nevertheless, it seems that the damage is already done because of the much too fragile knight on f5.

The only possibility to rehabilitate the line therefore resides in 15...Nc6!? as played in Game six:

16.Qd2 (16.Qd3! keeping control of e4 while pursuing the intention of bringing his knight to d6 via e4, and with an eye on h7 in case of 16...f6, would be more to the point) 16...f6!? 17.exf6 gxf6 18.Ne4 f5! 19. Nf6+ Kf7 20.Nh5 Rg8 led to complications that White failed to master.

Because of last month's gambit I reckon White is struggling to demonstrate any advantage against 2...Ne4 at the moment. So the idea presented in the last two games, the paternity of which seems to belong to the Voronezh Grandmaster Konstantin Chernyshov, may well represent the future of the 2...Ne4 line and by consequence revolutionize the whole Trompovsky if it directs Black towards other second moves that I personally find more convenient to meet!

The line goes 6.d5 Qb6 7.e4 (Instead of 7.Bc1, that we studied some time ago, or the unattractive and weakening 7.b3) 7...Qxb2 8.Nd2 Qxc3:

This double gambit is not new but never previously offered anywhere near adequate compensation for the huge amount of sacrificed material. The new idea is 9.Bc7!?!, cutting the black queen from the retreat square on a5, 9...g6 10.Rc1 Qe3+ 11.Ne2:

In Game Seven the actual World n° 12 played the obvious 11...Na6 12.Nc4 (not falling into the nasty trap 12.Bf4? Nb4! 13.Bxe3 Nd3 mate!) 12...Qh6 13.Bf4 and now rejected the critical 13...g5 (which, though compromising, must be the right move for at least two reasons if we consider the future course of the game: it enables ...Qg6 in one go and after Be5 allows ...d7d6). Consequently, after 13... Qg7 there followed the fantastic 14.Qa4!!:

when Black could not even wiggle an ear anymore and soon had to give up a piece for 3 bad pawns to prolong resistance.

As for Game eight, it perfectly illustrates the inconvenience suffered by the black lady as after 11...Bh6? (this square is the only hole from where the black queen can edge her way back to her lines!) there followed 12.Nc4 Qg5 13.h4 Qh5 14.Ng3 winning her majesty at the cost of only one rook!

No doubt we will soon see a number of interesting games blossom with this brand new alternative, and I shall try to keep in touch with them.

Till next month! Eric Prié.