The Anti-Anti-London System

The Anti-Anti-London System

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If you like to play the London system, you are more than likely to meet this system in your online games....
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 c5 3.e3 Qb6 4.Nc3 a6

Before tackling the line (or lines) that I propose to use for white while people play this against you is to go over some of the downsides of this line and move order.

First of all, this Anti-London system will simply not fit into the repertoire of many players. If they play 1...d5 lines against 1.d4 they will need another system, unless they specifically know beforehand that their opponent is a London system player.

The second downside is that there is no system offered for the move order of white going 2.Nf3.
With that out of the way, and if white plays 2.Bf4, this position and system is likely to land on the board as it features a reasonably forced order of moves.

While the proposed system didn't seem to have much consistency, meaning that there wasn't a consistent coherent way to play against all variations, more like a conglomeration of lines that are hard to remember, I still think this line will find followers, simply because of the largeness of Agadmator's channel.

 
Against this system, I will propose two ways for you to play and surprise your opponent. Neither of them are mentioned in Agadmator's course (as he calls it).

Let's start with the move 4.Na3!? instead of 4.Nc3
 
4.Na3 has a high probability of catching Agadmator disciples before they know what hit them!


A: 4.Na3!?
 
The move 4.Na3 might actually be the easier choice of the two. If you play this against a player who has looked at the Agadmator Anti-London video there is a very high probability you will get a super easy win. The thing is that against 4.Nc3 the proposed move is 4...a6. Unfortunately for black if he now plays 4...a6? he is considerably worse and sometimes immediately losing.

A1: 4....a6?

This blunder has a high probability of arriving on your board
What black will fail to understand is that while ...a6 in the other line is presumably played to prevent Nb5, here there is an extra option available, namely.

5.Nc4!

This move is virtually winning because of the dark square weaknesses created by 4...a6?

5...Qa7

Black has a choice here but they are all bad
5...Qb4 simply 6.c3 and the Queen is loast
5...Qd8 6.dxc5 and black has big problems on the b6 square and with development
5...Qc6?? 6.d5!! and the game is over!
One of the many pitfalls for black in this line.
After 5...Qa7 white has a strong continuation

6.dxc5! Qxc5 7.e4!

Highlighting the weaknesses created, white is virtually winning
A2: 4...Qxb2



The move 4...Qxb2 can also be played against 4.Nc3....however Agadmator adviced against it in his Anti-London video so we don't need to know much about it. Still

5.Nb5

is the move. Note that if 4.Nc3 we now have the same position. What you need to know here is that the Queen is basically trapped but black gets a rook and a minor piece for it.

5...Nd5 6.a3 a6 7.Rb1 Qa2 8.Qc1 axb5 9.Ra1


For the purpose of our Anti-Anti-London we don't really need to know more since this was not the suggested line but still I advise further self study into this line. White is objectively good but it's a complicated position with plenty of imbalances!
A3: 4...cxd4

This is probably black's safest choice against 4.Na3 but again, there was nothing proposed so this is unlikely to happen. Still it's good to know how to get a good game.

5.exd4 is our move.
5...Nd5
Note that 5...Qxb2 is a worse version of the Queen trap for black as the f4 bishop can often go to d2 in many lines.
6.Bc1
Solid, but nothing special

Here out knight will next come to c4 and we try to quickly develop our kingside. There is nothing special going on for white but also nothing to worry about, we will play chess. If you start to get too many of these you might want to look into variation B for "more spice".
 
B: 4.Nc3 a6 5.g4!?


5.g4!? an interesting "modern" line

This is my proposed system if we go for the 4.Nc3 move and meet this 4...a6 Anti-London system. This was very high on the computers (Stockfish 12) recommended move list. At first I kind of dismissed it but then decided to have a look. The thing is, the move sets very concrete problems for black. In many lines, the move g5 simply gives us the d5 square for our knight and a near winning advantage. In many lines, black needs to find a number of only moves to simply not lose the game immediately....not exactly what you want with your "Anti" system!

With the threat of g5, black needs to react. The choices are

B1: 5...Qxb2 B2: 5....h6 B3: 5...e6 B4: 5...cxd4

B1: 5...Qxb2

Taking the pawn is always critical
Here we defend the knight

6.Nge2

Again, black has only postponed his decisions and still has to choose between e6, h6 and cxd4. Note that here and in most other places, the move ...Nxg4 by black is not possible because of Nd5 by white.

B11: 6...cxd4 B12: 6...e6 B13: 6...h6

B11: 6...cxd4

7.Rb1 Qa3 8.exd4
A typical situation where black lags in development and it's hard to find a move
8...d5 seems like the most sensible move (8....Nxg4 looks risky after 9.Nd5)i but white is having all the fun after 9.g5 Nh5 10.Rb3 Qa5 11.Bd2 e6 12.Bg2

B12: 6...e6

After 6...e6 we go 7.g5 Nh5 and 8.d5!
These position with d5 by white seem to really clamp down on black's options
Black can take on f4, 8...Nxf4 9.exf4 but despite the doubled pawns and black's bishop pair, the space advantage and the development advantage seem to outweigh here and the computer loves white!

A sample:


B13: 6...h6

Here we put the rook on the half-open file which we usually do 7.Rb1 Qa3 8.Bg2
Active pieces for white
Here 8...d6 is more or less the only move according to the engines (for instance 8...e6 is met with 9.d5 as in most lines with a positional clamp) and then white has a choice between 9.0-0 or regaining the material with 9.Bxb7. I personally prefer 9.0-0.

 
B2: 5....h6
 
Probably the most solid choice. We go 6.Bg2 d6 7.h3
This is maybe black's best line according to the computer
Black is just very slightly worse according to the engines (close to equal) but how does black finish his development? It seems to me this is much easier to play for white but this is uncharted territory. Probably the most testing line against the 5.g4!? idea.

B3: 5...e6

Just like when black took on b2 we go for this g5/d5 idea.
6.g5 Nh5 7.d5!
A cool idea to keep in mind is that if black tries something different such as...
7...Nxf4 8.exf4 g6 (the "something different") then we go 9.Nge2 Bg7 10.Qd2 Qxb2 11.Rb1 Qa3 12.Bg2 0-0 and now 13.h4 and the h-file will be opened up!

 
B4: 5...cxd4

6.Qxd4!?
If black trades we have a nice lead in development and good pieces, also black always has to be careful with the holes on the Queenside which our knight can potentially use.
6...Qxb2 is critical as always 7.Rb1 Qa3 8.g5 Nc6 9.Qd2 Ng8 ( if 9...Nh5 10.Bc7 and black needs to find an only move in 10...b5 but is still struggling after 11.Rb3 Qc5 12.Bg2 Bb7 13.Nd5) 10.Nd5 Qxa2 11.Rd1 with a very strong initiative for white. Black has almost nothing developed.
Here is the video I made on this line.

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