I played the London system for the first time today and encountered a problem in my second game (I won my first).

[fen "rn1qkb1r/ppp1pppp/5n2/3p1b2/3P1B2/5N2/PPP1PPPP/RN1QKB1R w KQkq - 4 4"]

What is the best response to black copying your moves in the London?

  • 1
    The question is a bit vague so I probably can't just write an "do this do that" answer, but until I come up with some simple ideas to show you in this position, you can start by reading this nice article on wiki, and get inspired by this funny old game from Capablanca, beating a copycat :-)
    – Ellie
    Jan 31, 2015 at 20:14
  • d3 d6 Na4 Na5 Nxc5 Nxc4 Nxg7 bxg7 dxc4. I personally do not like the london opening because it is the boring opening. Don't expect as much excitement as with other openings. Jan 31, 2015 at 20:24
  • @CognisMantis nice counter example, but I think you meant to say: 4.d3 d6 5.Nh4 Nh5 6.Nxf5 Nxf4 7.Nxg7+ Bxg7 8.dxf4
    – Ellie
    Jan 31, 2015 at 20:28
  • what do u mean d3? Thats not a move??? Jan 31, 2015 at 21:21
  • @RyanCobourn he probably meant e3 e6, and I copied the same mistake.
    – Ellie
    Jan 31, 2015 at 21:45

3 Answers 3


If you play the London then you have to be aware and ready for favourable transpositions to other openings like the Queen's Gambit, Slav, Barry Attack (John Nunn famously lost twice to Hebden against this and then complained bitterly that the derogatory name, "Barry Attack", just rubbed salt into the wound ;-), 150, etc.

This is such a case. Here, or even on the previous move, White should be looking to play c4 for a QGD variation where the black bishop is misplaced on f5.

Check out chapter 7 Symmetrical: 2...Bf5 and 3...Bf5 of "Win with the London System" by Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovacevic for more ideas.

  • 1
    I second this answer. As a QG (d4 c4) player, I am ALWAYS happy to see Black play Bf5. It seldom belongs there in the opening. So, just do an analysis by yourself and decide on a middlegame you would enjoy to play. Often White plays on queenside here, which is in contrast to what London system players are used to, but you must, as a chess player, be flexible and versatile. May 7 at 17:31



This is the best I can offer at the moment. The second game that is portrayed in this article shows a "copying" move, just like the one you have. And there are annotations that will explain to you why and what is going on with every move.

I do advise you to read the stuff at the start of the article. Openings in chess also define your style of playing. Queen's Gambit or most Queen pawn opening players are usually more tactical, while King pawn opening players are more aggressive. Of course there are many exceptions, however this is common knowledge about the 2 basic styles.

So think about that on the way too, hope I helped :)

  • 1
    Better to put the answer part of that page in the answer rather than referring / relying solely on the link. May 6 at 10:30

The London can be that way and you chose to play it. The London is solid but at the same time very passive.

Objectively, c4 will unbalance the position but most London players won't play it because they're scared of the transpositions.

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