How to play with and against the London system?

Comments: 8

The London System is a popular chess opening, especially in the club levels. In recent times, it has been played in top grandmaster level, even by the world champion Magnus Carlsen. There is no doubt that it has become the main line in 1.d4 from being a sideline. The opening usually arises after 1.d4, 2.Nf3 and 3.Bf4. It is mainly divided into three variations:

  • 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4
    •  1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4
      •  1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4

      • It is a “system” opening that can be used almost against any Black defense and thus comprises a smaller opening theory than any other openings. It is a very flexible opening for White as he can engage in a battle anywhere on the board.

        Today our guest coach IM Asaf Givon will explain to you the typical ideas for both White and Black in this opening. He will give an overview about the different variations and commonly arriving middlegame positions. You can watch the instructive video lesson below:

        You may also like to learn about the Sicilian defense (Dragon variation) and the Scandinavian defense.

        Author information

        IM Asaf Givon


        Asaf Givon is an International Master from Kfar Saba, Israel. His age is 22 and playing chess since 7. He is also playing for the Kfar Saba team in the first Israeli Chess League. He got the IM title in 2013, and ever since then, he is on the road to achieve the GM title. He currently has 2 norms.


        He is teaching chess since he was 16 and he’s always very happy to teach people and to spread his love to the game.




        P.S. Did you like this video lesson? Do you want a lesson on any other opening? Please write your thoughts about it in the comments below.

        how to analyze chess games

        Comments: 8

        Comments 7

        1. thanks for the this artilcle and vidoe dear igor sir damain lemos a grandmaster of had made a outstanding dvd of london system 10 hrs long .dear sir what do you think of my previous comment??about rb ramesh new book?/

          1. GM Igor has a busy schedule.

            Thanks for the suggestion for the about the new book from GM Ramesh.

            I, personally, have not read the book. But will check it out.

            Prasaaadh | Support

            1. yeah sir thanks for the reply he has dicuss the drawback priciple and dig deeper 100 times more than anyone to read his book is like training on a regular basis

        2. Hello Igor, very important question. I am studying your Opening Laboratory – part 2 Course via e-book, and I’m currently studying the Lesson-2. I’ve been enjoying the simplicity and easyness of the lesson but I’ve come to a point(diagram 2.49, Najdorf position, white plays 8.Qf3) where I am totally confused. First of all, why is Qf3 the best move if you already said that first we should develop the minor pieces and castle. So why should then first develop the light squared bishop and castle and only then move the queen. Second of all, why does white in this variation after developing his dark squared bishop to the most forward square play the pawn move f4 – you said we shouldn’t make pawn moves which dont help our development(or hamper opponent’s development)? Or, in the first part of Opening laboratory in the practical part you recommended us to play the keres attack against scheveningen, which is premature attack, instead of developing of the bishops. I am really confused by this sicilian ideas. Could you clarify the situation, please?

          1. Hi Lovro,

            It’s good to see your profound question. It shows that you understand chess principles very well.

            1. In Sicialian, Black often violates the principles by playing too many pawn moves (such as a6 move). When your opponent violates the rules, you may do the same in order to punish opponent for his mistakes.

            2. Secondly, it’s true that White’s moves in this system are not the best objectively. If you look at computer’s evaluation of White’s moves – you’ll see that computer agrees with your ideas! 🙂
            That said, the White’s system is agressive, which is unpleasant for your opponent. That’s why, even though it’s not the best objectively (and would not work against computer) – it works well against humans, who are usually bad defenders.

            Once again, your question is very good – congratulations!

            1. thanks sir for this outstanding reply you are great coach and teacher dear sir what do you think of gm jacob aagard one of the most sucess ful trainers in the world that trains 2650 gms and i am studying his new book thinking inside the box itis just brilliant.what do youthink??

            2. Excellent question and response. I personally find it hard to find that fine balance between “Premature attack is one of the most common mistakes at amateur level,” and, “My opponent is playing a dubious opening; I need to punish it, f4!” Sometimes it works, sometimes it just weakens a position unnecessarily. Similarly, though, sometimes simple development gives you an easy edge, and sometimes it lets your opponent get away his risky play for free.

              The more I study, the better I get at this, but I’d be lying if I didn’t have doubts every time. I suppose that’s the difference between a master’s and an amateur’s understanding.

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