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June 2004 Update

EricThis month we continue our exploration of what I called in February, from a theoretical and 'logical' point of view, THE main line of the Tromp.

GM Eric Prié,




You can download the June '04 d-pawn specials games directly in PGN form here: Download Games

Trompovsky [A45]

After 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 d5 4.e3 Black plays the move 4...e6 where his further intention to play ...Bd6 is clear, exchanging White's most active piece, and White replies 5 Bd3:

In Game one, Black replied with a novelty at the time, 5...b6!?, With the natural idea of developing his queen's bishop on the c8-a6 diagonal or offering useful protection to his e4 pawn after the possible exchange on e4.

The game continued 6.Bxe4?! which was even labelled 'dubious' by the leader of the black pieces and future winner of this game, 6...dxe4 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Qg4!? 0-0 9.Qg3?:

This must be the result of an incorrect estimation of the position. After Black's next move, the gaping holes on the light squares in White's camp will be patent. It is clear that his extra doubled c-pawns will never get past the c4 square and, in the meantime, it is well known that the presence of opposite-coloured bishops favours the attacker, and it was to this very attack that White quickly succumbed.

Instead, since he could not back down in the face of the ...e6-e5 threat anymore, he had to 'fully' accept the challenge with 9.Be5! leading to unclear play.

Games 2 and 3 saw the critical 5...Bd6:

In the first game of the two White smoothly replied with 6.Nf3 in order to keep his superior light-squared bishop, inducing after 6...Bxf4 7.exf4 Qd6 the forced sequence 8.Nbd2 Qxf4 9.g3 Qd6 10. Nxe4 dxe4 11.Bxe4 and managed to retain some initiative, mainly against the enemy 'bad' bishop, which he converted into a win in a very thematic rook endgame.

In the second game White opted for a less subtle policy with 6.Bxe4 Bxf4 6.exf4 dxe4 7.Nc3 Nc6! 8.Nge2 f5 9.Qd2 where both sides have a weak structure with a pair of doubled pawns, while the bishop on c8 is potentially strong on a6 or b7.

So White can only claim an advantage if he is successful in maintaining some initiative thanks to his slight advance in development after the breakthrough d4-d5, opening the file for his rook and providing his king's knight with the interesting square d4; or 'repairing' his structure with f2-f3. But, for any of these plans to succeed, he has to act fast and energetically. That said, Black played the slack 9...a5?!, failing to find the critical 9...Ne7, and was tortured much as in the previous game where his poor queen's bishop was only a spectator.

In Game 4, as a result of a transposition, Black mixed 2 systems with 5...c5?! (more 'dubious' than 'very ambitious') and after 6.Bxe4! (6.Nf3 was a game Horvath,Ju-Dembo,Y, the only precedent of 4...e6 in the section) 6...dxe4 7.Nc3 cxd4 8.Qxd4 Qxd4 9.exd4 b6!? Cleverly offered one pawn to radically change the physiognomy of the game from 'pretty bad without the slightest hope of counter-play' to 'active but technically lost', which proved successful... but only because of his opponent's feverishness!

Games 5 to 7 focus on the fashionable 2...e6 Trompowsky.

In the first of the series, Game 5, after the sequence 3.e4 h6 4.Bxf6 Qxf6 5.Nc3 Bb4! with the plan ...d7-d6, ...e6-e5, White's predominance in the centre is relative, and this illustrates why I am enticed to recommend instead, in the steps of 'Mrs Tromp', Antoaneta Stefanova, the newly crowned female World champion, the transposition to the Torre by:


as in games 6 and 7. But a special kind of Torre where the 'threat' of e2-e4 forces Black to react with ...c7-c5, which I always found more pleasant to play against (World n°1 Torre specialist Mark Hebden also agrees on that), rather than the ...b7-b6, ...Bb7, ...Be7, ...Ne4 plan; or ...d7-d5, providing White with the interesting possibility of playing a Stonewall formation i.e. e2-e3, c2-c3, f2-f4, Ng1-f3 but with his queen's bishop outside the pawn chain.

Game 6 saw the interjection of 3...h6 4.Bh4 (when e6 has been played, I find it somewhat 'anti-positional' to give up this bishop, which is already exerting pressure on Black's development and which would afford him a free tempo to develop his queen) and then 4...c5 5.e3, after which I think that Black should exchange immediately on d4 to obtain a favourable structure and the square d5 for his king's knight, but instead 5...Nc6 6.c3 was played, which authorized White, later on, to recapture on d4 towards the centre with a pleasant position in conjunction with the plan of profiting from the weakened light squares (after Black's little thought over the 3rd move ;o) in the vicinity of his king.

In Game 7 I tried out the relatively new and unexplored idea of 3...c5 4.c3!? keeping the option of playing for e2-e4 to which Black reacted quite originally with 4...cxd4 5.cxd4 Nc6 (5...Qb6 7.Qc2 Nc6 8.e3 is probably the real test for the validity of the concept) 6.e3 Qa5!? 7.Bxf6 gxf6 8.a3 b6!?, followed by massing forces in the direction of my kingside which proved illusory when I found a surprising way to take advantage of the position of the enemy king and doubled f-pawns:

Here I have just played 14 Nfd2!, when there is hardly any defence against Qf3.

Anti-Colle [D04]

Game 8 shows another attempt for White to equalize ;o) in the 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 Bg4 Anti-Colle by playing a position very much resembling the Lasker variation of the QBD orthodox reverse colour after 4.Be2 e6 5.Ne5 Bxe2 6.Qxe2 Nbd7! 7.Nxd7 Qxd7 except that the h-pawn move should have been usefully interposed, and that instead of having the queen on d7 (d2) after the exchange of knights, there is a rook, a queen or even a pawn on c6 (c3). By simple means, White was very instructively outplayed.



Till next month! Eric Prié.