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We’ve plenty to enjoy this month, not least in the Trompowsky. Look out for a gripping, hard-fought and dramatic struggle in it between Duda and Carlsen, as well as Levon Aronian’s recent adventures on both sides of the board after 2 Bg5

Download PGN of September ’22 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...c5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 [A45]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 c5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 White usually goes 4 d5 and occasionally 4 dxc5 if he wants to avoid theory. Another way of doing just that is the extremely rare 4 Nc3!?:

After 4...cxd4 5 Qxd4 Nc6 6 Qh4 I would prefer White not to have already exchanged on f6 and gone 3 Nc3, but creative souls may still wish to peruse this line which we’ll see in Jones, G - Diaz Perez, M.

The Trompowsky: 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 [A45]

Needing to win, the world champion met 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 with 2...e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 and then 5...e5!?:

This remains quite a rare choice, largely because of 6 Bc4!. Instead, 6 Nf3 d6 7 Nbd2 Nbd7 was surely OK for Black in Duda, JK - Carlsen, M, a dramatic encounter in which the world champion was initially and instructively outplayed before he should really have won.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 c4 c5 [D00]

There’s been a resurgence of late, led by Mamedyarov and Aronian, of meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 with the good, old 3 Bxf6, and if 3...exf6 4 c4. Indeed, this featured in three of Aronian’s last four games in the Saint Louis Blitz! We begin our coverage with 4...c5, which is but one key line, and then 5 cxd5 Qxd5 6 e3!?:

This calm choice is new for the site and after 6...cxd4 7 Nc3 Qa5 both recaptures on d4 appear quite playable, with 8 exd4 preferred in Aronian, L - Nepomniachtchi, I, a rather visual game where Black sacrifices a queen, rook and two pawns for perpetual check.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 c4 e5 [D00]

I see that Stockfish initially quite likes 4...e5!?, so it’s probably no surprise that this has also seen some high-level testing of late. The critical line is likely 5 e3 exd4 6 Qxd4 (6 exd4!? is by no means ridiculous, leading actually to quite an exciting type of Exchange French) 6...Nc6! 7 Qxd5 Qxd5 8 cxd5 Nb4:

White certainly isn’t worse after 9 Na3, but neither should be Black, as we’ll see in Mamedyarov, S - Aronian, L.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Bxf6 gxf6 4 c4 dxc4 [D00]

Traditionally Black preferred 4...dxc4 5 e3 c5 when 6 Bxc4 cxd4 7 exd4 Bg7 8 Nc3 Nc6 9 Nge2 f5 10 0-0 0-0 was seen in the recent Aronian, L - Wojtaszek, R.

Here 11 d5 is best in my view, if also not an advance which secures White an advantage, despite Aronian’s subsequent strong play.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 Nb5 [D00]

Unsurprisingly 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 remains fairly topical and we’ll look at developments in two key lines this month: 3...g6 4 e3 Bg7 5 Nb5 and 3...e6 4 Nb5 Na6 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 0-0 7 h4!?:

This is Andrey Esipenko’s idea and I can easily imagine that this bold advance will continue to shock some black players for a while. After 7...c5 8 a4 Bd7 9 c3 Black needs to challenge White’s queenside clamp with 9...c4!, as we’ll see in Najer, E - Sjugirov, S.

The Veresov: 3...Nbd7 4 Nf3 c6 [D01]

Not quite everyone is following up 1 Nc3 d5 2 d4 Nf6 with 3 Bf4 and there must be a decent practical case for also having 3 Bg5 in one’s repertoire. The Veresov is also the subject of two recent books, Cyrus Lakdawala and Everyman’s Richter-Veresov Attack, and Eric Fleischman’s forthcoming work for Mongoose, The Richter-Veresov Attack: Qd3 Variation. I’m yet to see the latter, but after 3...Nbd7 4 Nf3 c6 Lakdawala endorses 5 Qd3, and if 5...b5!? 6 a3:

This position doesn’t seem so straightforward for Black (I suspect 5...g6 is just a better try), and he was quickly blown away in Aravindh, C - Shyam, S.

I dare say the London will make a return next month!

Until then, Richard

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