The London System: Essential Theory, TRAPS to Win Fast

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The London System chess opening became widely popular in the last 10 years or so. Therefore, you definitely have to be ready to face it, at least when you are playing Black. And maybe after watching this video, you would consider playing it as White after learning about the different ways to crush Black. 🙂

The London System arises after the moves like this: 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 and then 5.c3. In this setup, the rock-solid pawn structure in the center really secures White from any early attacks by Black.

Also, the setup can be played virtually against any replies of Black, which makes it appealing for a lot of players to play it as White, as you don’t need to study any theory. White can simply play the same setup over and over again.

In this video lesson, GM Igor Smirnov teaches you the general theory of this opening for White, key attacking ideas, interesting traps, and also, how to play the London System as Black.

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► Chapters

00:00 Introduction
00:18 What is the London System?
01:07 Game-1: Sharp attack
03:33 Game-2: Deadly trap
05:03 The winning continuation
06:52 Even Carlsen fell for this trap
08:14 Trap the Black’s queen
09:01 Another trap if Black plays Qxb2
11:11 Bxh7+ sac and tactical ideas
15:05 How to play against the London System as Black?
18:12 The double pin
20:39 Final quiz for you

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156 Comments

  1. Taking the rook on a1 is definitely the better move. Going for the second rook on Ne5 is easily defused by e4. You lose the advantage completely. If you take both rooks you are going to lose both knights and have a lost position. Both rooks cannot be captured without losing the bishop on f4 making the move Ng5 tempo losing at best. If you sacrifice the bishop and take both rooks, the knight on a8 is has no escape squares and must be traded for a pawn, and the knight on h8 without any escape squares will either be captured without compensation or similar black compensation will be had elsewhere on the board.

  2. You are a brilliant chess teacher. Excellent

  3. can you make a same kind of video on the king indian defense?

  4. What if black plays pawn c4?

  5. your videos are great, your main fuck up is that you don't show the best responses to the traps. This leaves a significant gap in the theory if someone were to only use your videos. But of course, I know you'd expect people to study the line which makes sense, not having the best response in the positions you show can be aggravating.

  6. So the trap is to perform a fried liver attack but in the London. Bonus points for Black not being able to respond with the standard counter lines such as the traxler.

  7. I started learning London some time ago and I saw several videos to learn it. This is by far the best one . Great job (Y)

  8. Running commentary is reflected on the chess board thereby hindering the view and position of chess pieces on board of one side.

  9. What do u think about 0-0-0 first at 6:25? I'm scared of that queen.

  10. 14:19 Qg4 is actually good i think,
    Qg4, Ne5, Bf4 takes Ne5
    Qc7 takes Bf4
    Then Nf2 discovered check by queen and hitting the queen.

  11. I’m stuck at around 600. Thanks for explaining the different options for the London. This is exactly what I needed! Also, thanks for saying why you would or would not move certain pieces. It’s difficult when starting out knowing WHY you are making those moves. You’re the best!

  12. The second one after queen h5 treatening mate in 1, black queen can block it with qd3 right?

  13. White plays at 8:51 , how can we 'just simply *capture* black queen' in our next move? Black can simply go b4 square and deflect the attack eh? Or am i missing smtg?

  14. Bxf7, xxxx
    Ng5, xxxx
    Ne6,
    black queen is trapped

  15. Bxf7,
    Ng5,
    Nd6,
    black Queen is trapped

  16. I'm sorry, but I am unable to download the pgn file for this video due to an expired ssl certificate. Please renew your certificate.

  17. How to continue with London against e5.

  18. Is exf6 a glitch? @14:43. Pls somebody explain it to me. Coz I see it often times and thought that it was a some sort of a mistake

  19. Totally underrated but helpful like wow thanks

  20. Been playing with the London for 3 months. Have gone from a 750 to just under 1200. I love this opening.

  21. As a 1200 I rarely see players defend with c5 and c6.

  22. 2:35 Plan 1: Requires Black to move to d5 instead of d6. Then 1. Ne5 Nd7 White then shifts to a king side attack with 1. Ng5 g6 2. Nh7 Kxh7 3. Qh5+ Kg7 4. Qh6 Kg8 5. Ng6 fxg6 6. Qxg6 Kh8 7. Qh7#
    3:49 Plan 2: Requires Black to challenge the white bishop with Bd6 and then abandon the attack after white moves Bg3. Also requires Black to take white knight on d7 with bishop instead of queen. But how to checkmate is left unstated.
    7:08 Plan 3: White moves Nc3 instead of c3 and Black d6 instead of d5. White then Nb5 and Nc7. This captures the rook.
    8:16 Plan 4: White moves Nc3 instead of c3. If instead Black d5 it moves Qb6 attacking the pawn on b2, White to a3. If Black continues the attack, then White Na4 and has captured the black queen.
    9:10 Plan 5: If Black moves Qb6 before White has moved Nc3, and has also moved c5 and d5 then White still goes Nc3 after Black Qxb2. After the black capture, then 1. Nb5 Na6 2. Rb1 Qxa2 3. Ra1 Qb2 4. Rxa6 bxa6 5. Nc7. The black king must move and his rook falls or Ngf7 takes the rook on h8. What White does after that is unstated.
    11:40 Plan 6: If Black decides to capture Ne5 with his bishop. After White recaptures with his pawn, Black triples his attack on e5 with Qc7. White abandons the defense of e5 and Bxh7. Black captures that bishop. If the Black king moves back to g8, then White Qh6 and this is then the same ending as in plan 1.
    15:20 Here starts advice on how to attack the London system.

  23. Hello. Nice tutorial
    (Just it doesn't work one second versus me : I play the Old Benoni defence ^^ )

  24. What if he doesn't goes to castle then can we win

  25. 99,9% of my opponents takes d4. What should i do then then? There is little help of this videos when opponent is not playing like in these examples.

  26. Non of these lines ever happen, theory is such bullshit.

  27. I can't be the only person who thinks this guy sounds like Gru from Despicable Me?? Great video though 🙂

  28. Best explanation of the London System. Thank you!

  29. Its so hard playing this because black dont plat the line

  30. Question: If I move me queens pawn to d4 and my opponent immediately moves his pawn to e5, what do I do?

  31. Just fyi the “free” course is like 1 hr of mediocre chess content. There are much better on youtube like saintlouis chess clun daniel naroditsky eric rosen hikaru etc. And he asks ridiculus amount of money for the full course.

  32. @1:50 Mr..Smirnov, how are bishops stronger than Knights? I’ve triple forked with check with a knight and I had two rooks and a queen for the taking. The queen left. However, those positions aren’t attainable with Bishops. At least, none that I know how to achieve. I am a huge advocate for your channel Igor! You are highly reccomnded by me in my Chess community

  33. in 500 elo no one plays the moves you show but thanks anyways

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