The Perfect Opening For The Lazy Student
During the last five years or so, most of the time that I have spent on chess has been devoted to creating things that have helped other players improve: videos, books, articles, courses and whatever else comes along.
Undertaking this direction in life has left me with little or no time (or inclination) to study and improve my own game. I am not complaining as I must admit that studying the latest chess theory can be an incredibly incredibly boring pastime. Who wants to be in front of a board all day reading about what the latest Russian school boy has played on move 32 of the Najdorf when we can be playing blitz chess on Chess.com?!
So what should we lazy players that want to still play and win do?
No one does lazy like a cat.
We must change. We must change our openings, change our outlook on the game, and change the way we approach the game.
Let's start with the perfect opening for the lazy student: the London System:
This is a system that we can play with White against everything. Perfect! Is it boring though? No! It is only as boring as the player! Not convinced? Take a look at the following game.
So what do you need to know in order to play this opening? Not much! To get started the following five rules will put you in good steed.
1. Start with 1.d4 2.Nf3 and 3.Bf4.
2.Nf3 and 3.Bf4 can be changed about. A lot of these moves can be played in different orders.
2. Finish the "Pawn Pyramid" with c3 and e3.
This gives you a strong pawn on d4 that you can base further activities around. In some cases, you will want to avoid playing c3 or even e3.
For example, against the Fianchetto Systems (Kings Indian Defense, incredibly, etc.), I would avoid e3 so that you can play Qc1 and Bh6, trying to exchange off dark-square bishops. This exchange will weaken the black king and give you a target to attack.
Some players avoid c3 so that they can develop with Nc3. This is the trendy new way of playing.
Pssst ... When Alexander The Great saw the pyramids, the oldest were nearly as ancient as the Parthenon is today.
3. Finish the development of you other minor pieces with incredibly and Bd3.
The knight on d2 will often move towards the kingside with Ndf3, and the bishop on d3 can be a great attacking piece.
4. Move the knight into e5!
Without this idea, the London System would be rubbish! This move is a great way to start an attack.
5. Attack with Qf3-Qh3 and even g4 and h4!?
This is the fun part. Now that your army has been developed, it is time to have some fun!
That was less to learn than a book wasn't it!? To be honest, these five rules are all you need to know to get started. I should note that it seems that there are two main systems that Black can play against the London System:
1. Traditional Systems with ...d5
2. Hypermodern Systems with ...g6
You will need to be a bit flexible with your moves against these systems, but I have told you the basics. Lets now see these plans in action.
The following is a model game from White against the "traditional" systems:
Simple right!? It certainly looked simple there! When I did a broadcast of this opening recently, someone in the chat mentioned. "That is fair and well, but that would never work against a strong player, right!?" Well, wrong! This kind of idea can still work at the top level. The player of the black pieces in the following game is a top grandmaster, who has been near a 2700 rating. Yet he doesn't find a good response to White's opening in this game.
Alexei Shirov makes "Fire on Board" with the London System!
What else do you need to know?
Again, I am going to keep things simple as this is an article for lazy people. (Some would even say a lazy article ).
1. The ...Qb6 Trap...
...Qb6 is often a good idea from Black, but in some cases, it is an outright blunder. This can often be the case when White has one knight on e5 and another knight on d2. For example:
2. Nc3 is an interesting way to play against the ...g6 set-ups.
White has recently been experimenting with an early Nc3. This is an attempt to try and make Black play ...d5, when White figures the combination of ...d5 and ...g6 does not work well for Black. For example:
To finish this article, I want to show you one of the most amazing games that I have ever witnessed. White plays a "London-like" system against the Dutch Defence, and boy does it work well!
I hope you enjoyed the article, and I hope it gave you all some food for thought. Chess is a tricky game, but sometimes we can aim to makes things as easy as possible. That also does not mean the game has to be uninteresting as I hope some of the games in this article show.