ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks

October Update: - What's New

We shall continue, this month, our study of the most challenging line against the Trompowsky, namely 2...c5. Not the most popular, but the line that directly asks the question of the validity of White's conception by simultaneously attacking the d4 pawn whilst preparing the queen's sortie to b6.

GM Eric Prié,


I have added a new chapter (2...c5 3 Bxf6) to the Trompowsky eBook.

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

This time, we shall follow the course of taking on f6, 3 Bxf6, Black recapturing with his g-pawn, 3...gxf6 and thus, having parted with the bishop we will study the natural possibility of keeping the pawn on d4.

Indeed, it is common and acknowledged as good strategy to build pawn chains on the same colour as the enemy bishop to limit its range, when it has no counterpart, while increasing the scope of the remaining bishop.

Caricaturing the idea, it appears illogical to open the long diagonal for the black dark-squared bishop with 4.d5 immediately after having, deliberately, conceded its counterpart, even if this is the best move!

The reader will possibly also find some interest in this didactic approach by extending it to other openings, reversed colours included, with a similar pawn structure.

We start with the wild 4.e3, noting (in passing) that unlike the c3 variation, it is possible for White to refrain from parting with the "Trompowsky bishop" when he wants to support d4 with this pawn, as GM Sarhan GULIEV, for instance, used to. Then, again unlike the c3 variation, the best for Black is, probably, to play 3...Qb6, to be examined later, NOT to transpose into the 2...Ne4 Trompowsky. Indeed, after 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Qb6 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.bxc3 White has doubled pawns but has avoided the sacrifice of b2.

4.e3 is wild, because it participates in the development but does nothing to protect the vulnerable b-pawn, thus clearly showing White's intention to sacrifice it. And this is what happened, with different fortunes, in the eminently tactical games 1 to 3, which contain a lot of original analysis to exhaustively check whether the idea is ill-founded or not.

In Game 1 White conducted the initiative brilliantly but, incautious or overoptimistic, fell to one of the most surprising defensive moves I have ever seen!

In Game 2 The black king was forced to d8 on move 6 but this eventually proved insufficient, with precise play.

In Game 3 Black managed to win the d4 pawn in addition to the b2 one, thanks to a clever tactic, but later got so muddled up that he was happy to finally snatch a draw.

Game 4 saw White attempting to keep the pawn with 5 b3, thus making some awkward holes on the dark squares which quickly turned sour for him. Actually, in the same way as the 4.c3 line, from which the game could come if White had defended his b-pawn by pushing it, the problem in the position is directly linked to the reinforcement of Black's presence in the center caused by the exchange on f6 which authorises him to play annoyingly against the d4 pawn. So, it has to be admitted that the c5 Trompowsky with 3. or 4.e3 is a dodgy choice against good preparation.

Games 5 to 9 are dedicated to the less compromising 4.c3:

In Game 5, White chose to protect the b2-pawn, after 4...Qb6, with the suspicious 5.Qd2?! but was harshly punished to match the record, in the 2...c5 Trompowsky, of the famous game Terentiev-Gallagher, by being lost as soon as the 8th move!

Black succumbed to his structural weaknesses in Game 6 after going off the track by exchanging too early on d4.

Black employed the above-mentioned thematic thrust of the e-pawn in timely manner to attack the center in Game 7 but became deluded by the situation of the enemy queen on the c-file which allowed the opponent to seize a dangerous initiative.

Model Black strategy is illustrated in Game 8 by the African n°1 in his younger days, casting serious doubt on the correctness of the variation 5.Qc2.

The notes in Game 9 attempt to revitalize an old idea (for endgame lovers only!), through the analysis of the only Trompowsky available in the database ever played by the 11th world champion, Bobby FISCHER himself, where it is not clear that the best for Black is to take the pawn as he did, and neither why 5.Qb3 is consequently condemned by theory.

Till next month! Eric Prié.