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  • Writer's pictureJames Neal

The London System: Game 01

Too much theory makes a mind rigid.

The Chameleon can teach us the benefits of Adaptability.

I am naturally a King Pawn player, but I enjoy studying the London. I am planning to review a few key positions from the London, French, and QGD. I believe these systems to be the Trifecta in terms of optimal tournament performance. The systems also complement my playing style which is slow and positional. The London is not an excuse to be lazy. I prefer to invest my time on calculating rather than memorization.


The following positions are snippets from an online rapid game.

This was a rapid game with 10 minutes per side. My opponent played 3…Nd7 and I did not provide myself enough time to punish this move; I resorted to a transposition. The move is incorrect because it neglects the protection of the d-pawn and the vulnerable c7 square. I avoided Nc3 as a punish because I was conditioned to put the pawn on that square. Transpositions are mentally easier to pursue but they make the game harder by allowing the unreasonable. Had I punished the move, I would have been clearly better and might have converted the position 20 moves sooner (barring blunders). The pursuit of transpositions are shortcuts resulting in a longer game and more effort.


Instant gratification often overlooks long term consequences.


This was the final key position before my opponent poured on the inaccuracies.

I followed the standard treatment of the structure by preparing the advance of the e-pawn or b-pawn. The b-pawn seemed more realistic with the black queen influencing E4. The idea was removing the queenside space advantage and building my own advantage with c4. I might have overlooked his queen covering the a8-rook. Had he played the combination properly, it would have led to a position slightly in my favor. I advanced the b-pawn (b3), he protected with b5, and after advancing the a-pawn (a4), he decided it was best to capture that pawn rather than defend it with a6. I broke up his central pawn structure after the botched combination and won multiple pawns as his position crumbled.


The London system is fast becoming my favorite weapon.

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