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Whereas it is certainly dubious to immediately develop the queen's knight in front of the c-pawn after a fully flexible move like 1...Nf6 or 1...d5, it is already more interesting after 1...Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 or 2...d6, and, indeed it has been quite a long time since I have updated these particular lines.

Download PGN of September '10 d-Pawn Specials games

2...d6 [A46]

After 3.Nc3 Bf5 is the critical move, although 3...Nbd7 at this stage, with the intention of transposing into the Philidor, has been a big concern of mine (see some further tips about this in games 3 to 5). It has regularly made me prefer 3.Bf4 (or 3.Nf3 if I played Bf4 on the second move as in game 4) 3...Nbd7 4.h3 until I discovered that this little tempo could be exploited by Black under certain conditions after 4...g6...

But see the coming October update!

4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.Nh4 Bg6 6.Nxg6 hxg6 7.e4 c6!?:

I have already treated 7...e6 and 7...e5 here, but this is a new move with the obvious intention ...Qa5 while dissuading any Bc4 because of ...b5-b4 possibly winning the e4 pawn. I doubt it is because of this it enjoys such flattering statistics in the database. Well, at least it kept White guessing in Game 1...

Mark Hebden must be the GM who remains the most faithful to the d-Pawn Specials, and he happens to practice this aprticular line with both sides. His word should have authority in this section, therefore, and he opted for 7.d5!? in Game 2.

After 3...Nbd7 4.Bf4! is my advice, and quite coherent with my repertoire. With the idea e4-e5 already difficult to stop for Black, it makes me recommend 2...d6 3.Nc3 after all. Indeed White quickly got a promising position in Game 3 after 4...Nc6 5.e4 Qa5 6.e5! Nd5 7.Bd2 dxe5 8.dxe5:

Things appear slightly different when starting with 2.Bf4, WHICH IS FORCED, I might remind you, in my vision of playing the London System. (Actually Mark Hebden plays 2.Nf3 because on 2...d5 he goes 3.c4, and not 3.Bf4?! allowing 3...c5!) 2...d6 3.e3?! (3.Nf3 is better, with the idea to either play a normal London VS KID after 3...g6 4.e3, or transpose into the previous game after 3...Nbd7 4.Nc3!? - I may also develop 3.Nc3!? in the future with the idea 3...g6 4.Qd2) 3...Nbd7 4. Nf3 Nh5! 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 g5 7.Nd2 Ndf6! This relay of the queen's knight is the problem. And White had to play very dynamically to stay in Game 4 after 8.Be2 Ng7!? 9.Bg3 Nf5:

Game 5 specifies why after 1...d6 2.Nf3 Nd7 3.e4! is best, despite White's more 'd-Pawn Specials' reaction 3.Bf4 in the actual text, which still granted him a pleasant edge after 3...g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.e5!

Veresov [D01]

With the black pawn on d5 instead of d6 and even with the bishop still on c8 instead of f5, this is a completely different story as in the Veresov, after 1...d5 2.Nc3?! Nf6 3.Bg5 Nbd7! 4.Nf3. But instead of 4...h6 5.Bh4 e6, Game 6 saw 4...c5??:

White is now perfectly ready to meet this lateral attack, which Nigel Davies rightly does not even consider in his book (published by Everyman in 2003). As a result White proceeded to swiftly crush his opponent following 5.dxc5 Qa5 6.Bxf6! Nxf6 7.Qd4 e6 8.b4 Qd8 9.e4!. Thus giving credit to the waffle advert: "These opening weapons to shock and confound opponents are ideal choices for those who revel in forcing opponents into chaotic, uncomfortable positions."

One year ago, Christoph SCHEERER expressed surprise that I had not considered 4.f3 c6 5.Qd2 h6 6.Bh4 e5 7.e3 at all. In Game 7 I played the Novelty 7...Bb4!:

After which White would think twice before castling queenside, and inspired a simple answer: If White's aim in the Veresov is to play e2-e4 then his set-up here did not look threatening, to say the least...

5.e4 dxe4 6.fxe4 e5 7.dxe5 Qa5 8.Nf3?! is one of the moves you think about in this position:

It is not critical however, since it is bound to transpose into something I have already dealt with after 8...Nxe5, except that in this particular move order Black improved his prospects in Game 8 by 8...Nxe4! 9.Bd2 Nxd2 10.Qxd2, and now instead of the steady 10...Bb4 he could even have bravely taken the pawn by 10...Nxe5! 11.Qe3 Bd6 12.0-0-0 Bc7 13.Re1 0-0 14.Nxe5 Re8.

Actually, I have not been able to find a single line where White could equalize after putting his knight in front of his c-pawn on move 2! Considering the main continuation 3.Bg5 Nbd7!, "the obvious place to look is Eric Prié's Veresov updates (and eBook) on the main site!" as Tony Kosten ferociously signals on the forum.

The title of Everyman's new Veresov book could then be "lose with the Veresov?!" perhaps. Probably not very good for sales ...!!

See you soon, Eric