|Moves||1.d4 and 2.Bf4 or 2.Nf3 & 3.Bf4|
|Named after||1922 London tournament|
|Parent||Queen's Pawn Game|
The London System is a chess opening that begins with 1.d4 and 2.Bf4 or 2.Nf3 & 3.Bf4. It is a "system" opening that can be used against virtually any black defense and thus comprises a smaller body of opening theory than many other openings. The London System is one of the "Queen's Pawn Game", where White opens with 1.d4 but doesn't play the Queen's Gambit. It normally results in a closed game.
Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovačević, in the introduction to their 2005 book Win with the London System, state:
Basically the London is a set of solid lines where after 1.d4 White quickly develops his dark-squared bishop to f4 and normally bolsters his centre with [pawns on] c3 and e3 rather than expanding. Although it has the potential for a quick kingside attack, the white forces are generally flexible enough to engage in a battle anywhere on the board. Historically it developed into a system mainly from 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.
The corresponding Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings codes are D02, A46, and A48.If White is going to play the London System, it is now thought to be more accurate to play 2.Bf4 instead of 2.Nf3 and 3.Bf4 for a variety of reasons.
The line came into fashion in the 1922 London tournament as a way of meeting hypermodern setups. The line gives White a solid position, and critics of the line refer to it as the "old man’s variation" or the "boring system". Even so, the opening can lead to sharp attacks and Vlatko Kovačević and David Bronstein are among the sharp tactical players who have played the London System.
This position can also be reached via 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4. Black usually plays either 3...c5, 3...e6, 3...Bf5, 3...c6, 3...g6, or 3...Nc6.
Black usually plays either 3...b6, 3...c5, or 3...d5, transposing above.
Play often goes 3...Bg7 4.e3 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0. As is usual in the King's Indian, Black can strike in the center with ...c5 or ...e5. After 6...c5 7.c3, Black often plays either 7...b6, 7...Qb6, 7...Nc6, 7...Be6, or 7...cxd4. Black can prepare ...e5 in a number of ways, usually starting with either 6...Nbd7, 6...Nc6, or 6...Nfd7.