Chess Openings The London System


London System is such a popular opening, especially at club level players. White's development plan is very easy to learn, and it can be employed against any Black's defense. What's more, depending on mood, style or opponent, White can choose either to attack directly or use a positional strategy.

How London System Developed 

In order to understand London we need to talk about another popular system; the Queen's Gambit Declined (1.d4 d5, 2.c4 e6). Black's idea is to solidly protect the center. Black would like to build a strong square on d5. However there is a problem, the c8-Bishop. Hence, Black decided that he can do it in another way. By playing c6 first, 1.d4 d5, 2.c4 c6, they could continue overprotecting the d5 square and in the same time keeping open the c8 - h3 diagonal for the Bishop.

At this point you might wonder why I'm telling you all this stuff? The answer is simple. With the White pieces you can play Black's systems! It means that you play the Slav Defense with the reverse colors, 1.d4 d5, 2.Bf4. White's idea is to solidly protect the d4 pawn with the move e3. However, after e3 the c1-Bishop will be outside of the pawn chain because White is using his extra tempo. This is how the London System born.

The System came into fashion in the 1922 London tournament as a way of meeting hyper modern openings. The system gives White a solid position, however other people consider it as the "old man's variation" or the "boring system". Even so, the opening can lead to sharp attacks.

Main ideas 

Main ideas for White

The London System is one of the safest and most solid openings with the White pieces. White play the Slav Defense a move up building a pawn wall with c3, d4 and e3. He's going to develop one Bishop to f4 and the other to d3. Please also notice that there is no need to memorize tediously and complicated lines. Last but not least, you are pretty much safe from your opponent's computer - preparation.

Main ideas for Black

Usually amateur or intermediate level players think that they can play against London System with natural moves and opening principles. In fact quiet moves (with no threats) should be avoided! 

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