Manoeuvering the London System

When I lost in my first experience of the London System it was extremely unpleasant. It was like being in the grip of a slow squeezing octopus, one schooled in the ocean ruled by Petrosian and other Gods residing in Positional Parnassus.

Used to a fighting K-Indian middle game, here I was in a rather mild and boring middle game going nowhere, with no real plan. The cause of all this anxiety is that in  the London System White seeks to avoid the usual pawn structures and levers; instead plays simple chess; developing without worry over a possible outpost for black on his weak black squares, and playing for incremental stalking into the center, with a pawn structure similar to the Colle System. (White Pawns on c3,d4,e3, with the added benefit of getting his QB out from behind the pawn wall, and tucked in at h2).

Anyone who has played a weak black player using the Colle System understands the ease of obtaining a middle game with a plan for attack on the King Side. I think the analogy holds.

So this week I wanted to present two London system games in which Black found ways to counter. I was particularly interested in Black attempts early in the use of the London System vs. later games. It turned out, their plans are quite similar, and hope you find them instructive in playing against this quiet but dangerous system for White, when you are a K-Indian proponent.

The search for these games was conducted using Chess King, and the analysis is through the Hiarcs Chess Engine.

It’s always interesting to see how the engine will find alternative moves and note errors humans make. Even games fraught with errors has instructive moments, as these games attest.

Ed Rosenthal

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About Edward Rosenthal

Ed is a freelance web designer who enjoys playing chess. He won Rochester NY the year before Mikhail Tal won over Mikhail Botvinnik - (Look it up). He formerly worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in the consulting and business programming departments and spent several years freelancing as Oracle and Informix Database Admin. His interests include reading & writing Poetry, Dog rescue with his wife Pam, WordPress, among other things. Visit him at