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The London System - Lemos Deep Dive #2

GM Damian Lemos

Since entering the computer age, chess openings theory has exploded, with razor
sharp novelties and tricky ideas being routinely cooked and sprung upon the
unwary club player.

How do you deal with this? You cant memorize everything.

In the London System, GM Damian Lemos offers a refreshing break from the routine
of memorization, with an opening system based on easy to learn plans and ideas
that can be played against nearly any response to 1.d4 and is practiced by elite
players such as Carlsen, Kramnik, Grischuk and Giri.

This is a complete repertoire for White, based on the solid d4-Bf4-Nf3-e3-c3-h3

scheme that offers good prospects with GM Lemos' reliable strategy for playing for a

Armed with this system you will have a dependable opening with little theory to
memorize. You can learn the main ideas of the London System in a weekend but
they still have enough power to defeat grandmasters!

The course is divided into 14 chapters:

Chapter 1: Ideas behind the London System: Kamsky-Steingrimsson

Chapter 2: 6Bd6 variation: Grischuk-Wang Hao
Chapter 3: Symmetrical variation: Carlsen-Giri
Chapter 4: Slaying the Slav setup: Grischuk-Bartel
Chapter 5: Queenside control: Kramnik-Dubov
Chapter 6: Beating the g6 systems: Grachev-Kyc
Chapter 7: Punishing the c5 break: Torre-Srivachirawat
Chapter 8: Taking down targets: Prie-Martin Alvarez
Chapter 9: Reducing Blacks counterplay: Sandipan-Arun Prasad
Chapter 10: Dealing with Qb6: Ni-Igonin
Chapter 11: Early Queen exchange: Kamsky-Tokarev and Grachev-Ivanov
Chapter 12: Tricky ideas: Miles-Minasian
Chapter 13: Instructive miniatures: Berkes-Czebe and Sedlak-Hobber
Chapter 14: Powerful attacks: Chernyshov-Gayer and Chernyshov-Seres
Chapter 1: Ideas behind the London System: Kamsky-Steingrimsson

1. GM Lemos details the basic ideas and the most accurate move orders of the
London System.
2. The preferred order is 1.d4 and 2.Bf4 giving better options than 2.Nf3.
3. Blacks idea of playing Qb6, attacking b2 is not effective as White can play
Nc3. If Qxb2, Black is lost after Nb5!
4. Blacksc5 is usually best met by c3, reinforcing the center.
5. Black plays the setup d5-c5-Nc6 and White reinforces with c3.
6. When the c8 bishop moves, White has the thematic idea Qb3, putting
pressure on b7.
7. Black soon exchanges in the center with 5...cxd4 and. after 6.exd4, this leads
to typical positions from the Caro-Kann Exchange variation.
8. When black plays d5, the e5 square becomes an important outpost. To
strengthen his grip on this square, White eliminates a defender with Bb5 and
9. Black finds himself with a bad bishop against a good knight.
10. White plays the stronger recapture, dxe5!, allowing his knight to reach d4.
11. White can attack on the kingside with h4, Re3-g3 and g4.
12. Black tries to save the game by exchanging Queens but the endgame is
winning for White.

Chapter 2: 6Bd6 variation: Grischuk-Wang Hao

1. Black puts his pawns on d5 and e6 and develops his bishop to d6, which is
one of the best defensive systems for Black.
2. Against Bd6 White must play Bg3, since if Bxg3, hxg3 White gets to open
the h-file. White must make sure he gets a new advantage if he has to give up
his good bishop.
3. White reinforces the center by playing Ne5 followed by f4.
4. Qb1is an interesting move, causing Black to weaken his kingside with g6.
5. The knight of e5 is ejected with f6 but then White puts pressure on e6 by
bringing his rooks to the e-file.

Chapter 3: Symmetrical variation: Carlsen-Giri

1. Black plays symmetrically with d5 and Bf5.

2. Carlsen decides to offer the exchange of bishops with Bd3. More usual is to
play c4 and Qb3 to put pressure on b7 and d5.
3. Blacks c6 gives a very solid setup.
4. Carlsens plan revolves around the a4-a5 push.
5. White is able to start an attack on the Kingside after dxe5, kicking away the
key defender, the Nf6.
6. Carlsen gives up a pawn to improve his pieces with a strong knight on d4 and
f4 bishop, linking up with the Queen on g3 and supporting the h-pawn push.
7. White soon has 2 pieces against a rook plus some very dangerous threats.
8. Giri falls to a tactical blow after a well-coordinated attack.

Chapter 4: Slaying the Slav setup: Grischuk-Bartel

1. Black uses the Slav setup d5-c6-Bf5.

2. White plays the strongest plan with c4 and Qb3, attacking the pawn of b7 and
pressing d5.
3. Black defends with 6...Qb6 but the exchange of queens (7.c5 Qxb3 8.axb3) is
advantageous for White.
4. Whites plan of b4-b5 is very strong and, even if Black stops this, the
maneuver Nd2-Nb3-Na5 gives White the advantage.
5. Black plays e5, trying to block the dark-squared bishop but this allows a
later e4, giving White a big edge.
6. Finally White wins material with the b5 break.
7. Exchanging Queens does not alleviate Blacks problems and Whites play in
these type of positions is simple and without risk.

Chapter 5: Queenside control: Kramnik-Dubov

1. Black plays a Semi-Slav setup with d5-c6-e6.

2. White plays with c4, similar to Queen's Gambit positions.
3. White opens the center with e4.
4. After Blacks 13c5, White got a Queenside pawn majority of 3 against 2.
5. After the exchange of rooks an endgame with Queen and 2 knights each was
reached, with White needing to advance his Queenside pawns.
6. White has much better piece activity than Black.
7. Unable to find the only defense, Black is lost when White gets his pawn to b7.

Chapter 6: Beating the g6 systems: Grachev-Kyc

1. Black plays with g6 and d5, in the style of the Grunfeld defense.
2. Black attacks b2 with Qb6 and White defends it with Qb3.
3. Black mistakenly exchanges Queens on b3. This move does not help.
4. After axb3, White has an easy game playing on the Queenside with ideas like
Ba6 and b4.
5. White did not hesitate to exchange his good bishop for the b8 knight its
more important to double rooks on the a-file.
6. White continues by paralyzing the Queenside with b4-b5, b3 and c4.
7. By the time the knight arrives at c6, Black can no longer deal with the threats
and loses quickly.

Chapter 7: Punishing the c5 break: Torre-Srivachirawat

1. Black plays g6, d5 and an early c5.

2. White is able to capture the c5 pawn, having played c3 instead of castling. It
will not be easy for Black to get this pawn back.
3. White consolidates his material advantage with 9.Bxa6!, eliminating a
defender, and follows up with b4 and Nb3.
4. 10. Be5 threatens to exchange off Blacks fianchettoed Bishop if the Nf6
5. The b5 and c5 pawns, plus the powerful d4 square give White a winning
advantage in the endgame.
6. Ultimately, the c-pawn decides the game, supported by rooks on the 7th and
8th ranks.

Chapter 8: Taking down targets: Prie-Martin Alvarez

1. Black chooses the setup g6, d5 and b6.

2. White plays a4, ready to attack b6.
3. After a5 Whites bishop goes to b5 trying to provoke c6 which would
weaken the queenside pawns.
4. Black counters in the center with f6 and e5, trying to limit the scope of the f4
5. Whites 15.c4 gives him the edge as he opens, then occupies the c-file.
6. Doubling rooks decides the game in Whites favor.
7. With the position locked down, White wins the crucial d5 pawn and the
game after Qb5.

Chapter 9: Reducing Blacks counterplay: Sandipan-Arun Prasad

1. The game begins with a Caro-Kann defense but White transposes into the
London System by playing the Exchange variation.
2. Black decides to defend his b7 pawn with Qc8.
3. White plays Nh4 to capture the bishop of f5 and win the bishop pair.
4. Realizing his bishop was going to be exchanged, Black makes sure it is done
on his terms with Be4. This isnt a great decision as it leaves him with a
weak pawn on e4 that ultimately costs him the game.
5. Black seeks salvation in a rook and bishops of opposite color endgame but
White wins with precise play.

Chapter 10: Dealing with Qb6: Ni-Igonin

1. Black plays d5 and c5 and, after changing on d4, applies pressure with Qb6.
2. Nb3 is necessary to defend b2 and d4.
3. Once again, White gets the pair of bishops.
4. The Qb6 scheme does not usually give White any problems. With correct play
this Queen move ends up being a wasted tempo.
5. White creates weaknesses on the Black Kingside with h4, Bg5 followed by
Bc2 and Qd3.
6. After hxg5, the Nh2-Ng4 plan creates problems in Blacks King position.
7. White dominates the board by centralizing the Queen on e5 and his rook on
c5 and finishes the game with an exchange sac on d5.

Chapter 11: Early Queen exchange: Kamsky-Tokarev and Grachev-Ivanov

1. Black plays with d5, Nf6 and an early Bg4.

2. White takes advantage of the absence of the c8 bishop to play the plan of c4
and Qb3, attacking b7.
3. Black plays b6 and White gets a clear edge with the thematic 10.Nb5 jump
threatening Nxc7. After 10...Na6 11.Qa4! White wins at least one pawn.
4. Black did not defend well and after 11...Nb4 12.Nxc7 Kf8 13.Nxa8 was lost.
5. Black also plays with d5, Nf6 and an early Bg4 in Grachev-Ivanov.
6. We see the same plan of c4 and Qb3.
7. Once again the exchange of Queens on b3 by Black is met by the plan of c5
and b4.
8. White maneuvers Nd2-Nb3-Na5, putting pressure on b7. Black chops the
knight off with Bxa5, after which White recaptures with bxa5, opening the b-
file for the rooks.
9. White ended up winning the b7 pawn with the plan Ra4-Rb4-Ra1-Ra3-Rb3.

Chapter 12: Tricky ideas: Miles-Minasian

1. Black goes for a d5-c5-Nc6-Qb6 setup.

2. White plays Qb3 then Qc2 after Blacks c4.
3. Blacks Bf5 an established idea, but its not great in this position as d5 is
undefended. White proves his point with Qxf5!
4. Black captures the b2 pawn then the a1 rook but White gets a winning
advantage, capturing the important c and d-pawns and trapping Blacks
5. Practice has shown White is winning after this exchange sacrifice.

Chapter 13: Instructive miniatures: Berkes-Czebe and Sedlak-Hobber

1. Black sets up with d5, c5, Nf6 and Nc6, exchanges on d4 early then plays Bf5.
2. White uses the typical move Qb3 to attack the b7 pawn.
3. Black defends with Qb6 and now it is White who exchanges on b6, doubling
his opponents pawns.
4. The White bishop cannot be moved from b5 easily.
5. White takes advantage of the open central files and extra space to get a clear
6. Opening the center with 18.c4 gives White a winning advantage, despite
Blacks defensive exchange sacrifice.
7. We see the variation with d5, Nf6, c5, Nc6 and e6 in Sedlak-Hobber.
8. Black plays the Bd6 defense - generally considered the best.
9. White must play Bg3, Black exchanges on g3 and White opens the h-file.
10. Blacks e5 break is accurately met by 11.dxc5! and 12.e4!
11. Both players castle on the Queenside.
12. Black makes a mistake with h6, allowing the nice tactic 16.Rd5 and
17.Nxe5! winning a pawn and maintaining the attack.

Chapter 14: Powerful attacks: Chernyshov-Gayer and Chernyshov-Seres

1. Black plays a Chigorin setup with d5, Bf5 and Nc6.

2. White exchanges bishops on d6 and plays c4.
3. Black decides to play aggressively and castles Queenside with 0-0-0 but this
is dubious as Whites attack arrives faster with c5 and b4-b5.
4. Whites Queen joins the attack with Qd2-Qa5.
5. Black does not have enough time to create counterplay on the kingside.
6. The final breakthrough occurs with c6 and Nc5 leading to mate.
7. Black plays with d5, c5, Nc6, Nf6 and Bf5 in Chernyshov-Seres.
8. White plays with c3-Qb3 by pressing the b7 pawn.
9. Black defends b7 with Qc8 and White goes for the c4 plan.
10. Black plays aggressively with 8cxd4 and 9Bb4 sacrificing a pawn to
prevent White from castling.
11. Black gets his pawn back but the White piece s gain great activity.
12. The White bishop pair is superior to the knight pair in this open position.
13. Black castles long but is elegantly checkmated with 17.Be6+!