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There’s a definite Trompowsky air to this month’s update, which tackles not only 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5, but its slightly shady cousin, 1 d4 d5 2 Bg5, the Pseudo-Trompowsky. The talented Indian teenager Pranav is involved on the black side of two complex Trompowsky scraps, while we’ll see that the critical test of the Pseudo-Tromp remains 2...f6. And while I must apologise for this slightly late update, I can at least take the chance to wish Tony K good luck as he represents England at the World Senior Team Championship this week and next!

Download PGN of June ’24 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 Bc1 [A45]

By no means everyone meets 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 with the 7 e4!? double gambit and 7 Bc1 remains both an important move and the main line. After 7...e6 8 e4 I’m sceptical that 8...c4!? would hold up in a high-level classical game, but at blitz it carries some surprise value:

We’ll take a look in Terry, R - Pranav, V, where after 9 Bxc4 Bc5 10 Ne2 White quickly got on top only to later be completely outplayed.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 c5 4 Nd2 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 h4 c5 there’s good reason why White usually goes 4 d5 or 4 dxc5. That said, 4 Nd2 may not be terrible - at blitz and if you really must gambit a pawn early on. Black can either take on g5 or go 4...Nxd2 when 5 Bxd2!? cxd4 6 c3 Nc6 7 cxd4 Nxd4 8 Nf3! Nxf3+ 9 exf3 was seen in Meshkovs, N - Pranav, V.

With the bishop coming to c3 and White angling to get in h4-h5-h6, this feels like definite compensation, at least from a practical perspective.

The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 d5 d6 4 Nc3 h6 [A45]

A fairly important sideline after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 d5 is 3...d6 4 Nc3 h6, angling to pick up the bishop-pair. If White wishes to avoid that, 5 Bc1!? may actually be best and 5 Bd2 has also seem some testing:

Here 5...b5!? is critical, but in Timerkhanov, A - Zvjaginsev, V, the experienced and strong Russian Grandmaster makes a decent case for 5...g6 6 e4 Bg7, Schmid Benoni style, and then 7 Nf3 e6!.

The Torre Attack: 3...c5 4 d5 [A46]

While 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 Nf3 did take play straight out of Trompowsky waters in a game from the recent Serbian Championship, 3...c5 4 d5!? still felt quite ambitious and Trompowsky-like in Ivanisevic, I - Markus, R.

Black responded with the critical 4...Qa5+! and after 5 Bd2 silently offered a repetition with 5...Qd8, one which I should point out was declined.

The Pseudo-Trompowsky: 2...h6 3 Bh4 c6 [D00]

A popular and very solid response to 1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 is the Slav-like 2...h6 3 Bh4 c6, although after 4 Nf3 Qb6 5 b3 Bf5 6 e3 Nd7 7 Bd3 Black should be a little careful:

Can you spot the potential pitfall to avoid? It’s definitely not 7...e6, but rather 7...Qa5+?? which runs straight into 8 b4! Qxb4+ 9 c3 Qb2 10 Bxf5, after which White won quickly in Artemiev, V - Ssegwanyi, A.

The Pseudo-Trompowsky: 2...f6 [D00]

My thanks to subscriber Lutz for asking me for my thoughts on how to meet the critical 1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 f6, as well as for kindly supplying some analysis on it. We begin with 3 Bf4 (3 Bh4 Nh6! is too easy for Black) 3...Nc6 4 Nf3:

Here 4...g5 still seems critical and just very unclear, whereas the 4...h5!? of Schulz, M - Wu, D, might have been met by 5 c4!.

We then move on to examining a recent trend, 3 Bd2!?, which, yes, is the same as if Black met 1 d4 d5 2 f3 with 2...Bd7!?. It keeps the bishop safe and enables White to meet 3...e5 with 4 e4, although after 4...exd4 in Fier, A - Delorme, A, White needed to go 5 Qh5+ g6 6 Qxd5.

Let’s hope it won’t be too long before we can return to discussing the still highly fertile world of the Pseudo-Trompowsky, even if it may not be next month.

Until then, Richard

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