In a time where the opening phase has become extremely important, every chess player must give this phase its due attention. With various good books available, the quantity of information on the internet and the powerful engines, it is no wonder that it is now very difficult to get a big advantage out of the opening, never mind winning a game out of it.
Everybody knows a decent amount of theory, there is no doubt about that. However, not everybody has the time and energy to learn long and complicated lines and we’d even say that, depending on your level, it may even be completely unnecessary. Up to a certain level, it is more important to devote your energy to understanding the important concepts of the game than learning moves by heart.
If you are one of these players, we can suggest you give the London System a look.
Here are a few reasons why this opening might suit you:
This is perhaps the most important thing about this opening. This is more of a system than an opening with long lines that involve remembering exact moves. Here the accent is more on knowing the plans, how to place your pieces and understanding the arising pawn structures.
You will find that in the latest years many Grandmasters have included it in their repertoire with good results, with one of the most famous specialists being Gata Kamsky. Thanks to their games the theory of this opening has, of course, started to develop, but you can use it more as a guideline; it’s not a know-by-heart or get into a worse position kind of repertoire.
As many 1.d4 openings are, the London System is a solid choice.
It is very difficult for black to break it, given that you face, for example, a stronger opponent. It can lead to long, strategic battles, but don’t be fooled.
Black has to be prepared to meet it otherwise things can easily go downhill for the second player, which leads us to the third reason why this is a resourceful opening choice.
The games where white wins by incredible attacks on the kingside are not few. A quick search in the database will show that black must play with care and, most importantly, be aware of white’s ideas.
As mentioned before, white has many resources and attacks can come out of the blue for the unprepared player.
There is an interesting idea where white doesn’t hurry to castle but instead tries to quickly install a knight on e5, but the bishop on g3 and continue with f4. In this case, the king can remain in the center, but white can even consider castling short at the right moment. As the center usually remains closed, the same idea can be used even after castling short in the first place.
As mentioned above, this is a solid, but resourceful opening. That means that you can vary the plans; one day you can go for the attacking plans and another day play positionally.
There are different move orders and each has its ideas, giving you options inside the same system. It is important to avoid preparation and try to get your opponent on unknown territory and studying various plans can help you surprise your rivals.
This is not an opening where you need to learn the moves by heart, but one where you need to study games of the strong players and understand the plans in each type of structure.
This means that you won’t actually focus so much on the opening phase but on the middlegame one, which will allow you to improve your positional play and attacking skills.
In over 10 hours of premium video training, IM Ratkovic gives you a guided tour of this easy-to-learn system for dominating the opening as white. Simply play 1.d4 and 2.Bf4 and then no matter what black does, apply IM Ratkovic’s strategic blueprint to enjoy a solid enough edge to handle any strength of the opponent.