In the London system, white wants to keep their dark squared bishop, Therefore after say 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4, black can play 3...Nh5, doesn't it break white's position?

[FEN ""]
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4 Nh5
  • It makes sense for Black to wait for White to play e2-e3 and cut the bishop's retreat before starting hunting it with any ...Nh5.
    – Evargalo
    Jan 31, 2019 at 10:01

3 Answers 3


The bishop is pretty decent on g5 as well.

So after 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4 Nh5 4.Bg5 and now black would have to create serious weaknesses on the kingside to hunt down the bishop. But if he just returns the knight, he has lost a tempo.

[FEN ""]
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4 Nh5 4.Bg5 h6 5.Bh4 g5 6.Bg3 Nxg3 7.hxg3

An alternative is to play the move order 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3, preventing Nh5. Next, you can play 4.Nf3 or 4.c4.

  • How exactly does 3. e3 prevent Nh5 ? Jun 15, 2017 at 3:59
  • 2
    After 3.e3 Nh5, white can take the knight with 4.Qxh5.
    – Maxwell86
    Jun 15, 2017 at 6:38
  • 1
    But after 4.c4, this is not a London system anymore, and after 4.Nf3, 4...Nh5 is on the table again !
    – Evargalo
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:00
  • True, after 4.c4, it's not a London anymore, but rather queen's gambit like. The fact that white has this option is actually an advantage of the move order with 3.e3. Also, whether after 4.Nf3, 4....Nh5 is good or not, depends on black's third move. For example, after 3....e6 4.Nf3 Nh5 5.Bg5, black has no time to play 5....h6 as the queen is under attack. Moreover, white has other London system moves at his disposal, like 4.c3, 4.Nd2 and 4.Bd3.
    – Maxwell86
    Apr 3, 2018 at 16:06

That's funny, White's position is broken after only 3 moves.

3...Nh5? Costs a tempo. I can play 5.Qd2 overprotecting the strong points d4 and f4, e.g. 4.e3 Nxf4 5.exf4.

Broken means injured...

And injured means weak.

A position is not broken if there's no weakness.

  • 2
    White hasn't played e2-e3 yet, so 5.exf4 is impossible in your variation.
    – Evargalo
    Feb 1, 2019 at 10:11
  • @evargalo see edit Feb 1, 2019 at 18:48

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