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As Cyrus Lakdawala remarks in his forthcoming First Steps: Colle and London Systems "After about a century of neglect and outright contempt, suddenly [the Colle and London] are the belles of the ball". We won't be focussing on the former system this month, but developments of the bishop to f4 dominate, not least Magnus Carlsen's latest essaying of the London.

Download PGN of August ’16 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Vorotnikov-Kogan-Hebden Attack [D00]

We begin by looking at 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 Qd2 in Hebden - Jones. After 5...0-0 6 Bh6 Bxh6 7 Qxh6 c5 Hebden first shows that 8 e3 isn't so bad and then really goes for it with 8...cxd4 9 exd4 Nc6 10 0-0-0 Bg4 11 h4:

Here the Olympiad-bound GM introduced 11...Bh5!? to tournament practice, but even after that the position was but extremely unclear.

The London System - Anti-Nimzo [A46]

We turn our attention to Black's various 'Queen's Indian' attempts after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bf4, although 3...c5 4 e3 Be7 doesn't have to be followed up by a quick queenside fianchetto. Here many flick in 5 h3, but I've taken a look at some games where White allows Black to double his f-pawns, not least with the 5 Nbd2!? Nh5 6 dxc5 Nxf4 7 exf4 of our main game, Romanov - Oganian:

White would ideally prefer to have seen an exchange of bishops on f4, but even here his grip on e5 is useful and the emphasis on Black to demonstrate that he has equality.

The London System v King's Indian [A48]

We move on to King's Indian-type set-ups in Cori - Iniyan, but do still consider some early ...Nh5 ideas in the notes after 2...g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 4 e3. If Black does just go 4...0-0 (as opposed to 4...d6, angling for 5...Nh5), here White shouldn't always be so keen to rush his queen's knight to d2: 5 Be2 d6 6 h3 c5 7 Nbd2 Nc6 8 0-0 cxd4 9 exd4 reveals one major problem:

As shown by Eric a while back, Black can now enjoy the more comfortable side of equality after 9...e5! (White must play pretty accurately not to be worse), although even 9...Nd5 10 Bh2 e5 was hardly terrible for Iniyan.

The Jobava-Prié Attack v King's Indian [A48]

The most trendy way to play the London is 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4, but after 2...g6 in recent months White has often switched approach with 3 Nc3!?. After 3...d5 this is, of course, a Jobava-Prié and we take a good look at this position this month:

4 Qd2 Bg7 is quite critical, unsurprisingly, but more surprisingly, perhaps there is now nothing better than 5 Nf3, heading back towards Barry waters. 5 h4!? has been tried, but I can't say I remain a huge fan of it, despite White's slightly fortuitous success in Shyam - Santos Ruiz.

The London System Anti-Nimzo with ...d5 [D02]

We return to London waters considering ...d5 lines in the final three games this update. Hebden - Nelson gets there via a 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 e6 3 e3 d5 move order, whereupon the d-pawn specials expert tries 4 Nd2 c5 5 c3 Nc6 6 Ngf3 Bd6 7 Bxd6 (7 Bg3 0-0 8 Bb5 has been more topical of late and will also once again be analysed) 7...Qxd6 8 Bb5!?:

White would again like to play with an extra knight against a bad black dark-squared bishop, but after 8...0-0 9 0-0 Bd7 10 Bxc6 Bxc6 11 Ne5 Nd7! Nelson had no problems in immediately equalising.

The London System 5...Qb6 6 Qb3 c4 7 Qc2 Bf5 [D02]

Sticking with Mark Hebden's experiences at the British Championship in Bournemouth, we find that he also tried 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 c3, after which 3...c5 4 Bf4 Nc6 5 e3 Qb6 6 Qb3 c4 7 Qc2 Bf5 8 Qc1 e6 9 Nbd2 Qd8 was quite an old interpretation of the London in Hebden - Wells:

It doesn't seem like much has changed either: White has absolutely nothing here.

The Neo-London System 2 Bf4 Bf5 [D02]

A better hope for an edge is 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 Bf5 and then 3 c4!?, but instead Carlsen preferred 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 Bxd3 5 Qxd3 c6 (there was nothing wrong either with 5...c5!?) 6 Nd2 Nf6 7 Ngf3 0-0 8 0-0 0-0 9 h3 in Carlsen - Giri:

This simply can't be anything for White, but the world champion did go on to finally defeat his bête noire in a classical game.

Many more early Bg5 systems next month I hope!

Until then, Richard

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