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The London System

  • #1

    Is there a set reason why the London System is considered not as good as 1 d4, 2 c4?  Besides the fact that the London doesn't quite try as hard for an advantage, are there any specific lines that make playing White unpleasant?

  • #2


    a 4-part video series on how to play with black against the London. it is not considered as good because it does not immediately attack the center and in many lines black can go for c5 quickly himself.

  • #3

    Arcanus_Lupus, the System (which involves d4, Bf4, c3, e3, Nf3, Nbd2, etc) is basically refuted by the line 1.d4 d5 (or 1...Nf6 and 2...d5) 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 (or 5.Nd2 Bf5) 5...Qb6! 6.Qb3 c4 7.Qc2 Bf5! where Black emerges from the opening with a slight advantage.

  • #4

    King indian setups are very strong against the london system as well.

  • #5

    You need to be careful with the Bf5 move. If white takes your bishop and you take on b2, white simply plays Be2. Now white's rook seems to be hanging, but you cannot take it. If you take it white brings his queen back to c2 and your queen is stuck. The f3 knight will come for you.

    So before you take the rook you need to maneuver your pawns and knights in a way that the white queen can't come back, as such:


  • #6

    It is precisely because the London doesn't seek a real opening advantage that it is considered inferior.  It's hard enough for White to squeeze anything out of the tiny head start he gets with the first move, but there is no chance if you just give it away voluntarily.

    Just the fact that the line Expertise87 & plutonia discuss is even possible, an aggressive counter from move FIVE, indicates White is not pressing Black at all.

    If you're content with not seeking an advantage with the White pieces and the comfort of a "system" opening where your moves are essentially set from the beginning no matter what Black does appeals to you, the London may be for you.  Kamsky played it when he reentered GM chess after several years at university, with reasonable success. 

  • #7

    plutonia - the game you showed features an inaccurate move-order, Black should meet 6.Qc2 with 6...cxd4 before playing Bf5, or just play 6...Bg4. 6...Bf5?! is met by the strong 7.dxc5! where White is going to keep an advantage.

    In the 6.Qb3 c4 7.Qc2 Bf5 8.Qxf5 Qxb2 line, Black should indeed play e6 and Ne4 before taking the Rook. Valid point.

  • #8
  • #9

    Rather than 4...Qa5+, Black does better to play either 4...Nc6 or 4...e6 (which seems to lead to a strange reversed Noteboom with the extra move Bf4)

  • #10

    if you can't get your moves (for black) in the right order even in a forum, with infinite time available, then maybe it isn't so easy over the board?

    Check out Danielsson's 60 min video at ChessBase, and wee why white is better in all lines suggested above

  • #11

    Nobody said that you can refute the London OTB.

    But we can prepare for it.

  • #12

    IM Cyrus Lakdawala, who wrote a quite well-respected book on the London, refers to the move-order with d5, Nf6, and c5 in the first three moves as an 'inconvenient move-order' and claims Black is at least slightly better in the variation I gave. NimzoDave, who didn't get their move-order right in a forum? I posted only accurate move-orders, and commented that the game posted above from an OTB tournament featured an inaccurate move-order and that Black could improve on his play there.

  • #13

    The main idea of the 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 move order is to answer 2...c5 enterprisingly with 3.e4!?

    Accepting the pawn gives white a good reversed Albin, but 3...Nc6! with complex play and approximate equality is quite likely a better choice.

  • #14

    Anything wrong with 2...Nf6 intending c5 against normal London moves?

  • #15
    pellik wrote:


    I haven't watched that particular video, but [...]

    There is no advantage for white in some lines of the London. 

    Well, then maybe it is time to buy it now. 

    No advantage in "some lines"? Yes. True for any opening. E.g., the English

  • #16


  • #17

    london system is irritating for black.

  • #18

    A nice game:


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