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White wins the first six games in this update. That wasn’t planned, but does show that many of our favourite openings continue to pack a punch. You’ll find a number of instructive games below, including Daniel Naroditsky’s powerful display with the Jobava-Prié.

Download PGN of September ’19 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 [A45]

There’s nothing at all wrong with Black meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 with 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 d5 4 e3 c5, but after 5 Bd3 he does need to know what he’s doing:

To my surprise, recent praxis has seen 5...Nc6?! and 5...Qb6?!. Both receive short shrift in Levin, E - Bogdanov, E.

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

Over the past decade or so, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 Nd2 has been rather in the shadow of 6 d5, but this largely positional line is by no means a bad choice. Following 6...cxd4 7 Nb3 Black can go to b6 (the main line), to f5, or retreat with 7...Qd8 when after 8 cxd4 d5 9 e3 he finds himself at a second cross-roads:

In Miladinovic, I - Vratonjic, S we focus on 9...Nc6 10 Rc1 e6, which saw White go on to win after many adventures, while the notes reveal a crushing win for Black with 9...g6!?.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bh4 b6 [A46]

A few games after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 have caught my eye of late, as we’ll see, not least when Black has tried the risky lines associated with an early ...Qb6. One of those is 3...h6 4 Bh4 and then 4...c5 5 e3 Qb6, but our main game sees the more sedate 4...b6 5 Nbd2 Bb7 6 e3 Be7 7 c3 c5:

Here 8 a4!? asked some early questions in Turner, M - Willow, J.

The Torre Attack v KID 2...g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e4 d5 [A48]

There’s a small but certain trend for following 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 with 3...Bg7 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 e4 and after 5...d5 6 exd5 Nxd5 White has a few choices, including 7 c3:

Here 7...c5!? still looks like the critical test, whereas 7...Nd7 8 Bc4 N5b6 9 Bb3 left Black a little tied up in Romanov, E - Slizhevsky, A.

The London: 2...e6 3 Bf4 c5 4 e3 b6 5 Bd3 Bb7 6 c3 [A46]

Before we delve too deeply into 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4 b6, have you ever seen 3...h6 before? It merits a note in Jojua, D - Paichadze, L, where 3...b6 4 e3 b6 5 Nbd2 Bb7 6 c3 Nc6 7 Bd3 Be7 8 h3 0-0 9 0-0 was all fairly thematic from both sides:

There’s nothing at all wrong with 9...d6 here, but after the prophylactic 10 Bh2! Black shouldn’t be looking to rush through ...e6-e5.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 Nb5 Na6 [D00]

One of the main proponents of 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bf4 is the American Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky, who has recently begun to meet 3...Bf5 with 4 e3, as we’ll see. He also likes 3...e6 4 Nb5 for White and after 4...Na6 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 0-0 White has tried several moves.

I still quite like the look of 7 h3!?, but 7 a3 soon worked out well in the power-packed demolition job which was Naroditsky, D - Ortiz Suarez, I.

The Colle-Zukertort: 4 Bd3 Nbd7 5 0-0 b6 6 b3 Bb7 7 Bb2 [D05]

If Black does find himself facing the Colle-Zukertort and with an early ...e6 in, as well as feeling creative, he can do far worse than attempt a double fianchetto, as with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 d5 4 Bd3 Nbd7 5 0-0 b6 6 b3 Bb7 7 Bb2 g6!? 8 Nbd2 Bg7:

White’s problem is that an early Ne5 loses much of its sting when Black’s king is guarded by a bishop on g7 and in Berg, K - Kryakvin, D, Black soon enjoyed easy equality.

Will such a plan become much more popular against the Colle-Zukertort?

Until then, Richard

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