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May 2004 Update

Eric1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c6 4.e3 Qb6 5.Qc1 e5! "Immediately equalizing" as asserted last month and this was, in a certain way, left somewhat in suspension, but nevertheless this needs to be more solidly argued! And this is what the first three games are all about with great insights from "Grand Magician Trompopulos" himself.

GM Eric Prié,


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

Pseudo-Tromp [D00]

The first game of the series ended in a quick draw, after 6.Nf3 exd4 7.exd4 and the critical, though maybe not best 7...Bg4 which was certainly not pre-arranged, considering the sharpness of the opening, which was, indeed, very interesting to dissect.

The second game saw the natural, solid, and accordingly best alternative:

7...Be7 but soon went crazy after 8.Bg3 Bf5! 9.Bxb8 Rxb8 10.Qf4 Rd8 11.Qxf5 Qb2:

and the continuation is actually a serious contender for the game of the month!

In Game 3, Igor tried 7. Nxd4 which turned into a complete fiasco when he had to face the fantastic preparation of Ivan Sokolov:

7...c5 8.Nf3 Be7! 9.Bg3 Bf6! 10.Nc3 Ne7 11.Nb5 0-0!!:

where Black seized the initiative and hung onto it right until the win of material which proved, unfortunately for the latter, not quite decisive. Anyway the way it was led by the top Bosnian player as well as the way the top Greek player defended against it was a genuine treat.

Game 4 is also a continuation of last month's update, on the Pseudo, in the form of an independent alternative for Black in the 2...c6 3.a3!? line after 3...Bf5 4.e3 Nd7:

I believe that this plan, without forcing Ra2, is interesting only without the addition of ...h6, Bh4, because of the exposure of White's Tromp bishop along the 5th rank in some lines.

Unfortunately Black did not realize the importance of his move order and after the suspect 5.c4 played the slack 5...Qb6 which was happily met, once again, by 6.b4!

In conclusion, I think that on 2...c6, I would rather play 3.e3 like Miles (see the comment in the game Prié-Gurevich last month) and on 2...h6 3.Bh4 c6 only then the devastating 4.a3!

The next 2 games illustrate the obvious link between the Pseudo and the Tromp with the move order 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.e3. This also happens to be my recommendation for White in this position, allowing a transposition into the 2...Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.e3 Tromp, providing the appreciable advantage of only having to prepare for the critical line 3...c5.

But World n°10 Peter Leko replied with none of these and opted for 3...g6 in Game 5 probably helped in that by his knowledge of the Grünfeld defence.

In reply White captured: 4.Bxf6 (personally, and somewhat influenced by the course of this game! I would rather be enticed to transpose into a KID Torre here with 4.Nd2, satisfied at having avoided Black's critical plan ...d7-d6, ...c7-c5 while keeping the option of transposing into a Stonewall formation with the 'bad bishop' outside of the pawn chain by means of Bf1-d3, c2-c3, f2-f4 and eventually Ng1-f3.)

Back to the game, and after 4...exf6 followed the logical 5.c4 dxc4! (The pawn structure is more important than giving White an extra-tempo.) 6.Bxc4 Bd6!

Eventually young hope Radjabov got nothing out of the opening, as often in this structure when White's c-pawn is exchanged on c4 against Black's pawn on d5. Without any serious play against the black doubled f-pawns, he even had to face some technical problems resulting from the activity of the enemy pair of bishops which he failed to solve.

White was happier in Game 6 with the standard set-up Bg2, Nge2, beginning with 5.g3 and clinched a nice technical victory. Still, this had not too much to do with the advantage gained out of the opening but rather the difference of strength between the 2 players.

Game 7 does in fact follow the possible transposition initiated by the sequence 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.e3 (which is strictly equivalent to our subject of 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.e3 Ne4 4.Bf4 or 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nf6 3.e3 Ne4 4.Bf4.)

Next came 4...Nc6!?:

The idea of this move is to control the e5 square and be able to use the knight on e4 before it is chased away in order to get rid of White's Trompovsky bishop; when the whole idea of the "modern" 4.e3 variation is to reserve the possibility of driving away the black knight with the move f2-f3, rather than exchanging it with Nbd2, which would only lead to equality.

5.Bd3 f5 6.Nc3!

With the annoying idea of taking on e4 with the bishop and after the natural but faulty recapture by Black with the f-pawn to win d5 after Qh5+. This provoked Black into taking back on e4 with the less favourable d-pawn after which he could not surmount his problems on the dark squares caused by the duo of moves ...d7-d5 and ...f7-f5.

Game 8 presents a new facet of the Trompowsky with GM Sarhan GULIEV's approach to the critical 2...c5 line with 3.e3:

where, unfortunately for the evaluation of the idea, none of his 2500+ opponents played the critical 3...Qb6, they all transposed into the 2...Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 line with 3...Ne4 4.Bf4 where White does not sacrifice a pawn after 4...Qb6 5.Nc3 (but this does not mean that he gets any advantage either ...) as we shall see some other time.

The game rapidly went wild and crazy after 12.c6!!:

and White won in a sizzling 20 moves to propose another contender for the game of the month!

In Game 9 'serious' BDG things start with the study of Sneider's attack in the Lemberger Variation:

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.Qh5 and the very tempting but also somewhat optimistic 4...Nf6!?

when 4...Nc6 5.dxe5 is the main line.

The game continued 5.Qxe5+ Be7 6.Bf4! Nc6 to which White erroneously replied with 7.Bb5? (instead he should have taken on c7 with a pleasant position.) 7...0-0 8.Bxc6 but had somehow overlooked the nasty intermediate move 8...Bd6! and after another couple of mistakes got smashed.

Till next month! Eric Prié.