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  1. 23 Jan '10 05:23
    I've been dabbling with this in blitz games:

    1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 Nh5!?



    I don't think it's very theoretical, if at all. It's certainly playable.

    Here are some of the ideas:

    Variation A...

    4.Bg3 Nxg3 5.hxg3



    Black has played Nh5 and grabbed the bishop BEFORE white has had the chance to play h3 (and meet Nh5 with Bh2). Now, black has the advantage of the two bishops and has not commited himself to any structure. This is so flexible it can be played many different ways (early Bf5, or g6, or Qd6/Nc6/and an attempt at e5).

    5. ... c5 certainly looks like a fine move too.



    Variation B ...

    4. Bc1 Nf6 Draw?



    This could really annoy a proper Londoner. Also, if a draw isn't suitable, perhaps 4. ... Bf5, 4. ... c5, or 4. ... e6 are playable. Even in the draw line, 4.Bc1 Nf6 5.Bf4, it is possible to give up the Nh5 idea and play a standard line of the London.

    Variation C ...

    4. Bd2



    Again, there is no one standard idea here. The position is very flexible.
    4. ... Nf6 forces white to repeat, play a Colle, or try a Queen's Gambit where the bishop on d2 isn't really that helpful. I'm sure other 4th moves are playable for black too.

    Variation D ...

    4. e3 Nxf4 5.exf4



    Again, black gets the two bishops. This time, the pawn structure is very imbalanced however, leading to a lively game. Black has to watch out for a standard kingside attack here with Bd3, Nd2, Ne5, g4, etc (like in the stonewall). Therefore, 5. ... g6 may be the way to go.



    I know this whole "system" isn't worked out completely. In fact, I only started playing it to get away from theory. It does seem interesting though.

    It's a lot better than my Alekhine-London variation from 1 minute chess.
    (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 Nd5 ?! 3.Bg3 d6 4.e4 Nb6 with crazy play)
  2. 23 Jan '10 06:20 / 1 edit
    As a former player of the London Paul i dont think it is to be feared, on the contrary white can tactically tempt black with Bg5 and if white tries h6, Bishop goes to h4, black tries g5, bishop goes g3 and black king-side is like one of greenpawns socks! smelling like a swiss cheese and full of holes. i dont think a serious black player would be tempted into such a rash strategy but well, its a provocative move after Nh4, trying to loosen up blacks kingside. Black must also watch out for e3 and Ne5 because the knight is unprotected and vulnerable
  3. 23 Jan '10 11:47
    I think I played a bit of 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 Nh5 3.Bg5 f6 in blitz chess about a year ago.
  4. 23 Jan '10 16:47 / 1 edit
    Good article, but Bd2 definitely refutes the idea. Like you said Nf6 is the best move, white responds C4 and transposes nice queen's gambit with a move up. Bd2 is au contraire a useful square for the bishop, not only it develops for absolutely free, it prevents any pins and the bishop often develops there anyways since white plays e3 first in many variations.

    The queen's gambit is arguably the best opening for white in all of chess, so the queen's gambit with a move up pretty much promises black passivity and many problems to solve out of the opening. Of course, if the london player has never played it in his life, you might mix him up in a blitz game.

    If your opponent doesn't play bd2, that's another story!


    On the other hand, against the london, did you ever consider playing c5 after bf4? It pretty much equalizes instantly.
  5. 23 Jan '10 18:47
    Originally posted by Maxacre42
    Good article, but Bd2 definitely refutes the idea. Like you said Nf6 is the best move, white responds C4 and transposes nice queen's gambit with a move up. Bd2 is au contraire a useful square for the bishop, not only it develops for absolutely free, it prevents any pins and the bishop often develops there anyways since white plays e3 first in many variatio ...[text shortened]... the london, did you ever consider playing c5 after bf4? It pretty much equalizes instantly.
    I have to disagree. I have played the QGD many times, and Bd2 is not a useful move. In the standard variations, white plays Bf4 or Bg5 (so he'll have to move the d2 bishop again). If white plays e3, with the bishop on d2, black can play a Tarrasch set up, and the bishop gets in the way of defense of the d pawn. Also, where is the d2 bishop going? Instead of a Tarrasch, taking on c4 early, transposing to a Queen's Gambit Accepted, can't be bad either. The bishop i is usually fianchettoed in that one, and again it looks in the way. The move up isn't useful at all. Here's another line where Bd2 isn't useful ( a variation employed by Botvinnik): 1.d4 f5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7. Here too having the extra move doesn't help much.

    The problems I have with 3. ... c5 are

    A. It is the most theoretical, so they are ready.
    B. It is hard to oppose the bishop (Bd6) , and when you do taking them off usually isn't right.
    C.The only real trick black has is to get in an early Qb6. White can play Qb3, and although black equalizes, the game can be very dull. Also, grabbing the b2 pawn (when he doesn't defend it) has to be at just the right time. I've seen too many miniatures in the Queen Pawn Openings (Trompowsky for example) where grabbing on b2 leads to a quick loss.
    D. Various Ideas ... Also after c5, I know it sounds funny, but white seems to get more of a grip on e5. White has that automatic attack with Ne5, Qf3(and Qh3), or other ways. With c5, black is almost commited to castling kingside and must weather that storm. Objectively, it's not a winning attack, but automatic attacks like it can be dangerous if you aren't careful (especially in blitz).

    I wasn't trying to go off on you or anything. I just disagree about Bd2. I also try not to follow theory if I have reasons from my own past experiences.
  6. 25 Jan '10 02:54
    Of course you're not going off against me! I'm not that sensitive and you're completely right that the bishop goes way more often to g4 and f5, I don't know what I was thinking. I guess what I was trying to say is that it goes to d2 for free, so that can't be good for black. White can use this extra move to develop his rook on the c file earlier for example. It's not as bad as I made it sound, but let's say it will never be a mainstream opening . Which is what you want anyways right?
  7. 25 Jan '10 03:18
    Moving the bishop to d2 can be good for Black sometimes. It's a typical idea in the QID where Black plays Bb4+ and then Be7 after White responds with Bd2. The same is true for the Catalan. I think giving Bd2 for free is basically neutral.
  8. 25 Jan '10 11:15
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    Moving the bishop to d2 can be good for Black sometimes. It's a typical idea in the QID where Black plays Bb4+ and then Be7 after White responds with Bd2. The same is true for the Catalan. I think giving Bd2 for free is basically neutral.
    i play the London every game. I've probably even come across you in blitz on this site. Bg5 is best. someone earlier posted why. essentially, if black chases it down to g3 via h6 and g5, then white has a semi open h-file against a weak kingside. usually black prepares Nh5 with e6 and Bd7. this forces white to play h3 so that bishop can retreat to h2. As a London player, I find things easiest when I see 1. ... d5 as it means a knight will find a nice home on e5. I come into the most trouble against King's Indian setups. I did a lil reading (a rarity, but the King's Indian was giving me a lot of trouble, so I resigned to look it up) and it turns out that Spassky played the white side of a famous London game against a King's Indian setup and won by advancing the c and b pawns and trading a knight for three pawns. Beautiful game, but it's hard to duplicate especially when black plays pesky moves such as c6 or c5.
  9. 25 Jan '10 11:34
    after having many problems against London and tried different openings, for the moment I think that the best black choice is the one with Nf6 - d5 - c5 - Qb6 - Bf5 - e6