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September Update: - What's New

This month's update is dedicated to the ever-popular Trompowsky with the study of two interesting lines.

GM Eric Prié,


Incidentally, I have started 'reorganising' the eBooks a little, so you will notice that there are some new chapters. This will be an ongoing project for me to make them easier to navigate.

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

The first line is 2...d6 the study of which is complementary to last month's survey.

Indeed, White has to take, 3.Bxf6, to stay in the spirit of the opening, otherwise Black will simply play 3...Nbd7, defending the f6-knight. Apart from this subtlety, the scheme of development is identical to the variation 2...g6 3.Bxf6 exf6 for both sides.

This line has advantages and drawbacks compared to 2...d5 which centre on the difference in the use of the c2-c4 move. In the case of 2...d5 this is a lever that, after 3.e3, Black will try to hinder with 3...Fe6, which then gives a concrete target for a white knight posted on the key square f4.

On the other hand, in the case of 2...d6, White will enjoy some central predominance but without pawn tension, and that central stability will orientate the play towards the sides: the kingside for Black which proved successful in Game 4 and, more easily, the queenside for White with a model attack in the 5th Game.

The main advantage for Black in this variation is that there is very little to learn since development is easy and always the same for both camps: whatever the exact order of moves may be, it goes 4.e3 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Nc3 0-0 7.g3 f5 8.Bg2 Nd7 9.Nge2 c6 10.0-0 Re8 reaching almost the only position to be analysed in the whole system!

Here, according to me, White should play the most precise move 11.Qd3 and follow up with a surge of pawns: b4, a4, and so on (as in game 5). In fact, if he pushes his b-pawn without this precautionary measure, it can bring an additional strategical theme with the possible exploitation of the weakness on c4. This is featured in Game 1, as an introduction (10.b4, instead of castling, and the reply 10...Nb6) to the play on the flanks in Game 2, and in Game 3 (10...Nf6 - instead of 10...Re8 - 11.b4 Be6 12.d5!?) where the play focuses on the control of squares in every case.

The second part of this update deals with the vulnerability of the b2 pawn as the most natural target for Black in d-pawn systems when White develops his queen's bishop early (some might say prematurely!)

Compared to the under-analysed 2....c6, 2...c5 asks an immediate question of the white center but gives up control of the d5-square and authorizes the capture of the pawn.

Concomitantly, it presents White with the basic dilemma of the Trompowsky: whether the move 2.Bg5 should be considered a "normal" developing move, designed to offer more flexibility and to take Black out of his pet Indian defence, or if it should be considered to be an immediate attacking move, introducing the threat of doubling pawns that, therefore, would need to be parried?

As far as we are concerned, White answers 'no' to the latter proposal by replying 3.d5, consequently showing his readiness to sacrifice the b-pawn. Actually, after 3...Qb6 attempts to defend it, as in Game 10, are not to be advised. Thus, after 4.Nc3 Qxb2

Black is a pawn up and statistics prove, while taking into account the level of the players, that he is right to do so in the Trompowsky, at the price of some effort to cope with the resulting white initiative.

In Game 6, and Game 7, Black managed to do it by closing the position after the forced sequence 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.e4 e5, even if the position looked very unclear, at some point, in both cases.

Game 8 showed Black being successful with a natural kingside fianchetto after surviving White's pawn wave in the center. As for Game 9, played in rapid chess, Black did not have time to develop his pieces and was immediately punished after being guilty of the exchange of light-squared bishops!

Till next month! Eric Prié.