After the massive popularity of the Trompovsky (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) in the 1980s and 90s it now seems that we have a new bishop move upon us, 1.d4 followed by 2.Bf4. It’s not exactly new because it’s basically a kind of London System with a somewhat offbeat move order. White ignores the guidance about developing knights (or at least one knight) before a bishop to achieve some concrete goals.
Is it any good? Well first of all I have to say that it’s very solid, and there’s more than a little poison in this opening. It was covered extensively in a book by Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovacevic entitled Win with the London System. It has also been played by some very strong players, most notably Gata Kamsky, Ruslan Ponomariov, and Boris Grachev.
What’s my take? Well from a strategic point of view I don’t see it as being much of a threat to Black, at least not compared with the space gaining 2.c4. But it can be a good surprise weapon and a way to get on board 1.d4 whilst gradually introducing some more telling systems.
What should Black do against it? Well if you want to create some kind of imbalance than 1…Nf6 seems to be more suitable than 1…d5. And White can also create some imbalance as in the following entertaining game: