London system vs KID?


Who would have advantage if white play london system and black reply with king's indian defense? what chess database say about that?


The problem with the London is that against certain setups white's approach is not aggressive enough to maintain an advantage. The King's Indian being one of them. (a fast ...Bd6 is another one as are the Qb6 lines. The bigger problem I have found is that London players typically lack the mental flexibility to change plans when faced with something different. They are most interested in playing their setup and then figuring things out. IM Lakdawala's book on the London addressed the King's indian setup and was surprised by it in a blitz game on ICC against a GM. Interesting since he has played the London for a long time. His approach to combat it is a change in the standard setup used in the London, which is something difficult for amateurs to do so especially when they pick the London to obtain a particular setup they can apply to every situation. 

The London was very popular with a group of scholastic player taught by a particular coach in the area. One of the counters to it we taught was the King's indian setup. Their score against the London  was skewed heavily in Black's favor. 


Nobody, really.  The London (and London-ish) setup is perfectly valid against the KID, but probably leads to equal play with chances for both sides.

More aggressive would be the Barry/Tarzan/150 complex with Nc3 (instead of c3).  The Tarzan and 150 both feature the Queen-Bishop battery aiming toward the kingside.  The Barry has Be2, e3, and a slower buildup, but still contains at least the seeds of a kingside threat.

More strategic would be the idea of preparing to meet black's ...e5 with a reatreating bishop by creating a hole with h3, then including Be2, c4, Nc3 and organizing queenside play around the Nb5 idea a la Spassky.

Obviously, these aren't the only options.  When both sides are playing this non-aggressively in the beginning, there's lots of room for deviations.

Reference Summerscale's Killer Opening Repertoire stuff for more on the Barry and 150, Palliser's d-Pawn Attacks book for more on the Tarzan (and the Barry and 150), and Sverre Johnsen's Win With the London for lots on the second idea.


Dynamically equal, provided that both sides know what they are doing (which rarely happens at amateur level).

The most challenging line is probably the ambitious 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.c4 (white can omit that, but then he has no real plan- factly, both recent books on the London by Kovacevic and Lakdawala recommend playing c2-c4 as White) 0-0 5.Nc3 d6 6.e3 Nfd7!? with interesting play ahead.

Summerscale recommends the 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 stuff, which I have employed quite succesfully as white, but I have to admit that it is absolutely harmless against simple and sane play by Black.


Pfren seems to highlight my point that if White has to change plans and play 4.c4 this often is not what the typical amateur is looking for when playing the london in an attempt to avoid typical queen's gambit structures.


OK, White can go in traditional London fashion by predictable moves like c3,Nbd2, h3, Bh2 and so on... this can hardly be bad. But this does not challenge Black at all- he can either proceed with a typical ...Nbd7 and ...e5 plan, or play ...b6, ...Bb7 and ..c5, which is a Reti Lasker variation in reverse, and where the extra white tempo is of very little value.


The problem for White is that Black doesn't have to pick one particular method.  If he normally plays the King's Indian, that set-up is fine, or he can adopt something else closer to what he normally plays.  The London does avoid the Nimzo, but leaves Black with plenty of resources in a ...d5, ...e6 position, very comfortable.  Maybe White can get a slight pull in some lines, but not enough to matter.

The idea of the London isn't to push for an opening edge by pressuring Black.  It is to avoid theory and get to a playable middlegame position that is at least even.  White punts his chances to exploit the first move in exchange for that.  To a lesser extent, it hopes to catch Black off guard with an opening which isn't played that much.

Until a player approaches a strong amateur level, roughly 1800 USCF 1700 FIDE, there isn't much point to seeking the type of opening edge stronger players want because the game will be decided by gross tactical or strategical errors, not positional nuances, as IM pfren notes.  So for most players, it's fine, doesn't hurt their chances.

The London offers White a playable game with some chances but nothing concrete to show for his first move in exchange for giving Black a great deal of flexibility in maintaining the balance.  If that's what you want as White, you can get it, but you won't get more and shouldn't expect to.


Alekhine thought enough of it, (See his game against Euwe, Alekhine's Best Games 1923), to recommend it.  Capablanca used it often in simuls.  It is solid, and you get Lasker's anti-Reti with a move to spare.  This is useful as you can throw in h3 and preserve the Dark Squared Cardinal at h2 (but you have to play it before Black has e7-e5 at his disposal) so I guess you lose the tempo.  Against d7-d5 you have to place the Lite-Squared Cardinal at e2.  And with the KIDefence set-up interesting is Keres idea of Bc4.   All-in-All you get Central.  And you get your pieces out to good squares.  AND you are ready to play chess.  I would argue (contra to the comment about U1800), that you can play this all the way up to the Candidate Master Level.   The game will be decided by tactical errors or poor endgame technique below that level anyway.  So make less mistakes and get the ball in play.  Laughing


The London orginally evolved as a "non-theoretical" way of playing against the KID in the 1920s.

Kovacevic's 2005 book (about 160 pages) is excellent, and only slightly dated.  But bear in mind that roughly 80+ percent of the postions, after 20 move pairs, are considered equal.  And the chapter on the Benoni is a blizzard of complications.  Quite a headache.

Lakdawala's book is mostly annotated games.  He doesn't play the London very often, in any case, but his section on the Benoni is much simpler.

Arguably the "best opening" is the one you know and your opponent doesn't.  Given the anonymity of, the London works fine.  Just remember to add at least one other "white system" to augument your repetoire.  That way you can toggle.

IMO, the advantage of the first move is grossly overated for anyone under USCF 2000. Better to focus your studies on other phases of the game, including Black opening systems.  The London is simply a reversed Slav defense, with a move advantage.  That's why it's not considered dangerous for Black.

Another "London Book" is poised to come out of Europe later this year.  Haven't seen it on Amazon, yet.

Just noticed that the OP has essentially no game record on  That seems a bit weird.  Whatever. 


It wasn't Petrosian who said that, it was the Hungarian GM Lajos Portisch.


I do not think the LDN is a safe way to play against the KIDefence.  "There are no Good or Bad openings, Only openings you play well and ones you play badly," (Unknown sorry)

So arguing about Good or BAD, Safe or Unsafe, is rather like saying You like Tomatoes and I like TOMatoes.  

If you understand the middlegame position you get better than your opponent you will probably say (after you won), the LDN is a great opening, if instead your opponent neutralises your efforts and then outplays you you will be looking for the next opening manual on  

I read, (Garry Kasparov Series my Great predecessors and I am translating from another language to English), that Karpov would often have slightly worse to bad positions from the opening and then would proceed to 'outplay' his better booked up opponent because he understood not only the middlegames that were before him on the board, but also the resulting endgames.   

Hope this was helpful to the discussion.


problem is karpov is well karpov,.. he problem I find with most players that stick to a system is that they impose a self inflicted wound that limits how they approach a position. IM's and GMs might play X opening but I found out quickly they know the other systems very well too. Look at Anand and his recent switch to d4.. an e4 player all his life but plays d4 like well,.. a worldchampion. 

Players who pick a system like the London often try to force thier system/plan onto a position where its no longer applicable resulting in a worsening position as the game goes on. 


TonyH - I once looked at Janowski vs. Lasker, NYCity 1924.  It was a Sicilian.  Very modern play.  It is soooo complicated that I realised that unless I reach that level, I should 'limit' myself too developing my pieces centrally, getting my King into safety, and then consider how or what my opponent is trying to achieve.  

Pretty basic I know.  

However, I would rather do something really well then try and do everything really poorly.


your approach is a logical one but complications occurr in all positions from any opening. One could argue that the ruy lopez is one of the most difficult and complex openings out there. It seems to me that players that are familar with a large variety of positons do the best in a game, long term. While in one game they might have a problem due to a lack of knowledge they will do better in the long run due to greater confidence and knowledge. I think broad knowledge is better than deep knowledge if you plan to have consistent growth. 

DO NOT be afraid of the sicilian. 99% of the players you face will have no better grasp of the opening than you do. A lot of players will to impress you with a ton of theory and if this-then-that type thing with zero understanding of whats going on. My recommendation is the accelerated dragon or the taimanov both are good and at your level most players will totally misplay the accelerated dragon


Get your rating above 1800 or 1900 USCF.

Then go "hog wild" on opening repetoires, opening books, and coaches.

But remember that 90 percent of active US tournament players do NOT achieve that level.

Openings are largely a matter of taste.  If your games don't last (at least) 40-60 moves, the problem ain't "your openings," however construed.