I have problems when black places his bishop on d6 in the London. Take for instance the following game:

r1bq1rk1/p2n1ppp/2n1p3/1p1pP3/2p5/2P1P1B1/PPBN1PPP/R2QK2R w KQ - 1 12
1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 { D00 Queen's Pawn Game: Mason Variation } e6 3. e3 Bd6 4. Bg3 Nf6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. Nd2 c5 7. c3 c4 8. Bc2 Nc6 9. Ngf3 b5 10. Ne5 Bxe5 11. dxe5 Nd7 

The question of what to do with ...Bd6 comes already in movement 4. Theory advises White to avoid taking it, as that will bring Black's Queen into play. Instead, White should retreat his bishop to g3, or even leave it on f4. First problem is, with the bishop in g3, White can't castle kingside while the d6-g3 diagonal is open.

The second problem is that placing a piece on e5 should be White's main plan with the London, but with Black's bishop on d6, that's not possible, as Black can exchange any piece post there by White. Even worse, if White ends up with a pawn there, as in this game, this pawn will end up being very hard to defend for White. Or it will have to be defended with f2-f4, weakening White's kingside and blocking White's bishop if it's still on g3.

So my question is how to deal with Black's bishop on d6 addressing these two problems?

  • "with the bishop in g3, White can't castle kingside while the d6-g3 diagonal is open" -> yes he can, why couldn't he ?
    – Evargalo
    May 9, 2022 at 13:28

3 Answers 3


I play London all the time (even before it was called this way, and I don't even intend to play the Lamer London variant, consisting of kingside overrunning the poor sap who hasn't learnt opening theory :-) and you make a few implicite assumptions I have object to.

"bring Black's Queen into play...". True, but that's hardly the point. The point is the following break e5, and Black has solved all his problems, especially the Bc8. Thus indeed noone ever exchanges, OR only exchanges if the break e5 can be blocked forever (maybe with f4).

"White should retreat his bishop to g3..." Possible. "White can't castle kingside while the d6-g3 diagonal is open." Strong objection. Nothing wrong with that, even the nonstandard fxg3 following the exchange Bxg3 should always be considered. An attack along the standard scheme Ng4, Qh5 against this structure is very far into the future.

"or even leave it on f4..."" Possible. Many, many opponents had to suffer against me after Bxf4 (now e5 is completely out of question, have fun countering N-f3-e5, R-e1-e3-h3 and other lovelies). And none of them ever played Qd6 followed by Qb4 with a double attack on d4 and b2 when I was an idiot and it was possible. :-)

"Or it will have to be defended with f2-f4, weakening White's kingside and blocking White's bishop if it's still on g3." Objection, no problems with that either. Play Bf2 followed by e4, for example. Black has a real problem on the black squares now that the bishop is gone. A weakened king side is only relevant if the opponent can attack it. How? And his usual London problem, lack of space, still remains.

Coda: Neither of your two problems seem to be a problem to me.

Addendum: The early 7...c4 seems a severe strategic error to me.

  • 2
    What's the "Lamer London variant"?
    – antonro
    Apr 29, 2022 at 14:50
  • 3
    @antonro presumably the Jobava London (lichess.org/study/5Mo7da1G), which can trick people who don't know it, and works well at the highest levels, but is quite hard to play in between those extremes (in my experience, and Naroditsky also advises against lower-rated players using it)
    – llama
    Apr 29, 2022 at 19:20

I don't play the London but,from what I understand, white is okay with that trade and just moves to g3.

For one, white is trading off his bad bishop. Positionally, that's a small plus.

But, maybe more importantly, if black play Bxg3, that opens the h-file for white which can lead to some vicious tactics aimed at the h7 square. Even if black can defend the tactics you're still at least dictating the game which gives you at least some hope for an advantage.


The d white pawn that is currently there can be quite strong, so the line you played is perfectly fine, especially since the bg3 move counters the black d6 bishop very well from attacking the kingside. Plus, the knight blockade you implemented on move 10 - Ne5, is quite strategically placed, black doesn't have to trade it away, but doing so would result in black having some serious threats, especially with the black c6 knight still undefended at the moment.

So to put it simply, you want to deal with the d6 black bishop? Place a blockade (knight e.g.) there, problem solved

Tip: You might want to push f4 sometime to protect the d5 pawn and to advance a little

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