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June Update: - What's New

Welcome to my first d-Pawn Specials update. By way of an introduction to my collaboration with, I would like to focus on an interesting, flexible and original system for Black that I employed a few years ago.

GM Eric Prié,


You can download the June '03 d-pawn specials games directly in PGN form here: Download Games

Top class Grandmasters (including many English players) like Leko, Karpov, Short, Larsen, Movsessian, Zviaginsev, Speelman, Baklan, Kengis, Miles, Lalic, Chernin, Hamdouchi, Bauer, Conquest and so on have, or had, it in their repertoire and it has hardly ever been discussed on this site. It is initiated by the sequence 1.d4 e6.

Black's idea is to transpose into his favourite system whilst avoiding pet lines from White:

After 2 e4 Black most probably intends to transpose into a French Defense after 2...d5, but may also have in mind playing a "Kengis" after 2...c5 3.d5 exd5 4.exd5 d6 or an Open Sicilian after 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4, indeed even an Owen Defence is possible after 2...b6.

On the expected 2.c4 (as mainline 1 d4 players normally follow-up with this move) the spectrum of possibilities is still wider: original Black players will choose systems like the English Defense after 2...b6, the accelerated Bogoliubov after 2...Bb4+, a Neo-Benoni structure after 2...c5 3.d5 exd5 4.cxd5 g6 where Black may develop his g8-knight to e7, say. More importantly, Black can make "useful" transpositions that narrow White's choice by not allowing 2.Bg5: The Dutch, which after 2...f5 also avoids the Staunton Gambit, The Nimzo-Indian and the Classical Modern Benoni after 2...Nf6, The Queen's Gambit Declined after 2...d5.

In this section the third choice, the move 2.Nf3, is our concern, on which Black replies 2...c5

Black is ready to play an Open Sicilian after 3.e4 or an English after 3.c4. But most of the time, his opponent would pursue with one of the four following moves, in order of frequency:

3.e3 which is covered in Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5, against which I recommend a Hedgehog set-up with the Queen's Knight on d7 and if possible a double fianchetto.

3.c3 when Black should reply 3...Nc6!:

transposing to a Colle in Game 6, because 3...Nc6 is designed to counter 4.Bf4?! as in Game 7.

Here again 4 e4 d5 transposes into classical King Pawn openings after 5.e5 (Advance French) or 5.exd5 (c3 Sicilian). Still, I reckon 3.c3 is the best and I suggest 4.a3! against 3...Nc6

Next month I will deal with the other two replies, 3 g3, and 3 dxc5.

Best wishes, Eric Prié