Interestingly enough, it appears that my general views regarding the opening are shared by the GrandMaster of OLALA chess commentating Game One. Except that after 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Qd3 he opted for 4...h6!? 5.Bh4 and only now the thematic reaction 5...c5!:
However, after 6.0-0-0, another "very strong move" (!) by White, 6...c4! 7.Qd2 b5!! just gave Black a crushing attack on the seemingly premature opposing long castle.
Nonetheless, the question is not there. I do not need to have been initiated to the Arcanum of OLALA chess to see with my own eyes that apart from 3 specific cases ( the 4.f3 line when the White bishop has to stay on the 5th to permit 4...c6! 5.e4 dxe4 6.e5 Qa5! either having ...Nf6-e4 with tempo or desperately having to chase a white knight on e5 with the move ...f7-f6 in the future) the bishop is less active on h4 than g5. I also understand that one should not waste anyy single possibility, as insignificant as it may appear at the time, to win space and drive his opponent backwards. Rather, what happens if White tries to use that used tempo with the h-pawn to improve his set-up?
So White took in Game Two by 5.Bxf6 Nxf6 6.e4 and got a pleasant position after Black's routine 6...dxe4 7.Nxe4 Nxe4 8.Qxe4 e6 by 9.Bc4!
However, instead of shutting his light-squared bishop in, I believe Black could have been inspired by some 'Scandinavism' with the new 7...c6! Intending ...Qa5+, ...Bf5, without fearing the exchange on f6 opening the g-file for him, and where the important square on e5 is naturally controlled...
Obviously, the switching of diagonal by 5.Bf4 is another concern to which Black was sensitive in Game 3, preventing the idea Nc3-b5 with 5...a6. Then, the most romantic regular GM adept of the Veresov went for the destabilizing and completely uncalled-for 6.g4?!, when naturally 6.e4 instead is OK for White.
The surprise is that Black can actually ignore the threat and attack the d4-pawn immediately with 5...c5!. In this way once again taking advantage of the position of the queen on d3 to counter 6.Nb5 with 6...c4 7.Qd2 Ne4 8.Nc7+ Qxc7 9.Bxc7 Nxd2 10.Kxd2 Nf6, when Black has more space so he should be slightly better in the ending, possibly not enough for a win though.
Anyway, White preferred 6.0-0-0 in Game Four because after 6...c4 7.Qd2, for instance, the bishop would be much better placed on f4 than h4. Only after the game continuation 6...cxd4 7.Qxd4 e6 did he actually go for the fork 8.Nb5 (Indeed, after chasing the queen from her e5 control, Black had the idea to expand in the centre with ...d5-d4 and ...e6-e5... against the bishop on f4!) 8...Bc5 9.Nc7+:
but the big shock, of some importance for the theory of this line, came from Black's reply 9...Ke7!! 10.Qc3 (Probably not the best square but it is difficult to find a better one anyway. Considering his state of development, it is very unlikely White will succeed in opening the position with e2-e4 so the black king 'à la Karpov' is relatively safe on e7.) There followed 10...g5! Catching the bishop and by consequence achieving an easy win after the unavoidable capture of the knight in the corner.
For the above reasons 4...c5! Appears more precise:
This lateral attack is very effective: If White takes on c5 then recapturing with the knight will win a tempo on the queen to add further control over the e4 square. And if he allows Black to take on d4, he will have lost a tempo with his queen who could have developed to d4 directly from d1. Furthermore, instead of using the lever to break the opposing centre, there can be some nasty ideas based on the space gaining advance ...c5-c4 precisely against the White queen as in case of 5.0-0-0.
Unfortunately, This latter idea did not cross Black's mind who got miniaturized in Game 5 because of an appalling handling of the central tension consecutive to 5...cxd4 6.Qxd4 e6 7.e4 dxe4??, when 7...Bc5, gaining a tempo against the queen, is already more serious. However, the difference with the next games lies in 8.Qd3 d4 9.Na4 now forcing 9...b6, from which White should have profited in Game 6 to surround the advanced d4-pawn.
In order to avoid 5.0-0-0 c4!, and other central nuisances in case of minor alternatives, White must take on c5 prior to long castling. He did it immediately by 5.dxc5 in Game 7, therefore allowing 5...e6 6.e4 (since hanging on to the pawn by 6.b4? a5 is hardly playable with the queen already having left the Ra1 unprotected in case of the supporting a2-a3) when 6...Nxc5 is obviously enough to refute White's idea...
That is why the main line goes 5.Bxf6, deflecting the knight from the c5 recapture because d5 would be hanging, but accelerating the opposing development after 6...Nxf6 6.dxc5 e6 7.0-0-0 Bxc5 8.Qb5+ (8.e4 0-0! with f2 hanging at the end... at least) 8...Nd7 9.e4 a6! 10.Qd3 d4 11.Nce2 (11.Na4 would collide with 11...Ba7) 11...e5 12.f4 exf4 13.Nf3. In Game 8, however, after the excellent and multi purpose reply 13...Qc7!:
it soon become clear that White's hope to win a pawn, after having split the opposing centre, was only a vision, having opened the position for the raging enemy bishops in the meantime...
Indeed, the problem with 7.e4 immediately is simply 7...Nxe4! 8.Nxe4 dxe4 9.Qxe4 Bxc5 10.Bb5+ Ke7! for the second time in this update!
The point being White cannot castle long while he still has to parry the threat of ...Qa5+ as limpidly illustrated by Game 9.
London System [D02]
Extra - game 10 on the 'old-school' order of moves 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3?! Qb6 6.Qb3 c4 etc is only here as an appetizer for the 'London feast' that is coming up in the following months. Indeed, after a lot of erring, I feel I have eventually started to understand and master, as White, the subtleties of both the KID and the main line set-up with 1...Nf6 2...e6 and 3...d5!
See you soon, Eric