on the Trompowsky, Part 1 of 2

Wed, 2014-06-11 20:10 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "FIDE World Cup"]
[Site "Tromso"]
[Date "2013.08.25"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Andreikin, Dmitry"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A46"]
[WhiteElo "2716"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2013.08.11"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "NOR"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2013.09.17"]

{In this article we will examine the Trompowsky, which arises after the moves} 
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 {. Why would White play this move over 2.c4 or 2.Nf3? The
simplest answer is that White wants to play Bxf6 and make Black's pawn
structure inflexible, but we'll see in this game (and others) that now, when
White plays e3, the dark-squared bishop will be outside the d4-e3-f2 pawn
chain. The drawback is that the b2-pawn can become vulnerable after ...c5 and .
..Qb6, and we'll see how to deal with these sharp lines in next week's article.
The big experts in this opening are GMs Miladinovic and Hodgson, but we'll see
in this game that top players also use it as a surprise weapon, and the
'Tromp' can cause problems for even the world's best players.} e6 {In some
respects this is the most solid move, and was recommended by Cox in 'Dealing
with d4 Deviations'.} 3. Nd2 {White wants to play an improved Torre Attack,
delaying Nf3 until Black has committed to a ... b6 setup (so there is no
annoying ...Qb6 attack, for example).} (3. e4 h6 4. Bxf6 Qxf6 {sees White
trade the bishop pair for a space advantage. I tried} 5. c3 {with the idea of
Bd3/Ne2/0-0/f4 against James Morris late last year, but didn't get much out of
the opening.}) 3... h6 4. Bh4 c5 (4... d5 5. e3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 {is the other
main line, when White can either head for a decent version of the Torre with 7.
Ngf3 or set up an interesting Stonewall with} 7. f4 $5 {.}) 5. e3 Be7 6. c3 b6
7. Ngf3 Ba6 $6 {This is a common idea in these positions, as with White's
pawns primarily on the dark squares, his light-squared bishop is the stronger
prelate, but Black should play} (7... O-O 8. Bd3 Ba6 9. Bxa6 Nxa6 {so that
White has wasted a tempo on Bd3. Karpov used this plan successfully back in
his heyday.}) 8. Bxf6 Bxf6 9. Bxa6 Nxa6 10. Ne4 {The exchanges have left
Black's position a bit loose.} cxd4 11. Nxf6+ (11. cxd4 Be7 12. O-O O-O 13. Rc1
{was a simpler way to keep some pressure - the a6-knight will need a lot of
time to get back in the game, and} d5 14. Ng3 {would leave Black a bit
vulnerable to Ne5-c6 as well as an attack down the c-file.}) 11... Qxf6 12.
cxd4 Qe7 13. O-O O-O 14. Qa4 Nc7 15. Rac1 Nd5 16. Ne5 d6 {White has achieved
some definite pressure just with healthy developing moves - but now was the
moment where White had to be accurate to make something of it.} 17. Nd3 (17.
Nc6 Qd7 18. Rc2 Rfc8 19. Rfc1 {was correct - the knight is clearly a lot
stronger on c6 than d3. Probably Andreikin didn't like the pin, but it can't
hurt him at all.}) 17... Rfc8 18. h3 Qb7 19. Qa3 Qd7 20. Qa6 {The position is
just equal now (Black could play ...Ne7, swap the rooks on the c-file and draw)
but Svidler plays ambitiously and weakens himself as a result.} f5 $5 21. Rfe1
Kf7 22. Nf4 Nb4 {Only this pawn grab leads to problems - the Black king will
come under a sudden attack after White's next cheeky manoeuvre.} (22... Rxc1
23. Rxc1 Ne7 {and ...Rc8 was still equal.}) 23. Qe2 Nxa2 24. Rxc8 Rxc8 25. e4 {
White attacks in the centre while Black's a2-knight is out of the game. Even
in a classical game this attack would be unpleasant, but in a quickplay game
it's nearly impossible for Black to defend successfully.} Nb4 26. exf5 exf5 27.
Qf3 {Being able to find these quiet attacking moves are a hallmark of a classy
player.} (27. Qh5+ {looks more tempting but lets the king run away to safety
with} Kg8 {.}) 27... a5 (27... d5 28. Re5 Kg8 {was supposedly the best defence,
but White can keep some chances to win with} 29. Qb3 {followed by taking on d5.
}) 28. Re6 {This penetration of the rook should be decisive, as Black only has
the queen defending the monarch.} Kg8 29. Qg3 Nd5 {A blunder, but I think
Black was lost anyway with Rxh6 threatened.} ({or} 29... Kh7 30. Qg6+ Kg8 31.
Nh5 Qf7 32. Nf6+ Kf8 33. Qxf5 $1 {.}) 30. Qb3 {Black resigned as if the knight
moves, Re7 follows.} 1-0 
[Event "Elenite"]
[Site "Elenite"]
[Date "1995.??.??"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Miladinovic, Igor"]
[Black "Dolmatov, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A46"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2615"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "102"]
[EventDate "1995.09.??"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "BUL"]
[EventCategory "15"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1996.02.01"]

{Let's finish up our coverage of 2...e6 by seeing what happens when Black
plays the normal ...Bb7.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. Nf3 (3. Nd2 h6 4. Bh4 c5 5. e3
cxd4 6. exd4 Be7 7. c3 b6 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. Ngf3 {would be our move order.}) 3...
h6 4. Bh4 c5 5. e3 cxd4 (5... Qb6 {is what we avoid with our move order (as
White just plays Nd2-c4).}) 6. exd4 Be7 7. Bd3 b6 8. O-O Bb7 9. Nbd2 {This is
the other major structure that can arise in this variation (if Black doesn't
take on d4 at some point, White will play this setup followed by c3 and e4 to
claim a clear central preponderance). White has two main plans - he can either
play for a steady kingside attack with piece play, or press on the queenside
with a4 and a5 (coupled with c4 and b4 if White's feeling particularly
ambitious). In turn Black will generally be going for an ...e5 break or
queenside play with ...b5, but in general the White position is quite safe.} (
9. c4 O-O 10. Nc3 d5 {could lead to a position resembling the Tartakower QGD.})
9... d6 10. Bxf6 {In general, White exchanges on f6 before Black plays ...Nd7,
so Black can't recapture with the knight (and therefore it is harder to defend
against a White kingside attack). The bishop pair doesn't count for much with
the position fairly closed anyway.} Bxf6 11. a4 O-O 12. c3 a5 {This is already
a positional mistake as it weakens the b5-square and closes up the side of the
board where Black should at some point seek counterplay.} (12... Nd7 {would be
a healthier way to develop, and even the idea of}) (12... Ba6 {from our last
game is very interesting.}) 13. Re1 Nd7 14. Ne4 Be7 15. Bb1 {This shuts in the
a1-rook, but after} (15. Bc2 Re8 16. Qd3 {,} Ba6 {kills the battery, and} 17.
c4 {would weaken b4 too much.}) 15... Re8 16. Ng3 Nf6 17. Qd3 Bf8 18. h4 {
White goes for an attack that objectively isn't best, but otherwise it is hard
to see where White's play comes from.} g6 {The course of the game makes this
move look like a mistake, but it's probably best to not let White fix the
kingside with h5.} 19. h5 g5 20. Ba2 Bg7 21. c4 {This move blocks in the
a2-bishop and weakens the queenside, so logically Black should be quite a bit
better after this move. However, Black for some reason decides to bring the
a2-bishop back to life.} (21. Nd2 Qc7 22. Bc4 {is indicated by the engine but
Black's initiative begins to bubble up after} Nd5 {threatening ...Nf4.}) 21...
d5 22. Ne5 Qd6 (22... dxc4 23. Bxc4 Nd5 {was the correct way to establish a
clear edge as} 24. Nxf7 Kxf7 25. Qg6+ Kf8 26. Rxe6 Rxe6 27. Qxe6 Rc8 {, unlike
in the game, doesn't pan out well.}) 23. Rac1 dxc4 24. Bxc4 Rad8 {A blunder;
Black had to play} (24... Bd5 {, when Black has a good IQP position (d5 is
solidly blockaded and the kingside attack has been neutralised).}) 25. Nxf7 {
This nice sacrifice is the main reason I chose this game.} Kxf7 26. Qg6+ Kf8
27. Nf5 {Black can't take the knight because of Qf7 mate, so White is simply
winning.} Qd7 28. Bb5 exf5 29. Rxe8+ Nxe8 30. Bxd7 Rxd7 31. Qxb6 {Sometimes
the three pieces make a match for the queen, even with a pawn or two less, but
not here.} f4 32. Qxa5 f3 33. gxf3 Bf6 34. Re1 Ng7 35. Qb5 Rf7 36. d5 Nxh5 37.
Re6 Kg7 38. a5 Nf4 39. Rd6 Bc8 40. a6 Be5 41. Re6 Bd4 42. Qc4 Bxe6 43. dxe6
Nxe6 44. Qxe6 Ba7 45. Kg2 Rf6 46. Qe7+ Rf7 47. Qe5+ Kg6 48. b4 h5 49. b5 h4 50.
Qe6+ Rf6 51. Qg8+ Kh6 1-0 
[Event "Capablanca Memorial Elite 40th"]
[Site "Havana"]
[Date "2005.05.07"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
[Black "Jobava, Baadur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A45"]
[WhiteElo "2739"]
[BlackElo "2637"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "2005.05.06"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "CUB"]
[EventCategory "15"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2005.08.01"]

{The next game shows how things can go wrong for Black if he tries to punish
White for breaking the principle 'develop knights before bishops'.} 1. d4 Nf6
2. Bg5 Ne4 {That this is the most logical move is shown by the statistics -
Black plays this more often than anything else.} 3. Bf4 d5 (3... c5 {is the
other main line, when the most popular continuation could lead to an endgame
after} 4. f3 Qa5+ 5. c3 Nf6 6. Nd2 cxd4 7. Nb3 Qb6 8. Qxd4 Nc6 9. Qxb6 axb6 {
with chances for both sides, but first I want to show how to play in positions
where Black plays an early ...d5.}) 4. e3 c5 (4... Bf5 5. f3 Nf6 6. c4 c6 7.
Nc3 e6 8. g4 Bg6 9. Qb3 Qb6 10. c5 Qxb3 11. axb3 {is a typical example of what
White is aiming for in this line - he will play b4 and b5 to take the
initiative on the queenside (yes, if Black plays ...a6, the a-pawn will be
pinned).}) 5. Bd3 Nc6 {This move is quite ambitious, attacking White's centre
quickly, but it gives White a strong opening initiative.} (5... Bf5 $2 6. f3
Nd6 7. Bxd6 Bxd3 8. Bxb8 {is a trap that Black needs to avoid.}) (5... Qb6 6.
Bxe4 dxe4 7. Nc3 Qxb2 8. Nge2 {is a promising gambit for White, whose lead in
development gives him more than enough for the pawn.}) 6. Bxe4 dxe4 7. d5 Nb4
8. Nc3 {White has won nearly every game from this position, which shows you
how difficult Black's situation is. Actually, if you removed the White e3-pawn
from the board, it would be very much like a good Albin Countergambit!} e6 9.
d6 Nc6 {Probably best as Nb5 was a big threat.} (9... f5 10. g4 {, much like
in the game, also turns out fantastically for White.}) 10. Nge2 f5 11. Nb5 {
Now White can play this as ...Qa5 is answered with Nec3.} Kf7 12. Nc7 Rb8 13.
g4 {After this break Black is already helpless. The threat is gxf5 followed by
Qd5.} fxg4 14. Ng3 Nb4 (14... e5 {is met by} 15. Qd5+ Kf6 16. Nxe4+ {.}) 15. a3
Nd5 16. Nxe4 Nxf4 17. exf4 Kg8 18. Qxg4 {By this stage it is obvious that
White is winning and the rest is pure pleasure (or agony if you're Black!).} h5
19. Qg3 b5 20. Rg1 Rh6 21. O-O-O Kh8 22. Nxc5 b4 23. axb4 Rxb4 24. d7 Rc4 25.
N5xe6 1-0 
[Event "NSW Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2014.06.09"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Bjelobrk, Igor"]
[Black "Illingworth, Max"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A45"]
[WhiteElo "2394"]
[BlackElo "2502"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "35"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[Source "Max Illingworth"]
[SourceDate "2008.10.04"]

{Now for a game of mine played in the last round of this year's NSW Open,
which was in fact my inspiration for this article. It also, like the other
games, illustrates the wide range of positions that can arise from the
Trompowsky. You can see this either as requiring you to know a lot of
different pawn structures already to play this opening, or see the opening as
a tool for learning about many types of position, depending on your
perspective. Anyway, in the game I failed to equalise.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3.
Bf4 d5 4. e3 c5 5. Bd3 Nf6 {This move might look strange, but is actually the
most popular move here. The idea is that Black's position is solid enough that
a London a tempo down will still be fine for Black, and also White's extra
tempo Bd3 may not be as useful as it looks (I'll explain why in the next note).
} 6. Nf3 ({After} 6. c3 Qb6 {, White should play} 7. Qc1 {as} (7. Qb3 c4 8.
Qxb6 axb6 9. Bc2 b5 {sees White lose his extra tempo, and Black will equalise
by pushing through with ...b4, such like we saw in one of the notes to the
previous game. Meanwhile White should prepare the e4 break in general when
Black releases the central tension with ...c4.})) 6... Nc6 7. Nbd2 Bg4 {I
allowed a transposition back to the main line with 8.c3, but in hindsight, I
could have been a bit more exacting and played} (7... c4 8. Be2 Nh5 {to win
the bishop pair. I saw this idea, but decided to keep things solid.}) 8. c3 e6
9. h3 Bh5 (9... Bxf3 10. Nxf3 Bd6 {was a solid option, but as I needed to win
to share first place, I opted to keep the position more tense.}) 10. O-O Be7 $6
{Finding out that this mistake has been made by some strong players didn't
really cheer me up after the game, but it's a testament to how tricky it can
be to face the Trompowsky if you don't remember the theory (or worse, if you
think you remember it and don't as I did!).} (10... a6 {is an interesting
novelty, after which Black should be objectively OK, as} 11. Qb3 {now fails to}
c4 12. Qxb7 Na5 {and there's no check on b5!}) 11. Qb3 Qc8 (11... Qb6 {was the
alternative, but I didn't like} 12. Qxb6 axb6 13. a4 {when my pawn structure
is quite weak.}) (11... Qd7 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. dxe5 c4 14. Nxc4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 {
with the threat of Bb5 is another trap prospective Tromp players should have
in their arsenal.}) 12. dxc5 Nd7 (12... Bxc5 13. c4 {will be quite similar,
when} O-O 14. cxd5 Nxd5 15. Bxh7+ $5 Kxh7 16. Qc2+ Bg6 17. Qxc5 {would already
grab a pawn, if White wants it.}) 13. Bd6 {I saw this idea but completely
underestimated it.} Nxc5 14. Bxc5 Bxc5 15. c4 {This is all mentioned by Avrukh
in his aforementioned book, but it's to Bjelobrk's credit that he found all
this over the board.} dxc4 16. Qxc4 Be7 {If Black had a couple of moves to
develop, his bishop pair would give him a small edge, but unusually for me, I
suffer from a lack of development.} 17. Rac1 Qd7 (17... O-O 18. Be4 Rb8 {is
probably best, with the idea that after} 19. Bxc6 bxc6 {the attack on b2 stops
me losing a pawn, but firstly White could have kept the pressure up by not
taking, and even this structure is just better for White after} 20. b3 c5 21.
g4 $1 Bg6 22. Ne5 {when I don't even get the bishop pair in return.}) 18. Be4 {
I was a bit surprised by the draw offer as I am losing a pawn for not much
compensation here.} (18. Be4 Rc8 {gives White a lot of good options, but} 19.
Qb5 {with the threat of Ne5 as well as Qxh5 is probably best, and after} Bxf3
20. Nxf3 O-O 21. Rfd1 Qc7 22. Qa4 {and Bxc6 there's a good chance I would have
gone home empty handed as Black's position is a nightmare to defend over the
board.}) 1/2-1/2