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Poll Question: Is the London System a lot more popular now in OTB play?
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Yes, a little    
  6 (24.0%)
Yes, a lot    
  13 (52.0%)
About the same    
  6 (24.0%)
Less popular    
  0 (0.0%)




Total votes: 25
« Created by: exigentsky on: 07/17/17 at 03:47:46 »
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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) How has the London System's popularity changed? (Read 6946 times)
exigentsky
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #20 - 07/20/17 at 19:11:31
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RdC wrote on 07/20/17 at 11:34:53:
Scarblac wrote on 07/19/17 at 12:53:37:
Recently at my club, my FM opponent played 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.h4!?. I don't really believe in it, but that's the kind of thing that's out there nowadays...


I met 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nd2 c5 4. e3 Bg7 5. c3 d6 6. Be2 O-O in a tournament last year and now instead of the routine Ngf3, my opponent punted 7. g4

It didn't work terribly well other than to create a chaotic game, but I noticed my opponent playing something similar again later in the tournament. I assume it was a home-made idea unless someone knows of a website, book or DVD advocating it.


I really doubt that anyone would recommend something like that in a DVD! Even without analyzing, it seems like a completely unfounded attack with huge weaknesses created for White.

EDIT: Komodo puts Black ahead about a pawn after that move! Cheesy
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #19 - 07/20/17 at 15:26:17
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exigentsky wrote on 07/19/17 at 09:13:50:
Why is he against teaching it to kids? Is it because the positions are too stereotyped to expand one's chess knowledge a lot? I can understand that. Part of what makes the London easy is that it tends to have the same basic plans and the structure is stable. This can limit your positional understanding and development as a player. Or perhaps he thinks that because they have more time to study chess, they should be more ambitious with their openings.


He says that it's better from him to play more ambitious openings, to face real problems and important decisions as soon in the game as possible. Having to make decisions and (important!) to analyze them afterwards is the key to improve.

Salut,
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #18 - 07/20/17 at 11:34:53
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Scarblac wrote on 07/19/17 at 12:53:37:
Recently at my club, my FM opponent played 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.h4!?. I don't really believe in it, but that's the kind of thing that's out there nowadays...


I met 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nd2 c5 4. e3 Bg7 5. c3 d6 6. Be2 O-O in a tournament last year and now instead of the routine Ngf3, my opponent punted 7. g4

It didn't work terribly well other than to create a chaotic game, but I noticed my opponent playing something similar again later in the tournament. I assume it was a home-made idea unless someone knows of a website, book or DVD advocating it.
  
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exigentsky
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #17 - 07/19/17 at 19:18:24
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Scarblac wrote on 07/19/17 at 12:53:37:
Recently at my club, my FM opponent played 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.h4!?. I don't really believe in it, but that's the kind of thing that's out there nowadays...

Grischuk has played 3.Nc3 8 times now in my TWIC-based database, Karjakin 4 times, Aronian and Nakamura have played it too (all of those are probably mainly rapid and blitz games, but still).


Modern players have a HUGE repertoire of openings (especially for rapid and blitz). I looked at the Danzhou Supertournament games and don't remember a single London System. I think it's primarily used to avoid preparation (especially potentially long unintuitive computer lines like in the Sicilians or Grunfelds) and get a tiny but safe pull for White. It obviously has very different structures but it feels like the same goals as the Catalan in terms of trying to play for only 2 results. Anyway, Carlsen and Kramnik too more recently, have played pretty much anything which isn't terrible. Don't get me wrong, I think the London is a good opening but I don't see why it's so hyped and getting so much more popular.

People aren't even avoiding theory that much because they have to learn a new opening with its own theory (which is growing quickly)! Cheesy It's not the hardest to learn but that applies to BOTH sides and main line openings tend to have dozens of opportunities to play a good side line with an offbeat idea while generally putting more pressure on the opponent if they make a mistake. So why bother replacing one's whole repertoire with the London?

Personally, I find it fun trying different openings and just came off a 1. b3 stint so I might try it out. However, practically speaking, I think the London's advantages would only really apply if a player had not studied any openings previously. If you've developed a repertoire for a decade, then the London won't save you any time as opposed to just going some good side lines.

With that said, I've only played a dozen Londons as White in blitz games and the rest of my experience was facing it a few years ago (surprisingly, more in tournaments than online). I tended to go for hedgehog type positions and it was OK but it wasn't trivial to totally equalize. Once I started playing the Grunfeld though, I found the London extremely easy to deal with. g6 structures just seem to shut down a lot of the pressure from White's light squared bishop while allowing more powerful pawn breaks too.
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #16 - 07/19/17 at 14:14:18
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I dont know if has been any change but at club level d-pawn specials has always been more common than 1 d4 2 c4.
However the stronger the opponent is the  chance to meet 1 d4 2 c4 increases.  I say that London, Trompowsky, Colle etc are about equaly common.

The same priciple also applies to Open Sicilian, at club level one can almost get away by only learning anit sicilians until opponents has a certian rating when it becomes more common.

  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #15 - 07/19/17 at 12:53:37
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Recently at my club, my FM opponent played 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.h4!?. I don't really believe in it, but that's the kind of thing that's out there nowadays...

Grischuk has played 3.Nc3 8 times now in my TWIC-based database, Karjakin 4 times, Aronian and Nakamura have played it too (all of those are probably mainly rapid and blitz games, but still).
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #14 - 07/19/17 at 09:13:50
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Why is he against teaching it to kids? Is it because the positions are too stereotyped to expand one's chess knowledge a lot? I can understand that. Part of what makes the London easy is that it tends to have the same basic plans and the structure is stable. This can limit your positional understanding and development as a player. Or perhaps he thinks that because they have more time to study chess, they should be more ambitious with their openings.

Anyway, I was considering learning the London to escape theory but it seems like its theory isn't too far behind other main line openings and people at club level are probably especially well prepared against it. They might not have heavy theoretical knowledge but surely they have a good solution if they face it a lot. I wonder if it isn't actually the MOST popular 1. d4 opening at club level.
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #13 - 07/19/17 at 08:21:13
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I think the easies way to counter the London is to play a QID setup: Nf6-e6-c5-b6-Bb7-Be7 with a d6-hedgehog style of position, aiming for a e5 break.

The best player of our club and a full-time coach is teaching the London to a bunch of 60+ (years old) players start playing recently. It's easy to learn (he says). But he is against doing this to kids or young improving players.

One of the keys is that it is easy to explain, easy to learn and if you see Carlsen/Kramnik playing it from time to time... people feel it's a good option (and sometimes it is a practical good decision).

In the tournaments I play (opposition between 1700 - 2200 fide) I see a lot of London system games. A lot more than 5 years before.

Salut,
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #12 - 07/18/17 at 18:48:41
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3...d5 4 e3 Bg7 5 h4!?, as played by Karjakin in rapid and blitz, is rather interesting if you like that sort of thing. It's a bit of an accelerated Barry Attack (lunging the h-pawn without first going Be2, Nf3-e5 etc.) 5...0-0 can be met by 6 h5, while after 5...c5, White can consider 6 Nb5!?
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #11 - 07/18/17 at 17:55:30
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RdC wrote on 07/18/17 at 16:13:01:
I saw Mark Hebden use it with a dangerous twist in a weekend tournament recently.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Qd2 and you've move-ordered Black into a 150 Attack for many practical purposes.

This is very similar to what Hebden has been doing for decades with 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 leading to either a 150 Attack, a Barry Attack (3...d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3) or a "Vorotnikov-Kogan-Hebden Attack" (3...d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2). The two former lines were also in Summerscale's Killer Chess Opening Repertoire for White, which I used to play a lot.

I think 3...d5 is the more annoying move for White to face after 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3, even though the 150 Attack Pirc is also OK for Black theoretically. The point is of course Black is often tricked into this and isn't a regular Pirc player.

So if Hebden's move order is now 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3, does he have something new in mind against 3...d5? By not committing to an early Nf3, f2-f3 is still possible, perhaps followed up with either e2-e4, h2-h4 or both, depending on what Black does. Food for thought!
  

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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #10 - 07/18/17 at 16:17:45
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RdC wrote on 07/18/17 at 16:13:01:
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Qd2 and you've move-ordered Black into a 150 Attack for many practical purposes.


I'd much rather face a 150 attack than a mainline KID  Wink

But then if I was facing Mark Hebden, I'd be sunk either way  Smiley
  

Those who want to go by my perverse footsteps play such pawn structure with fuzzy atypical still strategic orientations

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, stuck in the middlegame with you
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #9 - 07/18/17 at 16:13:01
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exigentsky wrote on 07/17/17 at 20:06:20:
Anyway, I know 2. Bf4 is supposed to be a slightly better move order for a pure London player


I saw Mark Hebden use it with a dangerous twist in a weekend tournament recently.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Qd2 and you've move-ordered Black into a 150 Attack for many practical purposes.

That's a long way from the stereotyped London player who will play d4, Nf3, Bf4, c3, e3, N1d2, Be2, O-O, h3 in the first 9 moves, with Bd3 or Bc4 and the timing of Bf4-h2 the only deviations.
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #8 - 07/17/17 at 20:38:54
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I was planning to play the London in a recent tournament of mostly players in the 2000-2300 range. But then I saw it played quite a lot on the boards around me and decided to revert to something more mainline.

If something gets really popular I have this aversion to just following fashion and looking like a sheep. Smiley But maybe this is irrational. I have no doubt that the London has now been turned into a respected opening with many recent twists and turns for Black to worry about (at least after 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4, which was where I planned to use it).

P.S.: Here's an amusing quote from Lars Bo Hansen: How Chess Games are Won and Lost (2008), p. 61. He's talking about how ambitious players often need to switch to more serious openings in order go beyond 2300:

Quote:
However, (many) others prefer to stick to their usual openings, as they don't want to invest the necessary time in changing their repertoire. So they keep playing the Benko Gambit, the Modern Benoni, the Albin Counter Gambit or the Colle and London Systems, just to name a few of the typical openings that in my opinion need renewal in order to pass the 2300 barrier. But such openings are simply not tenable at the highest level. Just see what happened to Gata Kamsky, when upon his return to chess he tried the London System against a seasoned top player.


He then quotes Kamsky-Gelfand, Elista Candidates m (3) 2007, where Gelfand was quickly better with a minority attack and eventually won. Nine years later, Kamsky has kept on playing the London in countless games, and even stronger players like Kramnik and Carlsen have taken it up. I think Hansen would have chosen a different opening to make his point today. (The book is otherwise a nice and useful read on chess training and preparation btw.!)
  

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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #7 - 07/17/17 at 20:06:20
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barnaby wrote on 07/17/17 at 17:33:30:
Marketing is a very powerful force.

I am here down in the amateur levels and I have been seeing it more and more.  From a once-every-so- type of thing to a once-a-tournament type of thing.  I have had at least one London on the board in each event I have played in this year (7 events) and have seen it more than any other opening save perhaps the Giocco.

We now living in the age of anti-theory.  I expect to start seeing 1. Nf3 2. e3 soon at my level as well (2000 Fide).   Sad


Yeah, I think in a way computers also showed people that A LOT of chess openings don't offer White much of anything vs reasonable defenses. And so, if chess is a draw anyway and you can't get an advantage as White, why even bother trying? I think it's slightly misguided though because while the main line openings don't provide an advantage, Black often has only a few choices at each move where this is true and mistakes can be punished. On the other hand, if you start 1. b3 and they go randomly a5, you still can't do much to prove an advantage except in the subtlest sense. If they play a5 vs 1. e4, they face enormous pressure. You can pounce on them.

Anyway, I know 2. Bf4 is supposed to be a slightly better move order for a pure London player so that probably helps increase its popularity but looked at elite tournaments, I still see the London used quite rarely. The books make it sound like it's being advocated as a great opening for White at master play. Sure, Carlsen played it and Kramnik played it but it's just the random occasional game. It's more a proof of viability than endorsement and it's hard for a White opening to not be viable.

I'm probably a bit biased though because the London takes a lot of play out from my QID. I don't struggle to equalize vs it and know the main ideas but it feels like to actually win, White has to be a bit more ambitious as well (unless I'm truly a lot better than my opponent).
  
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Re: How has the London System's popularity changed?
Reply #6 - 07/17/17 at 18:46:23
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On the plus side it'll make playing the main lines an even more effective surprise weapon than it is now Wink
  
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