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About a year and a half ago I was a casual player and always played the London system. And, true to expectations, I was not improving (or studying). When I made the decision to begin studying chess seriously and trying to improve I decided I needed to play critical openings and push for an advantage in every aspect of my play. So, with a somewhat heavy heart, I left he London system behind.
Initially I learned to play the QGD exchange (with Nge2). I did alright with it, but I was always bothered that I would occasionally get move-ordered into a QGD with Nf3 and never know what to do. This combined with my frustation agains the nimzo-indian and pushed me to take the plunge into learning the Catalan. (BTW, one year for me is more otb rated chess then many people have in 3-4 years of play. Over 150 USCF rated games!)
I like the Catalan just fine, but finding the right move order for dealing with bogo-indian, queens indian, and the Catalan benoni had been a challange. Eventually I settled on 1. Nf3 and a willingness to play the symmetrical English in exchange for no more catalan benoni.
So now I greatly enjoy the Catalan. I also enjoy the English immensely. One of the last holes I had to plug was how I wanted to deal with the Noteboom. I know Qc2 + g3 leads to Catalan-like positions, but unlike the mainline Catalan after dxc4 Qxc4 b5 Qc2 Bb7 white must venture into Bg5 and QGD style lines to find an advantage.
So the yesterday playing on ICC it occurred to me that, having delayed c4 a move thanks to 1. Nf3, black loses access to the principled lines against the London system by playing an early e6 or c6. Perhaps I can legitimately play the London and still seek an advantage!
Now, like any good London player I'm still going to play c4 if the light square bishop develops outside blacks pawn chain, but it's still well within the repertoire of a London.
I lost this game, but I had a solid performance. I was playing a GM rated 2700 on ICC, so I didn't expect to win anyway.
Time pressure took it's toll, but I thought I had a nice showing of the typical play you expect from a London setup (although it's clearly QGD at some point). All this study and I'm back to where I started.
P.S. I know nobody cares about the evolution of my opening repertoire. I've just noticed a lot of thread necros and felt some original material would be a nice change.
Thanks for posting this. It's interesting!
I abandoned the London System too but may look at it again.
I googled Vidocq ICC to see who it was. I'm so happy with myself for holding it together so well against Boris Grachev (2675). I know it's just internet blitz but it's such a nice feeling to know that sometimes, somehow, I can go toe-to-toe against strong GMs like that.
I've heard it been said the London is the most 'solid' opening white can play, which can be very frustrating for black if it's a must-win situation. I know Gata Kamsky liked to play it frequently in his tournament games.
nice game, i too tried many d4 openings, pretty much all the deviations including the london and had some nice games. A 16 move win with the well known grunfeld sacrifice on g5 against a master was probably the best,On an unrelated note, you can use the command /fi to bring up profile details that should show you their name.
Funny that a guy named 'Fear Itself' is telling me about a command 'fi'. Should make it easier to remember.
That game goes way over my head. Is the London System worth learning for a beginner?
Yes and no. It's solid, fairly easy to grasp the ideas, and leads to a small subset of middle-games. So it's much easier to learn then most other openings, and after playing it for some time you'll get a good feel for the game that ensues.
The down side is that it does nothing to restrict black's development (essential in the good queens pawn openings), granting theoretical (although seldom practical) equality. Additionally because the games that follow are so consistent in plans and tactics, playing it too much stunts your growth as a player.
My suggestion lately for people looking for a first opening that would prefer queens pawn games has been the Torre. It's a very powerful opening at club level, and usually much less gimmicky then the London, where books mostly just teach the h7 sacrifice.
Johnsen and Kovacevic, Win with the London System, (Gambit 2005) is the best book currently on the market. Kovacevic suggests 2) Bf4 which leads to sharp play, especially against the Benoni and KID.
There are only about 4-5 decent supporting books on this opening. Most are games books, not theory books. Kovacevic (and some old books by Andy Soltis) being the main exceptions.
Basically, you are playing a Reversed Slav with a move advantage. What's not to like? Very solid. Kovacevic gives you the first 20 moves. Rybka helps with the middlegame. John Nunn's endgame books complete the troika.
80 percent of lines are equal, but only if black knows what he is doing. Those are the ones I study, and I simply steer for the endgame.
Saves you an immense amount of time studying (white) openings. And frees up boatloads of your time for studying other (more important) facets of the royal game.
Yes, Kamsky uses it quite a lot, much like Tony Kosten uses the Botvinnik Formation in the English, against everything that black plays. Kosten, The Dynamic English (1999).
And you can always add extra lines to your "opening repetoire" (later), after you have completed your middlegame and endgame studies. Whatever.
Openings are mostly just personal preference, especially below USCF 2000. Indeed, there is too much blather in the forums around these issues. Especially the one about the London System "stunting your chess development." Give it a rest, @Pelly, you're a (very strong) bullet junkie, trawling for chess students. Caveat Emptor.
On balance, the most important openings are the ones you choose to play from the black side. Playing "reversed systems" with white will afford you a social life too. But not everyone wants that side benefit.
If you have the money, and time, hire yourself a coach. But you still must imbibe about 10-20 decent chess books covering all three phases of the game.
And nobody can do that work for you. So get with the program, and hit the books. Make time to study the royal game. If it were easy, 99 percent of players in the U.S. would be rated above USCF 2200, instead of below.
step 53.Kf6. u sure win. :)very nice game. thanks for the POST
A nice video on the London form FM Grant Szuveges is here:
"Tata Steel Highlights: Rounds 11-13 and Tournament Recap - Hosts IM Thomas Rendle and GM Melik Khachiyan"
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