Obliterate The London System: Your Ultimate Arsenal to Outplay the Queen's Pawn Opening!
Ahh, the London System, is arguably the most annoying defence known to man. The combination of remarkable solidity and an incredibly straightforward game plan makes it widely adopted by beginners and experienced players and exceptionally annoying to handle.
Being objectively the most solid chess opening, finding ways to counter it is few and far between. We have gathered several anti-London system weapons, which are versatile, to help end this annoying opening once and for all.
E6 Dutch Anti-London System
This is personally my go-to anti-London repertoire. Being by far one of the most aggressive openings. Choosing this option would mean breaking the calm and slowness of the London System, instead, starting an all-out war.
With a win rate of 57%, this is one of your best Anti-london Options! Starting with d4, f5, Bf4, Nf6, Nf3, Be7, Bd3, O-O, O-O, C5!! The critical move C5 allowed for the constant threat of smashing up the London player’s structure.
Your game plan consists of putting that bishop on B7, then launching a kingside attack after trading away the C5 pawn. If they take your C5 pawn, recapture it with the bishop and build for the centre with D5.
Nimzo Indian Anti-London System
Without a doubt, this is the highest-level Anti-London weapon out there. Challenging the structure on move 3(!), with D4, Nf6, Bf4, E6, Nf3, C5.
If your opponent ever plays c4 themselves, you always have Bb4 as a way to counter that, which is a perk of the Nimzo. Its versatility means it always has a weapon against your opponent’s every move.
This is your game plan if your opponent goes for a London System. When you reach C5, you want your following moves to be Nc6 and Qb6.
If they offer you a queen trade, take it and rebuild with d5. The game plan from this point forward is to attack the king wherever he decides to go, and CxD5 is always an option.
Queen’s Gambit Anti-London System
In contrast to the previous anti-London weapon, which is extremely complicated, the Queen’s gambit for black, (Also known as the Queen’s Gambit Anti-London System) is one of the most simple anti-London weapons. As the name suggests, this is a Queen’s Gambit for black, which would be d4, d5, Bf4 and c5.
Firstly, if they take, you play Nc6. If they play any other move that’s not Nf3, they will lose immediately due to the move e5. Now, after they play Nf3, you play e6 (Bf5 is too slow), trying to capture the C5 pawn, which is impossible to defend.
Important: Do note that the light-squared bishop will have to be activated later in the game, with an e5 push.
If they don’t take, which is best, then your game plan consists of reaching this sort of position, with your knight on F6. Getting your bishop on F5 then playing e6, and eventually short castling.
This position is extremely easy to play. Afterwards, you can attack wherever the white king decides to go.
Finally, since you are responding with d5, there is always a threat of White playing the Queen’s Gambit. It’s up to you how you decide to play against the Queen’s Gambit, which you’ll have to prepare for.
There are many of them, which I will not cover here, but either the Queen’s Gambit declined or the Semi-Slav defence would work great!
The London System is extremely popular and annoying to defend against, but there are several weapons that Black can use to make it slightly less annoying. The E6 Dutch, the Nimzo Indian, and the Queen's Gambit anti-London Systems are all effective ways to challenge your opponent and gain a decisive advantage.
If you’re happy you finally learned how to deal with objectively the most annoying opening in chess, then why not treat yourself to a nice tee? It’s even 10% off using code ANDYGREEN!
About the Author
Andy Nguyen (aka Andy Green) is a chess copywriter who also enjoys writing lessons for other chess players to read. You can reach him on Twitter (@AndyGreenChess).