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The Trompowsky Attack: How to Play This D4 Chess Opening

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Here is an alternative opening for white using the Queen’s Pawn and playing 1.d4 as the first move and names after Octavio Trompowsky

The Trompowsky Attack is a Queen’s Pawn 1.d4 opening for white providing rapid development of a bishop sidestepping traditional 1…Nf6 opening responses by potentially sacrificing the bishop with 2. Bg5 in exchange for the Knight creating doubled pawns for black and disrupting pawn structure.

Trompowsky Attack moves are 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5

This is not a fatal opening for Black, indeed if you want to prepare to face this playing black, there is information within this article with some tactical ideas to counter and positions to play. If you want to try to pay this and practice, here are the moves and main lines.

Trompowsky Attack Main Line

When opening with 1.d4 for white, if Black plays 1…Nf6 the opportunity to move into the Trompowsky opening is viable and the next move is to push your queen’s pawn forward on the diagonal through to g5 to attack the Knight on f6.

What happens next?

When black plays 1. Nf6 they are avoiding the symmetrical Queens Pawn opening but by playing the Trompowsky you are pretty much forcing them back to this as it is the best move they can make after 2. Bg5

The Trompowsky comes to an end now if white chooses to develop a Knight and not capture the Knight and initiate the trade or plays a conservative 3. e3

Why Play The Trompowsky?

The Trompowsky can be used as a beginner to potentially catch out chess players at this level, but let’s not put this opening for white down as a beginners opening, as we will see in the video below, skilled players have used this to great effect against masters in more than one tournament game.

But as a beginner, if you can master the basic lines of the Trompowsky you can catch new black players off guard not expecting you to give up your bishop so early.

This is especially true if deciding to make the early trade and disrupt the pawn structure of black and gain doubled pawns.

Make the Trade

Here are the moves following making the early trade of your bishop in the Trompowsky

Video Explanation

This is the best video explanation I can find on the Trompowskyl providing clear instruction of the mainline and how to play the opening to the best effect in chess games.

As always Levy provides entertaining and informative

How to Defend the Trompwsky Attack

The best defense against the Trompowsky Attack is to generally ignore the Bishop and continue with 2…d5

This gives white the option to trade the bishop for the Knight very early although the better move would be a single square move for the Kings pawn with 3. e3 to continue the development and leave the trade for later.

If white plays 3. e3

The line should continue with a push of the black c pawn to c5

If White plays 3. Kc3

If white decides to develop the Queen’s Knight to c3, we have the opportunity to also move our Queen’s Knight 3…Kbd7

[The b in this notation dictates the Knight on the b rank as either of your Knights could occupy this square]

This move defends your Knight on f6 and would protect c5 should you wish to develop this next

If White plays 3. Bxf6

Should white wish to capture your Knight on F6 then you have options of 2 pawns on the e or g files to capture with and you should use the King’s pawn to make this move.

Expect white to now develop the King’s Knight with 4. Kf3


I personally consider the Trompowsky as great opening for beginners to learn especially when playing Rapid or Blitz chess as the speed of the game and catching your opponent off guard with an early trade can disrupt blacks pawn structure and put you on the front foot for aggressive development and attack whether facing a cautious castle or not

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