London System

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London System
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d4 white pawn
f4 white bishop
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Moves1.d4 and 2.Bf4, or 1.d4, 2.Nf3, and 3.Bf4
ECOD02, A46, A48
Named after1922 London tournament
ParentQueen's Pawn Game

The London System is a chess opening that usually arises after 1.d4 and 2.Bf4, or 1.d4, 2.Nf3 and 3.Bf4. It is a "system" opening that can be used against virtually any black defense and thus comprises a smaller body of opening theory than many other openings. The London System is one of the Queen's Pawn Game openings where White opens with 1.d4 but does not play the Queen's Gambit. It normally results in a closed game. The line can be compared to the Colle System but whereas in the latter system, the queen's bishop remains on c1, the London System develops the bishop to f4 before closing the position, providing a more flexible approach.

Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovačević, in the introduction to their 2005 book Win with the London System, state:

Essentially, the London is a set of solid lines where after 1.d4 White quickly develops their dark-squared bishop to f4 and normally bolsters their centre with [pawns on] c3 and e3 rather than expanding. Although it has the potential for a quick kingside attack, the white forces are generally flexible enough to engage in a battle anywhere on the board. Historically it developed into a system mainly from three variations:

The corresponding Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings codes are D02, A46, and A48.

If White is going to play the London System, it is now thought to be more accurate to play 2.Bf4 instead of 2.Nf3 and 3.Bf4.[1]

Description[edit]

The line came into fashion in the 1922 London tournament as a way of meeting hypermodern setups. The line gives White a solid position, and critics of the line refer to it as the "old man’s variation" or the "boring system".[2] Even so, the opening can lead to sharp attacks. Vlatko Kovačević and David Bronstein are among the sharp tactical players who have played the London System.[3]

Early play[edit]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4[edit]

This position can also be reached via 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4. Black usually plays either 3...c5, 3...e6, 3...Bf5, 3...c6, 3...g6, or 3...Nc6.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4[edit]

Black usually plays either 3...b6, 3...c5, or 3...d5, transposing above.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4[edit]

Play often goes 3...Bg7 4.e3 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0. As is usual in the King's Indian, Black can strike in the centre with ...c5 or ...e5. After 6...c5 7.c3, Black often plays either 7...b6, 7...Qb6, 7...Nc6, 7...Be6, or 7...cxd4. Black can prepare ...e5 in a number of ways, usually starting with either 6...Nbd7, 6...Nc6, or 6...Nfd7.

Afterwards, if unimpeded by Black's moves, White ideally would like to build a pyramid of pawns centered on d4 and develop all minor pieces.[4][5][6] This could be achieved in various orders, for example, 1.d4, 2.Bf4, 3.Nf3, 4.e3, 5.c3, 6.Nbd2, 7.Bd3.

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d4 white pawn
f4 white bishop
c3 white pawn
d3 white bishop
e3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white knight
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
d1 white queen
e1 white king
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Ideal London setup for White

Example games[edit]

  • Gata Kamsky vs. Samuel Shankland, Sturbridge, MA 2014:
    1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d5 3.e3 e6 4.Nd2 c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Ngf3 Bd6 7.Bg3 0-0 8.Bd3 Qe7 9.Ne5 Nd7 10.Nxd7! Bxd7 11.Bxd6 Qxd6 12.dxc5 Qxc5? 13.Bxh7+!! Kxh7 14.Qh5+ Kg8 15.Ne4 Qc4 16.Ng5 Rfd8 17.Qxf7+ Kh8 18.Qh5+ Kg8 19.Rd1! e5 20.Qf7+ Kh8 21.e4 Ne7 22.Qxe7 Bb5 23.Rd2 Qxa2 24.Qf7 Qa1+ 25.Rd1 Qxb2 26.Qh5+ Kg8 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Qh8+ Ke7 29.Qxg7+ Kd6 30.Rxd5+ Kc6 31.Qf6+ 1–0[7]
  • Magnus Carlsen vs. Evgeny Tomashevsky, Wijk aan Zee NED 2016:
    1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.h3 Be7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.c3 Nc6 9.Nbd2 d5 10.Qe2 Bd6 11.Rfe1!? Ne7?! 12.Rad1 Ng6?! 13.Bxg6! hxg6 14.Bxd6! Qxd6 15.Ne5 g5 16.f4!! gxf4 17.Rf1! Nd7! 18.Qh5! Nf6?! 19.Qh4! Qd8 20.Rxf4 Ne4? 21.Nxe4 Qxh4 22.Rxh4 dxe4 23.dxc5 bxc5 24.Rd7! Rab8 25.b3! a5 26.Rc7 a4 27.bxa4 Ba8 28.a5 Rb7 29.Rxc5 Ra7 30.Nc4 1–0 (Black resigns)[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sverre Johnsen; Vlatko Kovacevic (2005). Win with the London System. Gambit. ISBN 1-904600-35-2.
  2. ^ Donaldson, John. "London System (review of Win With the London System)". jeremysilman.com. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  3. ^ Marsh, Sean. "Colle, Torre, and London System". Chessbase. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  4. ^ Williams, Simon (Feb 2020). "London System for the Busy Chess Player". Chess.com. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  5. ^ Rosen, Eric (Dec 12, 2017). "Beat Good Players with the London | Games to Know by Heart - IM Eric Rosen". YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  6. ^ "Magnus Carlsen vs. Evgeny Tomashevsky (2016)". Chessgames.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  7. ^ "Gata Kamsky vs. Samuel Shankland (2014)". Chessgames.com.
  8. ^ "Magnus Carlsen vs. Evgeny Tomashevsky (2016)". Chessgames.com.

Further reading[edit]