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Nll<OLA SEDLAI<

WINNING
with the
Modern London System

A complete opening repertoire


for White against 1.d4 ds

Chess
Evolution
Cover designer
Piotr Pielach

Cover photo
Big Ben photo by Ingram Image

Typesetting
Piotr Pielach <www.i-press.pl>

First edition 2016 by Chess Evolution

Winning with the Modern London System. A complete opening repertoirefor White against 1.d4 ds
Copyright 2016 Chess Evolution

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval sys
tem or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.

ISBN 978-83-944290-9-6

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Printed in Poland
TABL E OF CO N T E N TS

KEY TO SYM BOLS 4

PRE FACE 5

I NTRODUCTION 9

THE NARROW PATH OF ADVERSITY: A BRIEF H ISTORY 11

CHAPTER ONE-CARO-KA N N POS ITION 19

CHAPTER TWO-EAR LY "i!fb6 -c4 53

CHAPTER TH REE-CLASICAL SET-U P WITHOUT e6 71

CHAPTER FOU R-CLASS I CAL SET-U P WITH ... e6 95

CHAPTER FIVE-EAR LY ...e6 1 41

CHAPTER S IX-SLAV SET- U P-2 ... c6 A N D SYM METRY 2 . . il.f5


. 159

CHAPTER SEVEN-GRUN FELD SET-U P 181

CHAPTER EIGHT-QUEEN'S GAM B I T SET- U P 19 1

CHAPTER N I NE-CH IGO R I N SET-U P A N D 2 ... g4 199

CHAPTER TEN-TY PICAL EN DGAMES: LO N DON SYSTEM 209

CO N C LUS I O N 221
K EY TO SYMBO LS

= Equality or equal chances


;!; White has a slight advantage

+ Black has a slight advantage

White is better

+ Black is better
+- White has a decisive advantage
-+ Black has a decisive advantage
00 unclear

ii5 with compensation

with counterplay

i with initiative

with an attack

with the idea

D only move

N novelty
a good move
!! an excellent move
? a weak move
?? a blunder
!? an interesing move
?! a dubious move
+ check
# mate
PR EFAC E

Every chess player is searching for a suitable opening repertoire through


out his career. In this search the player is trying to find a playing style and
a position type that will suit his sensibility and character.

I was likewise looking for openings based on my playing style in which


I would feel free and comfortable while playing, without fear that I would
be caught in unfamiliar territory facing my opponent's theoretical superi
ority. I began my search in the earliest days, actually from my junior years
when I played i.e4 as White, striving strictly for mainlines in which I was
achieving solid results.

However, over time, the computer world has conquered chess and I real
ized that i.e4 was too concrete for me. It was not allowing my playing style
to express itself and I was not reaching positions in which I could show
my true face. Also, I realized that i.e4 couldn't be played without thorough
computer analysis, and I must admit that I still prefer the approach of an
older generation; one which favours a chess book and a board in front of
them and which likes to hold pieces in their hands while working on the
development of their chess skills.

So, my opinion about i.e4 slowly began to change. At the age of 22 I de


cided to seriously focus on a study of i.d4. However, I encountered one,
should I say, obstacle - and that was i. .. ds! Just to mention that i. .. llJf6
wasn't a problem, because the positions arising weren't symmetrical, while
i. .. ds followed by the Slav Defence and the Queen's Gambit was becoming
an 'impenetrable fortress' which could be credited largely to Grandmaster
Vladimir Kramnik.

I wish to emphasize that the problem for me at that time wasn't being un
able to find an advantage for White, because I think that if Black plays the
opening phase precisely White can't reach an advantage in almost any
system (except when Black is using openings proven to be incorrect), but
the bigger issue was with the types of positions that were reached, which
didn't allow me to be free and creative. Also, the arising positions were
6

deeply analysed by professional chess players with the help of very strong
computer programs.

Continuing to explore i.d4 I got an idea to check what one of my favourite


players - Anthony Miles - had in his repertoire against i. .. ds. Two games
that left a strong impression on me were Miles - Minasian, Ohrid 2001 and
Miles - Dominguez, Capablanca Memorial 2001. In those games Miles
played 2. f4, which is known as the "London System".

Back then I didn't know much about that system, and actually didn't care
to know, because I saw mostly weaker players playing the "London System"
and it seemed to me that they were using it with the purpose of achieving
a draw. It was precisely that attitude I had beforehand that helped me un
derstand that maybe a great number of other players also had the same at
titude, that they were underestimating the system and that maybe it should
be analysed in greater detail and given a new meaning. I began to see that
it could also serve as a very strong psychological weapon if studied well.
The "London System" wasn't played very often at the top level, it was rela
tively unexplored and it was precisely those conclusions that showed me
that the effort should be made to thoroughly analyse this opening.

The move 2. f4 is pretty underestimated and is not considered serious


enough, but I think it's completely natural and logical. White's structure
is natural, with positions similar to those from Slav Defence and Stonewall
with reverse colours, but with the problem of the inactive bishop, the so
called "bad bishop" solved at the very beginning! By the way, I successfully
played both of those openings as Black. Having that experience with the
black pieces in mind, the study of the "London System" wasn't a problem
for me because I was already well-acquainted with the ideas and types of
positions arising.

At the beginning of my exploration of this opening's secrets I didn't know if


adequate literature about this system existed, so I relied mainly on the da
tabase, while I learned the most through my praxis and of course through
analysis of my own games. The games of Croatian Grandmaster Vlatko Ko
vacevic were also a great influence on me. Help from my friends in analysis
of the system was also very useful, so I often exchanged experiences and
ideas with top Hungarian Grandmaster Ferenc Berkes, and I will take the
P R E FACE 7

liberty to say that it was a fruitful collaboration because I'm personally sat
isfied with the results achieved using the studied material.

10 years after my first game in the "London System" - with more than so
games played against many Grandmasters among others and with an over
all performance over 2700 - I felt free and confident enough to distil my
experience into a book, its purpose being to serve as a guide for other play
ers searching for an opening which they will play with pleasure. The ideas
and ways of treating these positions have changed over time, and I put an
emphasis on that which I currently consider to be best for White.

This is the reason why the book is called Winning with the Modern London
System. I have to mention that i.d4 i.':ZJf6 2 . .ll f4 or 2.i.':ZJf3 with f4 are also
known as the London System. Personally, I'm not a fan of the London Sys
tem against t. .. i.':ZJf6, especially when Black arranges his pieces as he would
in the King's Indian Defence. The position of the bishop on f4 seems ad
equate to me only when black plays i. .. d5, in which case it has a very im
portant role to play, as opposed to when Black has the option of playing
. . .. d6 when the London set-up seems less logical and I don't believe in it.

So I chose to deal with the London System only against t. .. ds in this book!
I N TRODU CTIO N

In this book the London System opening is presented using all of the most
important games with thorough comments, through which the readers
will have the opportunity to understand the essence of this opening, which
in my opinion has a future ahead of it and a lot of space for growth and
development.

I would like to mention that the book comprises the most important parts
of this opening, and also the ideas reached through the experience of play
ing games in tournaments, as well as the positions analysed in collabora
tion with Grandmaster Ferenc Berkes. But there should always be room,
if a player chooses this opening, for some new interesting idea during the
game itself, because either side (both White and Black) can encounter
something new and unexplored in a relatively early phase of the game.
Therein lies the beauty of chess: creativity, freedom to mix things up, and
an abundance of possibilities and ideas for a game of high quality.

I'm certain that this book will be very helpful to most chess players in build
ing a strong foundation in order to be able to use this opening in praxis.
At this point it's important to say a few words about the move order. Many
players enter this system with 2. f3 and 3 . ii. f4. Positions reached after
2. f3 are usually identical to those with 2. f4, but that move order is ac
tually less elastic and it narrows down White's options. It is for this reason
that I am promoting the development of the bishop on the 2nd move as
the main move order. Those differences in options will be the most obvi
ous in chapters 2 and 4.

In the process of writing this book the biggest problems for me arose from
the different move orders used in the analysed games. In order to avoid
confusing the readers, for each chapter there's an introduction where the
correct move order can be seen clearly. I'm using this opportunity to point
out to readers that they definitely shouldn't skip the introductions to the
chapters!
10

At the present moment the London System i s becoming increasingly pop


ular at the top level - even in 'classical' tournament games, although it's
much more often seen in rapid. Currently the top players who use it most
frequently are American Grandmaster Gata Kamsky and Russian Grand
master Boris Grachev, while other top players occasionally have it in their
repertoire, usually using it as a surprise weapon. Among them are Magnus
Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and others. Also a great contribution to this
system came from the French Grandmaster Eric Prie, who plays it in a very
original and active manner.

One way or the other, what's important are the facts which I obtained
through my study of the London System and which I will prove in this
book with a thorough analysis of games. I will show that this system is fully
deserving of your attention for analysing and playing, that it's unjustly ne
glected in comparison with other openings and also that it gives players
myriad interesting positions on the board, free and creative play, with lots
of space for further growth and improvement.
THE NARROW PATH OF ADVERSITY:

A BRIEF HISTORY

Searching through the database, Variation". He also wrote several


the first name I found in connec books on chess, and the most pop
tion to this opening, and who ular were The Principles of Chess
played it with the white pieces, was Theory and Practice (1894), The Art
James Mason (19.11.1849-12.01.1905) of Chess (1895), Chess Openings
A great number of his games can be (1897) and Social Chess (1900).
found between 1876 and 1894. A lit
tle is known about this "forgotten"
chess player from the x1x century. J . Mason - J. M. Hanham [Doz]
He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. USA-06.Congress New York (13), 1889
It's interesting that he was adopted
as a child and that his real name is This game shows that chess clas
in fact unknown. James Mason was sics are still very important nowa
the name given to him by the family days, especially in the development
which adopted him and with which of young players who wrongly skips
he later moved to America in 1861. this part of chess, relying just on the
He was a writer and a journalist by assistance of computers. Over 130
profession, while chess was his hob years ago Mason James was play
by. James Mason left his first mark ing the London System using ideas
on the chess scene by winning the which are nowadays playable too,
American Chess Congress in Phil even though we live in the time of
adelphia and also a tournament strong engines!
in New York. During the time he
was actively playing he was one of 1.d4 ds 2. f4 l\f6 3.e3 e6 4. d3
the strongest players in the world, ii.e7
behind the strongest - Wilhelm In the 19th century the Queens
Steinitz. He made a great contribu Gambit was one of the main openings
tion to the development of theory against 1.d4 and Black is also aims for
and even the "London System" was that set-p here. Nowadays it is con
previously known as the "Mason sidered a passive set-up for Black.
12 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

6 il b7 7.CZJgb CZJbd7 8.o-o o-o


For Black 8 ... CZJe4 is almost al


ways good, to close down the di
agonal bl-h7! In the 19th century,
players learned and built theory on
their own mistakes, without books
and databases.

9.ez:Jes ez:Jxes
It also works here! 9 ... CZJe4!

10 .ll xes CZJe8?!


Black had no reason to play so


passively. Consistent was 10 ... cs
A limp move, but Mason wanted 1i.c3 ild6 12.f4 CZJe4!= or the now
to preserve his Bishop. The mod well-known 10 ... CZJe4!
ern reaction would be 6.CZJ gf3
without fear of 6 ... ez:Jhs 11. '9Ji!hs ! ;i;;
A typical plan in the London Sys
(6... ilb7 7. CZJes CZJbd7 8. '9Ji!f3! and tem also used nowadays by many
the square e4 is covered!) strong players. White is trying to
provoke weaknesses in Black's po
7. il.es! and after 7.. .f6? sition, especially around his king.

(7. . . CZJd7 B.g4 CLihf6 9.gs CLihs


10. CZJft ! with CZJg3 next)

8.CZJgs!+- comes with an indefensi


ble attack! 8 ... g6 9.CZJxh7! f7 10.g4
CZJg7

(10 ... 'B.xh7 11.gxhs 'B.xhs 12. 'B.g1 fs


13. CZJ/3 )

u.CZJ xf6! il.xf6 12.'9Ji!f3 gs 13.h4


CZJd7 14.0 - 0 - 0 e7 15. k xf6 +
ez:Jxf6 16.hxgs CZJd7 n '9Ji!g3+- with 11 g6 12. '9JJ!e2 f6 13 .ll h 2 fs
..

many threats such as CZJ f3- CZJ h4 or Prevents e4, but makes a weak
f4-fs point on es!
T H E N A R ROW PATH OF ADVERS ITY: A B R I E F H I STO RY 13

14. es!

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

A nice positional move. Firstly 17 as 18.'Lles fs 19.g3


..

White puts his bishop on its most The position has a closed charac
active square and then continues ter so time is not a key factor, but
with a typical kingside plan! anyway I don't support wasting
time! It was better to play 19.g4
14 ... f6?! immediately.
It was a bad idea to head for the
exchange of bishops after which the 19 'Lles
..

dark squares will be permanently Finally Black improves his


weak! Much better was 14 ... 'Lld6 knight's position!
with . . . 'Ll f7 next.
20. fa 'Lld6 21. g2 cs 22.c3 c4?
15.f4 lL\g7? Another positional mistake! By
A very bad place for the knight. closing the center, White has a free
Much better and more natural was hand on the kingside! In many open
again 15 ... 'Lld6 tournaments, and also in my praxis,
I encountered this bad move from
16. xf6 xf6 17.lL\f3 low-rated players. Much better was
After a series of inaccurate moves 22 ... ic8 with the idea being to ex
from Black, White is now position change the bad bishop with . . . .1La6!
ally winning and all of Black's piec
es stand awkwardly. 23.JLc2 CS 24.<i!fh2 C7 25.g4!
Finally, after lengthy preparation,
White btains what he wanted.
14 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

a b c d e

Of course! By exchanging knights


White loses the chance to make
a break-through!

30 c6 31. d1 es 32.hs CZJd6


..

33.E!h1 gxhs?!
Black loses patience! He should
search for an escape with 33 ... Wf7!
34.hxg6+ hxg6 35.CZJe5+ We7 36.Wg3
CZJ f7 37.E!h7 Eifg8 and it's not clear
how to break into Black's position.

A very risky decision which could 34. Wg1 1le4?


have cost him a half-point. Clos Pseudo-activity with the knight!
ing the position always brings the It is needed to help in defense, so
risk of a complete blockade. I pre 34 . . . g6 35.CZJe5 CZJ f7 36. xh5
fer 27.h4 EI f8 28. W h3 with the idea 1l xe5 37.dxe5 b6:t and a draw is
of h5 not so far off!

27.
E!fs 28.et! 35.CZJes Whs 36. i.xhs+-
White is careful! 28.h4? h5! = Now nothing can save the black
leads to a complete blockade! monarch!
T H E N A R ROW PATH OF ADVERS ITY: A B R I E F H I STO RY 15

36 fgS 37. xe8 l!fxe8 38. h6


. 1.d4 ll:J f6 2.ll:J f3 ds 3. lH4 e6 4.e3
l!fe7 39. l!fh4 b4 40.cxb4 axb4 d6 5.ll:Jbd2!?
41. h2 c3 42.ll:Jg6+!
8 __ ..__._
"f
Conclusion: Nowadays, almost
130 years later, White uses the same
7 f .t.'
- - -
plan on the kingside.
1-0 6

sfj - fj
4 a r a JP
A. Rubinstein - S. Tartakower
BCF Congress, London (13), 1922 3a
2
a DtlJa
AfiAR Afi
oilo !Poil
In 1922, 17 years after James Ma
son's death, a very strong tourna
, .f ,,/am:a%li
a b c d e f g h
ment called London BCF Congress An interesting treatment of the
was played, and it was won convinc position. Allowing a partial destruc
ingly by 3rd World Champion Jose tion of his pawn structure, White
Raul Capablanca with score of 13 takes greater control of the es square.
points from 15 games without de
feat, in front of other elite players 5 xf4 6.exf4 cs

Alekhine, Vidmar, Rubinstein, Bo This is not a mistake, but I prefer


goljubow, Reti, Tartakower, Maroc 6 ... o-o 7. d3 b6 with the idea of . . .
zy, Euwe etc. In that tournament a6 and later . . . c5. to have availa
the system with i.d4 and f4 was ble,. after dxcs, bxcs!
used very often and after that this
opening was renamed from "Ma 7.dxcs l!fc7 8.g3 l!fxc5?!
son Variation" to the "London Sys
tem". In this game the famous top
player from the beginning of the 20
century, Akiba Rubinstein, used for
that time a very original plan, where
he destroys his own pawn structure
in order to achieve other plusses in
the position and nicely outplays his
fellow famous opponent Savielly
Tartakower!
16 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

8 ... ll:lbd7 was a better option (After 17. il.xe4 dxe4 18. !fxe4
with the idea being to exchange il.c6 Black getting some hopes
one pair of knights, e.g. 9.ll:lb3 (9.b4 with active Bishop!)
b6 10.cxb6 axb6) 9 ... 0-0 10. d3
ll:lxcs 11.ll:lxcs !fxcs and the posi Entering into the endgame where
tion is about equal. Black lacks serious counterplay.
17... !fxe3 18. xe3 fs 19.exf6 gxf6!
9 Ji.d3ll:Jc6 10.C3
Preventing . . . ll:l b4 and creating (19... ll:lx/6 20. ae1)
a post for the knight on d4.
20. il. xe4 dxe4 2i. xe4 es and
io . . o-o 11.0-0 h6 i2.ll:lb3 !fb6 a pawn down in the endgame Black
i3. e1 can hope for salvation thanks to
Black doesn't have an active plan, his active bishop.
while White is controlling all the
important squares in the center. 17.h4 fs
Black is more-or-less forced to
13 il.d7 14. !fe2 ae8?
play this move. For example n .. f6
The wrong plan! Correct was 14 ... 18.!fc2 fs 19.ll:Jd4
as! with . . . a4 next, aiming to ex
change one pair of knights. 18.ll:ld4 e7 i9.f4
In this game, like in the previ
ous, Black has a problem with his
"French bishop".

19 hs 20.hs!

is.ll:les ll:lxes 16.fxes ll:l h7?


Tartakower resorts to passive
play, which was not in his style!
More active was to offer a pawn
with 16 ... ll:le4! 17.!fe3!
T H E NAR ROW PATH O F ADVERSITY: A B R I E F H I STO RY 17

Black is left without counterplay 24 ll:J cs 25. b1 fxg4 26.g3?!


and White has enough time to pre An adventurous move, maybe


pare the g4 break. in time-trouble, but it doesn't have
a big negative effect on White's hap
20 !!gs 21. fa?!
. piness! 26. !! xg4 was good enough
Rubinstein starts to lose the 26 ... CZJe4+ 27.g2;;!;; with the idea of
thread of the game! Now Black can taking on e4 at some point.
consolidate his position. The safest
move was 2i.h1! CZJ f8 22. !!g1 e8 26 l!fs 27. !!h2

23. !!g2 CZJd7 24. !!ag1 ll:Jcs 25. it.bi A clever move! Freeing the queen
and g4 is coming next move! from defending the b2 pawn.

21 CZJ fS!
27 !!ef7 28. !!fi a6 29.'1Wxg4 bs
.

Now Black finds the nice knight 30.l!b !!fs??+-


route via d1-c5-e4

A 'panic' move; now we can be


sure they were in time-trouble!
Black could still save the game, al
White continues with his plan! though with less than easy moves!
Also interesting was the prophylac 30 ... CZJe4+ 31. h3
tic 24.b4!? and although it looks like
a weakening and a very 'responsible' (31. xe4 ? dxe4 32. !!e3 !!xf4
move, White would prevent coun 33. '1Wxf4 !!xf4 34. xf4 c4+)
terplay (with . . . ll:Jcs) and after 24 ...
ll:Jbs 25.'1We3 CZJc6 26. !!c1 White has 3i. .. ll:Jgs+!
a small but long-term advantage.
18 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

e4+!? after which White has to


find difficult moves 33. 'i!f h4!

(33. 'i!tg2 e2; 33. 'i!th3 xfs!


34. :!xfs l:!:Yg1; 33. il.xe4 dxe4
34. ff2 l:!:Ye3 + 35. 'i!tg2 l:!:Yd3
36. l:!:Yg6!)

33 ... l:!:Ycs 34. xe4 dxe4 35. ffa e3


36. fg2 f7 37. 'i!tg3 d7 38. hl
32.fxgs xf3 + 3 3 . xf3 l:!:Ye3 d2 39. ei+-
34.<g3 hxgs 35.h6 g6 36. fa f4
37.l:!:fxe6 xf3+! 38. xf3 l:!:Ygi+ 33. l:!:Yxfs e4+ 3 4 . 'i!tg2 e2
39. 'i!f h3 l:!:Yh1 35. l:!:Yg6!
Being a double-exchange up, it is
31.xfs exfs 32. il.xfs xfs? not a bad idea to give back one to
simplify the position.

35 xf3+ 36.'i!tx f] l:!:Ybs 37. l:!:Yg2


Still White needs to be careful


not to blunder into some perpetual
checks.

37... l:!:Yd3+ 38. 'i!tg4 gs 39. l:!:Yf3


Now it's over and the rest of game
just shows the fighting spirit of the
legendary Savielly!

39 ... l:!:Yb1 40.fxgs hxgs 41.h6 l:!:Ygi+


Black misses his last practical 42. g2 l:!:Ycs 43. l:!:Yf7 l:!:Ycs+ 44.e6
chance. An interesting try was 32... :!g8 45. l:!:Yxg8+ 'i!txg8 46. 'i!tfs
1-0
C H A PT ER O N E
CARO-KA N N POSITIO N

One of the most important posi 3 ... cxd4


tions in this opening can also be An unpleasant reply comes after
reached via the Caro-Kann, i. e4 c6 3 ... b6?! 4./lc3! itlf6 s.itlbs itla6
2. d4 ds 3.ed cd 4. f4. and a lot of 6.a4 and Black pieces are paralyzed
games in this chapter will be from on the queenside.
this move - order - which is not
ours! A defined pawn structure, of
ten called the Carlsbad structure, is
well-known from the Queen's Gam
bit Declined, but here White has
a tempo more and has solved the
problem of the bishop. From f4 he
can sometimes even prevent ideas
like . . . l':!b8 and the subsequent mi
nority attack. Usually Black players
who choose this variation against
the London have the Caro as their
answer to i. e4.

1.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3
An interesting alternative in
this position is 3.e4!? in the spirit 4 ... itlc6
of the Albin Counter Gambit. It's 4 ... b6?! also cannot be recom
not a bad idea as a surprise weap mended here. After 5./lc3! itlf6 (5...
on - but only for one, or at most xb2 ? 6. itlxds!) 6.itlbs itla6 7.a4
two, games! In the book this con White has a long-term advantage.
tinuation will not be processed be Black's biggest problem is the itla6.
cause it does not contain the struc 7... xd4
tures from the London System and
therefore it's not in line with the 5.c3 itlf6
theme of this book. A very interesting alternative
for Black is 5 ... fs!? with the idea
20 WI N N I N G WITH THE M O DERN LO N DO N SYSTEM

to play a fast . . . e6-. . . .Jld6 and 15 ... e7 16.b3 e4 17- c1 c8


then to develop knight from g8 to 18 . .1i.d3 g6! with lots of com
e?! 6.d2 e6 7.gf3 ii.d6 8. ii.xd6 pensation for Black.)
'i!fxd6 and now White has two in
teresting continuations 9. ii.bs!? (or 12 ... 0-0 13. ae1
9.h4!?) 9 ... ge7 (9 ...a6 10.ii.xc6+!
'i!Nxc6 11 .e5 with the idea g4-h4) (13 .'i!Nxb7 ab8 14 .'i!Na6 b6
10. h4!? This position has not been 15.'i!Na4 xh2=)
tested so much at GM level, but for
sure it deserve attention. 13 ... ab8=

6 .ll fs

This has been the most popular


move in the last few years. Earlier
the main try was 6 ... ii.g4 7.'i!fb3
'i!fc8

(;7. a5 8.'i!fa4+ .1i.d7 9.'i!Nc2;!;;; ;7.


'i!Nd7?! 8 .g/3! with the unpleas


ant threat of es and Black has to
lose time with 8 ...a6 9 .e5 xe5
10.dxe5 g8 11 .h3 .1i.f5 12 .g4! .1i.g6
13 .c4 e6 14 .cxd5 exd5 15 ..1i.g2 e7
a b c d e g h 16.0-0 and white is much better
developed.)
6 . .1i.d3 with the plan of stopping . . .
.Jlfs is most often played, but there
is a simple way for Black to equal
ize. 6 ... .1i.g4 7. 'i!fb3 'i!fd7 8.CLJd2
e6 9.gf3 .1i. xf3 10. xf3 .1i.d6
11 . .1i.xd6 'i!fxd6 12.0-0

(1 2. 'i!f xb7 b 8 1 3 . 'i!f a6 b 6


14.'i!fM o - o 15. ii.bs

(15.'i!Nc2 is too slow 15 ...e5t)


CHAPTER O N E - CARO-KAN N POS I T I O N 21

This is the critical position. See the be trapped). Another problem for
game Piscopo-Madeja Ita eh team Black in this position is the bishop
2009. (10 ... 0-0?!- game Browne g7 which is permanently useless,
W.-Larsen B. San Antonio 1972.) ; and there is no realistic possibility
of bringing him to life with . . . es
because White controls the center
very well.

7. it.e2! this is the most precise


move order!

(7.gf3 hs 8. it.e3 VJ!id6!oo; or


'J. h3 hs 8. it. h2 it. h6!oo}

(The Serbian grandmaster Ivan


This continuation is played quite Ivanisevic tried another plan
often. My opinion is that this plan in this position but he couldn't
for black is better in the position find full equality 9... e8!? 10.0-0
where the white knight stands on d6 11. e1 e6 12. it.ft b6 13.es
bl and the bishop on d3. This may e7 14. VJ!la4 it.b7 15. VJ!id7!? VJ!ixd7
occur after i.d4 <ls 2. it. f4 cs 3.e3 1 6.xd7 "Bfd8 17. it.xd6 "Bxd7
cd 4.ed c6 s.c3 f6 6. it.d3 g6. 18. it.f4 fs 19.a4 Popovic Mi
In this position the g6 plan makes los-Ivanisevic Ivan, Serbian Team
more sense because Black has the Championship 2007.)
option of playing . . . it. fs with the
idea being to create a compact 10.0-0
center.
See Kovacevic. V
In the case of the diagram position Mikhalchishin.A, Pula open 1980.
White does not have to develop his
bishop to d3, while Black does not 7.gf3 e6 8.VJ!ib3 VJ!ic8 9.h4!
gain anything special from . . . it.fs Only with this energetic ap
because it stares into space and proach White can count on an ad
he is later unable to play e6 (un vantage. In this case, the advantage
less preparing it by weakening the of the two bishops.
kingside with the moves . . . h6, . . .
g s so that his bishop would not
22 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

Black changes the structure and


plays against the knight on h4. This
is one of the most critical positions.
More natural is 10 ... xe4 11. f3
.id6 12 . .i xd6 xd6 13 . .id3 c7
14.c2 -see Carlsen M. -Wojtaszek
R. Reykjavik 2015.

11.g3 il.e7 12.g2


Aimed against . . . ds.

12 ds 13. il.d2 o-o 14. il.e2


See the game Sedlak N.-Ivanov


9... .ie4 M. Aschach 2015.
Black also has other possibilities.
9 ... .ig6 10. xg6 hxg6 11 . .id3
Cl:Jhs 12. il.e3 i.d6 13.0-0-0!? (See W. S. Browne (2530) - B. Larsen (2625)
the game Kramnik V.-Sjugirov S. San Antonio (8), 29.11.1972
Qatar Masters 2015).
9 ... iLg4 10.h3 .i hs 11.g4 il.g6 We will start with a pure classic.
12.xg6 hxg6 13. il.e2 (Berkes F. The game started as a Caro-Kann,
Nguyen T. Zalakaros open 2016). the "dull" Exchange Variation. But
in this clash of two great fighters
there is no place for boredom. The
critical moment in the opening was
10 ... 0-0 which was premature and
gave White the advantage of the
bishop pair. White used that ad
vantage and showed us the recipe
of how White has to conduct the at
tack on the kingside!

1.e4
Our move order would be i.d4 ds
2. il.f4 cs 3.e3 cxd4 4.exd4 c6 5.c3
f6 6.d2 iLg4 7.b3 c8 8.gf3
e6 9 . .id3
An original concept which her
alds in non-standard positions.
CHAPTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 23

1 ... c6 2.d4 ds 3.exds cxds 4. iLd3 A better solution is 10 ... 1i.h5! as in


1lc6 5.c3 1l f6 6. iL f4 iLg4 7.b3 the next game, with the idea of ex
c8 8.1ld2 e6 9./lgf3 changing the important bishop on
Now we have our position from d3, as in our next game.
the different move order. You al
ways need to read the introduc 11.1les iL hs
tions to chapters carefully, because The following moves show some
there are written our preferable of the problems in Black's position
move-orders. 11 ... 1l xe5 12.dxe5 /ld7 13. c2 h6
(13 ...g6 14. /lb3 j/_fs 15. ilxfs gxfs
1 6.lld4t,) 14./lb3 /lc5 15./lxc5
j;,,xc5 16 . .B:ae1t, Black's bishop on g4
cannot be exchanged on g6. White
will exchange dark-squared bishops
with iLe3 and his rook can enter the
game via e3-g3.

12.c2
Now /le5 is no longer possible
anymore. White also has another
interesting move with similar ide
as to the game. 12. iLg5!? the idea is
to prevent . . . /le5! 12 ... 1le8 13. i.xe7
9 iLe7 10.o-o o-o?!
1l xe7 14. c2 ilg6 15./lxg6 hxg6
16./lf3 1l f6 ne2 1lc6 18 . .B:ae1
c7 19./le5 1l xe5 20.dxe5 /ld7
2i.h4-t, Aagaard,J (2535)-Dittmar,P
(2318) Arco 2007

12 iLg6 13./lxg6
.

Of course. The bishop on d3 is


a key minor piece in White's attack.

13 hxg6
..

Black's position is solid and with


out weaknesses, but he lacks any
kind of counterplay. The plan for
This natural move hands White White is simple: move his pieces
the advantage of the two bishops.
24 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

closer to the kingside and attack all his pieces are on their optimal
with g3-Wg2-h4-B'. h1-hs. squares and ready for action.

i4.f3 hs i9 ... f6 20.gs


Moving the bishop from an impor In this structure, the knight on gs
tant diagonal, with the idea of gain is very unpleasant for Black. There
ing more space for his own pieces! are always sacrifices hanging in
the air! The sacrifice 20. il xg6 does
is. ll.e3 l!fc7 i6.g3 not offer much to White after 20 ...
A standard move in these struc fxg6 2i.l!fxe6+ Wh8 22.l!ff7 l!fd7
tures, covering the f4 square and 23.l!fxg6 e4
at the same time preparing action
against the Black king in the future 20 ... .Jid6 21.f4!
with cr!tg2-h4-B'.h1! A break with . . . es cannot be
allowed, otherwise Black could
i6... B'.ac8 i7.l!fe2 breathe more easily.
Avoiding . . . b4.

i7...a6 18. B'.ael!

a b c d e g h

21 ...d7?!
a b c d e g h The knight on f6 makes it difficult
to counter the plan with h4. Black
Usually the B'.a1 goes to ei. His should search for other options.
colleague from fr is needed for ac
tion on the h-file. 22.f3 fs
Without any activity, Black can
is ... B'.fes 19 . .Jic1! only sit and wait.
Bishops are best at long range!
Now, White has a dream position;
CHAPTE R O N E - CARO-KAN N POSI T I O N 25

23.es e7 24.\!?g2 f6
Creating a weakness but White
was already prepared to open the
h-file with h4-hs.

A pawn is not important. White


keeps the b-file closed. Also, the
queen will be out of play.
2s.f3 B'.bs 26.h4!
Everything is ready for the attack. 33 ... xa4 34.h4
White is going to open the h-file! One more piece helps in the
attack.
26 ...bs
The minority attack came too late! 34 gxhs 35. xhs B'.ecs 36.fs!+-
..

27.a3 c6 28. c2 e7 29. e2


The "Six time us Champion" was
often in time-trouble during his ca
reer. Natural is 29. B'.h1 with hs next.

29 c6 30. B'.h1 as 31.hs b4


..

Black is continuing to look for


some counterplay! 31 ... gxhs?! just
accelerates White's attack after
32.es! fxes 33.fxes xes (33... C7
34. xhs+-) 34.xes fs (34 ...g6
35. h6+-) 35. B'. xhs d7 36.e2
f6 37. B'.h3+- and next on the agen Opening the e-file and closing
da is g4. the escape route for Black's king.
26 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

36 ...ifh3 37.fxe6 xe6D 41. .. xfs 42.ifh7+ Wf7 43.ifxfs


White's threat was ifh8!- g6- fs 44. h8+- and Black doesn't
h8 with mating. 37. . . ifxd3? have any defense against ifhs.
3s.iff7+ Whs 39.g6#
40.g6+ Wes
38. ifh7+ Wf7 39. ifhs+ Thanks to the open e-file, the
Again White repeats because the black king can't run far. 40 ... xg6
4oth move is not far off, after which 41. ifxg6+-
comes some new time for thinking.
41. xe6 Wd7 42. xe7+! xe7
39 ... Wfs 43.iffs+
Now Black didn't want to repeat, Conclusion: Bearing in mind the
but anyway his position would be healthy pawn structure of Black,
lost. If Black repeats the position White must play energetically!
after 39 ... WgS, then comes 40. fs! One of the ways is to take advan
c2+ tage of the two bishops! When you
achieve the advantage of two bish
(4 0 . . . ifxd3 4 1 . if h B + Wf7 ops by taking ( Nxg6) the plan is
42.xd6+ Wg6 43.ifh7#) an attack on the Black king with
g3-Wg2-h4- h1-hs!
1-0

P. Piscopo (2405) - B. Macieja (2601)


ITA-chT, Sen igal lia (4). 01.os.2009

In this next game, compared with


the previous, Black played the ac
curate 10 ... hs! before castling. At
some point he started to play 'luke
a b c d e f g h
warm' moves, which White exploit
ed by transferring his rook into at
tack via the 3rd rank. Black comes
(41. ilxc2?? ifxc2+ 42. e2 ifxfs under heavy fire and only time
43. ifxfs xfs 44. xe6 Wf7 trouble or his ELO saves the day.
45. ee1 xg3+) White gave a perpetual in a win
ning position!
CHAPT E R O N E - CARO-KAN N POS I T I O N 27

1.e4 where he can harass White's Ji.. f4.


Again pay attention to our move Logical is 11 .ll g6 12 . .ll xg6 hxg6
..

order! i.d4 ds 2 . .ll f4 cs 3.e3 cxd4 13.es o-o?! Too early, after which
4.exd4 c6 5.c3 f6 6.d2 .ll g4 one not so well-known player react
7. l!fb3 l!fcs 8.gf3 e6 9 . .ll d 3 1i.. e 7 ed well and won a game with a typi
10.0-0! cal attack on the kingside!

1... c6 (Black should wait with castling


Is this book about the Caro and correct was 13 ... hs! 14. li.e3
Kann? Please, be patient. l!fqoo)

2.d4 ds 3.exds cxds 4. Ji.. d3 c6 14.df3 d7 15. e3! The rook


5.c3 f6 6. li. f4 li.g4 7.l!fb3 l!fcs is aiming for the h3 square! 15 ...
8.d2 e6 9.gf3 .ll e7 10.0-0 .ll hs! a6 16. fe1 cxes n xes xes
The right move. After an ex 18. Ji.. xes bs 19. l!fd1! as 20.h4!
change of light-squared bishops, it A typical pawn sacrifice with the
is much harder for White to organ idea of opening the h-file! 20 ...
ize a kingside attack. i. xh4 2i.l!fg4 i.e7 22. h3 a6
23. ee3 l!fes 24. eg3 the threat
is l!fhs with a mating attack!
24 .. .f6 25. l!fh4! <t!if7 26. l!fh7 g8
27. xg6! <t!ifs

(2'J..fxes 28. f3+ li.j6 29.dxes+-)

2 8 . hg3 l!f f7 29 . .ll f4 .ll d6


30. xg7! xg7 3i. xg7 l!fxg7
32. li. h6 l!f xh6 33. l!f xh6+ <t!tes
34.l!fxf6 <t!id7 35.g4 as 36.g5 .ll e 7
a b c d e g h 37. l!fh6 g8 38.f4 b4 39. l!fh7 bxc3
40.bxc3 1-0 Fischer,E-Assmann,T
11. ae1 (2346) Bayern 1999. A nice game
Don't forget which rook comes to ei! by White which highlights the im
portance of learning the opening
Jl"'\ d7.,,
11 "l..J
.. by understanding the ideas.
Prophylactic, but very passive.
Black didn't want to allow es,
but it was not a real threat. A bet
ter place for the knight is f6, from
28 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

16. l!c2 o-o?!

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

A nice move with the idea of dou Too risky. Black's king would be
bling rooks on the e-file and trans much safer after 16 ... Wf8!?
ferring to the g3 or h3 squares at
some point. 17.h4
A good idea but not the best
12 a6 13.a4
. move. With nllgs! and a quick
Of course! Why give any possibil transfer of the rook to h3, the attack
ities for a minority attack after . . . bs? moves more quickly.

13 ... .Jlg6 17... 1lc4 18.1lxc4 1Wxc4 19. lWdt!


Better late than never! 13 ... 0-0?! A tricky move connected with
is risky because of 14.1lgs and the the idea hs!
rook comes to h3 after 14 ... g6
15. xg6 hxg6 16. h3. 19... feS?
Black didn't feel the danger and
14 .fi.xg6 hxg6 15. fe1 1las?!
consequently overlooked White's
Giving White a tempo: the threat. More resilient was 19 ... ll f6
queen had no function on b3. Best 20.1les 1Wcs 21. gs lWds 22. h3
for Black was to admit his mistake and hs comes.
and play 15 ... ll f6 when his position
would be passive but tough. 20.hs!
Now the attack progresses eas
ily! The rook from e3 realises his
function!
CHAPTE R O N E - CARO-KAN N POS I T I O N 29

20 gxhs 21.d2+-

And now the h-file comes into White has a decisive attack. This
White's hands! kind of sacrifice must work in view
of the misplaced queen on a2!
21 !fa2 22.!fxhs g6

A nice win comes after 22 ... f6 24 fxg6 25. '%!xg6+ .Jlg7


.

Other moves leads to a quick loss!


For example: 25 ... Wf8 26. .Jld6+ .Jle7
(26... .B'.e7 2;7..B'.xe6+-) 27. B'.xe6 il.xd6
28.%!f5+ Wgs 29. B'.g6+ Whs 30.%!h5#;
25 ... Whs 26. B'.e3 .Jlg7 27. %!f7!
f6 28. B'. h3+ h7 29. il.e5 B'.gs
30.%!g6+-

26. B'.xe6 B'.xe6


Black is forced to play this. If he
tries moving the rook then B'.e7
23. %!h1! the best place for Queen. comes.
Here she does not bother the rook
(coming to h3). 23 ... g6 24. B'. h3 27.%!xe6+
Wg7 25 . .Jl h6+ Wgs 26 . .Jl fs! h5 Three pawns for the exchange
(26... WxfB 27. .B'. hB+ Wg7 28. %!h6#) and still with a bad Black king is
27. xe7 B'.xe7 28.g4 '%!xb2 29.f3+- more than enough for the win!
30 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

27... <i!lhs 28. h3+ is always a questionable decision for


An important check placing the him.
Black king in the firing line of fu 1-0
ture checks!

28... Wgs 29. xd7 xb2 30. xds+ V. Kramnik (2796) - S. Sjugirov (2646)
<i!lhs 31.hs+ <i!lgs 32.ds+ <i!lhs Qatar Masters Doha QAT (8.2),
33.hs+ 28.12.2015

In this game Sanan Sjugirov devel


oped his bishop on fs after which
Kramnik reacted with 9.l;z:Jh4 with
the idea to grab the advantage of
the bishop pair! Black reacted with
10 ... .ig6, immediately renounc
ing the bishop. After that Kramnik
chose a new plan with long castling
entering into a very concrete and
complex position from which he
emerged as the winner! Only for one
moment did Black have a chance
Time-trouble or respect for thanks to White's inaccurate move
a higher-rated opponent? An easy order - which still doesn't change
win was 33.l;z:Je4! !! f8 34.g3 ai+ the general evaluation of this nice
35. Wg2 xM 36 . .1l.d6 !!cs 37.hs+ and very complex game.
Wg8 38.g6 c6 39.e6+ Wh8
40.ds c4 41.lfJgs+- and mate is 1.lfJ f3
here after h3 1.d4 ds 2. f4 is our preferred
move order. 2 ... c5 3.e3 cxd4 4.exd4
33 ... <i!lgs 34. ds+ lfJc6 5.c3 lfJf6 6.lfJd2 fs most pop
Conclusion: How to use the e-file ular at the top level lately 7. b3
properly? The half-open e-file re c8 8.lfJgf3 e6
quires bringing the rook from ai to
ei! The other one aims for the h-file 1 ... d5 2.d4 lfJ f6 3. f4 cs 4.e3 lfJc6
after the further plan h4-hs! Never 5.lfJbd2 cxd4 6.exd4 .1l. fs 7.c3 e6
forget idea !!e3, entering the rook 8. b3 CS 9.l;z:Jh4!
into the attack via the 3rd rank! Without this move, White can
With doubled g-pawns, Black 's only dream of an advantage.
king is not so safe - short castling
CHAPTER O N E - CA RO-KA N N POS I T I O N 31

A completely new idea - Vladimir


Kramnik decides to make the game
sharper! Usually White plays 13.g3
with short castling and the prepa
ration of a kingside attack in mind.
As Black's plan includes the minor
ity attack, it seems that White's king
is safer on gi. My opinion is that
White has a minimal advantage
even in that case, but Kramnik goes
his own way. 13 ... f6 14.d1 o-o
1s.f4;;!;; Kamsky,G (2741)-Macieja,B
By taking the bishop, White wins (2614) Achaea 2012]
more squares for his pieces, espe
cially for the White bishop which 13 ... a6?!
takes up its best spot on d3. 9 ... g6 A limp move that places Black in
Giving up the bishop pair with problems. The correct approach is
out any great justification! In the 13 ... 0-0 with quick counterplay by
next games in this chapter you can way of . . . gbg and . . . bs. There is no
see 9 ... e4. need for . . . a6 in a minority attack,
unless White already has played M
lo.xg6 hxg6 11. d3 hs 14.b1 gbg (Too optimistic is 14 ...
Securing a post for the bishop at d6. bs 15.xbs gb8 16.a6 C7 l'J. a1
gb6 18.a4 g fbB 19. gbi and Black
12. e3 .ild6 13.0-0-0!? does not have enough compensa
tion for the sacrificed pawn.) 1s.h4
bs 16.g4 f4 17- fi! The bishop has
too much value in this type of po
sition. Black's knight looks strong,
but that is only temporary. 17-..
as (17... b4 18.c4 as 19. c2 xc4
20.xc4 dxc4 21. .1i.xc4;;!;; ) 18. gc1!
Prophylaxis! White ensures a spot
for the queen at di. 18 ... a4 19.d1
as 20.hs gs 2i. f3 ds.

a b c d e g h
32 W I N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

14. 'it>b1 bs
Black starts his counterplay but
with some prophylactic moves it
will soon be stopped!

1s.lic2 CiJas 16.CiJf3 CiJc4 17 .1l.. c 1


A nice place for the bishop, de


fending against a potential . . . .1l.. a 3

17... lWc7 18.CiJgs!

Moving the pressure to the


queenside, but on first sight it looks
risky for White also!

20 lib7 21.axbs axbs 22.b3?


..

With this inaccurate move order


Black could have caused big prob
lems to the White King. Better
was 22.g3! with the same idea: 22 ...
White's pieces are ideally posted CiJ hs 23.b3 CiJas (and now the ideas
and one can "smell sacrifices in the with 23 .. Wq don't work 24.CiJxf7
.

air". The knight on gs is a real head !!aB 25. bxC4 bxc4+ 26. il. b2 !! hbB
ache for Black as the game progresses. 27.CiJxd6 'i!txd6 28 . .1l.. h3+ - Black
cannot increase the pressure on the
18 CiJ f4 19 .1l.. f1
. White king, while the Black king
Like I said, it's important to pre is also not safe after !! he1 next.)
serve the bishop, while the knight 24.lia2
will be expelled after g3.
22 CiJas?

19 ...0-0-0?! Black didn't take his chance! 22 ...


A dubious move, but what else? CiJ a3+? 23 . .1l.. xa3 .1l.. x a3 24.g3 CiJ hs
There is no safe haven for the Black 25.lia2 .1l.. d6 26.lias .1l.. C 7 27.lixbs
king, so probably the safest was to The point was in this move! 22 ...
keep him in the center. If 19 ... 0-0? f6!
20.h4! and next comes hs.
CHAPT E R O N E - CARO-KAN N POS I T I O N 33

11
'/ ;-/.3
8 27. .ll d 2
7
, %11
White is in complete control. The
only job left is to activate the rooks.
6 x

.. . . ...

43 .0%
5

11'
J.%/ .11 ..
27 !!cs 28.<tlb2 !!c6 29. !!a1 !Ifs

Releasing the queen from defense


of the f-pawn.
2 'it' nn
111-j,, - 30. !!a2 !!a6
a b c d e f g h
Black needed to exchange one pair
A nice intermediate move with the of rooks, otherwise resignation is not
idea after 23.'lf3 (or 23.bxc4 bxc4+ far off in view of his king's position!
24.b2 fxgs 25.xb7+ <tlxb7 26.g3
1lhs 27. ilxgs !!a8 and the white
king is also not safe in the endgame!
23.g3fxgs 24.gxf4 <t/q! 25.bxc4 bxc4+
26. b2 !!a8--+) of playing 23 ... <tiC7!
and White has huge problems with
his king! For example 24.bxc4 bxc4+
25. kb2 !!as! 26.g3 !!hbs-+

23.a2!
Now the Black minor pieces slow
ly go backwards!

23 'lc6 24.g3 'lhs 25. d3


White has created a weakness


in Black's position and he is play Black's b-pawn is doomed. Black
ing against it. There is no need doesn't have a defence against the
for the complications starting coming !!as.
with 25 . .ll xbs xbs 26.'lxf? <t/d7
27.'lxh8 !!xh8 33...'l f6
Preventing !!as with 33 ... i1..C 7 is
25 ... <tibs 26. e2 1la7 not possible because of 34.'l xf7!
An ugly, but necessary, move. 26... !!xf7 35. k xg6+-
b4 is almost losing by force! 27. a6!
a7 28.'l :xf7 with the idea 28... xf7 34. !!as i1..c 7 35.i1.,f4!+-
29. bs+ <t/a7 30. xc6 bxC3 31 . .lld3 The b-pawn goes and with him
b7 32.xb7+ <tlxb7 33. !!de1 the protection of Black's king.
34 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

35 ... ..ixf4 36.gxf4 W8c7 42. <J;;xc3 h3+ 43. <J;;c 2 W8xd4
Black handed over a pawn so now With a piece sacrifice, Black has
he is going to take something for him. activated the rest of his pieces and
now White has to be a little bit care
37. 1'.xb5 W8xf4 38.tL'lf3 ful! Kramnik chose the safest way,
Now the knight is coming to help! entering into the endgame!

38 tL'le4
44. W8b5+ <J;; c 7 45. W8b7+ rJi;d6
In case of 38 ... W8e4 White would 46. WKbs+
avoid exchanges and continue the The simplest and the best! Also
attack with 39.W8d1 c8 40.tL'le5+ winning was 46. xd5+ exd5
with W8a1 next. 47. W8d7+ <J;; e 5 48. W8xh3 W8xb4
49.W8g3+ rJi;e6 50.W8e3+ rJi;d6 51. e8
39.tL'le5 hs 40.tL'lc6+ W8c4+ 52. rJi;d1 W8g4+ 53. rJi;d2 W8b4+
It was necessary to eliminate the 54. <J;;e2 W8g4+ 55. <J;; fi W8f5 56. <J;;g 2+
defensive knight, otherwise Black's but White will still have to work
king is safe. hard for a win.

40 tL'lxc6 41 . ..ixc6 tL'lxc3!?


. 46 <J;;e7D

4 6 . . . <J;; xc 6 ? 47. a6 + rJi;d7


48. d6+ <J;;e 7 49. W8d8#

47.W8a7+!
Excellent assessment! The b
pawn will be fast in the endgame!

47 W8xa7 48. xa7+ rJi;d6 49. a4


..

h4
Black is going to have to con
trol the b-pawn somehow. In the
case of 49 ... xh2 it is unstoppable!
50. d7+ <J;; e 5 5i.b5 xfa+ 52. rJi;b3
The best practical chance, but not fr 53. rJi;b4!+-
enough - especially against Kram
nik. The black king cannot get far 50. rJi;b3 h3+ 51. rJi;b2 h4 52. d7+
away after 41. .. <J;;c 7 42. a7+ rJi;d6 <J;;e5 53. <J;; a3
43 . ..ia4!+- In this elegant way checks are
avoided and the pawn is undis
turbed in his running.
C H A PTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 35

53 ... Wd4 54. xf7 xh2 ss.bs Wes 6.tl:Jd2 il. fs 7. b3 cs s.tl:Jgf3 e6
56. c7+ 9.ClJ h4
A lovely London game by an in
spired former World Champion.
Conclusion: With the advantage of
the two bishops, long castling de
serves serious attention because
White has good attacking re
sources. White's king is safe on the
queenside!
1-0

F. Berkes - T. D. V. Nguyen
Zalakaros open, 28.05.2016

In this game, compared to the pre


vious, Black chose after 9.ClJ h4 to
react with 9 ... .Ji.g4, avoiding giving
up the bishop immediately! With This is also one of the possible re
this move Black forces White to actions against the tl:J h4 plan! Now
play h3-g4 if he wants to have the if White wants the advantage of two
bishop pair advantage. In pushing bishops he must continue with the
his pawns on the kingside, there plan h3-g4 as in the game!
appears a weak square in the white
position - f4 - which Black tries to 10.h3 it. hs 11.g4 it. g6 12.tl:J xg6
use! With precise moves White can hxg6 13. il.e2;!;
cover the f4 square while avoiding The only logical move against
the exchange of the dark-squared ClJg4!
bishop (with e3 after Black's . . .
.Ji.d6) preserving the bishop pair. 13 ... il.e7?!
White's advanced pawns on the A passive move! Much better was
kingside will actually be very use 13 ... d7 14.0-0-0 0-0-0 15.h4
ful for further action with h4-hs! i.d6 16. i.e3! ;!; White has to keep
the bishop, otherwise the f4 square
1.d4 ClJ f6 would be weak! The plan would be
Our move order is i. .. ds 2. f4 similar as in the game - to play hs at
cs 3.e3 cxd4 4.exd4 ClJc6 5.c3 ClJ f6 some point pressuring the g7 pawn,
or to prepare c4 after Wb1-f3-c1!
36 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

14.h4 d7 15.0-0-0 o-o-o bishop on g3! (Opening the c-file


Long castling is the most logical with 18... exd4? 19.cxd4 is very dan
option to secure both kings! gerous for the black king! Next
will be !!et with many threats;
16.b1?! 18 ... e4 19. !!c1! idea is c4 and 19 ...
d6? is not possible 20. xd6
xd6 21. xg4++-) tg.xds fi:Jf6
20.c4 exd4 2i.l'i:Jb3 xg3 22.fxg3
ds 23 .fi:Jxd4 xc4 24. xc4
l'i:Jxd4 25. !! xd4 !! xd4 26.cxd4 =

17. e3!
Taking on d6 with the weakened
f4 square would be a huge positional
mistake!

Very logical, but an imprecise


move which affords Black some
tactical opportunities. Better was
t6. !!dgt d6 t7. e3! ;;!; with the idea
of hs and putting pressure on the
g? pawn!

16 d6?!
.

Black missed his chance! Com


pared with t3 ... d7, here Black un
necessarily lost one tempo with
e7-d6! According to the com
puter, Black should play t6 ... e5! and White pieces are optimally placed
now White needs to play some and it's a good moment for opening
very precise and difficult moves the c-file - and it's a position for the
to not stand worse! n g3! (17. white bishops!
dxes?! l'i:Jxg4 18. g3 l'i:Jxf2! 19. xf2
'iefs+ 20. c2 xf2+) n .. l'i:Jxg4 19 ...dxc4 20.l'i:Jxc4 l'i:Jds 21.hs!
t8. at! with the idea of avoiding Another excellent move with idea
. . . fs checks t8 ... d6! Black must of pressuring the g? pawn and play
somehow kill the very dangerous ing on both flanks!
C H A PTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 37

The pawn g7 became a big


problem!

26 ... cs
Black decides to play for all or
nothing! Passive defence with
26 ... h7 leads to a fast end after
27.h6! g6 (27...gxh6? 28. gB+ <itiq
29. 'i!9c2 + + -) 28. gs! and White
wins the d-pawn!

27. xg7 CZJc3+!?


Playing for a tactic is Black's only
21 ... gxhs 22.gxhs tlJas?! hope.
This move loses time! Logical was
22 ... f4! 23. f3 <itias;! 28.<itiai
The safest move for a human!
23.CZJxas 'i!9xas 24. hg1 c8?! Also winning was 28.bxc3 'i!9fs+
Once more a limp move! Black 29.<itia1 'i!9xf3 30.h6 xc3 3i.'i!9b1!
should play 24 ... CZJxe3 25.fxe3 'i!9fs+ c8 32.h7 b4 33.'i!9xb4 XCH
26. c2 c8 27. fi 'i!9xc2+ 28.'i!9xc2 34. <itib2 c8 35. 'i!9d2+- but this way
xc2 29.<itixc2 f6 30. g1 h7 hop is easy only for engines!
ing to draw this very unpleasant
endgame!

25. fl XCI+ 26. XCl

The best technical move! White


now has to consolidate his pieces
38 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

and take care of the tst rank af


ter which the h-pawn will be deci
sive! 30. e3? xd4! and tst rank is
weak!

30 xd4 31. e4
..

Now the c2 square is covered!

31 ... es 32.h6 fs 33. 1i.d3 as


Black is tricky! The threat is . . .
!!et with . . . b3!

34 \t>b1 C7 35 e3
Disturbing the knight with the 38 ... bs!
idea of a4! The position is now no longer so
clear! Black is very active!
35 ... d7 36. fl
Now Black queen is on the pin! 39.a4
39. !!ht leads to a draw after 39 ...
36 ... !!ds e2 40. b3 c3+! 4i. \t>atD (41.
Heading for a position with op bxc3 d3+ 42. \t>b2 e2+ +) 4i. ..
posite colour bishops wouldn't be xb3 42.axb3 dt 43. ct fa=
a good idea. 36 .. .f4 37. xd4 1i.xd4 and now the h-pawn has no support
38.a3! White must make some air from bishops!
for the King! 38 ... h7+ 39. d3
xd3+ 40. xd3 xfa 4t. !!g7 d4
42. !!f7 1i.es 43.h7 and to hold this
position for Black looks like mission
impossible! Next move is e4! And
after 43 ... !!c7 White will always
have 44. !!xf4! !!et+ 45.\t>a2

37.f4 f6 38. g2?


Searching for the best diagonal
for the bishop, White forgets about
Black's counterplay! The most accu
rate move was 38. !!g2! bringing the
rook on d2 and the game would be
finished quickly!
CHAPTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 39

I guess in time-trouble, Black 42 ... g3


makes a mistake! After the logi After 42 ... g xd5 comes 43.fxe5!
cal 39 ... b4! Black could draw but Important accuracy! White needs
after 40.h7 Black probably missed to open the diagonal h2-b8 to
40 ... tLJ f3! 4i.xd8+ ii.. xd8 42.hS have a later k f4! (43.hB+ xhB
e4+ 43.a2 XM+ 44.b1 e4;;!; 44. gxhB+ xhB and the win is
not so clear for White.) 43 ... ll.xe5
40. g h1 es? 44.hS + xhs 45. g xhS+ ii.. xhs
Closing the diagonal, Black lacks 46. f4+ as 47- C7! taking away
any chances to survive! 40 ... hs still the ds square for a rook, the Sth
keeps the game alive 4i. .1i.. fa e8 rank is weak for Black! 47... it. f6
48.h1 gd7 (48... gcs 49. h6+-)
41.h7+- g7 49.h5+-
After 41 ... e4 White has a forced
win 42. xd4 xd4 (42 ... ii.xd4 43.g d
43. hB ii. xhB 44. xd7 g xd7 This move kills off all Black's
45. gxhB+ c7 46. c2+-) 43.xd4 hopes! By exchanging queens, the
xd4 44. gd1 g hs 45. g xd4 g xh7 promotion of the h7 pawn is much
46. gd2 g h4 47. g fa e3 48. ge2 simpler!
gxf4 49. g xe3 gXM 50. ges+ c7
51. ge7+ d6 52. g xb7+-

42. kds!
A nice move closing the d-file
and the connection between rook
and knight.

43 xgi+ 44. gxg1 gxds 45.fxes!


gxes
The main point comes after 45 ...
ii.. xe5 46. f4!+- and next is hs
40 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

46. xd4 e7 47. xf6 xh7 entered a position with heteroge


The rest of the game was Black neous castling. Carlsen was on top
hoping for a miracle! and he foundm the brilliant idea of
transferring his knight to cs uti
48. gs hi+ 49.'i!fc2 ft so. g7 lising many prophylactic moves to
as s1 . .tds fa+ s2.<i!fb3 f3+ prevent Black's ideas.
s3.<i!fa2
Conclusion: The Black plan with 1.d4 '2i f6 2 . .1t. f4 ds 3.e3 cs 4.c3
9 ... g4 - provoking pawn action '2ic6 s.'2id2 cxd4 6.exd4 fs
with h3-g4 - actually helps White. 7. ifb3 ifcs s.'2igf3 e6 9.'2lh4! e4
With a space advantage, White has Surely the best and the most criti
more options than Black and the cal move here.
possibility of playing on both flanks.
1-0

M. Carlsen (zsso) - R. Wojtaszek


(2748)
2oth European Teams,
Reykjavi k ISL (9.6), 22.11.2015

World Champion Magnus Carls


en is well-known for his univer
sal style and endgame technique.
In the opening phase of the game
his main strength lies in versatil
ity and avoiding the home prepa 10.'2ixe4 '2ixe4
ration of opponents. In the game 10 ... dxe4!? is covered in next
versus Wojtaszek, a highly-re game.
nowned theoretician and Anand's
second, the London System comes 11.'2if3
as a logical choice! Compared with Carlsen decides to exchange bish
the game Berkes F.-Nguyen T, here ops after Black's next move. Seri
Wojtaszek reacted with 9 ... e4 in ous attention must also be given to
stead of 9 ... kg6, which is a better 11. d3!? ..1t.d6 (11 ...gs 12. xe4 gxf4
way to give up the bishop in that 13. d3 ifq 14.l2if3 0-0-0 15.0-0-
the White knight remains on h4. 0;!;) 12 . .te3!? with the idea of keeping
On the 14th move Wojtaszek chose the bishop pair 12 ... '2i f6?! (The main
a new plan with long castling and question on this move is 12 .. f5!?
C H A PTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 41

when 13.0-0 f!fq 14.g3 o - o 15./fiJg2 side of the board. Well known is 14 ...
looks slightly better for White. The h6 15.0-0 o-o with good results for
idea is gae1-f3 and playing on the Black in contemporary praxis. The
e6-pawn.) 13.g3 o-o 14.0-0 fffC7 reason why Wojtaszek avoided this
15. g5! Disturbing the knight and may be 16. f!fe2 gabs n. Wh1!?N
provoking a kingside weakening.
15 ... /fiJd7 16.f!ic2 h6 n e3 g fc8
18.f!ie2 e7 19. f4 f!ids 20./fiJ f3
/fiJa5 21. gad1 a6 22.h4 /fiJc4 23.b3
/fiJa5 24.c4 /fiJf6 25.c5 lfiJc6 26.a3 /fiJd7
27.b4 Jovanic,O (2469)-Doric,N
(2308) Sibenik 2015. White had a big
advantage and won this game in the
end. A very convincing game by Jo
vanic Ognjen!

u ... d6 12. xd6 lfiJ xd6 13. d3 A nice move with the idea (17.
f!ic7 a4 g be8 18.lfiJes lfiJxes 1/2-1/2 (18)
Improving the queen and waiting S e d l a k , N (2538) - Prohaszka , P
with castling. (2573) Hungary 2012) 17. . .b 5 18.g4!
White has chances for an attack
14.f!fc2 o-o-o considering the weakness at h6.
Black doesn't have any pieces close
to his King to defend him and the
attack is real.

15.0-0 h6 16.a4 Wb8 17, g fe1


The beginning of the correct
plan. The main purpose of the rook
on el is to avert Black's freeing . . .
e6-e5.

17... gc8 18. f!id1


The threat was . . . /fiJb4.

A new plan in this position. I pre 18 .. , ghe8


fer White as it seems to me that Black gives up any ideas of an
White's attack is more real than attack on White's king. His new
Black's counter-chances on the other plan is centralization and the . . . e5
42 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

push. After 18 ... gs 19.1:Jd2 hs 20.b4


g4 21.CZJb3 Begs 22.as CZJe7 avoid
ing bs-b6 with tempo 23.CZJcs h4
24.bs White's attack seems more
dangerous.

21 ... CZJe4 22.b4 Cl:Jgs


Well, . . . es at any cost.

23.CZJet! es
It seems Black is ok, but White has
judged the chances better: the open
a b c d e g h ing of the position is in his favor.

Very deep. Making a post on d3 24.b5


for the knight which will go via the An important zwischenzug, re
d3-CS route and join the attack. An moving Black's knight from the center.
other idea is to make the move es
difficult for Black to achieve, be 24 ... Cl:Jas 25. B xes B xes 26.dxes
cause ds will hang. xes?

19 ... Be7 20. Bc1 Bds


Black goes for . . . es and the rook
will defend the ds pawn in that case.

21. Be2!
Another excellent move, leaving
the ei square empty for a knight and
at the same time creating the option
of Bc2 supporting a c4 break.
CHAPTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 43

The first serious mistake. After The end of any counterplay for
this, no chances against Carlsen! Black. Giving air to the king and
A very good option for Black was covering the f4 square!
26 ... c4! 27. xc4 (27f4 e4)
27... l!fxc4 28. f3 e6 with some 31 ... l!fcs 32. l!fd7
compensation. With the queen entering the 7th
rank attacking the pawns on king
27.c4! side, Black is forced into complete
The main point. It is possible passivity.
that Black forgot his rook on dB is
unprotected. 32 ... l!ffs
32 ... llfC? 33.l!fes+ ds 34.l!ffs!+-
27... e6 28.f3 l!ff4
The main idea is to prevent cs! 33.es cs 34. l!fds!
28 ... l!fe4 29.cs Again the strongest! Threatening
28 ... l!fd6 29.cxds l!fxds 30.l!fe1 l!fcs.
b6 3i. E:c3! with E:d3! Next when the
black king become very weak and 34... c7
the knight on as is far from events. 34 .. .f6? 3s. l!fxcs!+-

29.cxds 3s. xf7 xa4 36. l!fes+ b6


Here there was a little trick. 29.cs? 37.d6 CS 38.e8!
b3!+ There is no defence against
llfC? or l!fd6. A brilliant game by
29... E:xds 30.l!fxds l!fxc1 31.g3!+- Magnus!
1-0

Lessons to be learned:

i. In positions with heterogene


ous castling, White's attack is
more dangerous.
2. It's necessary to prevent
Black's . . . es move!
3. Re-inforce the attack by
bringing the knight to cs via
ei-d3-cs
44 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

opponent expected the London and


played very quickly, and this is an
N. Sedlak (2548) - M. M. Ivanov interesting move aimed at the dis
(2360) located knight at h4.
24th Donau open,
Aschach AUT (S), 29.12.2015 11.g3
Making a place for the unstable
In this game, compared with the knight!
previous, my opponent chose a very
interesting plan in 10 ... de4!? chang 11 e7 12.C2Jg2

ing the structure, with the idea of The only way to counter . . . CZJds.
playing against the CZJ h4. I was ready
for it because the whole idea with
CZJh4 depends on that position. The
critical moment in the game was
14 .. .fs? which looks really attractive
but is too optimistic because it cre
ates weaknesses. After the opening
of the e-fi.le Black's plan fell apart.

1.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3 CZJc6 4.c3 CZJf6


5.CZJd2 cxd4 6.exd4 fs 7.CZJgf3 e6
s. l!fh3 l!fcs 9.CZJ h4 e4 10.CZJ xe4
dxe4!?

Too ambitious. The main defect


is the pawn on e6, especially af
ter f3.The right reaction was 14 ...
l!fd7 15.0-0 E:ac8 (15 ... es 16.CZJe3
CZJxe3 17fxe3 E:adB 18. E:f2 and the
f-fi.le combined with the bishops
guarantees a minimal advantage
to White.) 16. E:ae1 E:fd8 17.f3 exf3
18. xf3 CZJas 19.l!fc2 CZJc4 20. c1
bs 21.l!ffa f8 22.CZJ f4;t and even
though Black's position is very sol
Here is the difference between id I believed more in the bishop pair
this and the previous game. My and open e and f files. My optimistic
C H A PTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 45

evaluation of this position can be On first sight the f4 square looks


seen in the following line, for exam like a place for a knight, but pre
ple: 22 ... Cl:Jxf4 (22 ... b4 23.CZJxds exds venting . . . e5 is a priority. The knight
24. cxb4 ilxb4 25. !!e2;;!;; ) 23. ii. xf4 will go to e3!
b4 24. g5 f6 (24 ... !!eB 25. b3 CZJd6
26.c4) 25. ii.g4 !!e8 26. ii.xf6! gxf6 17... a6 18. !!ae1 bs
27. 'f9xf6; Black is trying to control White's
14 ... !!ds 15.0-0 f9d7 16.f3 Cl:J f6 central pawns and to ensure some
17.fxe4 Cl:Jxe4 18. ii.e3 ilg5 19. ll.xg5 strongholds for his knights!
.'l xg5 20. !!ad1 .'le4 2i.CZJ f4 CZJ f6
22. f3 f9C7 23. g2 !!d7 24 . .'ld3;;!;; 19.fxe4 fxe4
Sedlak, N (2556)-Ragger,M (2670) Now it is only a matter of time
Achaea 2012] before Black will lose one of the
pawns. Also after 19 ... .'l xe4 20. f3
15.0-0 h8 16.{3! White wins a pawn.
After the opening of the e-file, the
weakness on e6 is obvious! Now it's
clear that Black's concept was wrong.

16 ... .'l f6
If 16 ... exf3 17. ii. xf3 f9d7 18. !!ae1
with easy play for White. After dou
bling rooks on the e-file, sooner or
later the pawn e6 will fall!

Giving up the pair of bishops, but


taking the e6 pawn.

21 Cl:Jxg4 22.Cl:Jxg4 'ffids 23. 'ffic2


.

The pawn e4 is doomed, and with


him also e6.
46 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

23 x a 2
. . 2 4 . xe 4 E: ac 8 26 ... cs+ 27.$>h1 ll:Je7 28.ll:Jes?!
25.xe6+- Unnecessary. I started to lose the
White's domination is obvious! thread of the game. Simple and good
is 28.d6 ll:Jg6 29.d7 E:cd8 30. c7+-
25 ... xb2 26.ds
A pity. A nice win is 26.ll:J h6!

Time-trouble. I could win af


ter 29.c4! closing the connec
tion between Black's pieces 29 ...
bxc4 30. gs b7 3i. xe7 xe7
32. E: xf8+ E: xf8 33.ll:Jg6+! hxg6
3 4 . h3+ $>g8 3 5 . E: xe7 xe7
36.e6+ E:f7 37.d6+-

29... E:xf7 30.x.f7 xds+ 31.xds


ll:Jxds
a b c d e f g h
It is not so simple anymore for
White after two imprecise moves.
Wonderful! Black is helpless. This
difficult move is what I missed in 32. d2 ll:Jf6?
my calculations. The idea is sim A weak move. Black takes his
ply to protect the c pawn with E:efi knight to the wrong side. Much
next after which Black doesn't have better is 32 ... $>gs and the knight
a defense. Black is unable to play should go to c4 via b6.
32 ... E:xf3 because of 33.g4+! and
White wins both rooks with checks.
C H A PTER O N E - CARO-KA N N POS I T I O N 47

The best practical chance. Black


is lost immediately after 38 ... b4
39. Bc4 Bb6 40. Bxb6 it.xb6 4i.cxb4
axb4 42. B xb4 ii.. c 7 43. B h4+-

39. Bxbs a3 40. Ba4


The a-pawn is well controlled and
now it's time to bring the king to
the center.

40 <i!?f7 41. <i!?g2 <i!?g6 42. <i!?f3 d6


.

43.c4 a2
33. ilgs! Bc6 34. Bd1 Otherwise, White's king comes
Finally the rook enters the 7th to support the c-pawn on the square
rank. d5, with c5 next.

34 ... <i!?gs 3s. xf6 44. !! bas it.es 4S B xa2 B xc4


The main defender is killed. 46. B sa4 Bc3+
If 46 ... B xa4 exchanging rooks,
3s ... gxf6 36. Bd7+- as 37. Bf4! White wins with 47. B xa4 <i!?g5
Another rook comes to help! 48. Bas <i!?g6 49. <i!?e4 h4 50. Bg8+
<i!?h7 (or 50 . <i!i>f7 51 . Bg4 hxg3
. .

37... hs 52.h4!+-) si. Bg4 hxg3 52.hxg3 <i!?h6


Preventing Bg4 with Bgg7 53. <i!?f5 <i!?h7 54. Bg6 ild4 55.g4 ilc3
56. B xf6+-

47. <i!?g2 Bc6 48. <i!?h3!


The best place for the king, avoid
ing potential checks and preventing
any counterplay with h4. The win
ning plan now is just to penetrate
with the rooks on the Sth rank com
bined with taking the h5 pawn. In
this way the game is finished and
the rest of the game doesn't need to
be commented on.
48 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

48 !!cs 49. !!as !!c4 50. !!gs+ Wh7


. 2.f3 g6 3. i.. f4 i.. g7 4.e3 cs 5. e2
51. !!aa8 !!b4 52. !!hs+ Wg6 53. !!a7 o-o 6.o-o cxd4 7.exd4 ds 8.c3
!!b2 s4. !!ah7 i.. d 4 ss. !! h6+ Wg7 c6 9.h3 it.fs 10.hd2
56. !!xhs i.. g1 57. Wg4 Wg6 58.h4 Finally we come to our position
1-0 via a different move order!

Lessons to be learned:

i. Take a bishop pair at any cost;


the knight can re-enter the
game after g3- g2- e3
2. With f3, open the files for the
rooks and direct pressure at
the e6 pawn.

V. Kovacevic (2495) - A. Mikhal


chishin (2490)
Pula, 1980

In this game between two great po A typical move for this kind of
sitional players, Black used the plan position. Black is seeking a better
with . . . g6. Like I said in the intro position for his knight, with the idea
duction to this chapter, Black's big being to open his dark-square bish
gest problem is his dark-squared op, after which the freeing move . . .
bishop on g7 and that is also shown es becomes more realistic.
in this game. Before you start to
look at the game, take a look at the 11. !!e1 h6
introduction to C H A P T E R 1 where Black's idea is . . . gs, securing
our move order is explained! a safe home for the problematic
bishop. However, this also weakens
1.d4 f6 his king. The logical 11 ... b6 does
Our move order is t. .. ds 2. il f4 not equalize after 12.b3 xb3
cs 3.e3 cxd4 4.exd4 c6 s.c3 f6 13.axb3 xd2 14.xd2 es 1s.dxes
6.d2 g6 7. i.. e 2 ilg7 8.h3 o-o xes 16. xes it. xes 17. il g4 !
9.gf3 .ifs 10.0-0] i.. xg4 18. !!xes ile6 19. f3 when
the knight is dominates the bish
op. Nikolenko,V (2221)-Safronov, S
(2234) Cheliabinsk 2009.
CHAPTER O N E - CA RO-KA N N POS I T I O N 49

12. f1 gs 13. h2 e6 14.Cl:Jxe4;;!; 19 ...fs with the active plan: . . . gads


White swaps knights with the and the . . . es push.
idea of playing Cl:Jd2 with tempo.
After that White is able to play f4 20.hl
in the future, at an opportune mo Avoiding the trap! 20. d3 is
ment for him. a mistake 20 ... Cl:J xd4! 2i. xg6 (21.
cxd4 xd4+ 22. h1 xcs 23. xg6
14 ... xe4 15.ctJd2 g6 16.ctJb3 fxg6+) 21 ... xcs 22.cxd4 xd4+
Improving the knight to the out 23 . xd4 xd4+ 24.h1 fxg6
post on cs! 25. g xe6 k xb2 26. gb1 g f6 and
White is fighting for a draw in this
endgame!

20 ... b6 21.ctJd3 f6?!


Again he misses 21... ke4! with fs
next: 22.Cl:J fa fs 23.hs lt.f6

22.Cl:Jes
White decided to change the
structure and to get the d4 square!
An interesting idea was 22.Cl:J fa!
with a double purpose; exchanging
white bishops with d3; and send
ing the knight into attack via g4.

A good idea, but too early! Much


better was first 17- d3! xd3
18. xd3;;!; with f4 next and Black
lacks any counterplay.

17... lt.e4!
It is quite possible that White
missed this one. Black finds a nice
place for the Bishop which can be
supported with . . .fs!

18.fxgs hxgs 19.Cl:Jcs g6?!


A dubious move and Black is
again in trouble. The most logical is
so W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

22 ... tl:lxe5 23.dxe5 ii.g7 24 . .id3 (30. xds?? fi + - +) 30 . . . g7


With the exchange of bishops the 3i.bs c8 32. ae1 g6 33.d7+-
black king is less safe! The white
squares around Black's king will be 30. f1 g7 31. xfS+ cr!?xfS
weak, especially hs. 32. fl+
More to the point is 32.g3! cr!?gs
33. ei+- and Black doesn't have
a good defence against es!

A great manoeuvre, transferring


the bishop to the optimal place-d4.

25 ... c6 26 . .id4 Strong enough but missing


Black breathes again after a quicker win after 34. f4!+- with
26 . .ixg6?! fxg6 27. .id4 f4 with the idea of g4.
counterplay.
34 ds 35. e5 gs 36.e1
..

26 ... .ixd3 27.xd3 f5 A double attack! One pawn


Weakening his own king even falls - e6 or <ls!
more, but the threat of f1-f6
would force . . .fs sooner or later. 36 f6 37. xd5 g4
..

Black is searching for some


28.exf6 .ixf6 29. kxf6 xf6 counterplay!
In the view of his king's position
and damaged pawn structure, the 38. d3 gxh3 39. xh3 g6?!
defence for Black is really tough. The best practical chance was 39 ...
29 ... xf6 loses faster after 30. es h8! entering the queen endgame!
CHAPTER O N E - CA RO-KA N N POS I T I O N 51

Probably time-trouble. 40. E: xh8 Lessons to be learned:


xhS+ 41. g1
i. In a Carlsbad structure with
Black's plan of . . . g6, best is
to develop the white square
bishop on e2 -avoiding chang
es after fs!
2. Bishops are the biggest prob
lem for Black. One from g7
aims at white small fortress
c3-d4 and another bishop
from fs shooting into open
space.
3. Always prevent Black's move
. . . es, otherwise the bishop
a b c d e g h from g? can become strong.
4. Play on the kingside and don't
A blunder on the last move of the worry about the minority at
time control! After 40 ... d6 the tack! Your dark square bishop
game still wouldn't be at an end. controls the b8 square.
4i.f4+ d7 42.f3

41. xgs+ E:xgs 42. E: h7+


1-0
C H A PT ER TWO
EARLY b6-c4

idea to take: 5 ... !fxb3? 6.axb3 after


which White has comfortable play
on the queenside and the very un
pleasant threat ctJa3!

6.!fc2!
Losing a tempo with the idea be
ing to ruin Black center with b3
or e4! To go for the endgame after
6.'ilxb6? would be a big positional
mistake. 6 ... axb6 and now White
can't prevent plan bs-b4! With
7.ctJa3 Black has 7... e5! 8.ctJbs as+.

The position in the diagram pre 6 ... fs?!


sents at the first sight one of the
most aggressive responses against
the London System. Black plays
the quick 4 . . . 'ilb6 trying to grab
the initiative by attacking the b2
pawn, with idea of forcing White
into passive play. My opinion is that
the leaders of the Black pieces who
choosing this continuation are actu
ally confusing two variations, which
will be explained later. Tournament
practice has shown that this plan of
Black's is dubious.
This is a big mistake and seen many
5.'ifb3 c4 times from good grandmasters! Ob
Black is offering an endgame but viously many players are not realiz
in a different way! It's not a good ing the difference in the position with
54 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

the inserted moves CZJf3- CZJf6. After squares) 9.CZJ xe4 dxe4 10. il xc4
6...CZJf6 the important move is 7.CZJd2! g7 11. ile3;

b) 7... ilg4 8. ile2!;;!;. See Berkes


F.-Rustemov A. Bundesliga 2009.

8. i.gs

(I have also tried 8. ilg3!? CZJxg3


9. hxg3 with b3 or e4 next and
if Black continue actively in the
center with 9 ... e5? then comes
10.e4! Sedlak N.-Vasilev M. Bla
goevgrad 2013. The point is in the
next variation 10 ... exd4 11.exds d3
This is the famous position 12. V/!fa4)
which confuses a lot of players!
In our move orders we avoid this
position.)

a b c d e f g h

An important move gaining some


tempii! 10 ... CZJg7 11. ilg3 ilfs

(11 ... Cl:Jfs 12.e4 -see Kovacevic V.


The best way to undermine the Pinter J. EU ch-T 1983.)
center. (8. b3 ?! fs 9. VJ!!di VJ!!as!
10.bxc4 V/!fxc3 11.CZJe2 V/!fb2 12.a30 12.e4 -see Sedlak N. -Todorovic G.
ii.d3+.) 8 ... Cl:Jxe4 (8... dxe4 9.CZJxc4 Subotica 2008.
VJ!id8 10.CZJe3; 8 . . . e6?! would
be a big weakening of the dark
CHAPTER TWO - EARLY i!fb6-c4 55

7.xfs! One of the most aggressive an


The pawn ds is undefended! Here swers for Black. In my opinion, not
is the most obvious plus of 2 . .1i.f4! recommended!
Move orders are very important in
this variation. 5.b3 c4
This is only good when Black can
7... xb2 8.xds force the exchange of queens. Oth
See the games Miles A.-Mina erwise, his center will be under
sian Ohrid 2ooi. Sedlak N.-Mihok mined, sooner or later, with moves
0. Hun eh-team 2012. such as b3 or e4. Not 5 ... xb3?
6.axb3 with a terrible ending.

A. J. Miles (2562) -A. Minasian (2478) 6.C2


EU-eh, Ohrid (6), 06.06.2001 Avoiding a not-so-great endgame,
with the idea of ruining Black cent
In this game Ara Minasian en er with e4 or b3. Bad is 6.xb6?!
tered a bad line, which he cannot axb6 7.CZJa3 es! 8. xes (8.CZJbs Bas
be blamed for because the idea 9.CZJC7+ dB 10.CZJxds Bxds 11. 1i.xc4
which Anthony Miles used with Bas+) 8 . . CZJxes 9.dxes xa3 10.bxa3
.

the exchange sacrifice 7. fs! was Bxa3+


almost new at that time: a time be
fore strong engines and huge chess 6 ... ii.fs?
databases. Black experienced a rap
id breakdown after only 19 moves!

1.d4 ds 2 . .1i. f4 cs 3.e3 CZJc6 4.c3


b6

a b c d e g h

This game was my inspiration for


adopting the London. Compared
with the position where knights are
on f3 and f6, here . . . ii.fs comes with
a question mark. The pawn on <ls is
56 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

not defended. After 6 ... /f:) f6 7./f:)d2!


comes and there is no more . . . fs
threat.

7.xfs!
Almost unimaginable for that
time! White sacrifices the exchange
in a position where he is still unde
veloped - and it works well! In this
mess, it will turn out that White's
king is safer and Black will have
huge problems with his queen!
It seems that White is win
7... xb2 8.xds ci+?! ning after 10./f:)d2 but things are
messier. 10 ... xa1 11.bs o-o
o 12.g3! with the idea .ll g 2. 12 ... e6
(12 ... xc3 13 . .llg2 xd4 14. ii.. x c6
xd2+ 15. 'i!tft '8d7 16./)/3 d3+
17. 'i!tg2+-) 13. ii.. g 2 /f:)ge7 14./f:)gf3
xa2 (14 . . . xc3 15. '8 b1 '8 d7
16./)xc4+- and if 16... /)d5 l'J. xc6+!
bxc6 18. '8b8#) 15. '8b1 a6 16.xa6
bxa6 17-/f:)gs /f:)d5 18. xds '8 xds
19./f:)xf7 '8g8 20./f:)xc4 gs 21./f:)cd6+
.ll xd6 22./f:) xd6+ 'i!td8 23.c4 '8 xd4
24 . .ll xgs+ '8xgs 25.exd4+-

Black is inserting checks hoping 10 ... /f:) f6


that White's king position in the Black needs good advice. In the
center will prove to be bad, but An case ofio ... xa1 11 . .ll xc4 e6 12. bs
thony Miles was not so scared and o-o-o 13./f:)e2 /f:) f6 14. '8c1+- next
he went to f3! More resilient is 8 ... on the agenda is /f:)d2.
xa1 as in the next game.
11.xc4 xa1 12.b3!
9.<e2 b2+ 10. 'i!tf3! Black's queen is doomed. White
Black is lacking in the develop just has to develop his kingside and
ment area, so White's king is safe pick up the queen!
at f3!
CHAPTER TWO - EA R LY 'i!fb6-c4 57

N. Sedlak (2589) - 0. Mihok (2445)


H ungarian league 2011/12 (10),
06.05.2012

When you play in the Hungarian


League, pairings are known only
a short time before the start. So, my
opponent came unprepared which
proved very expensive for him. He
entered the position from the pre
vious game Miles A.-Minasian
12 0-0-0 13. il.bs
but provided better resistance. We
Development with attack. What can happily classify this line in the
more can one wish for? group "traps in the openings".

13 Cl:Jas 14. 'ifc2 a6 15 .1l.d3 es


1.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3 CLJc6 4.c3
Minasian did not want to lose in 'ib6 5.'ib3 c4 6. 'ifc2 fs? 7.'ifxfs!
15 moves. Who can blame him? 'ifxb2 s.'ifxds 'ifxa1

16. xes CLJd7 17. f4 il.e7 18.CLJ h3


gs 19.Cl:Jxgs
1-0

Lessons to be learned:

1. With precise move orders


in the opening keeping the
knight on gi :i.d4 d5 2. f4! c5
3. e3 CLJc6 4.c3! 'ib6 5. 'ifb3 c4
6.'ic2 you are avoiding a bad
endgame and also 6 ... f5
2. In case of the thematic 6 ... A little improvement compared
f5? after 7.'iff5! the pawn on with the game Miles, A - Minasian,
d5 is undefended! and I was lucky twice in my chess
3. By giving up the rook on ai, career to reach this position. Czebe
Black's queen is misplaced for tried 8 ... CLJ f6? 9.'ifxc4 CLJe4 with at
a long time! tacking ideas, but 10.'ifb5! 'ifxfa+
58 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

11. Wdi+- and I emerged a piece up. a) 11.1!fxa8 1!fxbi+ 12. We2 e5!
Sedlak,N (2512) -Czebe, A (2497) (12 ... 1!9d3+? 13. Wf3! 1!9xft 14. ii. q
Subotica 2005 f6 15. 1!9xd8+ Wf7 16.h3) 13. 1i.. xe5
1!fd3;!;; ;
9.1!9hs o-o-o?! b) 11. 1!fb4? e5 12.1!fa4+ We7
13.1!fb4+ Wd7 14.1!fM+ CZJc6-+;
11 ... g5!?

a b c d e g h a b c d e f g h

At first sight this move looks like Black wants to remove the bishop
the only one! The drawback is that from the h2-b8 diagonal and to ac
the queen will stay on ai for a long tivate the rook from b8.
time! Better practical chances were a) 11 ... 1!fb2 12. xc4 CZJ f6 13.1!fd3
offered by 9 ... a6!? 10.1!fxb7 CZJd8 1!fci+ 14.1!fd1 1!fxdi+ 15.Wxd1 Two
11.1!fe4! pawns for an exchange, enough for
a big advantage in the endgame.
b) 11 ... CZJ f6 12.1!fc2 e5 13. ii. xe5
CZJd5 1 4 . xc4 CZJ xc3 1 5 . 1!f xc3
1!fxbi+ 16.We2 i.b4 17.CZJ f3! 1!fxa2+
(17... 1!9xh1 18. 1!9xb4+- With too
many threats. 18.. f6 19.1!9a4+ We7
20.1!9a3+ WeB 21. 1i.. b3!fxe5 22.1!fa4+
We7 23. 1!9b4+ WeB 24.CZJxes+ -)
18. xa2 1i.. xc3 19. xg7 ggs
a b c d e f g h
20. e5;
1 2 . 1!fc2! (12. es gives some
The only move which guarantees chances to Black 12 ... g7! 13. il.xc4
an advantage, but a big one in this il.xes 14.dxes g bB 15. 1i.. b3 1!9b2
case. 1 6.CZJe2 CZJe6; 12. xgs? g bB+)
12 ... i.g7 13. g3 h5 14. 1i.. xc4 h4
CHAPTER TWO - EARLY b6-c4 59

15. e5 xe5 16.dxe5 c8 17-CLJe2! control of the b-line favors White.


xc4 18.0-0+- with CLJd2 next after Simplification with 15 ... CLJd5 after
which the queen dominates against 16. xd5 xd5 (1 6... exds 17. fs+
two rooks! The black rooks lack d7 18.CLJes lLJxes 19. xes+-) 17.c4
co-ordination. d7 18.c5 leads nowhere. White's
plan is simple: CLJd2-c4!
10.fs+
Good enough; the idea is to re 12. g3
turn the queen to c2! But maybe A cold-blooded reaction. It was
even simpler is 10. xc4! e5 11.CLJe2! not a good idea to fall for provoca
tion of 12. xg5? d5! 13.CLJ f3 b5
14.CLJ fd2 xg5 15. xc4 a3-+

12 et:Jas!?

a b c d e f g h

The target is the queen on ai.


(Not good is 11. xes? CLJ b4! 12.cxb4
xbi+ 13. We2 c2+ 14. Wf3 fs+
with a draw.) 1i. .. exf4 12.0-0 CLJ f6
13.CLJd2 xfi+ 14.Wxfi fxe3 15.fxe3
d6 16.e4 the central pawns
are extremely strong! Grachev, B An interesting idea to acti
(2640)-Gelfand,B (2720) Moscow vate rook through a d5-b5 lift, but
2008. again, not good enough. Harassing
White's bishop with 12 ... h5 leads
10 ... e6 11. c2 gs!? to 13.CLJ f3! h4 14. e5 f6 15. xc4!
With this active move Black tries fxe5 16. xe6+ Wb8 17.0-0 exd4
to disturb the white bishop! Black 18.exd4 and etJ bd2 is next.
can solve the problem of his queen Also, after 12 ... b5 13.CLJ f3 b4!?
with 11 ... a3 12.CLJ f3 b2 13.CLJ xa3 14.CLJ fd2! xc3 15. xc3 xc3
xa3 14. xc4 CLJ f6 15.0-0 but 16.CLJ xc3 b4 17-CLJce4 c3 18.CLJb3+-
now there are new ones concerning
his king. The pair of bishops and
60 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

13.li f3 .B'.ds 18. 'ifxa7 f6


Defending the gs pawn and The idea is to cover es and protect
threatens . . . .B'.bs! the gs pawn.

Black has saved his queen, but the It is crucial to retain a bishop at
price is too high. He is underdevel e2! From hs he becomes an attack
oped with his king still in danger. ing monster. After 20. il xfi? the
position is not so clear 20 ... 1l xc3
15 il f6
.. 2i.ifa8+ Wd7 22.ifxb7+ We8 and
15 ... ifb2 16. ifa4+- with c4! now White's king has some safety
next! issues.
15 ... .B'.b2 16.ife4! 1lc6 (16... .B'.xe2
17. ifes Wd7 18. ifc7+ We8 19.lies 20 ... 'ifxc3
i.,q 20. if c8+ dB 21. ifd7+ Wf8 Now a force win arises. Protect
22.ifxf7#) 17. xc4 li f6 18.ifd3+- ing the b7 pawn with 20 ... ifb2 also
leads to a loss after 2i. ifb8+ Wd7
16.ifa4! 22. hs! g7 23. ifd6++-
The queen finally enters the
attack! 21. ifbs+ Wd7 22. if xb7+ Wds
23.ifbs+ Wd7 24. il hs!
16 . .B'. xb1 17. 'ifxas 1ids As I said before ...
Defending against mate on C7
CHAPTER TWO - EARLY i!fb6-c4 61

weak, a factor which was skilfully


punished by Vlatko Kovacevic!

a b c d e g h

24 ... e5
Closing one diagonal, but open
ing another!

25. ii. g4 + c6 2 6 . a8+ d6


27. d8 + c6 28. ii. d7+ d6
29. e8+ Compared with the previous two
with d7 mating. Conclusions games in this position the moves
for this game are exactly the same Cl::l d 2- ClJ f6 are inserted! White pro
as in the previous game Miles A. voked c4 with the idea of under
Minasian A. Ohrid 2001. Black en mining Black's center with b3 or e4!
countered the same problems after Of the view that it's impossible to
6 ... .1t. fs? prevent this, Black decides to take
1-0 the bishop pair.

7 Cl::l hs

V. Kovacevic (2555) - J. Pinter (2535) The move 7... g6 is mentioned in


EU-chT (Men), Plovdiv (1.4), 1983 the introduction to chapter 2.

In this game Black avoided the open 8. gs


ing trap of the two previous games. Provoking a weakening.
In this game the moves ctJ f6- ctJd2
were inserted, after which Black 8 ... h6 9. h4 gs
used a dubious plan of taking the Such aggressive play implies
bishop pair but weakening his king consequences.
side with h6-g5. The squares g4-hs
around Black king became very
62 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

Black takes the bishop pair after


losing a lot of time. Everything has
its price!

12.gb g7 13.e4 xg3 14.hxg3


Both sides have fulfilled their ide
as! White has conducted his main
idea e4 while Black gains the bishop
pair.

A very important intermediate


move with White grabbing a tem
po! This motif is famous also from
other openings.

10 g7

With this move Black is avoiding


bad structures! 10 ... gxh4 11. ilxh5;;!;;
or 10 f4 11.exf4 gxh4 12. il hs
..

'.Bg8 13.g3;;!;;
White is using the light squares
on the kingside and aiming to put
a bishop on hs! An advantage also
comes from 15.g4!? ild7 16.e5;;!;; with
the maneuver fi-g3-h5

15 il d7

After 15 ... hs Black would have


other kinds of problems 16. hf1 g4
17.e3 e7 18.0-0-0;;!;; and the hs
pawn is weak after doubling rooks
on the h file.
CHAPTER TWO - EA R LY b6-c4

16. h5?!

18 5
..

This is a little bit careless, giving Black was forced into this reac
Black some counterplay. White was tion. What else against CLJg4-f4?
supposed to play first 16.CLJg4! not
allowing any counterplay 16 ... CLJe7 19.exf6 !! xf6 20.ll:Jg4 !! f5 21.ll:J f3
17.CLJe3 c7 18. hs Black position is terrible! White
controls all the important squares!
/."'\ .,,
16 e7
.

Failing, but an interesting try 21 d6 22. !!fe1 e8


.

nonetheless! Black should search Exchanging his bad bishop, but


for counterplay with 16 ... ll:J xd4!? the e6 pawn also becomes weaker.
17.cxd4 xd4 18.o-o-o c3 White
has to be careful now 19.CLJdf3 (19. 23. xe8 !! xe8 24. !!e2
bxc3? xc3 20. xc3 E:c8 21. xc8+ White doubles his rooks on the
i.xc8+) 19 ... cxb2+ 20. b1 !!c8 e-file after which all his pieces will
2i.b3 c3 22. xb6 axb6 be focused on weaknesses in Black
White's chances are preferable, but position!
still, Black should have gone for it.
24 CLJc6 25. !!ae1 !!e7?

17.0-0 o-o 18.e5! Blundering a pawn in a really


Now the weaknesses are felt more difficult position. The only move to
acutely around the black king. save a pawn was 25 ... d7 but still
Black has too many weaknesses.
White can continue by also taking
space on the queenside with 26.b4!
cxb3 27.axb3
64 WI N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

26. xe6!+- 37.cxd4 c3 38.bxc3 b2 39. d1 e4


40.CZJd3
and a black pawn is caught.
1-0

Lessons to be learned:

i. Against Black action on the


kingside with h6-gs never
forget to insert the important
intermediate move e2 tak
ing a tempo by attacking the
knight on hs!
2. Use the wea k squares
The protection of the black rook in Black 's position, put
on fs is gone! ting the bishop on hs and
a knight on g4, with the plan
26 ... xe6 27.xfs xei+ 28.CZJ xe1 ll:J h2-ilhs- ll:Jg4!
CZJe7 29.f3 g6 3. After the typical push e4,
With . . . b1 next Black hopes to close the center with es tak
make some counterplay! ing space! Bishops are weak
er than knights in closed
30.'i!?fl! position!
Prophylactic moves are almost
always good in technical positions.
N. Sedlak (2576) - G . M. Todorovic
30 bs (2479)
30... b1 3 1 . CZJ f6 + x f6 SRB-chT Subotica (8), 09.09.2008
32.xf6+-
In this game, compared to the pre
31.CZJe3 e6 32.a3 as 33.g4 vious one, Black used another plan.
Fixing the pawns and creating In the position after 11. it.g3 my op
a stronghold on fs for the knight. ponent tried 11 .. il fs, putting the
bishop on g6 after Whites move
33 ... b4 34.axb4 axb4 35.CZJ 1c2 e4 with the idea to sustain pres
Now the <ls pawn falls after lZJ b4. sure on the center. However, the
black knight on g7 is left awkward
35 b3 36.CZJb4 ll.. xd4
ly placed. Later, Black tried to bring
A last try! him into the game via hs, but he
CHAPTER TWO - EA RLY 'i!fb6-c4 65

missed an exchange sacrifice after


which his center was broken apart.

1.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3 ClJc6 4.c3


b6 5.b3 c4 6.c2 ClJ f6 7.ll:Jd2
ll:Jhs 8. Slgs h6 9. Sl h4 gs 10 .1l.e2!

Gaining the tempo!

10 ll:Jg7

Black doesn't have a better op


tion! 10 ... gxh4 11. Slxh5;;!; a b c d e g h
10 ... ClJf4 11.exf4 gxh4 12. Sl h5 g8
13.g3;;!; 13 ... gxh4 14. xh4
Short castling was not occupying
my thoughts. It was more important
to add the rook into play, while the
white king will be safe on fi!

Actually only from here does


the game take a different track way
from the previous one! 11 ... ll:J fs Ko
vacevic V.-Pinter J. EU chT 1983.
Black overlooks an exchange sac
12.e4 Slg6 13.h4! rifice in his wish to have the dou
A good decision with the idea be ble threats . . . ll:Jg3 and . . . ClJ f6. With
ing to spoil Black's pawn structure a similar idea to bring knight to f6,
and enter the rook into the game! much better was 15 ... ClJe8! 16.b3 ClJf6
17.ll:Jes ll:Jxes 18. xes g8 19.bxc4
66 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

lt:Jxe4 20.!fb3 lt:J xd2 21.Wxd2 dxc4 22 .i.g6?


22.!fxc4+ !fc6 23.!fxc6+ bxc6;;l;;

16. B'.xhs!+-
Deflecting the bishop from the
diagonal. Black's center crumbles
after this one!

16 ... il.xhs 17.exds B'. xds


17... g6 doesn't save the day.
18.!fd1 lt:Jas (18... B'.xd5 19.etJxc4 ifdB
20.lt:Jfes lt:Jxes 21.lt:Jxes) 19.lt:Jes
B'.xds 20.lt:JdxC4 lt:J xc4 2i. kxc4

The last chance was 22 ... kxf3! en


tering into complications 23 . .i.xf3
!fc4+ 24. !fe2 (24. Wg1 lt:Jxd4 25. !fe4
lt:Jxf3+ 26.!fxf3 !fg4 27-iXf7 il.d6
28. B'.e1 .i.xg3 29fxg3 ifxg3 30. ifxe6+
WbB 31.!fes+ !fxes 32. B'.xes B'.g3)
24 ... !fxc3 25. B'.d1 lt:J xd4 26.!fes
!fc4+ 27. Wg1 lt:J xf3+ 28.gxf3 B'.xg3+
29.fxg3 !fxb4 30. B'.ci+ Wd8 31.Wh1
Necessary. 3i. .. !fd6 32.!ff6+ .i.e7
33.ifC3 .i.fs 34.!fcs+ We7 35.!fxb7+
Wf6 36. !fb2+

23.!fa4
19 ... e6 There is no defence against the
Black was forced to return the ex coming bs!
change. 19 ... B'.d7 20.ds B'. xds (20...
il.g6 21. !fa4 + -) 21.lt:J xds !fxds 23 ... ke4
22. B'.d1 !fe6 23.etJd4+- 23 ... a6 24.bs axbs 25.!fas+ Wd7
26.!fxb7++-
20.lt:J xds !fxds 21. Wfi B'.gs 22.b4?!
An incautious, nervous move. 24.bs lt:Jds 2s.!fxa7 B'. xg3
Better is to activate the rook with The only way to prolong the
22. B'.d1 and c4 comes next, and 22 ... surrender!
!fxa2 fails to 23.ds! kg6 24. !fc1 exds
25.!ff4 !fas 26. B'.xds !fb6 27.etJd4+-
CHAPTER TWO - EARLY 'i!fb6-c4 67

26.a8+ d7 27.fxg3 .td6 28.g4


e8?
Blundering a queen! Black could
continue to fight with 28 ... .t xf3
29. xf3 (29.gxf3 hs) 29 ... xbs+
30. e2 b2 3i.a4+ e7 32. d1
xc3 33. f3+-

29.c4
Conclusion: In this game the
most important moment was 13.h4!
which presents the refutation of
a generally very dubious set-up for a b c d e g h
Black.
1-0 The most logical decision in or
der to complete development as
soon as possible! Ruining the cent
F. Berkes (2645) -A. Rustemov (2520) er with 8.b3 also makes a lot of
Germany (14.2), 28.03.2009 sense 8 ... cxb3 9.axb3 c8 10. b1
e6 11. d3 .ie7 12.h3 .i hs 13.CZJgf3
In this game the main characteristic o-o 14.0-0;!; with a better structure
is how White regroups his pieces and for White. The plan is b4- CZJ b3- CZJcs
leads out the attack after the nicely
prepared - and typical push - e4 8 ... xe2 9.CZJ xe2 e6 lO.o-o e7
in the London System. In this game 11.CZJg3!
again with the inserted moves CZJd2
& . . . CZJf6, Black chose 7... 1l.g4 with
the idea of . . . e6 next, which allowes
White to push e4. White continued
the game excellently after which he
won in an attractive way.

l.d4 ds 2. f4 CZJf6 3.e3 cs 4.c3 CZJc6


5.CZJd2 b6 6. b3 C4 7C2 it._g4
Pay attention! Here is the difference
in comparison to the previous two
games where we have seen 7... ctJ hs
68 WI N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

White has to first prepare e4! xg5 19. h3, Black has big weak
11.e4?! CZJxe4 12.CZJxe4 dxe4 13.xe4 nesses around his king.
o-o 14. ab1 ad8= and White
doesn't have nice co-ordination. 13.CZJgxe4 dxe4 14.CZJxe4;;!;;
The rook on bl and knight on e2 are A stable center and more space
awkwardly placed. gives good hopes of building an at
tack on the kingside. Changing the
11 ... 0-0 structure with 14.CZJ xc4?! looks to
With the annoying move 11 ... h5?! be going in for unnecessary com
Black gives up the g5 square to the plications 14 ... a6 15.CZJe3 (15.CZJd6
White bishop. For example: 12.h3 h4 ilxd6 16.ilxd6 CZJxd4 1'J,cxd4 xd6
13.CZJe2 ds 14.b3 b5 15.M a6 16.axb5 18.xe4 b6+.; 15 .CZJes gs 16.CZJxc6
axb5 17.bxc4 bxc4 18. ii.g5;;!;; and now xc6 1'J. ii.g3 adB) 15 ... g5 16. il.g3
Black has to worry about his h4 pawn f5 17.d5 CZJds!
and the position of his king.

12.e4
White has achieved what he
planned. He has full control of the
center!

12 CZJxe4
.

If Black doesn't react in the cent


er, and continues instead with
12 ... ds, then comes 13.e5 CZJd7
14. ae1! (14 .b4?! with the idea to
prevent counterplay on the queen
side doesn't work because Black has
the strong answer 14 ...bs 15 .a4 as!
16.axbs CZJxd4! 1'J,cxd4 axb4) 14 ... The wrong plan which leads Black
b5 15. e3! All the pieces are enter- into a passive position. A better de
ing into attack 15 ... e8 (the adven- fensive plan was to add the rook
turous move 15 ...gs takes a bish- into play via the 5th rank. 14 ... fds
op but at a big cost! 16.llJe2! gxf4 15. fe1 d5 16. e3 f5! 17. kg3
17. h3 fs 18.CZJx/4 f7 1 9 .CZJxe6 d8 18. ae1 b5 and the position
c8 20.CZJ/4) 16.CZJ h5 g6 (16 ...CZJfB looks stable. The rook on the 5th
17. h3 CZJg6 18 . .1t.e3 b4 19f4 d7 rank causes difficulties for White's
20.g4-+ ) n k h6 ! kg5 18. k xg5 attack.
CHAPTER TWO - EARLY !i'b6-c4 69

15. E'. fe1 ifds 16. E'.e3 A blunder, probably in time trou
The rook lift, entering the attack ble! The safest move was 21. .. Wh8
via the 3rd rank on g3 or h3! 22.CLid2! (22. E'.g3 ifJs!=) 22 ... .1i.d6
23 . .1i. xd6 ifxd6 24.ctJ f3 and it's
16 bs 17. E'.ae1 E'.ae8
. just matter of when Black will fall.
Black is condemned to sit and There are many concerns in his po
wait while White has a free hand to sition, for example, how to react af
play in the center and on the king ter the following series: CLies, CLigs,
side. The only active plan - with E'.e4-E'. h4.
n .. b4? - doesn't work because the
pawn on c4 becomes weak. 18. ife2 22. E'.g3+- f6?!
as 19. E'.g3 Wh8 20.CLid2 The fastest way to lose! 22 ... Wh8
23.ctJgs! xgs 24. E'. xgs es 25. E'. hs!
18.ife2! h6 26. xh6 Wg8 27. gs f6 28. xf6
The queen is also needed to help gxf6 29. E'. h8+ Wf7 30. E'. h7+ Wg8
in attack. 31.ifhs+-
22 ... iffs 23.ifh6 f8 24. it.d6!
18 as 19.a3 a4
.. Wh8 25. it. xf8 gxh6 26 . .fi.g7+ Wg8
Black closed the queenside be 27.ctJ f6 + if xf6 28 . .1i. xf6 + Wf8
cause he couldn't face thinking 29. E'.g7+-
about White's a4 every move, but on
the other hand Black has now lost 23. ifh6 k f8
all chances to play on the queenside. This allows CLi f6 next but be
tween two bad choices something
20. iff3 E'.d8 21. ifh3 E'. fe8? had to be picked! 23 ... g6 24. E'.xg6+
hxg6 25.ifxg6+ Wh8 26.ifh6+ Wg8
27. E'.e3+-

24.CLixf6+ Wf7 2s. ifh4!


White finishes the game in an el
egant way!

25 ... ile7
25 ... gxf6 26.ifxh7++-

26. E'. xg7+ Wxg7 27. ifh6+ Wf7


28.ctJ xds
A nice game by GM Berkes!
1-0
70 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

Lessons to be learned:

1. Before pushing e4, always try


to evaluate the consequences
of that move. You must not be
unprepared!
2. After a well-prepared e4,
White gains the possibility to
build an attack on the black
king, but use all the pieces!
3. Black cannot make counter
play on the queenside with . . .
b4, because c4 will be weak!
C H A PTER T H R E E

CLASSICA L SET-U P WITHOUT e6

5 ... b6 will be also be displayed


as a very important continuation
In this chapter we will show 6. b3 .t f5 (6...g6 7. xb6 axb6
a classical set-up for Black with the 8. !ilq! See Sedlak N.-Miranovic R.
idea of developing the light square Osijek 2008. 6... c4 is a transposi
bishop "outside" the pawn chain be tion to C H A P T E R 2.) 7.dxc5! xb3
fore the . . . e6 move, so as not to lock 8.axb3;t See Delchev A.-Behling R.
him in. Forni di Sopra 2014.
5 ... !iL g4 this move is very rare but
s ... !iL fs makes a lot of sense. My recom
In this position the biggest dilem mendation for White is to continue
ma is that White can exploit the ab with 6.CZJgf3! Always pay attention
sence of the light square bishop by to the move orders in he London!
putting pressure on the queenside. (The immediate 6. b3 doesn't
bring too much 6... d7 7.CL\gf3
c4!00) 6 ... e6 7. b3 (7. a4!?N with
the idea of pressuring the c6 point
with ii.b5- CZJe5-c4. This position re
minds me of an improved version
72 W I N N I N G WITH TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

of the Cambridge Springs Varia


tion in the Queens Gambit with re
versed colours and a tempo more)
7... b6?! - see Miles A.-Nogueiras
J. Capablanca mem. 2000.

6.ttJgf3!
Here we see a very important
move order! Our favorite 6. b3
here does not achieve much 6 ...
d7 7.ttJgf3 c4 8.d1 e6 9. e2
.ll d6 10 . .ll xd6 xd6 11.0-0 (11.b3
bs 12.a4 b4!=) 11 ... 0-0 12.ttJ h4 bs An interesting try in this position
13.ttJxfs exfs and White lacks space which hasn't been tested enough in
and cannot even dream about the practice is 7.dxc5!? xb2 8.ttJd4 and
e4 push. White develops a particular initia
tive, but it seems that the defensive
6 ... b6 possibilities for Black are enough.
Pressurising the b2 pawn is al 8 ... es 9. il.xes .ll g4 10. b1 a3 11.f3
ways questionable: will it work well l:t::l xes 12.fxg4 .i. xcs 13.l:t::l b s xa2
or not? White always needs to have 14. a1 b2 15. b1 a2 16. a1
a good answer to that! Also critical b2 17. b1 1/2-1/2 (17) Prie,E
is 6 ... e6 7. b3 -see the games Kam (2490) -Flear,G (2483) San Sebas
sky G.-Holt C. Las Vegas 2015. and tian 2011.
Chernyshov K.-Seres L. Budapest
2004. (always deserving of attention
is 7. Ji.bs!? pressuring the c6 point A. Delchev (2638) - R. Behling (2117)
after a4- /:tJe5.) sth Forni di Sopra open (1), 14.06.2014

7.ttJh4! This game is very instructive al


This is objectively the only way though there is a huge difference in
to fight for an advantage. It's im knowledge and Elo between these
portant to remove bishop from the two players. In the classical set-up
diagonal and to get the c2 square for with the moves . . . b6- b3 in
the queen. See Sedlak N.-Svetuskin serted Black continues with 6 ...
D. Memorial Bora Kostic, Vrsac fs, threatening ... c4 with the idea
2012. of forcing an endgame, after which
White reacted with the best 7.dc!
forcing Black to take on b3 - after
CHAPTER T H R E E - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H O U T e6 73

which White took the initiative in a4 11.CZJbd2 tl::l d7 12 . ..1i.bs f6 13.0-0


the endgame. xcs=

1.d4 ds 2 . ..1i. f4 CZJ f6 3.e3 cs 4.c3 8 ... es 9. g3 xcs


tl::lc 6 s.tl::l d 2 l!fb6 6.l!fb3 iHs?! On first sight Black's position
Black's idea is to play . . . c4 and looks nice thanks to the center, but
force l!fb6-ab6 which leads Black to that center is actually fragile and
a pleasant endgame. Unfortunately White can undermine it.
for him, White has a strong answer
after which Black must enter a very
unpleasant endgame!

7.dxcs!

The correct move order! Other


wise Black equalizes easily, for ex
ample 10.b4?! i.d6 11.tl::l gf3 tl::l hs!
7... l!fxb3 8.axb3! 12.bs CZJ xg3 13.hxg3 tl::l e 7=
An important move! Only in this
way can White keep an advantage! 10 ... CZJd7
With the further b4, and maybe at The most logical move with the
some point bs, White will attack idea to firm up the center after . . .f6!
Black's center. It would appear that If 10 ... e4 11.ClJd4 CZJ xd4 12.exd4 .i9Lb6
White will use the a-file in his ac 13. e2 o-o 14.tl::l fi il.e6 1s.tl::l e 3;!;;
tions. With 8.CZJ xb3?! White cannot and White's pawns on the queen
save the cs pawn after which Black side are more mobile.
can achieve a comfortable posi 10 ... d6 11. bs tl::l d7 12.tl::l d 4!
tion. 8 ... es 9 . ..1i.g3 as! 10.ClJ f3 (10.a4 exd4 13 . .i9L xd6 dxe3 14.fxe3 the
i.c2 11. CZJd2 ClJd7 12. ClJg/3 f6+) 10 ... bishop on d6 is a nightmare for
Black.
74 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

10 . . . d4 1 1 .b4 dxe3 1 2 . fxe3 (15... ti:Jb6?! 16.e4! dxe4 l'J.ti:Jgs ii.g6


Kovacevic,S (2435)-Garcia,G (2520) 18.CZJgxe4 'B.adB 19f3 ii.e7 20. 'B.fd1
Mislata 1993 12 ... il xe3? 13.CZJc4+ with the idea of CZJ fi- ti:Je3. White's
with no defence against CZJe3 or pieces are much better placed.)
CZJd6! 16. il. h4 e4 17. ii. xf6 gxf6 18.CZJh4
ii.e6;\;
11.b4 ii.d6 12. ilbs
This move is very logical and in
the spirit of the position. 12.CZJd4!
also looks convincing

12 ... Cl:J xd4 (12 . . . exd4 13. il.xd6 Without this move Black would
dxe3 14fxe3f6 15. ile2 <J;;j7 16.0-0) be fine, but very often you need just
13.exd4 f6 (13 ... 0-0 14. ilbs/6 15.0-0 one tempo stand well!
ti:Jb6 16.ti:Jf3 a6 l'J. ile2 'B.feB 18.dxes
fxes 19. Jl d1 ilg6 2 0. 'B. e1 CZJ c4 13 ... CZJxd4
21. ila4! bs 22. il. b3 e4 23.CZJd4; 13 ... exd4 14. it.. xd6 dxc3 (14 ... dxe3
13 ... <J;;e 7 14.dxes li:Jxes 15.CZJb3t) 1sfxe3 <J;;j7 1 6.0-0) 15.bxc3 <J;; f7
14. it.. e 2 <J;;e 7 15.dxes fxes 16.0-0 16. il xc6 bxc6 17-ti:Jb3 it.d3 18.CZJd4
Black's king is not safe, nor is the 'B. hc8 19. <J;;d 2 il.C4 20. 'Bast
center.
14.exd4 <J;;e7
12 ...f6?! Defends the bishop with the idea
Black strengthens the center and of ed.
decides to keep his king in the cent
er. Sometimes even in endgames, 15.dxes it.. xes
the king can be unsafe in the cent 15 ... Cl:Jxes 16.CZJb3 a6 17. it.. e 2;\;
er, however, so better was 12 ... 0-0 Black would make just a short
13.0-0 a6 14. it.. M 'B. fes 15. it.. b 3 CZJ f6 l i ved central demonstration
CHAPTER T H R E E - C LASS ICAL SET- U P W I T H O U T e6 75

after 15 .. .fxe5 16./:lJ f3 'it>f6 (16... e4 19. gcs+ Wb6


17./:lJd4) 17. i. xd7 i. xd7 18.0-0- 19 ... 'it>d6 20.f4+-
0 i.e6 19. g he1 e4 20. xd6 exf3
21. gd3!+- with gf3! next. 20.f4!
Black resigned in view of gd5 or
16.0-0 a6 17. xd7 'it>xd7 18. gas?! it.fa!
1-0

Lessons to be learned:

i. Positions in classical set-ups


with the moves ifb6-ifb3
inserted are always tricky
and you always have to pay
attention to not enter into
a bad endgame! In this game,
White's reaction with 7.dc!
a b c d e g h was very important!
2. Always, after entering the
Giving unnecessary chances endgame when Black takes on
to Black. A safer way to a big ad b3, White has to react with ab!
vantage was 18./:lJ f3! g he8 19. g fd1 Massive pawns on the queen
'it>c6 20. ga5! b5 2i. ge1 i. xg3 (21 ... side and the a-file gives White
i.e4 22.l:ZJxes+ fxes 23.f3 Ji.. d3 many good options!
24. gxes) 22. g xe8 g xe8 23.hxg3
c8 24./:lJd4+ 'it>d6 25. ga1 Black
has two weaknesses - the pawns on
d5 and a6 - and it must be enough N . Sedlak - R. Miranovic
for a win. Ch Croatia Osijek (8), 18.10.2008

18 ... 'it>c6? In comparison with the previous


Black misses a golden oppor game, again in a classical set-up,
tunity to save the game: 18 ... b6! this time my opponent chose 6 ... g6!?
19. g xd5+ 'it>e6 20.c4 (20. gxes+ with the idea of playing . . . c4, and
fxes 21. ge1 g hcB 22. xes 'it>j700 ) after ifc2, winning a tempo with . . .
20 ... g hds 2i. ii.. xe5 fxe5 22. gc1 Ji.. f5! I decided to go into the end
gxd5 23.cxd5+ 'it>xd5 24./:lJc4 gbs game after 7. ifb6 with i.C7 next,
25. /:lJe3+ 'it>e6 26. gC7;;!;; hoping for better chances thanks
to my superior pawn structure.
76 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTE M

The critical moment in the opening 7... axb6 8. c7!


was 8 ... tl:Jd7?! which brought Black
a passive position! Instead of this,
Black had an interesting possibili
ty of sacrificing the pawn and play
ing for activity. These kinds of deci
sions are always hard, especially if
you haven't checked it before.

Only with this strong move can


White fight for an advantage.

8 ... tl:Jd7?!
This natural human move para
lyzes his own pieces. Black could
play much more actively by prepar
ing . . . es at all costs. 8 ... cxd4! 9.exd4
a b c d e g h ii.g7 10.tl:Jgf3 fs 11. xb6 o-o
12. c7 :8. fcs 13. f4 tl:Jd7 14. ii.e2
The idea of this move, as stated, (14. bs es 15. i.. xc6 :8.xc6 16.tl:Jxes
is to play . . . c4 and after '%!fc2 to take (16. dxes tl:Jcs 17.0-0 tl:Jd3 18. i.. e3
a tempo with . . . il. fs! tl:Jxb2 19.tl:Jd4 :8.xc3 20.tl:Jxfs gxfs
21. il.d4 :8.d3 22.tl:Jb3 tlJ C4) 16 .. .
7.'%!fxb6 tl:J xes 17.dxes (17. .ii. xes h6!) 17 .. .
What else? Otherwise Black is :8.b6 18.b3 f6) 14 ... es! (14 . . . tl:J b6
fine! 7.tl:Jgf3 c4 8. '%!fxb6 (8. '%!:Vc2 il.fs 15.a3 tl:Ja4 16. :8.a2;;!;;) 15.dxes tl:Jdxes
9.'%!:Vc1 tl:Jhs+) 8 ... axb6 9.a3 bs 10. :8.c1 16.tl:Jxes tl:Jxes n it.. xes (1;w-o tl:Jd3
il.g7= 18. xd3 xd3 19. :8.fd1 d4) 17... it.. xes
or 7.dxcs '%!fxcs s.tl:Jgf3 g7 9.h3 18.tl:J f3 f6 19.0-0 d4! 20.tl:J xd4
o-o 10. ii.e2 :8.e8= St. xd4 2i.cxd4 :8.c2 22. f3 :8. xb2
with a drawish position.
CHAPTER T H R E E - CLASS ICAL S ET-U P WI T HO UT e6 77

9. i.hs! a bright future for Black either.


The best place for the bishop! It For example: 12 ... c4 13.tl:Jbd2 tl:Ja6
prevents . . . e5 and fixes the b6 pawn! 14. il.g3 tl:J f6 15.h3! it's very impor
tant to keep the dark-squared bish
9 ... il.g710.tl:Jgf3 o-o 11.0-0 tl:Jcb8 op which causes troubles for black.
The white bishop on c7 is very 15 ... i.d7 16.a4; 12 ... tl:Ja6 13. il.xd7
unpleasant and black tries to elimi tl:JxC? (13 ... i.. xd7 14. i.. xb6 c4 15.tl:Jcs
nate him with tl:Ja6. In praxis there tl:Jxcs 1 6. i.. xcs) 14. xcB .B'. fxcB
has also been another try from 15.dxc5 bxc5 16.tl:Jxc5 tl:Jb5 17.tl:Jd3
Black 1i. .. e6 12.M il. f6 with the
idea of removing the white bish 13.cxd4 tl:Ja6 14 .B'.fct!

op from C? 13 . .B'. fc1 it.dB 14. il.d6 It was not necessary to retreat
il.e7 15. il.C? it.dB 16. i.g3 i. f6 the bishop! Occupation of the c-file
17-tl:Jb3! c4 1B.tl:Jbd2 .B'.eB 19.b3! cxb3 and eventually bringing the rook to
20.tl:J xb3 tl:J fB 2i.c4 dxc4 22.tl:Jbd2! c7 is more important than saving
c3 2 3 . tl:J c 4 Bogosavlj evic , B a bishop.
(2550)-Rabrenovic,V (2393) Valjevo
2011 14 ... tl:J xc7 15 .B'. xc7 .B'.ds 16 . .B'.ac1

tl:J fs?
Maybe this move was based on
a faulty calculation. Black could
play 16 ... i. f6 17-a3 tl:J fB with trans
position to the game but without
giving up the e1 pawn.

With the plan being to force


Black's reaction in the center!

12 cxd4

This looks horrible, but oth


er continuations don't promises
78 WI N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

A very safe and slow move. Bet Of course, White has to avoid
ter was 17. g xe7! but it looked to be simplifications. The knight is much
taking an unnecessary risk. 17... d7 better than the bishop!
(17... gxa2 18. !ti.eB! !ti.e6 19. gcq
gxb2 20. bd2 gas 21.g3 il. h3 20 !ti.d7 21. !ti.xd7 gxd7 22.f4
.

22. it.. xf7+ <itlhB 23. gci +-) 18. g xc8 Taking space is always good if
gaxc8 19, gxd7 g xd7 20. k xd7 gc2 you don't have any better option.
2i.e1 gxb2 22.c1 gb1 23.cd3
ga1 24. kcs gxa2 25. !ti.xb7+- 22 hs 23. <itlfa Wh6 24. We2

Avoiding a ny counterplay !
17... !ti.f6 1S.e5 e6 19. g7c3 24.d2? xd4! 25.exd4 it.. xd4+
Black manages to expel the rook 26.We2 it.. xc3 27. g xc3 f6
from 7th rank and it looks like he
has some air. 24 ... gads 25.d2
The knight deserves a better place
19 ... <itlg7? than b3!
A move into space! The bishop on
f6 is not useful and it was the right 25 gas 26.b Wg7 27.g3

time to exchange him. 19 ... it.. xes! This is always necessary before
20.dxes !ti.d7 21. ii.. xd7 gxd7 22.4;!; h3! After 27.h3?! Black prevents
Control of the c-file and a better White's plan with 27... h4!
structure guarantee a long term ad
vantage to White, but the position 27 gd6 2S.h3 ga4 29.b4 gas
.

is playable for Black Black is forced to play passively


because his pieces are limited, while
White can slowly improve his posi
tion by grabbing more space!

30, gcs
Entering the 8th rank is always
good idea.

30 gxcS 31. gxcS gd7 32.g4 hxg4


33.hxg4
Black is slowly losing squares for
his pieces!
CHAPTER T H R E E - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H O UT e6 79

33 gs 34.fs Cl:Jds 35.Cl:Jes!+


40 CLJc6 41. !!xf7+
..

Everything is ready for the Conclusion: In positions with


denouement! the inserted moves b6-b3, oc
casionally it is possible to take on
b6, but only in some concrete sit
uations. In this case the main rea
son for entering the endgame was
because of White's move ii.C? caus
ing a lack of co-ordination between
Black's pieces!
1-0

A. J. Miles (2579) - J. Nogueiras San


tiago (2563)
35th Capablanca Memorial El ite
35 ... !!d6 Varadero (11), 20.os.2000
35 ... xe5 36.dxe5 d4 37.e4!+
Black is almost in zugzwang and the Compared with previous games, in
pawn on d4 will fall soon or later. this game Anthony Miles met a rare
reaction from Black in 5 ... $.g4.
36. !!c7 With enterprising play, he showed
Now the 7th rank is more the big downside of the seemingly
important! active bishop on g4. For the ump
teenth time, Anthony Miles showed
36 ... e6 37.<it>f3 <it>gs 38.CLJhd3 his great feel for the London System
The knight has finished one job and endgames which arises out of it.
and now his help is necessary again!
1.d4 ds 2.Cl:Jf3
38 ... <it>g7 Our move order is 2. f4 c5 3.e3
38 ... il. xe5 39.CLJ xe5 exf5 40.gxf5 CLJc6 4.c3 CLJ f6 5.CLJd2 it.g4?! 6.CLJgf3
<it>g7 41. <it>g4 <it>f6 42.a4 zugzwang e6 7.b3
42 ... <it>g7 43. <it>xg5+-
2 CLJf6 3. i.f4 cs 4.e3 CLJc6 5.c3 g4
..

39.fxe6 !!xe6 40. !!d7 It would appear that this is not


Finally one of the pawns falls! a safe place for the bishop after
a further CLJe5.
80 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

8
7 . ... . . ... ....
:4 ,
!a!
. . ,.% f
.

n n
. r: -- 0nn
b m b
1 6 '8/, . ,' - ,-,
a b c d e f g h

With this intermediate move,


White seizes the initiative, espe
cially thanks to the uncertain bish
op on g4! (Very slow is 10. iLxes?!
Actually, from this moment the a6! 11. iLxc6+ ifxc6 12. ifxc6+
game starts to be of interest to us. bxc6=) 10 ... '2ld3+! This is the only
good answer for Black. With oth
6 e6
er moves Black walks into tem
6 ... cxd4 transposes to the Carls po gains. (10... li.xcs? 11. iLxes iLfs
bad structure which we covered 12.g4 il.g6 13. iLxg7 'f!.g8 14. il.d4;
in C H A P T E R 1. 7.exd4 ifb6 (7... e6 1 0 ... ifxcs? 11. iLxes iL hs 12.l2i b3
8. ifb3 ifcs 9. il.d3 -transposition ifb6 13. li.d4 ifq 14.l2ias 'f!.c8 15.c4
to CHAPTER) 8. ifb3! a6 1 6. iLxc6+ bxc6 17. cxds exds
18. 'f!.ci+-) 11. il. xd3 if xb2 again
7.ifb3 the only principled response! (11 ...
The most common reaction in iLxcs?! 12.b4 iLe7 13.bs ifas 14. ifc2
the London System is pressuring '2i b8 15. e4) 12. '8b1 ifxc3 13. il.bs!
the b7 pawn! A very interesting al other attractive-looking moves
ternative is 7.ifa4!? with the idea don't offer much for White! (13. iLa6
of treating the position in Cam ifas!; 13.0-0! iLxcs 14. '8xb7 o-o!)
bridge-Springs spirit by creating 13 ... '8c8D (13 ... ifxcs 14.0-0! 'f!.c8
pressure on the c6 square 7... '2ld7 15. Jles il.fs 16. iLxc6+ ifxc6 17. 'f!.fc1!
8. iL bs ifb6 (8... 'f!.c8 ?! 9. iLxc6 'f!.xc6 ifxa4 18. 'f!.xc8+ <t:id7 19. 'f!.q+ <tle8
10.ifxa7; 8... ifc8!? 9.0-0 with the 20. '8 bxb7 if h4D 21. 'f!.c8+ ifd8
plan c4!) 9.'2les '2idxes 10.dxcs! 22. '8xd8+ <tlxd8 23. 'f!.xf7) 14.0-
0 and White has strong attack!
It shows in the following varia
tions. For example: 14 ... ifxd2 (14...
iLe7 15. l2i b3 o-o 1 6. iLxc6 bxc6
CHAPTER T H R E E - CLASS I CA L SET- U P WI T H O UT e6 81

l'J.iLd6! i.. xd6 18.cxd6 iLfs 19. 'Bbc1; iLc2 15. iLbs) 10.dxes ll:Jd7 11. iLbs
14 ... il.xcs 1s.l'i:Jb3 il.. e7 16. VJ9xa7 o - o iLe7 12.e4 o-o-o 13.0-0 ll:Jb8;\;;
1'J,Vl9xb7) 15. ii.. xc6+ bxc6 16. 'Bb8!
'Bxb8 17.VJ6xc6+ e7 18.VJHC?+ f6 s ... ll:Jxes
19.VJHes+ e7 20.VJ6xb8+- The typical 8 ... c4 ?! doesn't work
well here because White imple
7 VJ6b6?!
ments e4 easily. 9. VJ9 xb6 axb6
A natural reaction, seen many 10.ll:J xg4 ll:J xg4 11.e4! bs 12.exds
times before, but in this specific exds 13. it.e2 CLJ f6 14.0-0 Jle7
position it is not good! Black didn't 15. iLf3 o-o 16. 'B fe1 b4 17.CLJfl bxc3
evaluate the endgame which will 18.bxc3 bs 19.CLJe3 'B fd8 20 . .ies!
occur very well! Another and better
option for Black was 7... VJ6c8 8.ll:Jes! 9. .ixes VJ6xb3
ll:Jxes (8... iLe7 9. iLbs o - o 10. iLxc6 Black was more-or-less forced
bxc6 11. VJ9a4 cxd4 12. ll:Jxc6 Vl9d7 into on this decision to head for
13. CLJxe7+ VJ9xe7 14. VJ9xd4 1/2-1/2 a slightly worse endgame! 9 ... c4
Abel, L-Boensch,U/Szekszard 1989/ 10.VJ6a4+ CLJd7 11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3;\;;
(39)) 9. iLxe5 CLJd7 10.VJHM!?;\;;
10.axb3;\;;
The a-file and doubled b-pawns
promise a space advantage and ini
tiative on the queenside for White!

10 CLJd7 11 .ig3 ii.. e7 12.dxcs!


White didn't want to hurry with


the endgame! An advantage was
also promised by 8.VJ6xb6!? axb6
9.ll:Jes ll:Jxes (9 ... '8c8 10.f3 iLfs 11.g4
i.. g6 12.h4 CLJ xes 13.dxe5 CLJd7 14.hs Only with this active approach
can White use his pluses on the
82 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

queenside. Now the b-pawns be 14 ... 0-0


come mobile! Black didnt have a better choice
than playing with an isolated pawn.
12 ... .txcs 14 ... dxe4 15.ezJ xe4 o - o 16 . .id6!
Moving the same piece two .i.xd6 17.ezJxd6 b6 18 . .ib5 or 14...
times in a row doesn't look great, d4 15.ezJc4 dxc3 16.bxc3 o-o 17. .id6!
but Black doesn't have a better so .i.xd6 18.ezJxd6
lution. For example: 12 ... lZ:J xc5?! de
velops White's pieces with tempo 15.f3!
13 . .tb5+ ezJd7 14.e4! a6 15.fa h5 White makes space for the bishop
16.exd5 exd5 17.0-0 d8 18. fe1! on fa and subsequent better control
f8 19 . .tfi lZ:Jc5 20.b4 ezJe6 2i.ezJb3 of the d4 square!

13.b4 .i.e7 15 ... .ih5 16.exd5 exds 17. i.bs


13 ... b6 essentially does not In the endgame, the isolated
change much compared with the pawn is much weaker than with
game! 14.e4! o-o (14 ... d4 15.f3 .t h5 queens on the board. Black will not
16. i.b5 a6 17.ezJc4) 15. i.b5 fd8 be able to free himself from the d
16.f3 .th5 nexd5 exd5 18.ezJb3 e8+ pawn responsibilities with . . . d4 be
19. d2 .i.e3+ 20. d1 cause White controls that square
very well!

White continues his concrete


plan of pressuring the center! White continues the logical idea
to prevent d4! It was possible to also
play 18.0-0 because 18 ... d4 was not
CHAPTER T H R E E - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H O U T e6 83

a real threat (18 ... a6 19. ii.f2 axbs


20. ii.xb6 ii.g6 21.b3) 19 . .B'. fe1!
ii.gs 20.e4 e3+ 21. fa xfa+
22.<it>xfa dxc3 23.bxc3 .ilg6 24.cs

18 ... a6
With the seemingly more active
18 ... lt.gs Black isn't able to solve his
problems either after 19.b3 c4
20.0-0 xb2 (20... a6 21. xc4 dxc4
22.cs) 21. .B'. xa7 .B'. xa7 22 . .il xa7
.ig6 23. d4 and White's pieces
are much better placed. The plan is
.B'.a1 or f4-fs.]
At the moment, White is not in
terested in the d4 square. First he
provokes new weaknesses on the
queenside!

23 ...b5 24 .B'.ad1 .ilf7 25.f4!


Concrete play in the endgame in


stead of thematic play is often more
effective. By putting the bishop to f3
White resolves the game.

White chose to continue the


game with the bishop pair. Interest
ing was 19 . .ixb6 axbs 20. <it>fa with
domination of the dark-squares!

19 ... d7 20.0-0 .B'.fes 21 . .B'.fe1 f6


With this move Black secures
a place for the knight on es and for
the bishop on f7.
26 ... d6 27. lt. f3 .B'.xei+ 28 . .B'.xe1
84 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

d6 29. i.cs d7 30. i. xe7 dxe7


3i. xe7 xe7 32. xa6+

29. xeS xe8 30. xa6 d2


31. as
The b2 pawn is indirectly pro
tected. Black must take care with
his bishops!

31 ... Wf7 32. e3 d3


32 ... xb2 33. ds+ We7 34 . .Jlcs+

33.Wfa fs

Black has rid himself of the


weakness on ds, but a6 is still here!
26 . . . bxc4 27. f3 ads 28. a 1
d6 29. xe7 xe7 3 0 . cs ed7
3i. xd6 xd6 32.bs+-

27. i.f3+- ads 28. a1!


The pawn on a6 is doomed!

The winning plan is now clear: to


exchange rooks and dark-squared
bishops!

34. i.cs! e7
34 ... xcs+ 35.bxcs d2+ 36. We3
xb2 37.c6+-

3 5 . a7 d7 36. xd7 .Jl xd7


28 ... fs 37. ds+ Wf6 38. i. xe7+ Wxe7
Somehow Black must give up 39. We3 Wd6 40. Wd4
the a6 pawn! 28 ... d6 29. xe8+ I guess, Black lost on time here,
i.xe8 30.g3 2;,.c7 3i. xa6+-or 28 ... but in any event the endgame is
CHAPTER T H R EE - CLASS ICAL SET-U P WI T H O UT e6 85

hopeless for him! 40. <i!?d4 h6 4i.h4 6.l2igf3!


e8 42.b3 cxb3 43. it.xb3 c6 44.g3 A very important move! Move
e8 45. c2 d7 46. d3 g6 47.c4 orders are of crucial importance
bxc4 48. 1l.. xc4 e8 49.bs+- in the "London System". Typically
1-0 6.b3 is not the best in this posi
tion because this move allows 6 ...
d7! without any negative effects
K. Chernyshov (2556) - L. Seres (2497) for Black! 7.l2igf3 c4 8.d1 e6=
Budapest, 04.05.2004
6 ... e6
Here comes one of the critical vari Or 6 ... b6 which we will see in
ations. In the classical set-up with future games. After 6 ... cxd4 7.exd4
out b3- b6 inserted, Black first e6 8.b3 c8 9.l2i h4 - position is
develops his bishop on fs. The main transposing to the CHAPTER ONE.
question: is it too slow? Can White
achieve anything with the b3 7.b3 c8!
move or with the plan l2igf3-b5- The only good choice for Black!
M- l2ies, exploiting the absence of 7... d7?! - see the next game.
Black's white-squared bishop? 7... b6 8.xb6 axb6 9. bs l2id7
10.l2ies! l2idxes 11. xe5;!; Mitkov
N.-Pitirotjirahton Dresden ol 2008.

The most natural and healthy


move! This game is interesting, show
ing another way for White: chang
ing the pawn structure in the center
86 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

and opening the position. The facts Wf8 12.l:Z:J xe6+! fxe6 13. d1 l:Z:J xd2
that support such a decision are 14. xd2 ilxd2+ 15.Wxd2
the vulnerable position of Black's
queen on c8 and the absence of the
il f5 from the queenside. Anoth
er logical continuation is 8.l:Z:Jh4!?
ile4 9.f3 (9. ilgs!? ilq 1 0.l:ZJxe4
l:ZJxe4 11. ilxe7 l:ZJxe7 12. ilbs+ WfB
13. 'VJ!/di) 9 ... ilg6 10.l:Z:J xg6 hxg6
11.g4 ile7 12. ilg2 a6 13. ilg3 b5oo
Sapis,W (2401)-Korneev,O (2566)
Cappelle-la-Grande 2004

8... cxd4 9.l:Z:Jxd4 ilb4?! with more than enough compen


Too ambitious. Trying to take sation for the exchange.
over the initiative, Black ruins his
own pawn structure. The correct 11.cxds .1l.. xd2+
reaction is 9 ... dxc4! 10 . .il xc4 (10. And not even now 11 ... l:Z:Je4 be
'VJ!/xc4 l:ZJxd4 11. 'VJ!lxd4 'VJ!/c6 12. 'VJ!/c4 cause of 12.dxc6 with a clear advan
l:ZJ ds! A strong initiative-seek tage to White. 12 ... .ilxd2+ 13. Wd1
ing move with the idea of . . . l:Z:Jb4! bxc6 14.f3 l:ZJ fa+ 15. Wxd2 'VJ!/d7+
13. 'VJ!/xc6+ bxc6 14. ilg3 l:ZJ b4 15. c1 (15... l:ZJxh1 16. ilc4) 16. Wc2 l:Z:J xh1
l:ZJxa2 16. xc6 il b4 17. ilc4 dB 17. il.c4 l:Z:Jfa 18. g3 d8 19. 'VJ!/c3
1B.o-o xd2 19. cB+ dB 20. C7 and the knight is trapped!
o-o 21. ilxa2 =) 10 ... l:Z:J xd4 11.exd4
a6 12.0-0 ile7 13 . .ile2! l:Z:Jd5 14. ile5
o-o 15.l:Z:Jc4 b5 (15... 'VJ!/d7!? 16. ilg3 hs
17.l:ZJes 'VJ!/b7 1B. ilf300) 16.l:Z:Jd6 ilxd6
n ilxd6 d8 18. ilc5 with the idea
of l:Z:Je5-it.. f3 and typical play for this
type of position. White has two
bishops and some prospects on the
queenside with an M push.
9 ... l:Z:Jxd4 10.exd4 dxc4 11.l:Z:Jxc4

io.l:Z:Jxfs exfs
Attractive-looking is 10 ... l:Z:Je4 but
White has a strong answer 11.l:Z:Jxg7+ a b c d e g h
CHAPTER TH R E E - CLASS ICAL S ET-U P WI T H O UT e6 87

This was a good idea, but on the 16 ... ClJe4?


wrong square! The correct move 16 ... l'! xd1 n l'! xd1 l'!ds 18. xf7
was 12 ... d8! because it threatens l'!xd1 19. xdi+-
also as! 13. l'!d1! xds+ 14.xds
ClJ xds 15. g3;;!; and White is bet 17. e6+
ter, owning two bishops in an open Conclusion: If you have a position
position. with b3-c8 inserted, don't allow
Black to take a space advantage af
13.e1! xds 14. c4 as+ ter c4! Try to open the center and
Immediately losing is 14 ... xg2 to use the bad position of the black
15. xf7+ fs 16. d6+ ClJe7 17. e6 queen with the move c4!
ClJfds 18.xds xds 19. xds l'!ds 1-0
20. xe7++-

1s.e2 o-o-o? G. Kamsky (2680) - C. Holt (ZSZZ)


M i l l ionaire Chess Op 2015 Las Vegas
USA (7.7), 11.10.2015

Kamsky is a well-known "London


player" these last few years, so it's
very unusual that somebody en
tered this position against him un
prepared. Compared with the pre
vious game, the young us player
opted for 7... d7? instead of 7... c8!
and encountered serious problems.
a b c d e g h Black was left with his king in the
center which Kamsky targeted with
A pseudo-active move or may powerful initiative-gaining moves
be better to say a "suicidal move". and won this game in great style!
Black's king would be safer af
ter 15 ... 0-0 but even that doesn't 1.d4 ds 2. f4 ClJ f6 3.e3 cs 4.c3 ClJc6
help a lot! 16.xb7 ClJes 17.b4! M s.ClJd2 fs 6.ClJgf3 e6 7. h3 d7?
18. b3 e8 19. l'!ac1 l'!bs 20.C7 This move is a serious mistake!
bs+ 2i. c4 ClJxc4 22.xc4+- and We can smell in the air that some
Black is forced to change Queens! thing is wrong with Black's position!

16. l'!hd1+
Thepawnislostande6 isin theair.
88 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

The silicon monster goes for 11 ...


8. b5! ;!; b8 but White is still on top. The
The best move which brings the reader can check the following anal
initiative to White! 8.tlJes seems ysis. 12.tlJb3! (12.tLJxc6 xb2 and
logical but after 8 ... ll:J xes 9.dxes c4! White doesn't have a good knight
Comes, which is the main point of jump! 12.g4 tLJxg4 13.tlJxg4 xb2
. . . d7, e.g. 10.ll:Jxc4 dxc4 11. 1i.xc4 14.tlJes cxd4 15.cxd4 1i.b4 16.e4 xe4
o-o-o! 12.exf6 d2+ 13. \!?ft gxf6oo 17. g1 o - o 18.tlJxc6 b7 19.tlJxb4
with a total mess. xb4 20.a3 cB) 12 ... bs (12 ...
c4 13.tlJxC4! dxc4 14. ii.xbB cxb3
8 ... a6?! 15. ll,.g3 bxa2 16. xa2 ii.d3 17. \!td2!
Black neglects his develop ii.bs 18.c4 ii.b4+ 19. 'i!te2+-) 13.dxcs
ment! It was necessary to play 8 ... tlJe4 (13 . . . ii.xcs 14.tlJ xcs xcs
c4! 9.a4 d6 10. xd6 (10.tlJe5?! 15. a3 bs 16.c4 b6 17- c1) 14.c4
xes 11 . .fi.xes tlJ e4) 10 ... xd6 dxc4 15.tlJxc4 ll:Jxcs 16.tlJxcs .fi.xcs
11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3 o-o 13.0-o;t 17. 1i.d6 b4 18. ii.xcs xa4 19.tlJd6+
White maintains the advantage be \!?d7 20.ll:Jxc8 xc8 21.0-0;
cause of his better structure. 11 ... ll:J hs 12.g4! ll:J xf4 13.gxfs f6
14.exf4 fxes 15.fxes exfs 16.tlJb3
9.tlJe5! c8 10. 1i. xc 6 + bxc6
11.a4 cxd4?! 12.cxd4 tlJd7 13. et!
With this move Black opens the Black's position is already beyond
c-file and makes his position harder repair. 13.tlJxc6? tLJb6-+;
to defend. 13.xc6? xc6 14.tlJ xc6 c8+
CHAPTER T H R EE - CLASSICAL SET- U P WITH OUT e6 89

13 CLixes 14. il.xes Wd7


Good enough. The phrase 'Tal
It's not great, but there is no other like' can be used after 18.d5! exds
way to defend the c6 pawn. 19. E:fd1 bs 20.xe4 E:es 2i.fs+
Wd8 22. it.. c 3 f6 23.a4! Deflection.
15.0-0 b7 16.e4! 23 ... xa4 24. E:xds+ cxds 25.xds+
According to the demands of d7 26. il.as+ We7 27. E:ei++-
the position - not giving Black any
time for consolidation.

16 il.xe4
. A quiet move, inviting the last
If 16 ... dxe4 nCLic4 E:c8 18. E:c3+ piece to the party. Black would en
and E:b3 cannot be stopped. joy a little break after 20. xe4 ds

20 d6
.

20 .. .fs 2i. E:e3! followed by E:b3!

21. il. xd6 Wxd6 22.xe4 ds


23.g4
Every move has to be a threat if
White wants to retain the initiative!

23 ... E: hgS 24. E:cs! xa2


Now the queen has wandered
far away which gives new motifs to
white!
90 WI N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

25. f3 ac8 26. c3! i.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3 c6 4.c3


Black's king is in permanent trou f6 5.d2 fs 6.gf3!
ble, and now he also must think An important moment and move
about his 'Lady'. White's threat is order! The thematic move 6. b3
as. doesn't promise an advantage in
this position. It allows 6 ... d7!
26 ... bs 27. xc6+ d7 28. c7+ 7.gf3 c4! 8.d1 e6= and Black is
d8 29.cs fine! A space advantage with nice
Gata greatly punished the inaccu control of the e4 square guarantees
racy of Black in the opening! Con him a comfortable position!
clusion: It's very useful to memorise
the critical moment in the game af
ter the inaccurate 7... d7? On first
sight it seems like the strongest is
8.es but it's not! Don't forget to
play first 8. Ji.. bs!
1-0

N. Sedlak (2572) - D. Svetushkin


(2589)
Kostic Memorial, Vrsac (3), 22.11.2012

This is one of my finest games in


the London! My opponent, a well
known Moldavian player, chose one
of the most critical positions in the 7. h4!
'system'! Compared with the two This is the point! If White wants
previous games, also in a classical an opening advantage, this is the
set-up, Dmitry chose 6 ... b6 in only way. The idea is removal of
stead of 6 ... e6! The idea of that move Black's bishop from b1-h7 diagonal
is to force White to play 7. b3 and and creating a square for the queen
after 7... c4 to go into a pleasant end on c2! An interesting move, rare in
game! However, I was well prepared praxis, is the paradoxical 7.dxc5!?
with prior experience in this posi xb2 (After 7. . xcs?! White
.

tion and I won the theoretical duel would have the opportunity to take
in the opening! the initiative. 8. b3 b6 9.a4 a6
10.as dB 11.h3 e6 12. bd4 xd4
13. exd4"t, The resulting position is
CHAPTER T H R E E - C LASS I CA L SET-U P WI T H O UT e6 91

in White's favor as Black does not 8.b3 c4


have a minority attack. White can A typical reaction. Black doesn't
use the cs and es squares.) 8.CZJd4 have many better options. An
White has some initiative, but Black equally decent alternative was 8 ...
can hold everything. An interest h6 9.CZJ hf3! (9.xb6 enters a slight
ing duel continued 8 ... es 9. il xes ly worse endgame 9 ... axb6 10. it,q
it.g4 10 . .B:b1 a3 11.f3 Cl:'l xes 12.fxg4 cxd4 11. exd4 bs! 12. ilxbs Cl:'lxd4
il xcs 13.CZJbs xa2 14 . .B:a1 b2 13. ilxd7+ Wxd7 14. cxd4 Wxq+)
15 . .B:b1 a2 16 . .B:a1 b2 17. .B:b1 1/2- 9 ... c4 10.c2 Cl:'l hs (10...g6 11. e4!t)
1/2 (17) Prie,E (2490)-Flear,G (2483) 11. ilest
San Sebastian 2011;
7.b3?! c4 8.xb6 axb6 9.a3 bs 9.c2 Cl:'l hs!?
10 . .B:c1 h6 11. it.e2 e6= Black cannot stop the e4 or b3 le
vers, but can, at least, achieve the
advantage of the pair of bishops. 9 ...
h6 10.Cl:'l hf3 g6 11.e4t

10. ilg3 g6
Playing aggressively with 10 ...
Cl:'l xg3 11.hxg3 and now 11 ... es has
drawbacks (11 ... e6 12.e4t) 12.dxes
Cl:'l xes 13.CZJdf3! CZJg4 14 . .B:d1 ile6
15. e2t;
10 ... e6 doesn't change White's plan
11. ile2 Cl:'l xg3 12.hxg3 c7 13.e4t
Elj anov, P (274 2) -Ponomariov, R
(2744) Moscow 2010

Almost always we see the typical 11.e4


move 7... ile4!? 8.b3 c4 9.xb6 You can always be satisfied get
axb6 10. iles! Very important, add ting in the e4 push in this type of
ing some pressure on e4. 10 ... CLld7 the position.
(10... bs 11. ilxf6 gxf6 12.Cl:'lxe4 dxe4
13f3 exf3 14.CLlxf3t) 11. ilxc4! dxc4 11 ... e6
12.Cl:'l xe4 Cl:'l cxes 13.dxes Cl:'l xes Black must hold the center!
14. We2t or 7... g4 8.b3 c4 9. c2
e6 10.h3 it. hs 11.g4 it.g6 12.Cl:'l xg6 12. ile2 Cl:'lxg3 13.hxg3 c7
hxg6 13. it.g2t Preparing counterplay on the
queenside with . . . b5-b4
92 W I N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

14.CZJ ft! 17... as 18.a3 !!bs 19.CZJg4


This is a typical method from A bit early! Over the board is dif
similar positions. Transferring the ferent. Now I see that a better way
knight to e3, adding some pressure was 19. d2! with a later CZJg4!
on ds and, of course, waiting for
the right moment to join the attack 19 ... ds?
from g4. Trying to control the weak square
f6. Actually a better move in this po
sition is 19 ...CZJgS! with the same idea
and after 20. d2 hs when Black has
covered the dark squares well!

20.d2 hs
Now 20 ... CZJgS is not so good,
because of 2i.f4 hs 22.CZJgs e7
23.CZJh2! with a strong outpost at gs.

21.CZJ f6+!?

14 CZJe7 15.CZJe3 bs 16.CZJ f3 g7


..

17.es! :t

An interesting decision, if I can


say so. Temporarily sacrificing
a pawn for the es outpost. A bonus
is the weak black squares around
Closing time. Black has gained Black's king. But White would have
control over ds, prepared . . . de4 an advantage even after 2i.f4
with . . . kc6, so let's go for a position hxg4 22. !! xhS+ xh8 23. h6
where knights dominate bishops. xes 24.CZJ xe5 CZJc6 25.CZJ xg4
CHAPTER T H R E E - CLASS I CA L SET- U P WI T H O UT e6 93

21 i.xf6 22.exf6 CZJgS 23.g4! '%!xf6


axb4 32. d1! B'.a8 33. B'.xa8 '%!xa8
23 ... CZJ xf6 is strategically bad. 34. i.c2 and f4-fs is coming soon!
24.CZJes CZJe4 25. '%!e3 (25. '%!j4? '%!f6)
2s ... h4 26 . .tf3 '%!gs (26... CZJ/6 2?.gs+ 31. B'.h7 d7
) 27. xe4 '%!xe3+ 28.fxe3 dxe4 Black tries to evacuate his king!
29.0-0 B'. h7 30.gs e7 3i. B'.f4

The only piece without an impor


White is dominant in this posi tant function was the bishop, now
tion. His plan is clear; to open the h going to the ideal c2-square.
file and use the weak black squares.
32 ... '%!e7 33 .tc2 B'.gsD

2s ... ct:Je7 26. "i!f4 B'.fs 27.g4! h4 Aimed against g6


The only move because Black
cannot allow White's knight to g4. 34. B'.ah1
27... hxg4 28. B'. h8! CiJ fs 29. B'. xf8+ What else?
xf8 30.CZJxd7++-
34 ... b4 35.axb4 axb4 36. '%!6!?+
28. B'.xh4 CZJc6 29.d2 The safest way. In the endgame,
The king is safe here! It's time for the weak pawn on f7 (and weak dark
another rook to enter into the game! squares, of course) are good enough.

29 ... CZJxes 30. '%!xes c6


After 30 ... b4 White's rook on
ai becomes very useful! 3i.axb4
94 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

torture awaits 42. 'i!tf4 'i!td6 43. !!a7


'i!tC? 44. 'i!tes 'i!tb6 45. !!a1 i.c6
46. !!ah1 'i!tc7 47. !!g7+-

42. ilxg6! !!xh7


42 .. .fxg6 43. !!xb7+-

43. xh7
And the rest of the game was just
routine!

43 ... !! hs 44.g6 fxg6 45.f7 !! fs


Also prom1smg was 36. !!a1 46. i.xg6 'i!te7 47.'i!ff4 'i!tf6 48. hs
and Black cannot parry with 36... The winning plan is !!g1-g8.
!!as 37. !! xa8 i. xa8 38.f4! !! fs
39. i.xg6+- 48 ... !!xf7
Conclusion: In this game the
36 bxc3+ 37.bxc3 xf6 38.gxf6
. most important thing was the move
!!bf8 39. !!a1! orders! Try not to forget 6.ll:Jgf3!
Black's rooks are busy defending with the idea of removing the black
the f7 pawn so the queenside is now bishop from fs. White needs to
"empty". have c2 square for the queen after
Black's move . . . c4! After removing
39 ... i.b7 40. gs 'i!td6 41.'i!te3 !!hs the bishop from fs and diagonal bi
Black is helpless. Giving up h7, b3 is possible!
a pawn, but after 41. .. 'i!tC? only 1-0
C H A PT ER FO UR

CLASSICA L S E T-U P WITH ... e6

In this chapter we come to the main, I can offer them 6. d3!? which
and the most often played, position shows the flexibility of 2. f4! The
at the highest level. This position idea of 6. d3 is simply to make
has characteristics of an improved a Stonewall position after 6 ... d6
Slav Defense and Stonewall with re 7. xd6 '%!fxd6 8.f4 cxd4! 9.cxd4 o-o
versed colours with a tempo more for 10.a3 e7 11.gf3 %!fb6?! This was
White. A big plus in White's position not the best moment to enter into
is the 'solved problem' of the bishop the endgame, especially not against
on f4, as I said in the preface. Also in Kramnik! (11 ... fs!? 12. '%!fe2 g400)
my chess praxis I often met this po 12.%!fb3 %!fxb3 13.xb3 b6 14. c1;\;
sition which allows for very rich play. Kramnik-Grandelius Norway 2016.

1.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3 c6 4.c3 6 d6


..

f6 5.d2 e6 The most logical move! Other


moves promise nothing good for
Black! White must always count
on moves like 6 ... hs?! 7. gs b6
(7... e7 B. xe7 xe7 9. es f6
10f4;!;) 8.dxcs!

a .1 BJ.Bm
7 . ... . . ... . ...
6 ri1
5 , , m
43 '?[:;;;::;
2 '?[
$!!,

B / OttJB
2 n rn n n
1 f y,/;
:' ./riiir
/,; '!;' .
6.gf3 a b c d e f g h
for the simple reason that it pro
vides more opportunities. Forplay 8 ... xcs (8 . . . xb2 ? 9. d4!)
ers who don't like complications 9.b4 e7 10.bs b8 11. xe7 rJ;;;xe7
96 WI N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

12.c4 Dgebuadze A.-Savchenko S.


Ubeda open 1998;
6 ... ile7 is a little passive and
my suggestion is to continue with
7.CLle5! mainly against CL:l hs. (7.h3 is
not so good because Black can con
tinue with 7... ii.d6! and White lacks
the possibility of the typical London
move ilg3 with a later CL:les; 7. ii.d3
CL:l hsf oo ) 7... 0-0 (7. . . CL:l xes B. dxes
CLld7 9.h4!

7... 0-0
7... 't!fe7 8.CL:les i. xes (8 ... ClJ d7
9. ii.bs!? -see Prie E.-Gozzoli Y. Fra
eh 2012.) 9.dxes CLld7 10.f4 -see Prie
E.-Dgebuadze A. Condom open 2012.
7... i.xg3?! The idea is clear: to go
for . . . es after . . . 't!fe7 or . . . 't!Nd6! But
from the other side White gains new
possibilities with the open h-file, and
Black also has the problem of what
the idea is to prevent . . . gs and to to do with his king. Short-castling al
play 't!fg4 next. 9... il.xh4? 10. 't!Ng4 gs ways brings big headaches for Black.
11. 'fJ.xh4! gxh4 12. 't!Ng7 'fJ.fB 13. gs+-) 8.hxg3 't!Nd6 9. d3 -see Sedlak N.
8. i.d3;!;; and White has an easy plan Bodiroga P. Vrnjacka Banja 2012.
to organize an attack via 't!Nfa-'t!fh3.
Check Gorovets A.-Ynojosa F., USA, 8. i.d3
2015. This is the main and most played
move! As always, interesting is
7. g3! 8. bs!? with the idea of fighting
The best reaction! Controlling for the es square and preventing
the es square is very important! the . . . b6 plan! The best answer for
Here Black has three different plans Black is 8 ... a6! (Avoiding a position
which will be shown throughout the with doubled pawns is not the best
games in this chapter. idea 8 ... CLle7 9. i.d3! The bishop has
finished his job and goes back to its
best place: the knight has been re
moved from control of the es square.
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS I CA L SET-U P WITH e6 97

9 ... b6 (9 ... lLig6 1 0.lLies b6 11. h4i s b6


...

Kamsky G.-Li Ruifeng Washington This is the most logical plan.


open 201s.) 10.e4! dxe4 11.ll:J xe4 Black is finishing development with
ll:Jxe4 12. il.. xe4 ll:Jds 13.dxcs (13.c4 ? the idea of fighting for the e4 square
fs!i) 13... ll.xcs 14.0-0 .tb7 1s. !!e1 after i.b7- ClJe7- ClJe4. A very im
White's pieces are better placed. portant line is 8 ... e7 9.ll:Jes ll:Jd7
Black must always worry about c4 10.ll:J xd7! .t xd7? 11. iL xd6 xd6
or b4.) 9. 1l. xc6 bxc6 10.ll:Jes (10. 12.dxcs xcs 13. xh7+!!
a4 cxd4! 11. il.. xd6 (11. xc6? ilxg3
12.xaB dxe3-+) 11 ... xd6 12.cxd4
as! (12 ... !!bB 13.ClJb3 lLie4 14. !! c1 )
13.0-0 iLa6 14. !! fc1 iLbs 1s.c2
a4= the White knight can't come
to the cs square) 10 ... C7 11.ClJd3!?
here the idea is to play on the dark
squares! 1i...c4 12. il.. xd6 xd6
13.ll:Jcs es! 14.b3 cxb3 1s.axb3 !!e8
16.0-0?! In this blitz game, White
missed the next move (Better is to
wait with castling and strengthen See Kamsky-Shankland Eastern
the knight with 16.b4!? after which Class 2014.
1 6... ClJg4 ?! doesn't work 17. h3 exd4
18.cxd4 !!xe3+? 19. <Jlft!

A nice defensive move! White


avoids check and now Black's pieces
hang: 19... h6 20. <Jlg1!) 16 ... ClJg4! In this position three continu
Carlsen M.-Karjakin S. Wch blitz ations are possible, all of which
Berlin 201s. give a very rich play and the most
98 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

common is 9.e4!? e7! (9 ... dxe4 ?! This is the critical move: White
-see Sedlak N. -Prusikin M. Region covers the e4 and f5 squares.
alliga 2014.) 10.e5 -see Grischuk A. See Izoria Z., Brattain, USA, 2015.
-Nakamura H. EU cup 2015. The
latest idea is 9.Wfe2!? b7 10. !!d1!
with e4 plan-see Kamsky-Goganov N. Sedlak - P. Bodiroga
Aeroflot 2016. My suggestion is to Vrnjacka Banja, 28.04.2012
mix all of them, thereby avoiding
preparation from your opponents. In the classical set-up with 5 ... e6
Nowadays, modern chess require Black used plan with 7... g3 aiming
such ability! to play a fast . . . e5! I chose the plan
with 9. d3 which offers the possi
9.. b7
. bility to castle long at some point.
9 ... WiC??! 10.f4 1le7 11. h4! ;l;; My opponent didn't react well with
See Sedlak N.-Sargissian G . 9 ... d7?! after which he encoun
Valjevo 2012. tered serious problems, mainly due
to the position of his king, which
10.f4 1le7! proved expensive at the end. This
With the plan of fighting for the game shows the negatives of 7... g3
e4 square by . . . 1le4, or with the and how White has to use the h-file.
plan . . . li f5-e7- lid6! 10 ... !!cS?!
11. h4 e7 12. xf6! ;l;; See Sedlak 1.d4 ds 2. f4 cs 3.e3 1lc6 4.c3
N.-Brkic A. Reykjavik 2015. 1lf6 5.1ld2 e6 6.ligf3 d6 7. g3
xg3?!
11.Wfbt!

A very common plan with the


idea of playing . . . Wfd6 or . . . Wfe7
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS ICAL S ET- U P WI TH e6 99

with next e5. This plan has one big continue with 9 ... e5 after which
minus - White gets the open h-file! my idea was to enter the end
Properly using the h-file and with game after 10.dxe5 1l xe5 11.1l xe5
a timely opening of the position in xe5 12.a4+! d7 13.!;Vf4 xf4
the center, Black's monarch may be (13 ... e7 14. 0-0-0 o-o-o 15. e4
at risk. Grachev,B (2684) -Potkin,V (2606)
Ulan Ude 2009) 14.gxf4 White
8.hxg3 d6 9. d3!? has a pleasant endgame and a clear
It's hard to say which move is plan of launching his pawns on the
better: 9. d3!? or 9. b5!? It's mat kingside, however Black doesn't
ter of the taste! My opinion is that have weaknesses! If readers doesn't
both give a small advantage. Anoth like this one, you can always choose
er plan which looks perhaps a little 9. b5.
bit simpler has been played by Gata
Kamsky 9. b5!? 10. e2
Development and a multifunc
8 .. . ... . . . . tional move! Waiting with castling
7 ". '!1:
, ,
r, .,
- .
and threatening e4!
6
% - - ..

5 10 ...h6

n" 1"'n
f
4 One more waiting move! Other
3

%
.
moves also shows a downside to
2Wf{ . " ,' /p P, '9
"
o '. o M
Black's position. 10 ... 0-0-0 is too
1 f " -1.i risky 11.dxc5 !:fxc5 12.0-0 with
a fast attacking on the queenside!
a b c d e f g h
After 10 . . . e5 the black cent
in order to prevent . . . e5 and er is unstable 11.dxc5! xc5 12.e4
achieve control over the dark dxe4 (12 ... d4 13.llb3 e7 14. cxd4
squares 9 ... d7 10 . .ll xc6 .ll xc6 exd4 15. 0 - 0 - 0) 13.1l xe4 1l xe4
11.1le5 1ld7 12.f4 1l xe5 13.fxe5 !:fe7 14. k xe4 o-o-o 15.0-0-0 f5!? (15.. .
14.g4 f5 15.h5+ d7 16.a4 c7 f6 1 6. 'fl.xh7 'fl.xh7 17. xh7; 15 .. .
17.dxc5! xc5 18.g5 f8 19.'lf3 h6 1 6. 'fl.d5 e7 17.1lxe5! 1-0 (17)
Kamsky G.-Potkin V. FIDE World Sedlak,N (2568) -Hobber,A (2299)
blitz 2013. Norway 2013) 16. lt.d5! An impor
tant move with the idea being to
9 it.d7?!
force e4 and gain the d4 square for
This move was probably played the knight! (16. 'fl.xd7 unfortunately
to avoid White's queen maneuver don't bring any advantage after 16...
after 9 ... e5. However Black should xd7 17. xf5+ C7 1B.llg5 1ld4!;
1 00 W I N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

16. ii.xc6 kxc6 17. 'i!.xd8+ 'i!.xd8 l5.tlJe5! tlJxe5 16.dxe5 C7 17. 'i!.d6
'S llds ' l9. c4 '111
18. 'i!.xh7 'lll 'S 11as 20. a3 e4
21.ttJd2 es) 16 ... e4 17. ii.xc6 xc6 14.0-0-0!
18."Ll
/1"'\d 4

11.e4!--+
The right moment for opening
te position in the center and grab
bmg the initiative!

a b c d e f g h

14 ... cs?!
This turns out to be a mistake, be
cuse the white rook enters the game
with tempo via h5. Better was 14
c8 15. <i!?b1 e7 16.ttJxd4 (16.cxd
tlJ b4! 17. ii.xb7 'i!.b8 18. ke4 o-o)
u ... dxe4 12.ttJxe4 ttJ xe4 13. ii.xe4 16 ... ttJxd4 17- 'i!.xd4 c6 18. ii. xc6+
cxd4 'i!.xc6? Sedlak N -Rama L . C et"mJe .
More-or-less forced! 13 . . . o - o 2016. (18... bxc6) 19. 'i!.hd1 'i!.b6
14 dxc5 xc5 15.0-0-0 'i!.ad8 16.g4,
:
with g5 next or 13 ... 0-0-0 14.0-0- 8 -. :
.
o 'i!.hes 7 . , " '
W.&%1 . ,;
!

%%: 0/ . . ..0W . % ,3
/ , ""' "" ;,
6
-
, / . .
... . .

5
J

4 ./. /5i/
rg "

3-
. ., . n
2 /? D . RD,
- ,.
, .. M
a b c d e f g h

20. 'i!.d8+! xd8 21. 'i!.xd8+ <i!?xd8


22. e5 <i!?e7 23.xg7 'i!.d8 24.xh6;
l4 ...o-o l5.tlJxd4 e7 16. kc2!--+
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS I CA L SET- U P WI TH e6 1 01

1s. lZ:J xd4 CZJ xd4 16. xd4 il.c6 21. xh6gxh6 22. xh6+-) 21. xh6+
17. hs! gxh6 22. h4 <i!?gs 23 . xh6 fs
24.h8+ <i!?f7 25.h7++-

18. l::! c 4
There is no respite for Black!

18 ... d6 19. il.xc6+


One more weakness appears!

19 ...bxc6 20. l::! d 4 cs 21.e3!


Threatening d8

21 ... fs 22. d6 bs 23. hi+-


The rook has finished his job!
This is what I am talking about; Black is left with huge holes in his
the h-file is very important. position, is without co-ordination
and also has a weak king!
17... gs
A further weakening! More 23 ... bs 24.b3 as 2s. d4 o-o
logical was n .. b6 18. b4 c7 26.f6
19.e3! excellent initiative-gain There is no defence against h6
ing moves which keep Black's king or h6! Conclusion: After the ex
in the center! Black is not able to change of the bishop by taking on
play 19 ... 0-0 (19 .. , ji_xe4 20. xe4 g3 and opening the h-file, always try
bB 21.g4) 20. il.h7+!! to use the h-file! Don't think about
short castling, your best option is
s .1 long castling and opening the posi
1 rll
6
i-;
% - .t.r.---'.
,; tion in center! Black's king is unsafe!
1-0
5
4 -'p
3 MH
,, ,
' ;,
p A. Gorovets (2515) - F. J. Ynojosa

2 lrJ /.'; rJi Aponte (2415)

1 p,i USA tt ICC I NT (1), 25.08.2015


a b c d e f g h
In this game Black chose a slightly
Forcing the black king into fur passive set-up, developing the bish
ther checks! 20 ... <i!?xh7 (20... <i!thB op on e7 instead of on d6. White
1 02 W I N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

reacted timely with 7.1les and be 7... 0-0


gan a typical action against Black's Black didn't want to hurry with
king in the London System! In this his reaction in the center because it
game, you can see a multitude of doesn't look safe! Forcing continua
motifs which are characteristic of tions in the center hand White at
our opening. tacking possibilities. For example: 7...
1l xes 8.dxes 1ld7 9.h4! continuing
l.d4 'if6 the play on the kingside with g4!
Our move order is i. .. ds 2. f4 cs If Black tries to take the poisoned
3.e3 1lc6 4.c3 li f6 5.1ld2 e6 6.'igf3 pawn, than comes (9. g4? gs 10. ilg3
ile7 7.1les hs-+) 9 ... i.xh4 10.g4 gs 11. Exh4!
gxh4 12.g7 Ef8 13. ilgs+-
2. i. f4 e6 3.e3 cs 4.11 {3 1lc6
5.'ibd2 ds 6.c3 .ile7?! 7.1les!t

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

A precise move in the spirit of Simple and good! It very rarely


the position, and it was necesseary happens that the typical "London"
to play it now to prevent 1l hs! After move 9. hs doesn't work well but
the thematic and careless 7. d3?! here 9 .. .fs (9 ... g6? is a big weaken
comes 7 ... 'i hs 8. es f6! 9. ,ilg3 ing 10. e2-+ and h4-hs comes) and
(9.1lgs g6 10.'i xh7 1l xes 11.dxes after the only consistent try 10.g4,
fs 12.g4 Exh7 13.gxhs E xhs+) 9 ... Black has a strong answer in 10 ...
g6oo with a further 1l xg3. A luke 11 f6 11. h3 cxd4 12.exd4 11 xes
warm move is 7.h3?! i.d6!= and now 13.dxes 1l xg4 14.3 i. h4+ 1s. i.g3
White loses the possibility to play 1l xes!-+
his typical plan with g3- 1le5-f4!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL S ET- U P WITH e6 1 03

9 Cl:Jdxes?!
With this move, White supports
Black can't handle the tension in ideas with h7 and Cl:Jgs. 11 ... Cl:Jxes
the center any longer and goes for
simplifications. After this move, (After 11 .. fxes? the typical sacri
White gains bigger attacking pros fice on h7 works well 12. ilxh7+!
pects on the kingside! Safer was 9 ... <:J:Jxh7 13. Cl:Jgs+ <:J:igB 14. W!!hs xgs
f6 10.Cl:J xc6 bxc6 11.0-0 c4 i2. c2 15.hxgs '8xf4 1 6. ex/4 exf4 17.g6
fs making a hole on es, but prevent <:J:ifB 18. W!!hB+ <:J:Je7 19. W!!xg7+ <:J:id6
ing e4 which is more important. 20. '8h8 W!/gs 21. W!/jB++-)
i3.h3;!; and the White plan is to
open the position with b3 at a pref 12. xes! Here the knight is more
erable moment. important than the bishop! 12 ...
fxes 13.CZJxes W!/es
10.dxes
Only in this way White keeps the
initiative and attacking chances!
The knight on f3 is important in at
tack and there was no reason to ex
change him for his colleague on c6.

10 ... fs
A logical decision! Black tries to
close down the diagonal and there
by kill off the dangerous bishop on
d3! Too slow is io .. .f6 11.h4! This is (13 . . . ilf6 14. W!ihs g6 15.CLJxg6
very often one of the crucial moves hxg6 16.W!lxg6+ ilg7 17.W!/h7+ <:J:Jf7
for attacking in this type of position. 18. '8h3+-)

14. W!/b1! in these situations it is very


often important to keep the empty
c2-square for the bishop! 14 ... W!/hs
15.f4 d6 16.g4 W!/h6 17. W!/d1

11.h4! C4
Black gives up the d4 square but
tries to create counterplay on the
queenside. The break in the center
with 11 ... d4 just makes the e6 pawn
weaker 12. W!/e2
1 04 W I N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

(14.CLJd4 CLJxd4 15.cxd4 hs 16. it.g6


fs; 14.CLJh2 d4! 15. ke4 dxe3
16.xd8 exfa+ 17- xfa CLJ xd8
18. k xa8 xf4+ 19. g3 fs
20.CLJ xg4 hs with a total mess!}

14 ... ii.. xgs 15.hxgs

(White hasn't enough power for


15. it. xh7+ xh7 16.hxgs+ g6
17.xg4 f7 18. h7 g8+)

15 ... g6 16.xg4 f7 17- h6 g7


and the Black position is still
Everything is ready for this typi difficult!
cal break, and White doesn't need
to waste time on g1! 14.gxfs bxc3
In a tough position Black has
13 b4?+-
... nothing to lose! 14 ... exfs 15. ii.. a4
An understandable mistake! CLJas 16. g1
Black was afraid to open the diag
onal bl-h7 and continues with his
primary plan which is too slow! The
only chance for Black was to accept
the challenge with 13 ... fxg4!

White chooses to finish the game in


attacking style instead of in position
al fashion. 15.bxc3 exfs 16. ka4 CLJb8
17. b1 ii.. e6 18.CLJd4 c8 19. gi+-
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS ICAL SET-U P WI TH e6 1 05

15 gxf6?!

And Black chooses the quickest


way to lose! Somewhat better was E. Prie -A. Dgebuadze
15 ... cxb2 16. !!b1 xf6 17.exf6 xf6 Condom open, 16.07.2012
18. !!g1 c3+ 19. Wfi! when Black has
three pawns for a piece so the best In comparison with the previous
idea is to play for attack! (It wouldn't game, Black chose 7... e7 instead
be so easy after 19. d2?! xd2+ of 7... Ji.. g 3 with the idea . . . es! Af
20. 'i!txd2 d4! 21. e4 c3+ 22. 'i!tc2 ter White's typical reaction 8.l!iJes,
b7 23. il.xc6 Ji.xc6 24./!Jxd4 il.e4+ he chose a dubious plan giving up
25. Wxc3 Ji.xbi 26. !!xbi es! 27- xes the dark-square bishop which was
!!xf2 28. !!xb2 !!cB+ 29. Wb3 !!xb2+ the later cause of his weak dark
30. 'i!txb2t) 19 ... !!xf4! 20.exf4 l!iJ b4 squares. In the game White had
2i./!Jd4 /!Jxc2 22./!Jxc2 f6 23. !!g3! only to choose the right moment to
a6 and Black has some compensa ruin the center with c4, getting to
tion for the rook deficit! the weak square d6! After that the
game was soon finished.
16./!Jd4!
The queen joins the attack and 1.d4 ds 2. Ji.. f4 cs 3.e3 /!Jc6 4.c3
the game is over! /!Jf6 5./!Jd2 e6 6./!Jgf3 Ji.. d6 7. i.. g3
e7
16 ... cxb2 The idea is . . . es!
1 6 . . . /!iJ xe s 17. Ji.. xh7+ W h 8
18. hs+- o r 1 6. . .1!J xd4 n il.. xh7+ s.l!iJes
Wh8 18. hs /!J f3 + 19.We2+ A typical way to prevent . . . es!
n ii.. xh7+! Wh8 18.hs! bxa1+ 8. ii.bs!? is always interesting, with
19. il.bi+ the same idea. After 8 ... a6? comes
Conclusion: With the passive 6 ... 9. ii.xc6+ bxc6 10. a4 d7 11 . ..ixd6
e7 Black gives up the fight for the xd6 12.a3!
es square and allows an easier at
tack for White. One of the crucial s kxes?! t
.

ideas and moves in this game was This decision is not fully justified.
10.dxes and 11.h4! which you need After this move, the dark squares in
to remember! Black's position will become weak,
especially the d6 square at some
1-0 point!
1 06 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

12 ... llJ fs 13. il.e2 g6?!


Black shouldn't worry too much
about it. hs! Bigger hopes arise from
13 ... gs!? 14. hs+ ds 1s.llJ f3 c7
16.0-0 b6;t but here also the black
king is not so safe after a subse
quent b4!

Black has a better choice here,


one which we will see in the next
games!
s ... llJd7 9. bs!
8 ... o-o! 9 . .1l.d3

9.dxes llJd7 10.f4 fs


This move has two ideas; block
ading the center and preventing e4!

11.llJb Now is the right moment because


With 11.exf6 llJ xf6 12 . .1l.bs o-o the llJ fs is far from the ds square!
13.0-0 ii.d7;t Black gains a little 're
lease'. It was too early for 11.c4 d4 15 ... Vlid7 16.0-0!
(11 ... llJb6 12.cxds llJxds 13.llJc4 o - o I suppose White didn't want to
14.Vlid2;t) 12.exd4 cxd4 (12 ... llJxd4 hurry with 16.cxds because he didn't
13.llJf3 llJxf3+ 14. Vlixf3;t) 13.a3 as want to give a spot for the knight
14.llJ f3 llJcs on e6, but in that case also White
would have a clear advantage! 16 ...
11 ...h6 exd5 17.Vlid2 llJe6 18. d1 llJe7 19.o
Directed against h4- llJgs o b6 20.b4

12.llJ h4! 16 ...b6


Forcing Black into passive play! In case of 16 ... dxc4 White would
Still not working is 12.c4 llJb6 13.b3 swoop into the point d6! 17-llJd2
gs llJas (l'J. .. bs 18.a4) 18.llJ xc4 llJxc4
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS I CA L SET- U P WITH e6 1 07

19. il. xc4 !fxd1 20. !! fxd1 d7 20. !fd1 exds 21. !fxds e6 22. !fd2
21. !!d6 b3 23.!fc3!
Making a route for the knight:
17.a3 as? d2-c4-d6!
Weakening the b6 pawn! More
resistant was 17... dxc4 18.ezJd2 ezJa5 23 ... ezJe6 24.ezJd2 ezJa5 25.ezJxb3
19. !fc2 ii.. a6 (19 . . . il.. b7 20.lLixc4 The last piece which still kept the
lLixc4 21. 1lxc4 $t.e4 22. !fe2 o - o positon together is now killed off.
o 23. !!fd1 !fe7 24. !!xdB+ !fxdB
25. !!d1 !fe7 26. !! d6) 20. !! fd1 25 ... axb3 26. !!ad1 !!ds 27. !!xds+
!C7 21.ll:Jxc4 ezJxc4 22. it.xc4 xc4 'itixd8 28. !!di+ 'itie7 29. h4+!
23.!fxc4 !!d8 24.!fa4+ !!d7 25.b4 With the idea to open up the
black king even more.

29 ... gs 30.fxgs hxgs 31. il.g3 c 4


32.h4! g4 33. !!ft ll:Jg7
33 ... !!f8 34.hs+- and next comes
$t.h4!

34.e4 !!fs 35.e6


1-0

Lessons to be learned:

i. Don't forget to play 8. ll:Jes af


ter 7... !fe7, making a Stone
wall position. Don't allow . . .
es after which Black solves his
18 ... !fc7 problems.
Black gives up a pawn to avoid 2. The reaction 8 ... il.es?! Is a po
a complete strategic wreck! 18 ... sitional mistake and the dark
!!b8 19.cxds exds 20. !! fd1 c4 21.!fc3 squares will be weak. Attack
it.a6 22. !fd2 ezJe7 23. it. h4+- the center with c4 at a suita
ble moment, and by opening
19.cxds a4 the d-file you target the weak
With this intermediate move square d6.
Black gets the b3 square, but he will
not find a lasting benefit from it.
1 08 W I N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

9. b5!
Forcing Black into . . . xes! The
E. Prie - Y. Gozzoli most-played move in this position
FRA-ch Accession, 24.08.2012 is 9.f4 o-o 10. d3 (Just once was
there played 10. il.. b s!?
This game reminds one a lot of the
previous game, with the difference 8 . . ... . . . .
being 8 ... CZJd7 instead of giving up 7 r
the dark-squared bishop with 8 ... 6
Ji.es?! White reacted in the strong 5 - rn //.
est way with 9. Ji. bs! forcing Black 4 . - ,n n .
into . . . Ji. xes. Actually the differ
ence is in White's bishop placed
3 o' - ;0 3-
A 'tff ";/ W'% 8 A W'
2 ei !:l W 8 ei H
on bs. The critical moment in the 1%'.{ ",illxi
8 1f %
0( 0W
!f/;;;/
-%
game was 12 .. .fs? instead of 12 .. .f6! a b c d e f g h
This faulty decision left Black with
out counterplay and White used
that with the typical plan of B'.g1-g4
building up an attack on the Black
king.

1.d4 ds 2. Ji. f4 cs 3.e3 CZJc6 4.c3


CZJf6 5.CZJd2 e6 6.CZJgf3 Ji.d6 7. Ji.g3
Vlfe7 s.CL:les CZJd7

a b c d e f g h

12.CZJg6! hxg6 13. il.. xg6 B'.f7 14. 'YWhs


'YWeB 15f5 es 16.e4!+- cxd4 17.exds
dxc3 18.CZJe4 cxb2 19. xf7+ Ylfxf7
20. Vlfxf7+ xf7 21.CZJxd6+ fB
22 . .B'. bi+-) 12.CZJdf3 CZJd7 13. ll h4;;l;
Kosic D.-Kanep M. Dresden ol 2008.
White has achieved what he want
The idea is to play . . . f6 after ed. The knight remains on es and
castling!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H e6 1 09

now White has the clear plan of Or 9 ... liJdxe5 10.dxe5 c7 11.V/!Ig4!
g1-g4!) 10 .. .f6 11. k h4 V/!Jfs (11 ... 0-0 12. h4 liJxes 13. xe7
(Now 11. kxh7+ liJxg4 14. xcs! dB 15. e7+ -)
12. xc6+ bxc6 13.V/!Ia4 ii.d7 14.c4
with the well-known idea c1- liJb3
and the cs pawn is doomed.

10.dxes o-o 11.f4 c4


Black gives up the d4 square,
seeking counterplay with . . . liJcs.

is not so dangerous 11 ... xh7


12. V/!Ihs+ g8 13.liJg6 V/!Ie8oo with
next liJe7)
11 ... V/!Ies 12.liJ xc6 bxc6.

9.. xes
.

By giving up the bishop pair,


Black doesn't waste time. For ex
ample 9 ... liJdb8 10. xc6+!?

It's necessary to preserve the


bishop and use him in action on the
kingside!

12 f5?
..

With this move Black has capitu


lated! He had to search counterplay
with 12 .. .f6! 13.exf6 liJ xf6 14.0-0
ii.d7 15. ii. h4 ii.eS;t activating the
10 . . . bxc6 (1 0 . . . liJ xc6 1 1 . liJ xc6 bishop.
bxc6 12. V/!Ia4 d7 13. ii.xd6 V/!Ixd6
14.V/!Ia3) 11.V/!Ia4 b7 12.liJd3;t and 13.l;Jf3
the knight is coming to cs! 13.exf6 - transposes to 12 .. .f6
110 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

13... ctJc5 14. h4 W9e8 15. c2 d7 18 ... WHhs


16. gi! The toughest defence was 18 ...
ctJd3+!? 19. xd3 cxd3 20.W9xg4 W9g6
2i.ctJ h3 e8 22.ctJ fa W9xg4 23. xg4
g6 24. <i!fd2; 18 . . . h6 19. W9xg4
hxgs 20. xgs ctJd3+ 2i. xd3 cxd3
22. f6+-

19.W9xg4 W9xg4 20. xg4


Although it can now be consid
ered an endgame, White's attack
continues.

20 ... ctJd3+

Black can't prevent g4 next, after


which the diagonal and g-file opens
to his monarch.

16 ... <i!th8 17.g4 fxg4 18.llJgs!


An important move! White is
going to take the pawn with queen!
After 18. xg4? things start to be
come complicated: 18 ... WHhs and
now 19.ctJgs doesn't work because
of 19 ... ctJd3+ 20. xd3 cxd3 2i. W9xd3
ctJxes!
Black was more-or-less forced
into this. 20 ... h6 2i.ctJ h7 g8 (21 ...
fs 22.ctJ/6+-) 22.ctJ f6! gf8 23.<i!fd2!
gxf6 24. xf6+ xf6 25.exf6 es
26. g6! e4 27. ag1 <i!fh7 28. g7+
<i!th8 29. 1g6+- or 20 ... g6 2i. g3!
with h3 next.

21. xd3 cxd3 22. <i!fd2 h6


a b c d e f g h
Releasing the bishop from de
fending the e6 pawn.
22.fxes bs!+ A nice deflection!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET- U P WI TH e6 111

23.lLlf3 es 24. ag1 .ths


Black was unable to defend the
pawn 24 . . . f7 25. xg7! xg7
26. f6+- or 24 ... gs 25.tLlxgs! hxgs
26. ii.xgs g6 27. ii.f6+ xf6 28.exf6
i.h7 29. h4+- with g7 next, and if
Black continues with 29 ... g8 then
winning is 30. xg8+ Wxg8 31.f7++-

28 ... i.e4 29. xe6


The central pawns are unstoppa
ble now! Black's knight is cut off and
cannot help!

29 ... ds 30. f6 d7 31.e6 e7


32. g3
More convincing was 32. f7+!
Whs 33. !! fs+ Wh7 34.fs lLles 35.f6
tLlc4+ 36. Wei d2+ 37. We2+-
The final punch! Black's king is
helpless! 32 ... bs
32 ... lLlds 33.fs+-
2s... xf3 26. 7g6 Wh7 27. f6 xf6
Avoiding a 'mill'! 27... f7 28. g?+ 33.b3?!
xg7 29. xg7+ Wh8 30. g3+ Wh7 Perhaps the final move has been
31. xf3 g8 32.Wxd3 g2 33. g3! wrongly entered into the database?
xg3 34.hxg3 Wg6 35.e4 dxe4+ 1-0
36.Wxe4+-
Lessons to be learned:
28. xf6
There is little comfort for Black 1. with 9. bs! you are forcing . . .
in his minimal material advantage xes
in view of his coordination and king 2. after 11 ...c4 don't forget the bish
position. op retreat lla4-llc2; you need
to keep the bishop for the attack!
112 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

3. if Black closes the position in


the center with . . .fs, you build
an attack with g1-g4

G. Kamsky (2709) - S. L. Shankland


(2611)
23rd Eastern Class, Sturbridge (4),
16.03.2014

Here is another one of the most im


portant lines! Black chooses a very
natural classical set-up with . . .
i.d6-. . . 'Y:!fe7-. . . o-o, with the fur
ther idea . . . d7-f6, removing the al 10.xd7!
ways unpleasant knight from es! Af The best move after which the
ter 10.d7 the critical moment came, critical position arises! After the typ
where Black reacted badly with 10... ical 10.4 Black can play 10 ...f6 with
d7? which leads almost to a loss af out negative consequences because
ter a "modified" thematic bishop sac 11. xh7+ doesn't work for white 11 ...
rifice on h7. In view that this game is xh7 12.Y:!fhs+ g8 13.g6 Y:!fes
relatively new, it's a little bit strange 14.fs i.xg3+ 15.hxg3 exfs 16.0-0-0
how the strong GM from USA was not e7! 17.xe7+ Y:!fxe7 18.'Y:!fxfs b6
informed about this trap in the open 19.'Y:!fh7+ f7 20. Y:!fhs+ g6 21. 'Y:!fh7+
ing. It shows that many strong play e8 22.Y:!fxg6+ 'Y:!ff7+
ers still don't take the "London Sys
tem" seriously. It's interesting to say,
but I have known this trap for almost
10 years and I had it in my notes. Un
fortunately I still haven't had a chance
to use it in an official game. Try to
memorise this game to the end be
cause you need to play very precisely!

1.d4 f6 2. f4 ds 3.e3 e6 4.d2


cs 5.c3 c6 6.gf3 d6 7. g3
o-o s. i.d3 'Y:!fe7 9.es
Never forget about this move,
needed to prevent es!
CHAPTER FOU R - C LASSIC A L S ET-U P WITH e6 113

A bad move after which Black los 1 1 . . . 'i!f x d 6 1 2 . dxcs 'i!f xcs
es a pawn, but who can assume 13. Ji.xh7+!+-
that something is hidden here? The
only move is 10 ... 'i!fxd7! 11.0-0

(Polish G M Heberla continued


with 11.dxc5 but there followed
some unexpected counterplay
from Black 11 il.xcs 12./!iJ/3 'i!fe7

13.e4 fs! 14. li.. h4 Heberla-Za


jic Plovdiv 2015. and here Black
missed the nice tactic 14 ... ilxf2+!

a b c d e g h

This modified thematic sacrifice


works very nicely here! The knight
comes into the attack with tempo
via e4!

13 ... Wxh7 14. 'i!fhs+ Wg8 1s./!iJe4!


'i!fc4
Now after 15 ... g6 the bishop
15. Wxf2 'i!fcs+ 1 6. Wei fxe4+; is hanging on d7 16.liJ xcs gxhs
11. 1Lxd6 'i!fxd6 12. dxcs 'i!fxcs 17./!iJxd7+- and another pawn on hs
13. il.. xh7+ Wxh7 14. 'i!fhs+ WgB will also fall!
15./!iJe4 g6 16. 'i!fgs 'i!fe7 17./!iJ/6+
Wg7 18.liJhs+ Wh7 19./!iJ/6+ Wg7= 16.liJgs fds
in this line you can see the plus After 16 ... 'i!fd3 White cuts off the
es of having the bishop on c8 in diagonal after 17.e4! fdS 18.'i!fxf7+
stead of on d7 as in the game.) '!ihs 19. di+-

n ... b6 12. il.. xd6 'i!fxd6 13.f4;;!;; with 17.'i!fxf7+ Wh8 18.'i!fhs+!
a typical London position without An important check against . . .
the bad bishop. 'i!fh4!

11. ii.xd6
Now comes a couple of forced
moves.
114 WI N N I N G WI T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

18... g8 19. d1!

21 tZ::l e 7!?
.

A crucial move. With this move Black finds the only way to pro
White doesn't allow . . . !fd3. long the surrender. 2i. .. 1i.g4 does
not bring safety after 22.f3 Wes
19 ... es 23.!fg6! !fe3+ 24.fi g8 25.!fh7+
The idea is . . . !fg4. 19 ... e8 los fB 26.!fh8+ e7 27.!fxg7+ d6
es by force 20. !fh7+ f8 21. !fh8+ 28. xds#
e7 22.!fxg7+ d6 23.b3! !fh4
24.g3 !fg4 (24 . . . !f h5 25. fi::rn 4 #)
25.tZ::l f7+ .fi.xf7 26.!fxg4+-
Black can't cover the f7 square
because the rook enters the attack
19 . . tZ::l e s 20. d4!+-
.

20.!ff7+
A precise move! 20. !fh7+?! f8
2i.!fh8+ e7 22.!fxg7+ d6 and
Black's king runs away.

20 ... hs 21.e4!
White cuts off the 4th rank with
the main idea being to prevent . . .
!fh4! Although the white king doesn't
look safe, Black cannot endanger
him. 23 ... d4 24.!fxe5 dxc3 25.!fxc3
!fxc3 (25 . . . !Vxa2 2 6. !Vh3 + gB
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS I CA L S ET- U P WITH e6 115

27-h7+ rttfB 28. fs+ rttgB 29. xhs kingside, which I then used in the
hi + 3 0. rtt e2 xd2 + 31. rtt xd2 thematic way with g4!
dB+ 32. r:Ji;e3 xh1 33.b3+ rtt h B
34.li:Jf7++-) 26.bxc3 xd2 27.r:Ji;xd2 1.d4 ds 2 .ll f4 li:J f6 3.e3 e6 4.li:Jd2

ds+ 28. rttc 1 d3 29. rttc 2+- cs 5.c3 li:Jc6 6.li:Jgf3 d6 7. ilg3
o-o s .id3 b6 9.li:Jes c7?!

24.f7!+-
and Black doesn't have a defence
against hs with the further hunt
ing of the Black king. The rest of the
game is very clear and without any
comments, because everything was
forced.

24 ... ai+ 25. d1 xb2 26.hs+


r:J;;;gs 27. h7+ rtt fs 28. hs+ rtte 7
29.xg7+ r:Ji;d6 30. xds+ rtt c 6
31.f6+
Conclusion: Black walked into an
opening trap by taking 10 ... .ll d7? Not the best move. The main and
after which he lost to very precise the best move nowadays is 9 ... it.b7
moves! You have to memorise many and after 10.f4 li:Je7! with the idea
crucial moves in leading the attack. to take the e4 square under control.
1-0
10.f4 li:Je7
Black had a similar idea but here
N. Sedlak (2538) - G .Sargissian there is a big difference.
(2693)
SRB-chT Valjevo (3.4), 19.09.2012 11 .ll h4!

Now Black doesn't have . . . li:Je4.


In the classical set-up with . . . e6 and
a further . . . o-o-. . . b6, my reputa 11 ...li:Jes
ble opponent made an inaccurate 11 ... li:J fs 12. it. xf6 gxf6 13.li:Jg4
move 9 ... c7?! which allowed me r:J;;;g7 14.0-0 hs 15.e4
to introduce the typical plan for the
London System. By exchanging my
dark-squared bishop for a knight,
I obtained nice prospects on the
116 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

A logical decision, otherwise . . . 13.!fhs! fs


'2lfs or . . .f6 is corning. 12.Y!+'hs '2lfs Closing down the d3 bishop but
13.g4 g6-+ allowing an opening of the g-file.
Also logical was 13 ... '2l f6 14.!fh3
12 xe7
.. i.b7 15.g4 '2le4 but after 16.gs.
If Black takes 12 ... !fxe7 White it's not clear how Black should con
has an attractive option in 13.h4! tinue. The knight is pinned because
of the mate threat on h7 and White
can simply build his attack with
!!g1- '2lg4 with many threats.
13 ... g6 weakening his own posi
tion in front of the king 14. Y!+'e2 f6
15.'2lef3;\; and now White has new
targets in Black's position. The next
move could be h4.

14.g4! '2l f6 15. Y!+'h3 '2le4 16. gxfs


White has done a good job. The
A nice prophylactic move with knight on es is alive, the impor
a hidden idea against . . .f6 (13. !+'hs is tant g-file is open and the <ls pawn
not the best in this position because in Black's position has become very
Black can play 13 ...g600 with f6 next.) weak.
13 ... f6 14. i. xh7+! xh7 15.!fhs+
Wg8 16.'2lg6 !fd7 17.g4! cxd4 18.gs!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSI CA L S ET- U P WI TH e6 117

16 exfs 17. ll.. b s!


Of course Black saw the trick af
ter 17... ll.. e 6 18.etJxe4 dxe4 19.d5!

White opens the d-file for further


A move with a double idea. The blows! 19 ... xds 20.0-0-0 ll.e6
first is to play ll.. c 6 and the second (20... ad8 21. xds xds 22. c4+-)
is to move the bishop from d3 to 21. d7!
threaten also ClJe4 sometimes.

17... 'ifd6?!
In an unpleasant position Black
doesn't find the best defense. The
queen was well-placed on c7 from
which she defends her king well.
The best defence was 17... ll.. d6 and
then White can use a tactical pos
sibility to achieve a small plus by
exchanging the inactive knight
from d2 18.etJdc4!? (18. ll.c6 ii. b7 2i... ll.. xd7 22. ii.c4+ \!Jh8 23.etJg6#
19. ll.d7 ll.c8=) 18 ... ll.. xes (18... dxC4
19. ll.xc4+ \!Jh8 20.etJg6#) 19.etJ xes 18. g1 il.f6
cxd4 20.exd4 a6 21. d3 f6 22. g1 Also in this position 18 ... e6
ll.e6;;!;; although White's pieces stand doesn't work because of 19.etJ xe4
well, it's not easy to crush the black fxe4 (1 9 . . . dxe4 2 0. 'ii' h 6 ll.f6
position. For example: 23. g2 \!Jh8 21. d7!+-) 20.'ii' h6 f6 21. d7!
24.0-0-0 h6 2s.'iff3 bs 26. dg1
g8 and somehow Black is still in
the game.
118 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

21. .. bs 22.lLid7!

a b c d e f g h

This is the point! A lot of tacti


cal possibilities are hidden in this
position.

(22. ..txds+ is not clear after 22 ...


fB! 23. Y!Hxh7 Y!Hxds 24. Y!HhB+
Y!HgB 25. Y!HxgB+ xgB 2 6.lLic6
ile6)

22 ... ..t h4+

(22 . . . xd7 23 . il xd7 il. xd7


2 4 . xg 7 + + - ; 2 2 . . . il. x d7
23. xg7++-)

23 . Y!Hxh4 il. xd7 2 4 . Y!Hgs Y!Hfs


20 ds?
. 25 . ..txds++-
Losing by force. The rook leaves
the f6 point and now the bishop on 22.Y!Hxd6 xd6 23. ilxa8
f6 will hang. The only move was 20 ... White is the exchange up but the
Y!Hc7 2i. il.c6 .ilb7 22 . ..t xb7 Y!Hxb7 position must be played carefully.
23 .0-0-0 cxd4 24.cxd4 ac8+
25.b1 23 ... ..tf6 24.dxcs!
White needs to get to the ds
21 ..tc6!+- ..txes
pawn.
Now Black is forced to give up
some material!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H e6 11 9

35 ...h6 36. f3 h4 37.h3


The safest way of avoiding the
tricks is to keep the pieces on the
white squares!

37... as 38. a7 e4+ 39. Wf1 i.d2


40. g3!

In this way the problem of the


misplaced bishop is solved.

26 ... d4 27. kxe4 kxc4 28.b3 ka6


In case 28 ... i.e2 white has the
strong answer 29. d2 d3 30. kxd3!
i.xd3 31. gdi+- White wins a pawn or exchanges
rooks.
29. i,d3
The only move, otherwise . . . e4 40 ... ll.. gs
comes! 40 ... g5 41. d3 d4 42. xd4 cxd4
43.We2 ii.b4 44. d7 ii.c3 45.Wd3+-
29 .txd3 30. xd3 e6 31. e1

e4 41. xas c4 42. a4!


Preventing e4! The quickest way. Black is pinned
on the 4th rank. 42.bxc4 xc4
32. Wd2 dxe3+ 33. exe3 43. as+ Wh7 44.M ci+ 45. We2+
Black took one pawn but the rook and White is winning but it can
is entering on the 7th rank! take a lot of time.

33 ... xf4 34. d7 .Ji.gs 35. We2 42 ... k h4 43. g1!


Against top players you always This looks passive, but the idea
need to be careful. 35. e8+ ?? is to support pushing the pawns on
f8+-+ the queenside in the future! 43. g4
ei+ 44. Wg2 cxb3 45.axb3 .Ji. f6
1 20 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

and Black has gained some minor for the knight to prevent . . . /)e4
chances in the endgame! He will sometimes, and the second is to
control the b-pawn from behind. provoke weaknesses on the kingside
with the move hs, after which the
43 ... g f4+ 44.g2 gfa+ 45.h1 move . . .f6 for Black usually doesn't
.ilf6 46. gxc4! work!

1-0

N. Sedlak (2557) - A. Brkic (2599)


EU-cht, Reykjavik (7.4). 20.11.2015

This game is reminiscent a lot of


the previous! In the classical set-up
with . . . e6 and a further . . . o-o, . . .
b6, my opponent - this time Croa
tian GM Ante Brkic - made a simi
lar inaccuracy. Compared with pre
I didn't want to have a passive vious game he continued 9 ... b7
rook after 46.bxc4 gc2 and after 10. f4 then . . . gc8?! This
limp move allowed me to advance
46 ... gxa2 47. ghi! the identical plan to the previous
Like in all rook endgames, the game! Somehow in my "London"
rook should support the pawn from experience it happened very often
behind. Finally Black's counterplay that I won games in the same way.
is killed off! I can only explain this by the fact
that many players underestimate
47... f7 48.b4 e6 49.hs ga7 this opening and don't take it seri
so. gc6+ ds 51.h6 ga1 52. gcci ously enough in their preparations.
I must admit that this is one of
my favorite victories. Conclusion: 1.d4 /) f6 2./) f3 ds 3 . .il f4 cs 4.e3
When White makes a Stonewall /)c6 5./)bd2 e6 6.c3 d6 7. g3
set-up, with pawns c3-d4-e3-f4, the o-o 8. ii.d3 h6 9./)e5 h7
most important thing is to control In the previous game we saw 9 ...
the e4 square and to keep the knight C7?!
on es. To achieve that, you have to
know two things: the first is to ex
change your dark-squared bishop
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS ICAL S ET- U P W I T H e6 1 21

10.f4 !!c8?! 12 ... 1i.xf6 13.CZJdf3


The standard idea 13. !fhs pro
voking weaknesses is not so strong
here because Black has 13 . . . g6
14. !fe2 il. xes! is.fxes f6 i6.exf6
!fxf6

13 ... il.e7
After another slow move the po
sition starts to become a nightmare
for Black! The only move to stay in
the game was 13 ... 1i. xes! 14.fxes
a b c d e g h f6 i5.exf6 !fxf6 16.0-0! !fh6 (16...
!fe 7 17. il. bsi and the es square
This developing move looks very is in White's hands.) 17. !fd2 The
strange to me. After this limp move, queen is more useful on d2 than on
the typical plan for white works eas e2, because of the idea b4. 17... !!f6
ily. The right move is io ... CL:le7 as in iS. !! fa !!cfs 19. !!afii with a small
the next game. advantage due to the slightly better
bishop and control of the es square.
Plans for White could be Ji. bs or b4!

A similar plan to the previous


game. It is almost always good to
exchange the bishop for a knight in The key move! It not only starts
these types of positions. an attack, but the main idea is to
prevent f6!
1 22 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

14 .. .f6? is losing after 15.l:lJgs! fxgs


16.hxgs

(also wins 1 6. V/Bhs h6 17. V/Bg6


l:lJxes 1Bfxe5 'B.fs 19.V/Bxe6+ 'B.f7
20.V/Bg6 <!JjB 21.V/Bh7+-)

16 ... ClJ xes ndxes g6 18. 'B. xh7!


<tlxh7 19. V/Bhs++- with mate in
two!

is.l:lJxes
Again an important move after Almost everything happens the
which . . .f6 doesn't work! 15.fxes same compared with the previous
achieves nothing for White after fs! game!
16.exf6 kxf6
16 cxd4 17.exd4 kxh4+
..

i5 f5
.. Black risks taking the pawn on
Black is more-or-less forced to h4 and opens the h-file to his king.
play this move. Other moves do not promise a good
position for him either. 17 ... .1Ld6
15 . . . f6 16. V/Bhs fsD 17.g4 V/Bes 18.gxfs exfs 19.V/Bf3 "iJ.C? 20.0-0-
18.V/Bxe8 'B.cxe8 19.gxfs exfs 20.hs 0 black is powerless against plan
or 15 ... kd6 and now comes our fa 'B.dg1-'B.gs-'B. hg1-hs.
vourite 16. V/Bhs! fs
18.<!Jd2 kf6
(16...g6?! 17. V/Bh6 'B.C7 18. hs V/Bf6 Forced! The threat was gs!
19.hxg6fxg6 20.ClJf3; 16... h6 17-g4
.1Lxes 1Bfxe5 V/BeB 19.0-0-0) 19.gxfs xes 20.fxes V/Bgs+ 21. <!Jc2
exfs
ng4 V/Be8 18.V/Bxe8 'B.cxe8 19.gxfs During the game I was waiting
exfs 20.hs with a clear advantage for 21 ... 'B.xfs after which comes the
in the endgame! sophisticated move 22. V/Be2! White
has no reason to hurry.
The pawns fs and <ls are potentially (22. kxfs?! gives some small
weak while White has a free hand chances for Black to survive. 22 ...
to combine play on both flanks! V/Bxfs+ 23.V/Bd3 V/Bxd3+ 24. <tlxd3 'B.fB
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS ICAL SET-U P WITH e6 1 23

25. c;!te3 ila6 26. E:ag1) 22 ... E:cf8


23. ilxfs xfs+ 24.c;!?b3+-
The fastest way to win is to keep
queens on the board and to play
against the black king.
After 21 ... g2+ 22.c;!?b3 the king
is very safe here. 22 ... exfs 23. hs
g6 24.h4+- with E:ag1 next.

Stronger and faster was:


26.e6! g7 (26... xe6 27. E:xh7+!
c;!txh7 28.hs++-) 27.g3+-

26 xg6

Black didn't have a better solution


than entering into this endgame!

27. xg6 E: xf3 28. E: xh7+ c;!?gs


29. E:xb7
All the black pawns are hanging.
This looks a little bit risky be
cause of the pin. 29 E:c6 30. iles E:fa+ 31.c;!?b3 E:h6
.

32. c;!?a3! E: hh2 33. ilc6


24 f7 25. E:h5
Conclusion: For this game, the
Almost all of white pieces are conclusion is exactly the same as for
being targeted but Black can't use the previous game. White won both
this! Also possible was 25. E:gs and games in the same way: by imple
between these 2 moves there is not menting the same plan after Black's
a big difference. inaccuracies in the opening.
1-0
25 c;!?hs 26. E:xg6?!

When I saw this move, I stopped


searching for something more.
1 24 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

11.bt!
The only move which gives chanc
Z. lzoria (2573) - M. A. Brattain (2336) es to fight for an advantage. This is
ICC I NT, 20.10.2015 a typical move in the Slav Defense,
with the idea of controlling the e4
Finally in this game Black reacts square. In this position the f5 square
the best way in the opening! Com is also important. Black's main idea
pared with the previous game, here is to play . . . tl:J f5 with next . . . .1i.e7, . . .
he played 10 ... tl:Je7! - the right tl:Jd6. Other moves don't cause any
plan. The idea is to play . . . tlJ f5- problems for Black. On the high
lt.e7- tl:Jd6- tl:J fe4! This maneuver est level White had no reason to be
is characteristic in the Stonewall. happy after 11.f3 tl:J f5 12. ilfa ile7!
The "Georgian beast", a forgotten 13.g4 tl:Jd6 14.g5 tl:J fe4 15.0-0-0 C4
big chess talent, reacted the best 16. ilc2 b5. and Black was much
way also with 11. b1! opposing the faster on the queenside. Karjakin,S
Black plan. However the huge dif (2769)-Adams,M (2744) Wijk aan
ference between the two players is Zee 2016;
obvious and at the critical moment, 1i.c2 c4 12. ile2 tl:J f5 13. il fa
in an unclear position, Black chose ile7! oo with tl:Jd6 next Andreikin
the wrong plan which was roughly D.-Karjakin S. FIDE World cup 2015.
punished by Izoria Zviad.
11 ... g6
1.d4 ds 2 . .ll f4 tl:J f6 3.e3 e6 4.tl:Jd2 n ... tl:Jg6 also make sense 12.0-0

cs 5.c3 tl:Jc6 6.tl:Jgb it.d6 7. ilg3 tl:J h5 13. ile1! (13 . .1i.f2 is not so good
o-o 8 .1i.d3 b6
because White doesn't have the f3
This is the best set-up for Black! plan.) 13 ... cxd4 14.cxd4 tl:J f6 15. f3!?
is a little improvement bringing
the rook into the attack (15.a3 c8
16. h3 C7 17. kg3 b8oo Kamsky
G.-Dreev A. FIDE World blitz 2013.)
15 ... c8 16. h3 and White has
good attacking chances. The idea
might be tl:Jdf3-tl:Jg5 or tl:Jg6-.i h4!
for example.

12. kfa
The idea is to prevent ... tl:J f5 with
tempo. 12 . .i h4 doesn't prevent
12 ... tl:J f5 as 13 . .1i.xf5 (13 . .1i.xf6 xf6
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS I CA L SET- U P WITH e6 1 25

14.fiJd7 Wlh4++) 13 ... exfs 14.fiJdf3 13.0-0 i.a6 14. i. h4 fiJd7?


(14 . .11.. xf6 Wlxf6 15.fiJd7?Wle716.fiJxf8 An awkward place for the knight
Wlxe3+-+; 14.g4 fxg4 15.fiJxg4 .11.. e7 in this position, which gives new
16.fiJes fiJ hs+) 14 ... .11.. e 7 15 . .11.. xf6 possibilities to white. The correct
.11.. xf6 16.h4 hs (16... g7? 17. hs f6 move was 14 ... .11.. xd3 15.Wfxd3 fiJeS;!;
18.hxg6 fxes 19.gxh7+ cJ;;h s 2ofxe5
and White has more than enough
compensation. Black's king could be
weak and his bishops are unusable.)
17. Wfc2 .11.. g 7 1S. cJ;; fa Wies+ with . . .f6
next and Black has a clear plan of
pushing his pawns on the queen
side! White lacks space and strong
holds for his knights!

12 ... as?!
It is a positionally good idea to
exchange white-squared bishops,
but it takes time.

16 fs?
.

A panicky move which loses ma


terial. Black want to definite the
position in the center but unfortu
nately for him it doesn't work. Other
moves also do not promise a great
position. 16 ... dxe4 nliJ xe4+- in
this line is clear why 14 ... fiJd7 was
mistake.
16 ... WIC? 17.Wfd3 aaS 1S.fiJ xd7
Wfxd7 19.e5 fiJ fsD (19 ... q 20.dxcs!
Black had a much better possibili bxcs 21.fiJe4+-) 20. f6 Ji.e7 2i.g4
ty in 12 ... cxd4 13.exd4 (Unfortunate fiJg7 (21 ... .11.. x/6 22.gxfs ild8 23f6)
ly 13.cxd4 Allows 13 ... .1i.b4!+) 13 ... 22 . .11.. xg7 cJ;; x g7 23.fs gxfs 24.gxfs
fiJ hs! 14.g3 f6 15.fiJef3 Wies 16.0-0 cJ;;hs 2s.f6 gs+ 26.cJ;; h 1 .11.. fs 27. f4
.11.. a6 17. e1 fiJg7 Grischuk,A (2S10) g6 2S. h4--+.
Wang, H (2710) Beijing 2014
1 26 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

17.exds exds 18. !9d3 White's technique was without any


The simple 1S.lLJc6 also guar mistakes.
anteed a huge advantage 1S ... !Des
19 . .lixe7 xe7 20. e1 f7 2i.l!!fd 3 19 lLJ bxc6 2 0 . l!!/ x a6 cxd4

bs the only move! (Too slow is 21.lLJb3 dxc3 22.bxc3 l!!/c 7 23.g3
21 ... aB 22. l!!fe2 cJ;;jB 23. l!!/e 6 lLJf6 i.a3 24. ad1 cJ;; f7 25. fe1 d8
24.lLJf3 lLJe4 25.lLJfes+-) 22.l!!f x bs 26. l!!fb s d7 27. cJ;;g2 lLJa7 28. l!!fe2
b6 23. l!!fa 4 cxd4 24.cxd4 lLJ f6 lLJ ac6 29. l!!fe 6+ cJ;; fs 30. l!!f f6+
(24 ... xb2 2s.lLJf3 lLJf6 26.lLJgs g7 cJ;;g8 31. l!!/e 6+ cJ;; fs 32. ii.gs d6
27. e6+-) 25. e6 cJ;; g 7 26. ae1 33. i. h6 + cJ;; e s 34. l!!f g8 + cJ;; d 7
l!!/d 7 27. xe7 l!!f x c6 2 S . !9xas 35.l!!fxh7
xb2 29.l!!/a7 b7 30.l!!fxb7 l!!fxb7 Conclusion: The critical moment
3i. xb7 xb7 32. a1 in the opening was 11. l!!/ b 1! which is
important to remember, preventing
18 ... lLJb8 . . . lLJe4 and the plan . . . lLJ fs-.ll e 7-
Black tries to defend the rook and lLJd6! The position will be unclear
c6 square at the same time. 1S ... after 12 ... cd! , but it is far from being
as 19.lLJc6 !Des 20 . .i xe7 .i xe7 a position where White cannot con
2i. ae1 f7 22.l!!fe 2 cJ;; fs 23.l!!/e 6 tinue playing for a win - it is still
lLJf6 24.lLJ f3+-; very rich in strategic possibilities!
1S...c4 1 9 . lLJ d x c 4 dxc4 1-0
20.l!!fxc4++-

19.lLJc6!+- N. Sedlak (2565) - M. Prusikin (2493)


Regionall iga SO 2013/14,
Bayern (6.1), 09.02.2014

In this game, again in the clas


sical set-up with . . . o - o, . . . b6,
I chose another - at that time very
rare - plan 9.e4!? after which there
arises a completely new type of posi
tion! Immediately on the next move,
probably surprised by my new idea,
my opponent didn't react well with
9 ... de4?! and I grabbed the initiative,
resulting in the end in a convincing
but here is the surprise. The rest victory.
of the game was not so interesting:
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET-U P W I T H e6 1 27

1.d4 ds 2. k f4 CZJ f6 3.e3 cs 4.c3


CZJc6 5.CZJd2 e6 6.CZJgf3 kd6 7. il.g3
o-o 8. d3 b6 9.e4!?

This is a key move! White's


queen enters into play with tem
A relatively new approach and po and frees the square dl for the
treatment of this position. The main rook! There also appears motifs like
idea is to take space with es, intro de with k h7 next, after which the
ducing an attacking position! queen joins the attack with h4.

9 ... dxe4?! 12 ... cs


After this move White develops The most logical move! 12 ...
an initiative. The best move is 9 ... c7? loses because of 13.dxcs
e7! - and this was played in the bxcs (13 ... ilxg3 14.hxg3 fs 15. ilxc6
next game. ilxc6 16. cxb6 axb6 17. c4 fe8
18.0-0 b7 19. fe1 ilds 20.e2)
10.tLlxe4 CZJxe4 14. ii.. xh7+!
Black didn't have a better option
here. On 10 ... ke7 White domi 8
Wfd ;
. i

7 ttJ . :. A

/

nates after 1i.dxc5 bxcs 12.CZJxf6+ x ;;; v 1

841
/.... . ....

k xf6 13.c2 h6 (13 ...g6 14. h4!-+) 6


14.0-0-0 b6 15. k h7+! a typical sB m B p /.
Pk
check which forces Black's king to 4 'ti'B 8 8 8
a worse place; 15 ... Wh8 16. il.e4 kb7 3 B D,

A f
BtZJ
m
n d7 ac8 18. hd1 it.as 19.e2 - A A A
/ ....

2
o ---, a o
and all White's pieces are well-posi
, %
d
m:

. Flfl
-
tioned. One idea could be il.c2-d3 a b c d e f g h
or il.b1-d3
1 28 WI N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

This typical sacrifice works but 23. xd8 W!ixd8 24. W!Jf7+ Wh8
not with 'human' moves and I will 25. W!lg6 Wg8 26. d1 l2:Jd4D 27.cxd4
show just one of the many wins ac cxd4 28. W!ih7+ Wf8 29.l2:J xe6+!
cording to the computer. xe6 30. W!ih8+ We7 3i. ii. h4+ it.. f6
32.W!ixg7+ Wd6 33.W!ixb7+-
(Also possible is to play saf
er 14.0-0-0 1i.xg3 15. hxg3 h6 13.dxcs it.. xcs
16. W!ib5!) 13 ... ii. xg3 looks active but in the
end Black's weaknesses remain,
14 ... Wxh7 15. W!ih4+ Wg8 16.l2:Jg5 e.g. 14.hxg3 (Here not so good is
fe8 17.0-0-0 1i.. e 5D 14. it.. x h7+? Wxh7 15. hxg3 + WgB
1 6. W!ie4 f5 17. W!Jxe6+ f7+) 14 .. .f5
(17... it.. xg3 18.hxg3 WfB 19.lLi h7+ 15. Jt.. c 2 tLl a5 (15 ... bxc5 1 6. it.. b3)
WgB 20.lLi/6+ WfB 21.lLid7+ with 16. W!ih4! W!ixh4 17. xh4 xc5
fast mating) 18.0-0-0

a b c d e f g h

The rook joins the attack via f3 a b c d e g h


18 ... ad8 19.W!Jh7+ Wf8 20. f3 f5
21. W!ih5! a silent move with the idea The biggest problem with this
e1-e5 21 ... Wg8 22. d3!! Anoth move is the inability to play . . . fd8
er great move with the simple idea because of il.. h 4. Better chances were
of d8! 22 .. .f4 given by 14 ... W!Je7 15.0-0 (15.b4 f5!
16. ii.d3 lLixb4 1'J,cxb4 it.. xb4+ 18. Wft
(22 ... xd3?? 23. W!fxeB#; 22 ... ii./4+ c3) 15 ... fd8 (15.. f5 16. il.. d3 the
23. Whi+-) pawn e6 is very weak. 1 6... cdB)
16.b4 ii.d6 nb5 tLl a5 18. il.. xb7
c4 19. il.. xd6 xd6 20.W!ia3 lLi xb7
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H e6 1 29

2i. 'Y:!fxa7 'YWC? 22. xd6 (22.ll:Jes 17... ll:las 18 ..1l.xb7 c4!

xc3 23.ll:Jc6 xd1 24. xd1 g6=) An intermediate move which


22 ... ll:l xd6 23.'Y:!fxC? xc7 24. d1 I saw, but I thought after the fur
xc3 25.h3 ll:les 26. ds Wfs 27. bs ther ll:le5- d7 that I would have
and Black will suffer for a draw! a big advantage.
After 14 ... 'Y:!feS?? 15. xh7+! works
again 15 . . . Wxh7 16. 'Y:!fh4+ WgS 19. 'Y:!fc2 ll:lxb7 20.ll:les cc8 21. d7
17.ll:lg5+- ll:ld6
Black could also play 2i. .. e7!?
15.0-0 fe8 22. fd1 (22. xe7 'Y:!fxe7 23.ll:Jc6
15 ... a5 does not prevent 16.b4! 'Y:!fa3) 22 ... ll:lc5 23. xe7 'Y:!fxe7
axb4 17.cxb4 i/.. e7 (17. . . it.. xb4 24.ll:lc6 'Y:!fb7 25.c4 a6 26.a4 axb5
18. it.xc6+-) 1S. Ji.h4+- 27.axb5 'Y:!faS;;!;;

16.b4
I missed taking the pawn after
16. d7 as 17. c7! xc7 1S. XC7
e5 19. xe5 'Y:!fh6 20. ei+-

16 fs 17.bs?!

A blunder which leads to a loss!


Black could escape with very pre
cise moves 22 ... c5! 23. xd6 it.xd6
24.'Y:!fxd6 ds 25.ll:Jd7 'Y:!fg5 26.h4
'Y:!fd5 27. d1 'Y:!fxd6 2S. xd6 d5
With this move I lost a big part 29. xd5 exd5 30.ll:le5 d4 3i.cxd4
of my advantage. Much better xd4 32.ll:lc6 a4 33. it.bs a6 (33...
was nll:le5! ll:l xe5 1S. it. xb7 eds xa2 34. it.xa7 b2 35. ll:J d4+-)
19.'Y:!fxa7 ll:lc4 but for some reason 34.bxa6 xa6 with very good chanc
I didn't like my queen on a7. es for the draw.
1 30 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

23. E:xd6+- xd6 24. xd6 1.d4 ds 2.'lf3


Two pieces are much stronger Don't forget about our move or
than a rook thanks to their strong der 2. f4!
coordination!
2 ... 'lf6 3 . .Jit.f4 e6 4.e3 .Jit.d6 5. g3
24 ... E:xc3 25. d7 E:fs 26.1lc6 d3 cs 6.1lbd2 1lc6 7.c3 o-o 8. d3 b6
26 ... E:d3 27.e7 xbs 28 . .ll d 6 9.e4!? e7! 10.es
E:as 29. b7 E:es 30. d7+- with Here we have a typical structure
/le7! Next. in the French Defence with an 'unu
sual' bishop on g3.
27 .ll d6

Conclusion: Against the aggres


sive approach with 9.e4!?, the an
swer 9 ... de4? is a mistake! It opens
the center at a moment when
White's pieces stand much better,
but White can exploit that only
with very precise moves! The criti
cal point in Black's position is the
bishop on d6, which is evident es
pecially after the key move 12.M!
1-0 a b c d e g h

A. Grischuk (2774) - H. Nakamura 10 ... 1\hs


(2816) Almost the only move! The typi
EU-Cup, Skopje (7.3). 24.10.2015 cal move 10 ... /ld7 leads Black into
big problems after 11.h4! f6 12.1\gs!
In comparing my previous game fxgs 13. xh7+ Wxh7 14.hxgs+
with this one at the top level, us Wgs 15. E: hs+! Wxhs 16.hs+ Wgs
star Nakamura was not surprised 17.g6+-
much by 9.e4!? He reacted in the
best way with 9 ... e7! moving from 11.a3
the fork es! In the game there ap A very interesting and aggres
peared a structure typical of the sive alternative in this position is
French Defence, but with an unu 11.1\gs!?N
sually-placed bishop on g3! In this
very exciting game full of fire, both
players had their chances!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASS ICAL SET-U P WI T H e6 1 31

a W% L%9A
.I ,
Im "'.... %
12 ... '!J.a7!?
7 ,., A clever move with several ideas.
6 - Defending the 7th rank after a fur
5 " ;, in ;qrni ther . . .f6 or . . .f5 and the idea is fast ac

4 n tion on the queenside with . . . c4-b5-

3 . 8
b4 after which the rook is defended.
In one rapid game on the highest
2 3 f1 rn n t!:i n
a0t "e
level, Black reacted badly with 12 .. .
, c4? 13 . .ll c 2 b5 14.1\g5! ii. xg5 (14 .. .
a b c d e f g h
g6 15.1\xh7!+-) 15.f!ixh5 g6 16.f!ie2
11 ... ilxg5 (11 ... 1\xg3?? 12. ilxh7+ f5 17.exf6 f!ixf6 18.h4 ii.f4 19. kxf4
c:J;; h B 13.1\xj7+! 'B.xf7 14.hxg3 ii.g5 f!ixf4 20.g3 f!if6 21.f4 'B.a7 22.1\f3 h6
15. Ji.g6+ c:J;;gB 16. f!ih5 ilxd2+ l'J. c:J;;xd2 23.1\e5 1\xe5 24.dxe5 f!ig7 25.f!ig4
'!J.xf2+ 18. c:J;;di+-; 11 ...g6 12.1\xh7! '!J.eB Kramnik,V (2777)-Zhigalko,S (2656)
13. f!ig4 c:J;;g7 14.1\j3 cxd4 15.1\hg5) Berlin 2015.]
12.f!ixh5 g6 13.f!ie2 cxd4 14.h4! dxc3
15.bxc3 ii.xd2+ (15 ... llh6 16.h5 ilg7 13.0-0?!
(16...g5 l'J.1\f3 with the very unpleas
ant 1l h2- 1\g4) 17.c:J;;fi ! with the idea
'B.e1-f!ig4-f!ih3) 16.f!ixd2 d4 17. it.e4
ii.b7 18.cxd4 f!id7 19. '!J.d1 (19. h5?
1\xd4 20. llxb7 '!J.adB!+ defending
the knight with the threat 1\f3) 19 ...
1\e7 20.f3 h5
After 11.0-0?! White doesn't
have any attacking chances 11 ...
ii.d7 12. 'B.e1 'B.c8 13.a3 1\xg3 14.hxg3
f5+ Kamsky,G (2683)-Nakamura,H
(2798) Saint Louis 2015.

11 as 12. f!ie2
This looks slow and loses attacking
Here the same idea with 12.1\g5?! chances. White had a chance to im
doesn't work after llxg5 13.f!ixh5 prove his "bad" knight with 13.1\ fi!?
g6 14.f!ie2 cxd4 15.h4 dxc3 16.bxc3 c4 (13 .. f5 14.exf6 ii.xf6 15. '!J.d1! 'B.af7
it. xd2+ nffixd2 it.a6! with a3-a5 16.1\e3 g6 17. .$_ b5! a typical method
the difference is big 18. ii.xa6 '!J.xa6 of fighting for the e5 square l'J. .. ii.d7
19.h5 '!J.a7+ and Black's king is safe. 18.1\g4 ilg7 19. ii.xc6 it.xc6 20.1\ge5
'!J.q 21.1\xc6 'B.xc6 22.0-ot) 14. il.c2
b5 15.1\g5 .lixg5 16.f!ixh5 g6 nf!ie2
1 32 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

fs! 18.exf6 1l.xf6 19.CZJe3 es! Other 16 ... ii.xh4


wise there comes CZJg4- CZJe5 20.dxes Black must accept the challenge!
CZ:Jxes 21. !!d1 !!d7 22.0-0 !!es
17.g4 CZJg7 18.CZJxh4?!
13 ... c4! Unnecessary and again Black can
Usually this reaction of closing breathe. The bishop on h4 is a bad
the center is not good but now it's piece. White could have continued
matter of concrete play! the attack with 18. VJfie3 il.e7 19. g2
fs 20.exf6 il.xf6 21. !!h1 CZJe8 22. 1l.g3
14. il.c2 bs 15.h4 with an open h-file compensating
The idea is to save the bishop af for the pawn!
ter which the knight on hs can be
come problematic. 18 ... VJfixh4 19.g2 fs!

15 ... g6?
Black misses a chance for a big ad
vantage. Very logical was 15 ... CZ:Jxg3!
16.fxg3 b4 17-axb4 axb4 18.CZJ xc4
and probably in his calculations
Black missed 18 ... b3! (18 ... dxc4 ?
19. VJ9e4) 19. !! xa7 CZJ xa7 20 . .ll xb3
dxc4 21. il.xc4 il.b7+

Black must do something active,


otherwise he will find himself with
new problems.

20.exf6 V19xf6 21. ii.d6


An attractive move. Also possi
ble was 21.CZJ f3 es! 22.CZ:J xes CZ:J xes
23. ii. xes VJfigs 24.f3 !!af7 25. !!ae1
CZJe6 26.VJfie3 CZJ f4+ 27. ii. xf4 !! xf4
28. ii.d1=

Now the knight on hs is in danger.


CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET- U P W I T H e6 1 33

21 ff7 22.f4?

Here White didn't feel the dan


ger. Much safer was 22.f3 to protect
the g4 pawn

22 ... e5!

25.e6 (25. ilxfs gxf5 26. li:Jj3 wexg4+


27. Wf2 g1 28. g1 W9f4 29. Wfe3
W9xe3+ 30. Wxe3 g4 31.ctJh2 xg1
32. xgi+ g7 33. xg7+ Wxg7+;
25.gxf5 gxf5-+ and Black's attack is
unstoppable.) 25 ... g7! 26. xfsD
gxfs 27. il xfs hs 28.ctJ f3 xg4+
29. xg4 Wfxg4+ 3 0 Wfa g7 31. g1
.

Wfxe6 32.Wfxe6+ 1l xe6 33. xg7+


A nice break in the center after Wxg7 34. We3+
which all Black's pieces become ac
tive and White's king weak. The 2s. h1 Wfds
pawn g4 is also a target. 25 ... Wfgs is too risky after 26.ctJ f3
Wfxg4+ 27.Wfa
23.dxes
23.fxes Wfh4+;
23. il.xes CLi xes 24.dxes Wfh4+

23 ... Wfh4 24.f5!


The only move!

24 gxfs?

In a very complicated position,


and probably in time-trouble, mis
takes are common even at the top
level of chess. Black had very nice
and strong move 24 ... ctJ xfs! after
which White's position collapses.
1 34 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

In this position there is no time 30.ds?


for slow moves. Black opens the
diagonal and threatens the White
king.

The engine is very cold-blooded


in this position and finds 30. Wfi!
with a continuing attack, and now
a b c d e f g h
30 ... CZJxd6 doesn't work because of
3i.exd6 E:xd6 32. E:xd6 xd6 when
The only move to hold the po White has 33.e8+ f8 34.xc6+-
sition. 29.xd4 CZJe6 30.e3 (30.
xa7? xds+-+) 30 ... xds+ 30 ...CZJe7 31. 1i.. xe7 E:dxe7 32. d4
1i.. b7?
28. E:h6? This was the last of many mis
A very slow move which brings takes in this game. Much better was
Black back to life. This move doesn't 32 ... E: xg4+ 33. Wfr E:eg7 34. E: xg4
really have a big threat! 28. 1l.. c 5! E: xg4+
!!aC? 29.CZJ f3
33.Wfa xds 34.xds+ 1L xds
28 ... !!g7 29. E:g1 ad7? 35. xfs E:xes
Both sides miss chances! Very Both players, tired of calculat
logical was 29 . . . E: xg4+ 30. Wfi ing, enter an about equal endgame.
E:xgi+ 31.xgi+ !!g7 32.e3 CZJe7 Black is a pawn up but the position
33. 1J.. xe7 xe7+ 34.ds? f4! next has reduced and the white king is
is gs! And the black king looks closer to the main events.
much safer now.
36. E:e1 E: xe1 37.Wxe1 b4 38.axb4
axb4 39. 1le6+ 1Lxe6 40. E:xe6 CZJc7
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL S ET-U P WITH e6 1 35

Conclusion: After the best reaction decision in 13 ... c4? closing the cent
of Black with 9... i.e7 the position be er at the worst moment after which
comes very sharp which reminds us his counterplay was very slow on
a lot of positions from the French De the queenside. Kamsky was given
fence! White's biggest problems are a free hand on the kingside and he
the lL!d2 (which can remain fairly crowned his play with a pretty and
useless for a long time) and the i.g3 effective finish.
which disturbs the white attack! For
these reasons 11.ClJg5!? deserves seri 1.d4 ds 2. f4 ClJf6 3.e3 cs 4.ClJf3
ous attention! Another way to solve Our move order is 4.c3 ClJc6
the problems with the minor pieces 5.ClJd2 e6 6.ClJgf3 d6 7. i.g3 o-o
is the plan lL!fi before castling, fol 8. i.d3 b6 9. lie2!?
lowed by ClJe3 or, h4 with the idea
i.h2 playing against the knight on 4 ...ClJc6 5.lL!bd2 e6 6.c3 d6 7. g3
h5. However, the position is very in o-o 8. d3 b6 9. lie2!?
teresting and I expect that it will be
tested more in the future.
1/2

G. Kamsky (2673) - A. Goganov


(2575)
1sth Moscow Aeroflot op-A (8),
08.03.2016

Here comes the third possible way


of playing against the classical set-up
with . . . e6 and the further . . . o-o, . . .
b6. Gata Kamsky, a big "London" ex This move has rarely been played
pert, chose 9. lie2!? which has rarely in recent history! The main idea is
been played before. The move makes to prepare e4!
a lot of sense, with the aim of better
preparing e4 and bringing the rook 9 ... b7
to dl! The current game greatly re Several times Black has tried 9 . . .

minds us of the game Grischuk A. lic7 but after 10.e4! it seems as though
Nakamura H. EU cup 2015. In gener Black has serious problems! 10... dxe4
al, the position is unclear, but Black 11.lL!xe4 lL! xe4 12 . .li.xe4 f5 13 . .li.xd6
has to be very accurate! In this game lixd6 14.dxc5 lixc5 15. it.c2 the e6
Aleksey Goganov made the wrong pawn is weak, and if Black tries 15 ...
1 36 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

. .
If
es? then after 16. .1i.. b3+ <i!?hs nllgs
his king is in great danger! ,;%
io. !!d1 ,5 ""=
, X
';'" '"
,Y
One more useful move that place
4 o
the black queen at gunpoint!
3 a DUll1
2 n n
io .. !!eS?!
.

1 ,,,,Y ,'!0 ,,,, , r;%


0
A dubious move which allows
a b c d e f g h
White to develop the initiative!
10 ... 'YJ!/e7 was tested once: 11.e4! 11 ... with the idea of opposing the e4
dxe4 12.ll xe4 ll xe4 13 . .1i.. xe4 !!ads move. u. il. xd6
14.dxcs lt.xcs 15.0-0 h6?! Sergeev
V.-Van den Doel E. Delft Prinsen (11.e4?! 1lxg3! 12.hxg3 cxd4 Now
stad op 2014. we can see the essence of 10 ... h6:
White doesn't have the interme
(15... !!xd1 16. !!xd1 !!dB 17.b4 .1i.. d6 diate move es, as the pawn has
18 . .1i.. h 4! moved from h7! 13. cxd4 ll b4!
14.e5 llxd3+ 15. 'YJ!Ixd3 lle4+)
(18. 1lxh7+ <i!fxh7 19. 'YJ!/d3+ <i!fgB
20. 1lxd6 'YJ!/j6) u ... 'YJ!/xd6 12.e4 es! A very good
move. Black should try to exploit
18 .. .f6 19. c2;;t;: Black's position is the position of White's king in the
sensitive, especially the e6 pawn center! 13.exds
and the diagonal bl-h7)
(13. dxcs 'YJ!/xcs 14. 0-0 !!ad8oo )
16 . .1i.. c 2! with the idea after 16 ... 13 ... lfJ xds!
!!xd1 17. !! xd1 !!ds of 18.b4 .1i.. d 6
19. 'YJ!/d3+-; (13 ... exd4? doesn't work, e.g.
14.dxc6! !!ae8 15.cxb7 !! xe2+
10 ... cxd4?! 11.exd4 is a super ver 16. xe2 d3
sion of the Carlsbad structure for
White. The bishop on b7 has no (16... !!eB 17.cxd4 cxd4 18.0-
perspective. The plan is the usual 0! !!xe2 19. !!c1 lld7 20. .!! c B+
lle5-f4-.1i.. h 4! <i!fh7 21. !!dB+-)

However, Black had a very good 17.llc4! 'YJ!/e6 18. !! xd3 'YJ!/xc4
option in 10 ... h6! 19.bS'YJ!i! !! xb8 20. !!ds+ !! xd8
21. iLxc4+-)
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL S ET- U P W I T H e6 1 37

a) 16.Wi/fs? tl:J xes! 17.tl:J xes 'i!.fe8


18.tl:Jdc4 (18f4 ? i.. c B-+) 18 ...
bs! 19.0-0 bxc4 20.tl:J xc4 c8!
21.Wi/f3 g4-+;

b) 16.exf6? 'i!. fe8 no-o 'i!. xe4


18.tl:Jxe4 g6+;

16 ... tl:Jds nWi/g3 (17.Wi/e4 tl:Jf6=)


17... 'i!.ae8 18.0-0 tl:J xes 19.tl:J xes
Wi/xes 20. Wi/xes 'i!. xes 2i.tl:Jc4
'i!.e6 22. 'i!. fe1 'i!. xei+ 23. 'i!. xe1
tLJ f4 24 . .1d1 tl:Je6 25. 'i!.d1 'i!.d8
26. 'i!.xd8+ tl:J xd8=

A nice defensive move which


leads to a much better rook
endgame! 22 ... cxd3 23. Wilxf6 gxf6
24. 'i!.xd3 'i!.eB 25. 'i!.xg2+ i.. xg2+
26. xg2 'i!.e2 27. 'i!. dB+ g7
28. 'i!.bB)

15.Wi/e4 tl:Jf6! An important move


which holds Black's position!

11.e4! i.e7
Black was not prepared to react
in the center and it highlights the
shortcomings of 10 ... 'i!.e8?! After
the logical 1i. .. dxe4, with a series of
forced moves White achieves a clear
advantage 12.tl:Jxe4 tl:J xe4 13. i.xe4
cxd4 14.tl:J xd4 tl:J xd4 15. 'i!.xd4 i.ds
16.0-0 i. xg3 (16... ii.cs l'J. 'i!.d3 Wilgs
18.h4 Wilj6 19. i.. xds exds 20.W!ld1)
17.hxg3 Wi/g5 18. i. xd5 exd5 19.W!/d2;
1 38 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

The reaction in the center with 11 ... move. With a stable center, the at
es is not so good because Black is still tack is much easier for White.
not ready for it. 12.dxcs! xcs 13.0-
0 d4 Black is forced on this in view
of exd! (13 ... dxe4? 14.CiJxe4 CiJxe4
15. 'V/lixe4 g6 16. C4 'V/liq 17- li.ds)
14.cxd4 CiJxd4 15.CiJxd4 exd4 (15...
xd4 16.CiJb3) 16.a3 as 17. !!fe1 The
pawn d4 is well-blocked and is actu
ally weak. White's plan is to play es
at a favorable moment!

12.es CiJhs
Now we have a similar position a b c d e g h
as in the game Grischuk A.-Naka
mura H., European Club Cup 2015. Black should seek counterplay
with !!d1-'V/lie2 and !!e8-1i.. b 7 insert with 13 ... as! 14.CiJ f1 (14.h4 cxd4
ed. It seems like a better version for 15.cxd4 CiJxg3 16fxg3 fs!) 14 ... 'V/lics
White. idea is 1i.. a6 15.h4 ila6 16. ilh2 ilxd3
17. 'V/lixd3 fs.

14. b1 g6
Defending the knight against the
CiJgs idea.

15.CiJft!
A famous move with the idea
CiJe3- CiJg4 Here the idea from the
game Grischuk A.-Nakamura H.
also works: 15.h4!? CiJ xg3 16.fxg3

15 ... bs 16.CiJe3 as 17.CiJg4 b4


13.a3 The counterplay on the queenside
White needed to play this to pre is too slow and White doesn't need
vent the idea cd- CiJ b4! to worry about it.

13 ... c4? 18. 'V/lie3!


Very rarely can this be good and Another nice move with the idea
I am not a big fan of this kind of of ii.. f4!
CHAPTER FOU R - CLASSICAL SET-U P WITH e6 1 39

18 ...bxc3 19.bxc3 !!bs 25 ez:J fs 26. xfs exfs 27.lZ:Jgs


..

Dealing with the unimportant ezJf6D


pawn leads to a quick loss. 19 ... A good try but it doesn't help!
il.. x a3 20.ezJ h6+ g7 2i. il.. h4 il.. e 7
22. xe7 xe7 23.g4+- 28.ezJe3
28.ezJxf6+?! xf6 29.xh7+ f8

a b c d e g h

The forgotten bishop comes into


the game with a mission to ex 29 ... ds 30.0-0
change himself for his colleague, An elegant finish to the game
further weakening the dark squares and well played by Gata! Conclu
around the black king. sion: The rarely played 9. e2!? is
very interesting and looks like an
20 ... il.. c s 21. il.. gs !!b3 22.h4! improved version of the 9.e4-il.. e7
The attractive 22.ezJ h6+ gives continuation. It seems like White
hope to Black 22 ... g7 23.g4?! f6 has more useful moves than Black,
before he starts to play the further
22 ... b6 23. il.. c 2 !!xa3? e4! Black must always be on top of
Black should keep his bishop with things to keep the balance! In the
23 ... il.. fs game after the push e4-es, the key
move was 15.ezJ fi! White shouldn't
24. il.. xe7+- ezJxe7 25.h6 castle short so quickly, because the
Now the position is complete rook on hi is necessary for action
ly lost! There is no defense against with h4, and also after Black's . . .
ez:Jgs or ezJ f6! ezJg3!
1-0
C H A PT ER FIV E
EARLY ... e6

In this chapter the variations are 7. il.d3 CZJbd7 8.h4! See Kovacevic V.
similar to positions from the previ Ree H., Maribor 1980.
ous chapter with certain differenc
es. Those differences could be in de 4. g3!
laying Black with the move cs or in Again the best reaction against
developing the knight from b8. In the . . . il.d6 idea! Also tested was
general it doesn't change the plans 4. il.xd6 cxd6! (4... 'VJ!ixd6?! 5.'VJ!lg4!t.)
for White too much because the 5.'VJ!ig4 and now the point is 5 ... CZJf6!
structures are the same. In the Lon after which Black achieves good
don System you have to play mostly compensation for the pawn! 6. 'VJ!!xg7
by understanding the ideas. gg8 7. VJ!ih6 gg6 8. 'VJ!if4 'VJ!ib6 9.b3
VJ!iC?! 10.CZJ f3 (10. il.d3 es 11.'VJ!ih4 e4
1.d4 ds 2. il. f4 e6 12. il. bs+ ii.d7 13. xd7+ lZJ bxd7i;
10. c3 es 11. 'VJ!ih4 il.fsi) 10 ... VJ!lxc2
11.CZJ bd2 <i!fe7! 12.g3 gg4 13. VJ!ih6
gg6 14. 'VJ!ih4 gg4=

4 CZJ f6

Very solid is 4 ... xg3 5.hxg3


CZJ f6 6.CZJd2 'VJ!le7 7.CZJgf3 CZJbd7 8.c3
es 9.dxes ll:J xes 10.ll:Jxes VJ!lxes and
now the best chance for an advan
tage is the endgame after 11.'VJ!IM+
c6 12.'VJ!if4! VJ!ixf4 13.gxf4 -see Sedlak
a b c d e g h N.-Ascic P. Bosnjaci 2006.
4 ... 'VJ!le7 5.c3 CZJ h6!? 6.CZJd2 -see
3.e3 il.d6 Sedlak N.-Abramovic B. Vrnjacka
Another option is 3 ... CZJ f6 4.CZJd2 Banja 2012.
cs 5.c3 il.e7 which is the old and
passive treatment that was pun 5.CZJd2 0-0 6. kd3!
ished by Vlatko Kovacevic (5 ... CZJc6 The move order is very important
6.CZJg/3 - CHAPTER 4) 6.CZJgf3 0-0 here as always in the "London".
1 42 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

6 cs
. Again the position is very similar
For Black it is almost always pos to positions from C H A P T E R 4. but
sible to play the plan with 6 ... b6!? without lfJ f3- lfJc6! which is a bet
7.lfJgf3 (Preventing . . . a6 brings ter version for White - see Grachev
another type of problem. ;i; '%!Ve2 i.b7 B. - Timofeev A. RUS eh rapid 2015.
8.lfJgfe lJe4! and Black wins the bat
tle for the e4 square!) 7... b7 (;i; .. iLa6
8. iLxa6 lfJxa6 9.c3 Black ex changed V. Kovacevic - H . Ree
important white bishop, but now he Maribor, 1980
has to lose time to return the knight
into play. 9 ... c5 10.'%!Ve2 lJb8 11.!with In the first game of this chap
some pressure) 8.lJes lJe4 (8... lJbd7 ter Black chose a very passive set
9. '%!Vf3! with play on the kingside. Cov up with an early . . . e6 putting the
ering the e4 square is always impor bishop on e7, which provoked our
tant!) 9.'%!fhs!? fs 10.lJxe4 fxe4 11. bs "London maestro" to show his at
c6 12. iLe2 cs 13. g4 '%!Ve8 14. '%!Vh3i tacking skills. With the very aggres
Heberla B.-Pinkas K. Katowice 2015. sive approach 8.h4! Vlatko Kovace
vic showed how you have to punish
7.c3 b6 passive play!
Here Black tries to exchange the
white-squared bishops but it is not 1.d4 lfJf6
possible after White's next move! 7... Our move order would be: 1 ... d5
lJc6 s.lJgf3 - is a transposition to 2. f4 lfJ f6 3.e3 e6 4.lJd2 cs 5.c3
CHAPTER 4. il.e7 6.lfJgf3 o-o 7. iLd3 lfJbd7

2.lJ f3 ds 3. i.f4 e6 4.lJbd2 cs 5.e3


e7?!
This is the most passive plan for
Black and not to be recommend
ed! Black gives up the fight for the
center and the es square. The natu
ral move is 5 ... i.d6.

6.c3 o-o 7. i.d3 lfJbd7


By putting the knight on d7,
Black's main idea is to play . . . b6-. . .
iLb7-. . . lfJe4 taking the e 4 square
a b c d e g h under his control.
CHAPTER FIVE - EARLY e6 1 43

10.dxes '2ld7 11. ilxh7+!!

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

A very good and aggressive ap The knight is far from the gs square,
proach which is based on an attack but this typical sacrifice works here
on the black king. After this move, anyway! White has enough time to
the Black's whole concept comes add the knight to the attack.
into a question!
After the typical 8.'2ies '2i xes 11 ... <i!?xh7 12.'V/!!hs+ Wg8 13.'2l f3 f6
9.dxes '2ld7 and Black has in his ar The following lines show White's
senal moves such as . . .f6 or . . .fs in attacking resources!
facing the threats on his king. 13 ... il a6 14. B'.d1! Prophylaxis!
preventing . . . ild3 and continuing
8 ... b6 9.'2les '2ixes? the attack as in the game!
It's hard to believe, but this loses 13 . . . g6 1 4 . 'V/!! h 6 B'.es 15.'2lgs
by force mostly thanks to 8.h4! '2i fs 16.hs+-; 13 ... B'.es 14.'2lgs '2i fs
Natural was 9 ... ilb7 10.''3 ! 1s.'V/!!xf7+ <i!?hs 16. B'. h3!
protecting the e 4 square i s always
very important! 10 ... B'.cs (10... '2ixe5
11.dxes '2id7 12. 'V/!!g4 fs 13.exf6 B'.xf6
14.l2if3 ) 1i. B'. h3. White has
a clear plan of attacking the black
king, while it's not easy to find ap
propriate counterplay for Black.
1 44 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

16 ... d7 17.hs+ Wg8 18.lt:J f7 18 ... lt:J f8 19.h8 Wd7 20.g7 ll:Jg6
d8 19. h8+! Wxf7 20. E:f3+- 2i.xd8++- g8

19.h8! E:gsD
There is no other way to prevent
g?!

20.gS!
A nice move with a double threat,
but the main one is f7 mate!

20 lt:Jxes

Black was forced into this to avoid


mate! 20 ... e7 2i. E: h7+-

21. xes Wd7 22. E: hs!


Clearly the best! 22. E: h7+?! is still
The attack goes like a song not a win 22 ... e7 23.g7 Wc6

14 ... fxgs 15.hxgs E: fs! 22 il,.b7


Making space for a king escape! 22 ... E: xes 23.g7+-;


15 ... E: xf4? 16.h8+ Wf7 17.g6+ 22 ... e7 23. h7+-
Wxg6 18. hs#;
15 ... xgs 16. xgs c7 (16.. eB . 23.h7+
1'j. h7+ Wf7 1B. E: h4+-) 17.f4+- GM Vlatko Kovacevic led the at
tack with surgical precision. Con
16.h7+ Wf7 clusion: If you think that it is pos
16 ... Wf8 17.g6! Wg8 18. E: h7 f8 sible to play passively against the
19.hs+- "London", you are wrong! Passive
play is something this opening
17.g6+ Wes 18. xg7 does not tolerate as this game clear
Two pieces are powerless in rela ly showed. With an early 8.h4! in
tion to the g-pawn! the opening, connected with h7
and E: h3 ideas, doubts are cast on
18 ... fs Black's limp plan in the opening.
18 ... E: f8 19. E: h8 f7# 19 ... lt:J xes 1-0
20.xes! f6 2i.g7! xg7 22.xg7
E:xh8 23.xh8+ Wd7 24.es+-;
CHAPTER FIVE - EARLY e6 1 45

was one of my first games in the


"London" so at that time I was not
N. Sedlak (2512) - P. Ascic (2348) so brave about using my 'feel' a lot.
i2th Bosnjaci op-A (2), 04.01.2006 I was not sure of the typical 7.f4!? be
cause of my doubled pawns on the g
Compared to the previous game, file! I was a little bit afraid of moves
my opponent chose a plan with an like 7... h5 which I couldn't evaluate.
early 3 ... d6 aiming to play a quick
. . . es! Against this set-up it is hard
to prevent . . . es, but White has the
possibility to seek an advantage
with the queen maneuver 'ilfM-'ilff4
offering an endgame! My opponent
accepted the endgame, which was
the most logical decision, and after
a long fight, I finally won with the
help of my opponent's impatience. a b c d e f g h

1.d4 ds 2. ii.f4 e6 3.e3 il.d6 4. il.g3 Now, after many years of experi
ii.xg3 ence, I don't believe so much in ,J4.
For example: 8. e2 forcing Black
into the unusual move 8 ... 'i!ff8 and
after 9.c3 ltJc6! with the idea . . .
ltJe7- ltJ fs 10. il. f3 ii.d7 11.e4 (11. e2
o - o - o 12.e4 dxe4 13.ltJxe4 ltJxe4
14. il.xe4 'i!Ud6= Black has too many
options, moves such as . . . h4 or . . .f6-
ltJe7-c6) 11 ... dxe4 12.ltJxe4 ltJxe4
13. il. xe4 o-o-o 14.ltJ f3 (14. 'E.xhs
is risky 14 ... 'E.xhs 15. 'i!fxhs ltJxd4!
16.cxd4 b4+ 17-ft bs+ 18.ltJe2
g6 19. 'i!Uf3 'i!Uxd4 with the very
unpleasant threat of . . . 'E. h8!) 14 ...
Like I said before, I am not a big f6 and I don't believe White has an
fan of this kind of moves! advantage!

5.hxg3 ltJ f6 6.ltJd2 'i!fe7 7.ltJgf3 7... ltJbd7


In the game I chose to play a sol It's clear that Black is playing for
id and, for me, known position. This . . . es!
1 46 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

8.c3 u ... c6
11 ... !l;,. d7 is similar to the game
12.iff4 ifxf4 13.gxf4;!;;

Against . . . es there is always the


interesting 8.CZJes but here it doesn't
work very well after 8 ... CZJ xes 9.dxes
CZJd7 10.4 ifcs! 11. 'i!?fa d4 12.CZJc4
dxe3+ 13.CZJ xe3 CZJb6 and this looks Black enters a slightly passive end
OK for Black. game, but one with no weaknesses.
He could also play 13 ... ife7 to
8 ... es! 9.dxes l:Z::l xes 10.l:Z::l xes ifxes keep the queens on the board!
u.ifa4+! 14.CZJ f3 ! white can firstly improve
Searching for the queen's best his knight's position (14.0- 0 - 0
position with tempo, transferring e 6 15.f3 o - o - o 16.g4 (1 6. 'i!tbi
her to the f4 square and offering an gs! 17. ifa4 'i!tb8 18.g4 il.c8 19. 'B. he1
endgame! hs 20.gxhs 'B.xhs=) 16 ... d4! nexd4
l:Z:Jds 18.ifes l:Z::l xc3 ! 19.bxc3 ifa3+
20. 'i!?c2 ifxa2;!;; ) 14 ... d7 15.CZJd4;!;;
and it's not clear what Black can
do with his king! Always risky is
15 ... 0-0 (It's not possible to play
15 ... 0-0-0? 1 6.CZJfs xfs 17. !l;,. xfs+
CZJd7 18. !fd4) 16.0-0-0 with con
stant calculations around 'B. h6 and
g4-gs!
CHAPTER FIVE - EARLY e6 1 47

14.gxf4;;!;: 18 .B'.xd7 19. fa as


.

White's better structure promis Black takes a space on the other


es a long-term advantage by taking flan k .
space on the kingside.
20 .B'.ae1 .B'.es 21.g4

14 ... ii.d7 Slowly, threats appear.


Before the move f3 it's neces
sary first to improve the knight's 21 .B'.de7
.

position. Preventing e4 and making space


for the knight on d7.
1s f3 o-o-o 16.es .B'.hfs 17.f3
.

I was very happy with my posi 22 .B'.e2 b6


tion here. The massive pawns on the Black plays 'into space' and
kingside offer a lot of possibilities. doesn't use his chance to improve
For example to play for g4-gs, or to the position of the knight with 22 ...
play for e4. d7 and next comes . . . cs

17... c7 18.xd7!? 23 . .B'.he1 .B'.ds 24. ll.c2 cs 2s . .B'.d1


This was the hardest decision in There is no need to hurry: the
the game. The knight was nice on es, threat is stronger than the execution.
but after . . . ii.c8-. . . e8 and a later
. . .f6 I didn't see any good prospects 2s .B'.de8 26 .B'.d4 b6 27. il.fs g6?!
.

for the knight. In the future I had an Black loses patience. 27... C7;;!;:
idea to open the position with e4 af would continue the waiting strategy.
ter which the bishop could become
dominant over the knight. 28. ii.c2 hs?

8 - - - -
.r-r:::
7 .. - t&:,,/
..
6 %,, , , /_ ,,_% ,/-f, , , //
s m - -
4 m m o m
3 m DD a
2 / - - -
, / / m

a
. :a
a b c d e g h a b c d e g h
1 48 WI N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

This extra weakening will prove


fatal to Black. Much better was to
play 28 ... gs 29. !!e1 cs 30. !!dd1 gxf4
31.exf4 !!xe1 32. !!xe1 !!xe1 33. Wxe1
Wc6 34. Wfa bs 35.gs hxgs 36.fxgs
ll:Jd7 37,f4;!; and Black has chances
for a draw - but he needs to fight
hard for it!

Here I could win quicker with


35.c4 d4 36.exd4 cxd4 (3 6. . .
!!xd4 37. !!e2 l2Jc6 38. !!xe7 l2Jxe7
39. !!xf7+-) 37.c5+! Wxcs 38.f4+-

35 ll:Jg4+
.

35 ... !!ed7 doesn't save Black,


e.g. 36. !! xes dxe4 37. !! xd6+ !! xd6
38. !!xe4 !!d2+ 39. Wg3 !!xa2 40. !! f4
!!b2 4i. !!xf7+-
Also losing is 35 ... Wc6 36. !! xds
Now Black 's pawn structure !!xds 37.c4 ll:Jd3+ 38. Wfi
starts to be ruined.
36.We2?!
30 gxfs 31. !!f4 ll:Jes 32.b3!
I really don't know why I was not
The pawn on fs can't run away! happy with 36.fxg4 !! xe4 37.gxhs
!!h4 38.h6+-
32 cs?!

Black starts his active play too 36 h4


.

late, now simply creating new Now Black gains some small
weaknesses. hopes with his h-pawn!

33. !!d2 !!ds 3 4 . !! xfs+ - !!d6 37. !!fxds !!xds 38. !!xds h3 39. !!d1
35. e4 c4!
Strong enough! Black doesn't have to lose any-
thing and plays in the most active
CHAPTER FIVE - EARLY e6 1 49

way, hoping to make draw in the 44. g xh2 Wxc4 4s. g h7 g fs


rook endgame. 46. Wf4 Wxc3 47.e4?!
Losing time and very slack play
in a winning position. 47.Wf5! b5
48.Wf6 b4 49. g xf7 g xf7+ 50.Wxf7
a4 5i.g6 b3 52.axb3 axb3 53.g7
b2 54.gs bi 55. hs+ Wd2
56.d4++-

47 bs
..

Now follow the calculations!

48. Wfs b4 49. Wf6 a4 so. gxf7 gbs


Black couldn't save the game in
the queen endgame after 50 ... gxf7+
51. Wxf7 b3 52.axb3 axb3 53.g6 b2
40.bxc4 Wes 41. gh1 h2 42.fxg4 54.g7 bi 55.gS xe4 56. c8++-
From the nice structure, now just
doubled pawns are left, but I have s1. gh7
the bigger number of them! Unnecessary again. Black's b
pawn can't run away. 5i.g6! b3
52.axb3 axb3 53. gc7+ Wd2 54. g h7
b2 55. g h1 bi 56. g xb1 g xb1 57.g7
gb6+ 58.Wf7 gb7+ 59.Wg6 gb6+
60. Wh7 gb7 6i. <i!f hs+-

s1 ... Wd4
White is much faster after 5i. .. b3
52.axb3 axb3 53.e5 b2 54. g h1 bi
55. g xb1 g xb1 56.g6 g fi+ 57.Wg5+-

s2. ga7
Now all the Black counterplay
has disappeared and the rest of the
game was just delaying a handshake.
Passive play in rook endgames
doesn't bring success. Black could
search for better chances with 43 ...
gxc4! 44. gxh2 Wd6!
1 50 WI N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

52 ... a3 53.g6 <i!?c3 54. g h7 <i!?d4 1.d4 d5 2. iL.f4 e6 3.e3 iL.d6 4. il.g3!
55.g7 b3 56.axb3 <i!?xe4 57. g h1 lie7 5.c3
Conclusion: The plan which
Black used in this game is very sol
id! In general you don't have a bet
ter option than forcing an endgame
with the maneuver lia4-lif4 and
to play it with great patience! For
players who prefers endgames with
a clear plan and a small space ad
vantage, this will be a huge pleasure
for them!
1-0
a b c d e g h

N. Sedlak (2593) - B. Abramovic You have to be careful with move


(2460) orders: 5. f3? .ilxg3 6.hxg3 lib4+
SRB-ch Vrnjacka Banja (4), 26.04.2012 7- bd2 lixb2+

Compared with the previous game, 5 h6!?


.

Black changed his plan here with 4 ... An original idea from the old
lie7 and h6!? To follow, bringing 'classical' player, entering the knight
the knight to fs. However, it doesn't into play on fs!
change much about White's con
cept in reply. At some point, Black 6.d2
wandered from his plan and later 6. iL.d3 allows easy equality after
he missed a chance to castle short, 6 ... c6! (6... fs 7- .ilxfs exfs B. li.xd6
after which he didn't get another Yixd6 9. lif3 o - o 10.e2 iL.e6
chance! His King was left in the 11.d2 d7 12.f4't. with a typi
center, unsafe, and the black rooks cal Trompowsky position) 7. f3 es
were left without co-ordination! Af 8.dxes xes 9. xes li. xes 10. xes
ter 19.e4 and the opening of the e lixes=
file, Black's king couldn't find a safe
home and in the end the price was 6 d7
.

very high! It seems like Black has wandered


from his plan, mixing . . . fs and . . .
es ideas. Very logical was to contin
ue firstly with the idea 6 ... fs af
ter which changing the structure
CHAPTER FIVE - EA R LY e6 1 51

with 7.e4!? always deserves seri


ous attention! 7... dxe4 8.CLJ xe4 this
structure reminds us a lot of the
French Defence-Rubinstein Vari
ation, with an unusual placement
of the minor pieces. It's very im
portant that moves like 8 ... es don't
work well after 9.dxes Cl:J xg3 (9 ...
il.xe5 10. il.xe5 'V/Jfxe5 11. il.d3t, with
CLJ f3 next) 10.Cl:J xd6+ cxd6 11.hxg3
dxes 12.'V/Jfc2 h6 13.CLJ f3 CLJc6 (13 ... e4
14.CLJd4 o-o 15.0-0-0 CLJc6 16. iLC4t,
and Black will have problems with
his e4 pawn.) 14. il.bs o-o 15.0-o't, 12 ... ez:J fs?!
with the simple plan of fe1-lfadi. This human move is dubious. The
computer, without any fear, propos
7.CLJgf3 es es 12 ... 0-0!? which seems suicid
Black decides to delay . . . Cl:J fs as al!i3. d3 (A positional exchange
going for the bishop pair doesn't sacrifice does not bring the desired
solve his problems! 7... Cl:J fs 8.e4! result 13. xh6?! gxh6 14. il.d3 c5!
(8. .11. xd6 CLJxd6 9 . .11. d3 e5 10. dxe5 15. 'V/Jfxd5 d8 16. 'V/Jfe4 'V/Jfxe4 1'J. il.xe4
Cl:Jxe5 11.CLJxe5 'V/Jfxe5=; 8. il.d3 Cl:Jxg3 e6+; 13.0-0-0 CLJg4! 14. ii.d3 h6=)
9. hxg3 e5 10. dxe5 CLJxe5 11.CLJxe5 13 ... k fs 14. i. xfs (14. xh6 ii.xd3
il.xe5 12.CLJ/3 ii.f6=) 8 ... dxe4 (8 ... 15. h4 il. e4+; 14. 0 - 0 - 0 il.xd3
Cl:J xg3 9. hxg3 e5 10. 'V/Jfc2 dxe4 15. 'V/Jfxd3 f500 ) 14 ... Cl:J xfs 15.'V/Jfg4 g6
11.CLJxe4 exd4 12.o-o-o dxc3 13. e1 (15... CLJd6? 16. xh7! xh7 l'J. 'V/Jfh5+
cxb2+ 14. bi-+) 9.CLJxe4 b6 10. ii.d3 g8 18.CLJg5+-; 15... 'V/Jff6 16. 'V/Jff4 'V/Jfg6
i.b7 11.'V/Jfe2 CLJxg3 12.hxg3 h6 13.o 17.g4 CLJ d6 18.0-0-o't,) 16.0-0-0
o-o o-o-o 14. il.a6't, and while the computer defends the
black position, I believe in White's
s.dxes Cl:Jxes 9.CLJxes xe5 10.CLJf3 attacking potential - especially in
ilxg3 11.hxg3 a game between two humans!
Once again the h-file is opened!
13. 'V/Jff4 f6?
11 c6 12. 'V/Jfd4! t,
Black should worry more about
And once again the queen comes his king: 13 ... CLJd6 14. i.d3 il.e6 15.g4
to f4, this time via d4! 0-0-0 16.g5't,
1 52 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

17. c2 CZJd6 18. '8de1 Wf8


Black is trying to castle artifi
cially. 18 ... CZJe4 19.CZJd4 d7 20.g4!
o-o-o 21.f3 CZJd6 22.a4! a6 23.b4
combining play on both flanks.
18 .. .fs 19.CZJd4+-

19.e4!
The correct moment to open the
e-file and use the lack of co-ordina
tion between the black rooks.

Now Black must go on an adven


ture with his pawns, because the h7
pawn hangs after . . . CZJd6.

15.a4
There is no preferable place for
the queen.

15 ...h6 a b c d e g h
A strange move but anyway
this position is not good for Black.
15 ... CZJd6 16.0-0-0 fs n xfs 19 ... dxe4 20. xe4 CZJxe4 21. '8xe4
CZJxfs 18.g4 (18. e4 is an unneces f7
sary complicating of the position 21. .. fs lead to a lost endgame
18 ... dxe4 19. 'i!!. he1 CZJ d6 20. 'i!!. xd6 after 22. '8 xe7 xc2 23. '8 he1 g6
xd6 21. xe4+ WfBD 22. fs 'i!!. eB 24. 'i!!. C ?+-
23. 'i!!. x eB+ Wxe8 24. cB+ dB
25.xb7 'i!!.fB 26.xc6+ Wf7 2'J.CZJd4 22.CZJd4 il.d7 23. '8he1 '8h7
WgB) 18 ... CZJd6 19.CZJd4 Covering the square e?! Black
would barely be able to move after
16.0-0-0 b5 23 ... '8e8 24. '8 xe8+ .t xe8 25.CZJe6+
Maybe this was too much, but Wgs 26. e4+-
the idea was to remove the white
queen far from the d4 square. 16 ...
CZJd6 17.CZJd2 fs 18.d4!
CHAPTER FIVE - EA R LY e6 1 53

29 ... l!fxa2 30. l!fxfs l!ai+ 31. l!fb1


l!fxbi+ 32.Wxb1 E'.xg2 33. E'.xc6+-
With a pawn advantage and my
king closer to the pawns on the
queenside, it is more than enough
for the win!

Also another and more positional


plan was fine 24. E'. 4e3!? Wg8 25.ll:J fs
xfs 26.l!fxfs+- with E'.e6 next.

24 ... Wgs 25.f4 gxf4


Black did not want to be fixed af 33 ... E'.ds
ter fs from White. Also of no help was 33 ... E'. fs
3 4 . E'.e7! as (34 . . . E'. xf4 35. E'.xa7
26.gxf4 fs 27. E'.es ii.xe6 28. E'.xe6 E'.gs 36. E'.c8+ E'.fB 37. E'.xfB+ WxfB
E'.g7 29. E'.xh6 38. Wa2+-) 35. E'.b6 b4 36.cxb4 axb4
37. E'. xb4+-

34. E'.e7 as 35. E'.b7


One more pawn falls and the rest
of the game was not very interesting.

35 b4 36.cxb4 a4

36 ... axb4 37. E'.xb4 E'. fa 38. E'.cs E'.fs


39. E'.gs+ Wh7 40. E'.b3 E'. f6 4i. E'.g4+-

37. Wa2 E'. fa 38. E'.c4 a3 39. Wxa3


E'.as+ 40.Wb3 E'. b+ 41. E'.c3 E'.xf4
42.bs Wfs 43. E'. h3 Wgs 44. E'.c3
With this move I force a rook Wfs 45.b6 Wes 46. E'.h7
endgame.
1 54 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

Conclusion: Our opening starts Using a typical method against


with 2. i.. f4, so it's very logical that the French Defence - playing on
Black can always devise something the dark squares (especially es) and
new early in the opening with some against the pawn islands - White
unusual moves, but the pawn struc won the game in fine positional
ture does not change! Here we see style!
this with 5 ... ctJ h6!? The most impor
tant thing is to not be surprised by 1.d4 ds 2. f4 e6 3.e3 ctJ f6 4.CLld2
this kind of move: you simply have d6 5. g3 o-o! 6. d3!
to continue playing in the spirit of
the "London"!
1-0

B. Grachev (2666) -A. Timofeev


(2534)
RUS-chT rapid Sochi (2.7), 08.05.2015

In this game between two strong


Russian grandmasters the position
with an early . . . e6-. . . d6-. . . CLl f6
with . . . o-o-. . . cs was played again,
which remind us of some positions The move order is very important
from CHAPTER 4 - the classical set here! After the imprecise 6.ctJgf3
up with . . . e6, the difference being Black can equalize easily with 6 ...
that Black keeps a knight on b8 aim cs 7.c3 b6 8. d3 a6= and without
ing to play . . . b6-. . . a6! his white-squared bishop, White
With the precise move order, has hopes of an attack.
which Boris Grachev used, White
can prevent that plan by pushing e4, 6 cs 7.c3 b6 8.e4!
.

transposing to a position typical of This position is very similar to the


the French Defence, again with an position from chapter four. The dif
unusual bishop on g3. ference is in the knights on gt and b8
In the position reached in this instead of on f3 and c6. Compare this
game, Black didn't have the reply position with the game Grischuk A.
. . . CL:l hs after the move e4, which is Nakamura H. EU cup 2015.
a worse version for Black compared
with the positions from CHAPTER 4.
CHAPTER FIVE - EARLY e6 1 55

19. ,ll f4 !!cs 20. ilgs ilxgs 21.xgs


Grachev,B (2673)-Malakhov,V (2696)
Moscow 2014;
With 10 ... h6 Black weakens the g6
square, after which ideas with . . .f6
or . . .fs will never work! 11.e2 1la6
12. 1lxa6 xa6 13.0-0!

11.exf6 xf6 1 2 . iVe2 cxd4


13.cxd4
This structure is typical of the
French Tarrasch position in the3.
s ... 1le7 9.es fd7 d2 f6 line. Here White has full
The knight must go to d7 instead control of the es square!
of hs.The difference is big!
13 ... c6 14.gf3 b4 15.0-0
White doesn't care about the
bishop pair, he is interested mostly
in the es square. Almost all kinds of
exchanges are good for White!

15 ... xd3 16.iVxd3 hs


Black decides to take the other
bishop also!

lo
fs
After 10 ... g6 White has achieved
a great French-type position, e.g.
11.iVe2 c6 12.gf3 cxd4 13.cxd4
b4 14.0-0 as 15. !! fc 1 xd3
16.iVxd3 .ll a6 17.iVe3 !!es 18.h4 hs
1 56 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

In my repertoire with Black I have


the French Defense and I am always
trying to avoid this kind of position
with pawn islands, especially with
out knights to control the weak
points. And to make serious coun
terplay is very difficult for Black.

18 ... d7 19.Cl:Jes es 20.f4!


Sometimes this can be weaken
ing, but here White has a clear plan
to use the h file!
25.CZJg4 V/Bc4?!
Losing a pawn. It was very hard
to play 25 ... h5 and create another
weakness, but it preserves the pawn
26.CZJxf6+ gxf6

26. V/Be3 d7
2 6 . . . V/Bc 6 27. V/Bxe 6 + V/Bxe6
28. gxe6 d7 29.CZJxf6+

27.Cl:Jges
White decides to take a pawn, en
tering into the endgame. Very pain
20 ... gcs 21.Cl:Jdf3 V/Bc7 22. ge2! ful for Black would be 27.CZJ xf6+
A prophylactic move with the gxf6 28.CZJe5
idea of avoiding the endgame after
Black's . . . V/Bc2!

22 as 23.'it>fa! f6 24. g h1 h6?!


.

After this logical-looking move


Black finds himself in serious trou
ble. With the active 24 ... g5 he could
stay in the game. 25. V/Be3 gxf4
26.gxf4 xe5 27.dxe5 g6 28.CZJd4
V/Bf7 29. g h4;t; White is strategically
better but the white-squared bishop
has come to life again.
CHAPTER FIVE - EARLY e6 1 57

with a White dream in the French 40.g4 !!d1 41. f3 !!c1 42.fs g6
Defense. 43.f6 gs

27... bs 28.xd7 xd7 29. xe6+


xe6 30. !! xe6+- !!c2+ 31. !!e2
!!fcs 32. !!he1 hs
Black's position looks active but it
is without serious compensation for
the pawn. The strong grandmaster
Boris Grachev is impeccable in such
technical positions.

44. !!h2+!
White uses a tactic to finish the
game!

44 ... gs
44 ... g6 45.es+ xf6 46. !!h6+
g7 47. !!xb6+-

45.xgs !!ei+ 46. fa !!c1 47.f7+


Conclusion: Always pay atten
tion to Black's move-orders also, as
well as his ideas! In this game with
White is released from the dou 6. il.d3! and 8.e4! White prevented
bled pawns. Black's plan of . . . b6-. . . ka6, trans
posing instead to a nice version of
37... hxg4 a French set-up for White. This is
37... xes leads to a lost pawn end actually a refutation of this dubious
game after 38.dxes hxg4 39.e6 g8 idea and move order from Black.
40.e7 !!cs 4i.d4 f7 42.eS+ The "London" is a system you have
!!xe8 43. !!xe8 xe8 44. xds+- to learn and play by understanding
the ideas - there is no room here
38. xg4 kds 39.es kb6 for theory nerds!
Black activates his bishop, but it 1-0
is not enough for a draw!
C H A PTER S I X
SLAV SET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ETRY 2
... ... fs

In this chapter we will discuss


the set-up from Slav Defense! The
structures are not the same as in
previous chapters, because White
plays c4 instead of c3. This set-up
allows White to create quick play
on the queenside by attacking the
b7 pawn, after which Black usual
ly reacts with . . . b6 entering pas a b c d e f g h
sive endgames! The symmetrical
2 ... fs with 3 ... e6 is a better option An important move! White
for Black, one which gives him the doesn't have to be afraid of moves
possibility to finish his development like 4 ... xb1!? (4 ... c6 -is a transpo
faster. sition to 2 ... c6) 5. xb1 lt. b4+ 6. Wd1
-see Georgiev K - Godena M. Pa
dova open 2014.

After the symmetrical 2 ... i. fs


3.e3 e6 4.c4! This line reminds me of a posi
tion from the Queens Pawn Game
1 60 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

i.d4 ds 2. kgs h6 3. k h4 c6 4. e3
b6, but in our position the bish
op on f4 is better-placed than on
gs. From f4 it better controls the es
square and Black can only dream of
implementing the freeing move . . .
es! 4.b3. See: Winants L - Georgiev
V. Turin ol 2006.

4.c4 e6
A 'violent' approach does not
bring the desired result 4 ... xb1
s.xb1 es? See: Berkes F. -Lupules
cu C. Dresden ol 2008.
10 ... 0-0 u. d6! d8 i2.a3!
kxd6 13.CZJ xd6 ke4 14.l!iJ xb7 b6
is.Cl:Jcs l!iJ xcs 16. xcs fb8 17-b3
xf3 18.gxf3 as 19. d3 M 20.bxa4
CZJd7 2i. c1 as+ 22.c3 xa4
23. xc6 xc6 24. xc6 xa2
2s.o-o

Before the move b3 it is very


important to insert this move!
6. b3 is not a precise move-order
6 ... b6 7.cs xb3 8.axb3 es!

6 Cl:Jgf6 7. b3 b6

In case of the passive 7... c8,


White's reaction is 8.cxds! exds (8... Maybe this evaluation looks
l!iJxds 9. kg3 ke7 10. ke2 o-o 11.0- ill-advised, but praxis shows that
ot) 9. c1 ke7 (9... a6 10.Cl:Jes CZJxes Black does not have sufficient
CHAPTER SIX - S LAV SET-U P - 2 . . . c6 A N D SYMM ETRY 2 ii.fs
... 1 61

counterplay-see games Kharlov A. 4 .txb1!? 5. !xb1


Dokutchaev A. Kazan 1995. Prie E. Another typical reaction is


-Varga P. FRA eh team 2009. 5.!a4+ but it seems to be a bet
ter version for Black compared to
the game. 5 ... lJc6 (s ... bs? 6.!xbs+
K. Georgiev (2628) - M . Godena /fJd7 (6... c6 7. !b7!+-) 7. B: xb1 B:bs
(2495) s.!c6) 6. B: xb1 kb4+ 7.Wd1 dxc4
17th Padova open (4), 16.12.2014 8 . .txc4 a6 9.a3 .td6=

In the first game of CHAPTER 6 we 5 .tb4+ 6.Wd1


will see what happens when Black
tries to play symmetrically with 2 ...
.tfs!? 3.e3 e6. The famous GM from
Bulgaria reacted forcibly with 4.c4!
without fear leaving his king in the
center, after which he outplayed his
opponent, for many years the ist
board of the Italian team!

Black didn't hurt White's king, he


is just trying to speed up his devel
opment. The white monarch is safe
on di.

6 ... dxc4
Black has to do something against
the cs threat. To me it looks better to
play 6 ... .td6 7. .t xd6 (or 7. .tg3 lJj6
8.lJf3 o-o 9.cxds exds 1 0 .td3 00 )
I prefer this move, although Black 7... !xd6 s./fJ f3 1J f6 9.cxds exds
has the possibility to spoil White 10. d3 o-o 11.We2 lJbd7 i2. B:c1
castling. With 4.c4 the idea is to c6 13.b4 with a standard Carlsbad
play a quick !b3. position.
1 62 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

7 .ilxc4 it.d6 8. ii.g3


12.c2 cxd4 13./lxd4
Of course. Why go into a sym Also advantageous is 13. cs+
metrical position? 8. it. xd6 cxd6 'i!tg8 14.xd4;;!;;
9./l f3 /l f6 10. We2 o-o 1i. !!c1
1lc6= 13 ... g6
Black solves the problem of his
.
8 cs!?
.. k mg.I 13 ... es?. 14. \llXr
CS+

14. We2 Wg7 15. !! ac1;;!;;


White is first to take a file!

Black also doesn't care about


castling and he tries instead to cre
ate pressure in the center. 8 ... /l f6
9.We2 o-o 10./l f3 /lbd7 1i.c2;;!;;

9. kbs+ WfS 10.'l f3 it.xg3 11.hxg3 After this weakening, Black posi
/lf6 tion begins to be difficult. The only
Black missed an interesting con route leading to a playable posi
tinuation after which the position tion for Black was 16 ... 1lbd7 17.c7
would be balanced: 11 ... cxd4 12. d3 !!cs! 18.xb7 !!bs 19.xa6 !!xb2+
a6 13./lxd4! ;;!;; with the idea 1ld6; 20. !!c2 !!xc2+ 21 . .ilxc2 c7 22. !!c1
u ... a6! 12. a4 cxd4 13. d3 bs !!cs 23. Wfi;;!;;
14. b3 /lc6 1s.exd4 (15. !! c1 ? dxeJ+)
1s ... /l f6 16. !!c1 d6 17.We2 in this 17. .ilb3 e7 18.cs?! ;;!;;
non-standard position with isolated Very logical. White bases his play
pawns, I prefer White thanks to his on the queenside.
slightly better development and the
cs square.
CHAPTER S I X - SLAV S ET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ET RY z.. ilfs
... 1 63

22 ... WfS 23.a3 /Jbd7 24./Jc6


The knight heads closer to the ex
posed black pawns on the queenside!

24 'f!.cs 25.f3

White starts to limit Black's


knights.

25 'f!.bc7 26.e4 /Jes 27.e5


.

Taking space and playing against


the knight on e8!

But with this computer move,


White could finish his game much
faster: 18.g4! es (18... h6 19.gs! hxgs
2 0. 'f!. xhB Wxh8 21. VlHcB+ Wg7
22. 'f!. q+-) 19./J fs+! gxfs 20.Wxfs
'Jbd7 21.Wgs+ Wfs 22.Wh6+ Wgs
(22 ... WeB 23.gs /Jg4 24. Whs 1ixf2
25. Wxf2+-) 23.gs /Jg4 24.Whs /Jxfa
25 .Wxfa+-

18 ... 'f!.a7 19.Wxe7


Kiril wasn't dreaming of mate.
He has a clear plan to use the open
file and better-placed pieces in the
endgame. Black's knight stood well on d7
and pressured es. In this kind of
19 'f!.xe7 20. 'f!.hd1
structure it is always good to fix the
Now White controls both open g3 pawn with 27... hs! creating a po
files and the position is playing on tential square on fs for the knight.
one goal.
28.'Jas
20 'f!.heS 21. 'f!.c2 'f!.b7 22. 'f!.dc1
.. In my opinion it was perhaps
The plan changes! From the cl-file a little bit early to go in for simpli
White couldn't derive any benefit! fication. Black doesn't have an ac
tive plan and White could improve
his position some more. Generally
speaking Kiril is one of the best in
1 64 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

this type of position, so he knows 33 ... r:!; f7 34. b3


why he chose this way. A useful White pressures the e6 pawn and
move was 28.g4 but maybe Kiril at the same time prevents . . . /f:J c4.
was afraid of 28 ... /f:J c4 29. it.. xc4
xc6 30. i.d3 XC2+ 3 1 . XC2 34 ... /f:J c7 35. c:!id3
xc2+ 32. i. xc2 but here White Slowly the king enters the
has a typical endgame where his queenside!
bishop dominates the knight. 32 ...
c:!ie7 33. c:!ie3 c:!id7 34. c:!id4 c:!ic6 35.b4
c:!ib6 36.f4 /f:J g7 37. it.di c:!ic6 38. i.e2
c:!ib6 39. i. f30 h6 (39 ... /f:J eB 4ofs
/f:J q 41f6 lf:JeB 42. c:!ie3 /f:J q 43. c:!if4
h6 44. ile4 gs+ 45. c:!ie3+- with i.g6
next) 40. it.di c:!i c6 41. .i.e2 c:!ib6
42. it. f30 /f:J es 43.fs gs 44.f6 /f:J c7
45. i.e4 /f:J e8 46. i.g6+-

28 xc 2 + 2 9 . xc 2
xc 2 +
30. ii.xc2 f6 31.f4!

Now White finds a plan to drive


the black knight from d7 and pen
etrate with his king on cs. For that,
it's necessary to transfer the bishop
to the diagonal hi-a8!

37 lf:Jds 38. i. b /f:J c7 39.b3 c:!ig7


40. /f:J as!


A route for the white king is se
cured after the coming ii.c6!
White still doesn't give up squares
to the knights. 40 c:!ih6 41. i.c6+-

He found a way and the rest of


31 fxes 32.fxes c:!ie7 33. /f:J c6+!
the game is a technical realisation
An important move removing of the position.
Black's king from the center!
CHAPTER SIX - S LAV SET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ETRY 2 -ll fs
... ... 1 65

41 ...ll fs 42.Wcs Wgs 56. a7+-) 54.a7 1l 7d5 55.a8'%W h2


Black is very late with his s6.'%Wgs+ Wfa s7.'%Wh7 Wg1 ss.'%Wg6+
counterplay! Wfa 59.'%Wh6 Wg1 60. i. xds 1l xds
6i. '%W gs+ Wfa 6 2 . '%Wh4+ Wg2
43. Wb6 1lds+ 44. Wxa6 Wg4 63.'%Wg4+ Wfa 64.'%Wh3 Wg1 65.'%Wg3+
45. Wxbs Wxg3 Wh1 66.'%Wfa+-) si.a6 h3 s2.a7 h2
In pawn races, the advantage is 53.1le3+ Wg1 54.a8'%W hi'%W ss.'%Wai+
almost always with the side who has Wh2 s6.'%Wxhi+ Wxh1 s7.Wd6+-
the bishop.
so ... 1lc7+
46.llc4 gs so ... g4!? si.1l xds exds 52.a6 h3
Unfortunately for Black, it was not 53.gxh3 gxh3 54.a7 h2 55.a8'%W hi '%W
possible to play 46 ... Wxg2 47.1le3+! 56.'%Wfs '%Wh7 57. Wb6+- and White
Wfa 48.ll xds exds 49. xds gs still has to be careful.
50.M+- and White is much quicker.
51. Wes 1l fs s2.b4 g4 53.1lc4
47.a4 1lg6 White didn't have any reason
Tasked with being sacrificed for for this move, but it's also enough
the fast pawn! good! White promotes to a queen
first and, two pawns up, is eas
ily winning. The rest of the game
will be without comments. 53.b5 h3
54.gxh3 gxh3 55.a6 h2 56. hi+-

53 ... 1lds 54.a6 h3 ss.gxh3 gxh3


56. xds exds 57.a7 h2 ss.as'%W
h1 '%W 59. '%W xds '%W gi+ 60. Wbs
1ld4+ 61.Wa6 '%Wai+ 62.Wb6 '%Wc3
63.bs Wf4 64.lld6 '%We3 65. '%Wf7+
1lfs+ 66.Wb7 Wxes 67.1lc4+ Wd4
68.1l xe3 1ld6+ 69.Wc7 ll xf7
70.b6
a b c d e g h A very nice technical game by
Kiril Georgiev!
I guess in time-trouble, Whites 1-0
panics a little bit. Much better
was so. Wes Wxg2 (50 ... g4 si.a6 h3
52.gxh3 gxh3 53.1le3! 1l xe3 (53 ...
h2 54.1lft+ Wh3 55.1lxh2 Wxh2
1 66 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

Lessons to be learned: exchange bishops after d3 as hap


pens in this game.
1. Only with the c4 plan, us
ing the absence of the bishop
from c8, can White fight for
an advantage.
2. Don't be afraid to play with
your king in the center - your
king is safe! Black is not bet
ter-developed and he gave up
the bishop pair. The endgame
is better thanks to the king in
the center!

L. Winants (2530) - V. Georgiev


(2535)
37th Turin ol (M e n) (3). 23.05.2006 This is the simplest plan. The bish
op on f5 is strong and he can disturb
Compared to the previous game, White's action on the queenside af
here Black chooses the line 2 ... c6 ter c4-c5-b4-b5. The bi-square will
with 3 ... b6, with the idea to create not be available for the rook after
pressure on the b2 pawn. White re opening the b-file. A famous 'Lon
sponded with the simplest plan - 4. don' expert has also tried 5.a3 f6
b3 followed by 5. ii.d3 - the idea be 6.c4 e6 7.c3 bd7 8.c5 d8 9.b4
ing to continue with taking space a6 10.h3 e4 11.xe4 il xe4 12.e2
on the queenside. Faced with that il.. e 7 13.c3 g6 14. ile2 o-o 15.0-
plan, Black put the queen on a6, af 0;;!;; Kovacevic,V (2520) -Vukelic,T
ter which White changed his plan, (2310) Poree 1998 and White has
moving the play to the center and a free hand on the queenside!
the kingside exploiting the mis
placed black queen on a6. In the end 5 ... ii.xd3
White finished the game with an ef 5 ... .ig6 doesn't make a huge dif
fective attack. ference. White can continue with
6.e2 e6 7.0-0 f6 8.c4 ile7
1.d4 ds 2. f4 c6 3.e3 b6 4.b3 9.bc3;;!;; and the standard plan on
In my opinion this is the best the queenside of c5-b4-b5.
plan. It is also possible to play 4. c1
but White loses the possibility to
CHAPTER SIX - S LAV SET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ETRY 2 fs
... ... 1 67

6.!fxd3 CZJf6 7.CZJf3 CZJbd7 8.o-o e6 and now the pawn on e6 may be
9.c4 !fa6 come a problem after White's main
A typical move against the cs plan e3-e4.
plan! The downside of this move is
that the Black queen can stand mis
placed at some point.

10.1lbd2 1l hs?!
The wrong plan. The "London
bishop" is always unpleasant , con
trolling the important diagonal
h2-b8, so this move is understand
able. But in this position . . . CZJ f4
isn't a real threat. Black should play
more peaceably with 10 ... il.. e 7 11.e4
dxe4 12.CZJ xe4 CZJxe4 13.!fxe4:t and
White has a small advantage due to
having more space. In this typical 11 ... il.. e7
position from many opening lines, With this move Black realizes
the queen on a6 is placed awkward that he chose the wrong plan with
ly and Black doesn't have his usual . . . 1l hs. 11 ... 1l xf4 12.exf4 g6 13. !!fe1
plan of a5-a4. e7 14.CZJgs:t and the problem of
Also natural was 10 ... !!ds 11. !fc2 the black king is evident.
moving out of the pin 11 ii.. e 7

12.cs CZJ hs 13.b4 1l xf4 14.exf4 b6 12. il.. h 2


15.cxb6 (1sfs!? exfs 16. !!fe1-+) 15 ... The bishop is saved!
ifxb6 16.a3 o-o 17.CZJb3 il.. d 6 18.g3:t
Schlindwein,R (2425)-Tregubov,P 12 ... h6?
(2515) Cappelle-la-Grande 1995 This move turns out to be an un
necessary weakening. After 12 ...
11.h4!? 1l hf6 13.e4 dxe4 14.CZJ xe4 o-o:t
An original move which makes Black would still have a playable
a lot of sense. White makes space position.
for the bishop retreat on h2 and at
the same time the pawn h4 can help 13.e4 dxe4 14.CZJxe4 o-o
in future actions against the black A very risky decision, but what
king, supporting ideas with 1lgs! else could Black do against the CZJd6
Also 11. il.. e s causes problems for threat?
Black 11 .. .f6 12. ii.. g3 1l xg3 13.hxg3:t
1 68 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

19. i.. f4 '.a fd8 20. \!?g2


White freewheels to the finish,
attacking along the h file.

20 /fJfs 21.lfJes

. . . lfJg6 shouldn't be allowed ..

21 ii. c s 22. '.a h1 .1i. xd4 23. 'ifh3


..

lfJg6 24./fJxg6
with mate after 'ife6!
Conclusion: The set-up with . . . c6,
. . . 'ib6 used by Vladimir Georgiev
doesn't make much sense to me, es
pecially when compared to the posi
The pawn on h6 becomes a tar tion from the Trompowsky (Queen
get, while the queen on a6 is far Pawn) game. For example: i. d4 <ls
from events. 2. ii.gs h6 3. i.. h4 c6 4.e3 'ib6 5.b3
es!? or after 5. 'ifc1 es!? and after 6.
15 lfJ hf6 16.lfJ xf6+ /fJ xf6 17.g5
. de? 'ifb4 with 'ifh4 coming! Anoth
hxgs 18.hxgs lfJ h7 er good plan for Black after 5.b3 or
s. 'ifc1 is 5 ... ii. fs, with . . . e6, . . . i.. e 7
next and Black develops the bishop
with tempo, offering exchanges! In
our position we don't have this kind
of problem and therefore this is
a much-improved version. The bish
op on f4 is much better placed, be
cause the . . . es move for Black is im
possible! Against this set-up, White
has to take space on the queenside
by pushing the pawns b3-C4 and c5-
b4 if Black allows it. It seems like . . .
'ib6 stimulates White's action on
Of no help is 18 ... lfJhs 19. \!?g2 'ifas the queenside!
20. '.aae1! an important move! It pre 1-0
vents . . . 'iffs and threatens g6. 20 ...
g6 2i. '.a xe6! fxe6 22.'ifxg6+ /fJg7
23 . ..ies '.a f7 24. '.a h1 ..ib4 25.'ifh7+
\!?fs 26.g6+-
CHAPTER SIX - S LAV S ET-U P - 2 . . . c6 A N D SYMM ETRY 2 ii.fs
... 1 69

there Black didn't sacrifice a pawn


to spoil White's castling ambitions.
F. Berkes (2645) - C. Lupulescu Black should play more solidly with
(2594) 5 ... e6 6.cs! d7 (6... b6 7.b4 bxcs
38th Dresden al (M e n) (4), 16.11.2008 B.bxcs as+ 9. 'r!ld1) 7. f3 gf6
8.h3 e4 9. d3 fs 10. c2! White
In this game we can see a Slav set-up don't need to hurry with castling
with . . . c6, . . . .tfs after which Black (10.0-0?! gs! 11 ..th2 hs_,, ) 10 ... .te7

chose a very violent continuation 11 . .t h2 o-o 12.0-o;t Kovacevic,S


with 4 ... b1 followed by . . . es, sacri (2380)-Varga,Z (2480) Harkany 1994
ficing the pawn just to spoil White's
castling possibility. However, from 6. xes as+ 7. 'r!ld1 d7 8. ilg3 cs
very early on he was left without The only way to justify 5 ... e5.
compensation and this game shows Black tries to open all files to the
how White has to maintain sang white king!
froid and punish unreasinable play!

1.d4 ds 2 .t f4 c6 3.e3 iHs 4.c4


ilxb1 s.xb1 es?

a b c d e g h I like this move! White threatens


de with b4 coming next, or imme
Violent play in the early part of the diately b4.
game can't bring success. The idea is
to prevent castling and to develop the 10 ...cxd4 11.exd4 .te7
pieces quickly. Two games ago we saw Black had no time for 11 dxc4 ..

the same idea with . . . .txb1 in a simi 12. il xc4 ile7 13. ei+- when his
lar position in the game Georgiev K. king is weaker.
Godena M. Padova Open 2014, but
1 70 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

12.cs!
A logical decision: White closes
the center, after which his king can
feel safe.

12 ... /fJe4 13. d3 fs


Maintaining the knight on e4 but
also weakening the diagonal a2-g8!

18 ... /fJf6
Black couldn't save his knight
With 18 ... lZJ fa 19. C4 f8 (19 . . .
lfJf6 20. f7+ Wd7 21. il. bs+ WcB
22. e6+ /fJ d7 23. c6+! bxc6
24. il.a6#) 20.hs+ g6 2i.xh7
xf4 22.xg6++-

19. bs+ Wfs 20.xds+


Of course, White doesn't have to
Of course White isn't afraid to search for more than this pleasant
enter complications. His king is saf endgame.
er and his pieces are better placed.
Peaceable players will choose per 20 ... xds 21. xh1 lfJds
haps 15. Wc2 Blockading on ds, but it is
short-lived!
15 ...f4
16. il.xf4!
White accepts the challenge! 22. lt.g3 hs!?
Black seeks counterplay by push
16 . . . lL:l x fa + 17. W c 2 lLl x h 1 ing the pawn and bringing the rook
18.xds+- into the game via h6!
It's very clear already that Black Very bad is 22 ... lL\e3+? 23. Wd3
has no hope of saving the game. His lLl xg2 24. gi+-
king is bare and the knight on hi
falls.
CHAPTER SIX - SLAV S ET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ETRY 2 ii.fs
... ... 1 71

Conclusion:

Don't afraid to take a pawn and


keep the king in the center! Believe
in your position, because your nat
ural play cannot be punished with
violent play, especially not at such
an early stage of the game!

A. Kharlov (2555) -A. Dokutchaev


(2420)
RUS-chT Kazan (8), 1995

Here comes the one of the criti


Awaiting the opponent's quick cal endgames in the London Sys
surrender, White gives up one not tem. Black makes the Slav-set-up
so-important pawn. I have no idea moves . . . ds, . . . c6, . . . k fs, . . . e6 af
if it was a blunder or just good sim ter which White reacts with c4 and
plification. 26.g3+- then the typical tfb3 - forcing the
move . . . t+'b6 after which appears
26 xg2 27. xg2 1le3+ 28.d3
. an endgame with better chances for
1lxg2 29.e4 White. In this game, Russian grand
Now the knight is far from events master Kharlov showed the essence
and shakily-placed! of this endgame.

29 ... k f6 30. kd6+ e7 31. il.c7 1.d4 ds 2.ll f3


cs 32. kes kf6 33. e6! Be careful! Our move order is
The knight on g2 is doomed and 2. it. f4 c6 3.e3 fs 4.c4 e6 5.1lc3
the rest of the game was just a hope lld7 6.'l f3! 1lgf6 7.t;'b3 t+'b6 8.cs!
less fight from Black for his national
team! 2 llf6 3. it.,f4 c6 4.e3 fs 5.c4
.

One of the very rare lines in the


33 ... c6 34. k h3 it.. xes 35.1l xes "London" where you have to play
a6 36. xg2 xa3 37.fs a2 c4 to seek an advantage, instead of
38. xb7 xh2 39.c6 c2 the plan 1lbd2-c3. Black's bishop is
1-0 "out" on fs so White can now press
the b7 pawn.
1 72 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

5 e6 6.c3 bd7 7.%!fb3 %!fb6 8.cs!


.. Black now threatened . . . hs
The idea is to force a better end
game with a space advantage!

8... ifxb3 9.axb3


As I said in the introduction to
CHAPTER 6, maybe this evaluation

looks pretentious, but praxis proves it.

This is the famous knight route


d2- b3- a5 which causes Black
terrible trouble. By bringing the
knight to as, Black will be forced to
give up his bishop.

12 ... 0-0
This is only move against White's Black is unable to exchange dark
plan of b4-bs. The typical move 9 ... squared bishops after 12 ... lt.. d s
hs?! doesn't work well 10. lt.. e s! a6 13.b3 lt.. C ?? Now actually we see
(10... xes 11.xes f6 12.b4 with the main problem of Black's posi
next bs; 10 .. f6 11. lt.. q! .B'.c8 12. lt.. d6 tion: 14. xc7 .B'.xC? 15.bs!
lt..xd6 13.cxd6 a6 14.h3 gs 15.g4 lt.,e4
16.xe4 dxe4 17.d2 g7 18.h4!
gxh4 19.xe4+ -) 11.b4 .B:cs 12.h3
hf6 (12 ... xe5 13.dxe5+-) 13. lt.. h2
and Black has achieved nothing
compared with our main game! The
plan is the same d2- b3- as

10.b4 .B'.c8 11.h3


White must worry about his cru
cial piece in the forthcoming actions!
CHAPTER SIX - S LAV S ET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ETRY 2 ii.fs
... ... 1 73

This is the point! The rook on h8 is 14 ... es 15.CiJas it.xas 16.bxas


undefended! 15 ... 0-0 Now White improves his pawn
structure! This opens up new pos
(15... cxbs 16.tiJxbs! axbs 17- a8+ sibilities of bringing the rooks to the
We7 18. xh8+-) b-file pressuring the b7 pawn.

16.b6! The best way to win! 16 ... 16 es 17. a4!


.

cc8 17-/2Ja5 b8 18 . .il xa6! bxa6 Another typical idea in this sys
19./2Jxc6 and White's pawns on the tem and a very useful move with
queenside are unstoppable. 19 ... two ideas: Pressing the b7 pawn and
a8 20.b7 abs 21./2J xb8 /2J xb8 controlling the d4 square.
22.b4 .ild3 23. Wd2 kc4 24. hb1
/2Je4+ 25:::J xe4 dxe4 26.b5 axb5
27. as it.d5 28. xb5 f5 29. b6
Wf7 30. Wc3 We7 31. d6 g5 32. Wb4
Wf6 33. xd5 exd5 34. xb8 xb8
35.c6 We7 36.Wc5 1-0 Grachev,B
(2668)-Rychagov,A (2568) Moscow
2010

13./2Jb3 d8 14. d6!


An important move when faced
with the freeing move . . . e5! With
his bishop on d6, White is not
forced to take de after . . . e5. 14./2Ja5 17 lt.. c 2

is not bad, but here Black can gain With this intermediate move,
some counterplay 14 ... it.xa5 15.bxa5 Black brings his bishop to b5 by force.
e5! 16.dxe5 /2Je4 17./2J xe4 it. xe4
18.e6 fxe6 19. it.d6 f7 20.f3 .tg6 18. b4 exd4 19. xd4 /2Je4
21. a4 e8 22. b4 /2J f8 23. ke2 Black forces exchanges because
e5 24. Wd2 /2Je6 25. c1 tiJds it's the only way to save the b7 pawn.
26. c3 k f5 27. cb3 .ilc8 28. b6
/2Je6 29. 3b4;;!;; Grachev,B (2602) 20./2J xe4 xe4 21.Wd2 xd4+
-Malakhov,V (2690) Serpukhov 22.exd4 a4
2007. White is still better, but for Black was concerned about
me more convincing looks to be the White's plan of h4- h3-b3 or the
14 . .td6! from our game. longer .ile2- a1- a3-b3 and he
want to put his bishop on b5 to de
fend the b7 pawn.
1 74 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

29. $i.e7 fs
Black must take some space to
avoid a complete stifling.

30. <i!?e3 <i!?f7 31. il.d6 lfJe6


Black tries to construct a fortress!

But now the diagonal h3-C8 is


unprotected. I will show you what
would happened in other cases.
22 ... .tg6 23.h4 /fJ f6 24. h3! /fJe4+
25.<i!?c1 e8 (25 ... /fJxd6 26.cxd6 dB
27- b3 xd6 28. xb7; 25 ... /fJxf2
26. b3+-) 26. b3 lfJ xc5 27. .txc5
ei+ 28. <i!?d2 xfi 29. xb7 h5
30. b6 xfa+ 31. <i!?e3 xg2 32. xa6
xb2 33. a8+ <i!?h7 34.a6+- and
there is no defence against a7-b8;
22 ... .tf5 23.g4 .te6 24 . .td3 /fJ f6
25.3 lfJes 26 . .tg3 /fJc7 27. e1 lfJ b5
28. fa the plan is the simple f4-f5.

23. ii,d3 /fJ f6 2 4 . e1 e S D


25. xeS+ lfJxeS 2 6. .tfs+-
Now White wins a pawn, but he
needs to be very precise. Only with
a concrete plan is it possible to win
this position!

26 ... g6 27. il.cs il.bs 28. il.xb7 /fJg7! An inaccurate move! Why give
The best defence! The only good up the h-pawn and simplify the po
place for the knight is e6 which sition? White could win by playing
makes the penetration of White's for zugzwang! 33.h4! lfJe6 34.gxf5
king more difficult. gxf5 35. c8 <i!?f6 36 . .te5+ <i!?f7
CHAPTER S I X - S LAV SET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYM M ETRY 2 li. fs
... ... 1 75

37.b3 it. fa 38.hs .ibs (38 ... h6 39. Ji..f4 35 ... hxg6 36. Wf4 lJe4! 37.f3 liJd2
liJg7 40. Ji.. d7 it. bs 41. il.xh6 liJxhs 37... liJ fa also leads to a draw
42. Ji.xfs+-) 39.h6 il.f1 40. il.d7 il.bs 38.b3 liJd3+ 39. We3 lJc1 40.b4 liJa2
41. i.g3 Wf6 (41 ... We7 42. it.cs Wf7 41. Wd2 liJ xb4=
43f4 We7 44. it.h4+ Wf7 45. i.d70+-)
42. il.h4+ Wf7 43J40+- 38.b4 liJb3?!
Why to leave the es square un
33 liJxh3 34. gxfs liJgs 35.fxg6+??
protected? 38 ... liJc4!=

rh
39. 'a'es r... C 1??
"Z...J

A very serious mistake after which


there doesn't appear to be a way to
win! Allowing 35 ... hg lets Black make This is losing! An incomprehensi
a fortress. The pawn g6 controls the ble mistake! Black only had to worry
important squares hs-fs for the en about king penetration. 39 ... liJd2D
trance of the white king. The win 40. i.e6+ Wg7 41. il.g4 Wf7= with
ning plan was to force Black into gxfs liJc4 next.
to have a free f-pawn. Winning was
35. i.f4! liJe4 (35... Wf6 36fxg6 hxg6 40. Ji.. e 6+ Wg7 41. i.e7
37- it.xgs+! Wxgs 38.b3 Ji.ft 39. il.e6 The king gains entry, which spells
Ji. bs 40. Ji.. d70 Zugzwang! Black the end of the game!
must allow i.g4-i.e2 or Wf4-We5!
40 ... Wf6 41. il.g4! Wgs 42. it.e2+-) 41 ... liJd3+ 42. Wd6 liJxb4 43. il.d7
36.f3 liJ f6 37. i.e6+ Wg7 (37... We7 Black's pawn on c6 is doomed
38. it.gs+-) 38. it.. es h6 39.fxg6+- real and he doesn't have defence against
ising the plan to have a free f-pawn! Ji.. h4-1i.. e 1!
1-0
1 76 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

Conclusion: 6 ... gf6 7.b3 b6 8.cs xb3


9.axb3 a6 10.b4 c8 11.h3 ke7
This endgame is playing for one goal! 12.d2! d8 13.b3 C2
The essential plan is to make the Here is the difference compared
knight maneuver with d2- b3- to the previous game! With 13 ... kc2
as with the idea of pressuring the Black forces White to play as.
b7 pawn, after which Black is forced
to give up his dark-squared bishop. 8 - -- -
The biggest problem in Black's posi
7 - --
&&- a
tion is a permanent weak pawn on
6
b7 and a lack of space.
s a - a
r n m a
E. Prie (2504) - P. Varga (2446)
: -' ,,,,-:!
/'/ ..ta '/ t::i a
French Team Championsh i p, ?/% /'./ /'. , , , / .
2
, /'. , . ;- mia f
30.04.2009

Compared with the previous game, a b c d e g h


again in the same ending, Black
chose another defensive plan of keep
ing his king in the center, with the
idea of bringing the knight to bs via
e8-C?. White reacted well by giving
up the "strong London Bishop" for
the knight on C?, followed by b6,
and Black was left with an isolated
rook which was decisive in this game.

1.d4 ds 2. kf4 c6 3.e3 kfs 4.c4 e6


5.c3 d7
Black doesn't gain anything from
5 ... b6 6.Cl d7 7.c5! d8 8. f3
gf6 9.h3;l;; with typical play on the
queenside! Black chooses another plan, to
keep the king in the center, closer
6.f3! to the weak pawn on b1.
Don't forget move-orders! 6. b3
b6 7.cs xb3 8.axb3 es 16.d2 kg6 17. a4
Don't forget this plan!
CHAPTER SIX - SLAV S ET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYMM ETRY 2 fs
... ... 1 77

17... as 21 ... 'i!?xc7 22.ll:Jb6 'i!?ds 23. a4


The only way to protect the b7 It's a fact that Black plays a rook
pawn. down!

18. b4 a7
Black's rook is now awkwardly
placed!

19. e2 ll:Jes
By putting his knight on bs Black
wants to stultify White's plan of
a4-b4.

,.,....,
20."2...l a4 ,.,...
"2.JC7 ., 4.
21. AXC7+ n
..
A concrete decision. White gives
up his strong bishop for the plan of
isolating Black's rook!
with the idea free the rook never
works because White penetrates on
the a-file after 24.axb6 as 25. ha1
'i!?d7 26. ii.xa6!

Also a good plan was to grab


some space on the kingside with
2i.h4 hs 22.ll:Jb6 ll:Jbs 23. a4 ll:Jxb6 26 . . . b x a 6 27. x a 6 x a6
24.axb6 as 25. h3 'i!?d7 26. es 2S. xa6+- Black is helpless! His
agS 27. g3 h7 2S. g5 and bishop is useless and can't help in
now Black's knight on bs is isolat the fight against the dangerous
ed, which means White's plan is to pawns.
open the position on the kingside
with g4 at some moment.
1 78 W I N N I N G WITH TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

24.h4! 33.f4
As usual, you have to play on the White has improved his king,
kingside or in the center when your which is very important in the end
opponent has an isolated piece on game, but a factor which also helps
the queenside. in operations in the center and on
the kingside.
24 h5 25.b4 l:\f6 26.f3

White grabs space and the im 33 .tg6 34.e4!


portant squares! White has prepare everything he


could for opening the position in
26 ... iHs 27. B:aa1 B'.h8 28. et! the center.
Now White's king heads to the
kingside!

34 dxe4 35.fxe4 es+


Black couldn't just await a simple


28 ... .tg6 29.fa e7 30. B:a3 .tfs death so he is tries to play actively.
Black doesn't have an active plan
and he must simply "sit and wait". 36.dxe5 l:\xe5
On the first sight Black has im
31.g3 l:\d7 32. B: ha1 f6 proved his position. His knight on es
As I said before, the plan with looks nice but White in return has
32 ... lJxb6 never works, e.g. 33.axb6 gained the open d file - and the rook
B:aa8 34 . .txa6 bxa6 35. B: xa6 B:xa6 on a? still doesn't have any perspective.
36. B'.xa6+-
37. B:d1 kf7 38. B:d4 ke6 39. B:a1 g6
The rook cannot enter in the
game while hs hangs.
CHAPTER SIX - S LAV SET-U P - 2 c6 A N D SYMM ETRY 2 it.. fs
... ... 1 79

40 .B'.ad1 .B'.es 41 .B'.d6 .B'.fs 42 .B'. 1d4


48. <t!i>f40 <t!i>e8 49. e6 .B'. h8 so. ctJd7!
White has improved the position lt:J xd7 si. .B'.xd7 .B'.f8 52 . .B'.g7+-
of his pieces to the maximum. At
this moment White provokes his 44.ctJxaS .B'.xa8 45. <t!i>f4 .B'.f8 46 . .B'.d1
opponent a little bit, offering an Now White finds a great plan to
exchange! exchange the bishops!

42 .B'.es

Accepting the provocation with


42 ... ctJf7 leads to an easy loss 43. c4!
ctJ xd6 (43 . . . ll. xc4 44 . .B'. d7+!+ -)
44.cxd6+ <t!i>f7 45. xe6+ <t!?xe6
46.d7 .B'.d8 47. .B'.d1 <t!i>f7 48.es+-

White finds a good maneuver,


putting his bishop on b3.

48 .B'.cs 49. ll.d1 .B'.gs 50. b3


A very important bishop is killed


and white uses that to play against
the weak point f6!
Black loses patience and decides
not to think about his rook any 50 xb3 51 . .B'. xb3 .B'.c8 52 .B'.b1
..

more. Black will now participate in .B'.f8 53 .B'.bd1 .B'.c8 54 . .B'.d6


the defense with all his pieces. In With persistent maneuvering,


the case of passive defence White White has reached a winning posi
can break through the position af tion! Now the upcoming .B'.f6 leads
ter 43 ... .B'. f8 44. d1! .B'.e8 45 . .B'.xe6+! to insoluble problems for Black.
<t!?xe6 46. b3+ <t!i>e7 47. .B'.d6 .B'. f8
(4'J. ..g5 48. <t!?d4 gxh4 49 . .B'.e6+ <t!?jB
50. .B'.xf6+ <t!?g1 51 . .B'.f5 l:t:Jg6 52. e5)
1 80 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

54 ... h8 55. xf6! 58 ... f8+ 59.g5 fa 6o. xg6


The only winning way! Without f7
this idea it's not clear how White 6 0 . . . xg 2 + 6 1 . x h s b 2
can win! 62. g7+ f6 63. xb7+-

61.xh5
The rest of the game does not re
quire comment in view of White
being three pawns up. The remain
ing moves were just filling out the
scoresheet!

61 ... b2 62.g4 xb4 63.e5 c4


64.e6+ e7 65. g5 xe6 66.g6
f4 67.h5 f8 68.h6 g8+ 69.h5
h8 70. g7 d5 71.g5 xc5 72.h7
b6 73.axb6 xb6 74.g6
Conclusion: In this game the con
55 ... xf6 56. d6+ e7 57. xe5+ clusion is the same as the previous:
A pawn up and too many weak that this endgame is playing only for
nesses in Black's position promises one result. The difference was only
an easy win. in the different unsuccessful defen
sive plan which Black used in this
57... g8 58. f4 really difficult endgame.
Now White goes to take another 1-0
pawn!
C H A PTER S EV E N
..

GRU NFELD S E T-U P

In this set-up against the London . . . cs Black attacks the center and
System, Black plays the position as bishop on g7 becomes very strong.
he would the Gri.infeld. His idea is It's not to my taste and I like more
to create pressure on White's center to play against the bishop g7 while
with cs and if its possible also with building some kind of fortress with
es. Comparing with other lines the pawns on c3-d4-e3!
from earlier chapters, here White
is playing mostly on queenside! 4 '\ f6

4 ... cs doesn't make a difference


1.d4 ds 2. f4 g6 and transposes to the main posi
2 ... '\ f6 3.e3 g6 -is the same tion after 5.c3

5. e2 o-o 6.o-o cs 7.c3

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

In this position it is possible to This is the critical position which


play 4.c4 '\ f6 5.'\c3 o-o transpos will be discussed in this chapter.
ing to the well-known line in the White's idea is to have a stable cent
Gri.infeld where in recent times at er and to play mostly on the queen
the highest level Black' has achieved side and against the bishop on g?.
good positions and results. With In the same time very important is
1 82 W I N N I N G WITH TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

to take care about es square, other 1.d4 ll::l f6


wise after es move, bishop from g7 Our move order is i. .. ds 2. i. f4
can become strong. Black uses two ll::l f6 3.e3 g6 4.ll::l f3 it.g7 5 . .ie2 o-o
plans usually. The most common is 6.o-o cs 7.c3 ll::l c 6 8.ll::l e s
. . . ll::l c6 with the idea being to play . . .
ll::l d7 and then . . . es, while the other 2.ll::l f3 g6 3. it. f4 g7 4.e3 o-o
is . . .. ll::l bd7 with . . . b6. It's very im 5. ii.e2 ds 6.o-o cs 7.c3 ll::l c 6
portant to remember that White
doesn't need to spend time on the
h3 move securing the bishop, be
cause Black cannot take the bishop
pair with lLl hs apropos he doesn't
have time for it.

7... ll::l c6 s.ll::l e s!


See: Burmakin V.-Jerez Perez A.
Sitges op 2009. and Sitnikov A.-Ko
vchan A. UKR chT 2011.

V. Burmakin (2627) - A. Jerez Perez From a different move-order we


(2388) finally reach the position of in
35th Sitges open (8), 29.07.2009 terest to us! The other plan is 7...
ll::l bd7 8.ll::l e s b6 9.ll::l d 2 il.b7 10.M
In this game Black chose a plan in a6 11.b4;;!; with the idea to open the
volving the Griinfeld set-up. White b file, and if Black continues with
responded with a very concrete plan 11 ... c4 12 . .if3 bs 13. '%!9c2 then White
using an early 8.ll::l e s, creating pres will have a free hand to invoke the
sure in the center. Black's reaction plan e4!
with 8 ... cd was bad because he gave 7. . . cxd4 8.exd4 ll::l c6 9.h3 is
up on the center after which White a transposition to the game from
obtained easy play on the queen CHAPTER 1. Kovacevic V.-Mikhal
side and entering an endgame! In chishin A. Pula 1980.
this game GM Burmakin Vladimir
shows a great recipe of how to play s.ll::l e s!
the ensuing symmetrical endgame This move is designed against 3
against bishop on g?. possible plans for Black. They are
. . . ll::l hs with the plan of taking the
bishop pair, . . . ll::l d7 with the idea of
C H A PTER SEVEN - G R U N FELD SET- U P 1 83

. . . es, and . . . b6 planning to complete


development. For example 8.'2ibd2
l:Li hs! 9. gs (9.dxcs l:Lixj4 10.exf4
d4! 11. cxd4 l:Lixd4 12.l:Lic4 W!ids
13.l:Lixd4 W!ixd4 14. W!ixd4 xd4 =)
9 ... h6 10 . .i h4 gs 11.'2ie1 (11. g3
l:Lixg3 12.hxg3 b6 with pleasant posi
tion for Black) 11 ... cxd4! 12.exd4 (12.
cxd4 l:Lij4! 13. g3 l:Lixe2+ 14.W/ixe2
f5 15.l:Lid3 W!ib6+) 12 ... '2l f4 13. g3
'2ixe2+ 14.W/ixe2 fs 15.'2ld3 e6oo;
Or 8.h3 '2ld7 9.'2lbd2 E:e8! Black
has to make a useful move and
then . . . es is coming. (Black doesn't
have to hurry with 9 ... e5 10. dxes Although the position is sym
l:Li dxes 1 1 . l:Li xes l:Li xes 12. l:Lij3 metrical, White has easier play. The
l:Lixj3+ 13 . .ixf3 e6 14.W/ib3t, with biggest problem in Black's position
unpleasant pressure on the pawn is the bishop on g?.
ds.) 10.'2lb3 c4 11.'2ibd2 es 12.dxes
l:Lidxes 13.l:Li xes l:Li xes=

8 cxd4?!
...

Black clarifies the center instead


of keeping the tension. 8 ... '2ld7
9.'2l xd7 xd7 10.dxcs es 1i. .ig3
.ie6 12.'2id2 fs 13.f4 d4 14 . .ic4
Rivas Pastor-Fries Nielsen Gronin
gen 1979.
8 ... l:Li xes 9 . .i xes W!ib6 (9 . . . b6
10.dxcs! bxcs 11.c4-;k, Black's center
is unstable now and the plan '2lc3-
.i f3 can cause him serious diffi
culties.) 10.W/ib3 c4 11.W!ixb6 axb6
12. f3 e6 13.'2l a3 E:as 14. k xf6 Showing great understanding.
i.xf6 15.e4-;k, White enters an endgame with
The best move is 8 ... W!ib6!? - see doubled-pawns which will help in
next game. his actions on the queenside. The
a-file is of crucial importance and
1 84 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

also promising was 1i./flc3!? 'i!fxb2


12. ii.xf6 Wfxc3 13. ii.xe7:;!;

11 ... 'i!Hxb3 12.axb3 ii.d7 13./flc3


ii.c6
A little bit of a strange position
for the bishop, but played with the
idea of . . . /fle4 at some point.

14.b4
Now the doubled pawns start to
prove very useful!

14 ... a6 15. !!as!


A nice move which pressures the After this maneuver all the co
ds pawn, with the idea of doubling ordination of Black's pieces is vio
rooks at the same time! lated. The bishop on c6 especially is
a problem.
15 ... e6 16. !!fa1 !!ac8 17.b5?!
White frees himself of the dou 20 ... !!d7 21. kb6 kf6
bled pawns, but this allows some Black can't open his bishop with
counterplay. Better was to play 17.3 2i. .. e5? in view of 22.f3 ifld6 23.e4!
first, preventing any counterplay lfles
with . . . /fle4, and only then contin
ue with bs! (23 ... lflcB 24.iflxcB !!xcB 25. !!aB
!!fB 26. kcs !!fdB 27. ke7+-)
17... axbs 18.'flxb5 /fle4?
A serious mistake after which 24.exds !! xds 25./fl xc6 bxc6
White obtains a big advantage. It 26. !!xds cxds 27. kcs+-
was a good idea, but a bad move or
der! Black had to seek relief in 18 ... 22.f3 ifld6 23. kcs ke7 24.b4+-
ii.xbs 19. !! xbs /fle4! 20.f3 ii. xes Now another b pawn creates
21.fxe4 ii.f6:;!; and it seems than he problems for Black.
has good chances to make a draw!
24 ... !!ddS 25.iflxc6!
19./fla7! A good exchange because the
After 19. k xg7?! the defence for rook enters the 7th rank.
Black is easier. White's bishop is
stronger and he has to use it.
C H A PTER SEVEN - G R U N FELD SET-U P 1 85

34 ... 'itifs 35. ggd7


Now is the right time to exchange
one pair of rooks and kill off any
Black counterplay!

35 ... xd7 36, gxd7 gb2


Black couldn't save the pawn with
36 ... 'itigs because 37.bs comes, e.g.
37... cxbs 38.c6+-

37. gxh7 xb4 38. gc7


Two pawns up, the game is effec
tively finished! The rest of the game
was an easy technical job for GM
A faster win came from 27. g ia6! Vladimir Burmakin!
/fJcs 28. gc7 i.xcs 29.dxcs! d4
38 ... gc4 39. gxc6 'itif7 40. cs g5
41.c6 gc2 42.c7 'iti g7 43. 'iti f1 f4
44. 'itie1 gc5 45. 'itid2
30.exd4 g xd4 31. gas lfJd6 1-0
32. gca7+-
Lessons to be learned:
27 /fJf5 28. gaa7 xc5 29.dxc5 d4
..

What else? The pawns on c6 and 1. With the active and multi
f7 hang! functional move s./fJes you
are preventing . . . /fJ hs and
30.e4 d3 31 . .ixd3 gxd3 32.exf5 Black ideas with . . . es! The
exf5 33. xf7 limp move h3 is an unneces
Rooks on the 7th rank are a night sary waste of time!
mare in rook endgames! 2. after Black reaction in the
center with cxd4, you can
33 .. , ge2 take with the c-pawn only if
Black tries to achieve the same the knight is still on bi. In
White's 2nd rank! that way you get the c3 square
for him.
34, gg7+! 3. doubled pawns on the b-file
A nice check, removing Black's are not weak - they gives lots
king from the h-pawn. of opportunities for playing
on the queenside.
1 86 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

here Black didn't clarify the center


with 8 ... cxd4.
A. Sitnikov (2496) -A. Kovchan
(2558) 9. ifb3 lf::i xe5?!
UKR-chT Cl ubs Al ushta (9.3), 21.os.2011 After this move, White's pressure
on the ds pawn is bigger. A famous
In this game Black chose the better grandmaster reacted the best and
continuation 8 ... ifb6 than the 8 . . . the most active way in this position
cxd4 of the previous game, but later he with 9 ... lf::i e 4! Adranov N.-Smirin I.
didn't react so well in the center with URS eh T 1988. 10.3! lf::i d6 (10 cxd4?
.

9 ... lf::i es - and after 10. es White 11.lixc6 bxc6 1 2 fxe4; 1 0 . . . lfJ/6
added more pressure on the center. 11.lid3 c4 12. 'ixb6 axb6 13./fJb4
Forced to search for active play, Black 'ila4 14.a3"t, White has a clear plan
went wrong in the complications and to play for e4!) 11. 'ild1! e6 12.lf::i a 3
at the denouement of the tactical this position is perhaps not better
phase he entered into a lost endgame. for White, but I like it because the
endgames that may arise hold good
1.d4 /fJ f6 prospects for White. For example
Our move order is i...ds 2. f4 12 .. .6 (12 ... C4 13.ixb6 axb6 14.e4"t,)
lf::i f6 3.e3 g6 4./fJ f3 g7 5. e2 o-o 13./fJd3 c4 14.ifxb6 axb6 15./fJ fa-;f,
6.o-o cs 7.c3 lf::i c 6 8.lf::i es
10. xe5"t,
2./fJf3 g6 3.f4 g7 4.e3 ds 5. e2 The pressure in the center and on
cs 6.c3 0-0 7.0-0 lf::i c 6 s.lf::i es ifb6 the ds pawn is now evident.

10 g4?
.

Black didn't evaluate the conse


quences of this move very well. He
could choose some other moves
which lead to only slightly worse po
sitions, e.g. 10 ... il.e6 u.ifxb6 axb6
12. C7 lld7 13./fJa3 'ilfc8 14./fJb5-;t, or
10 ... c4 11.ifxb6 axb6 12. il.f3 il.e6
13./fJa3 'ilas 14. il. xf6 xf6 15.e4"t,
10 ... ifc6 11.dxcs 'ifxc5 12.lf::i a 3 b6
13. il.d4 ifc6 14. 'ilfd1 b7 15. f3-;f,
10 ... ifxb3 11.axb3 /fJd7 12. xg7
A very natural move for Black! <i!txg7 13.dxcs lf::i xcs 14.b4 lf::i e 4
Compared with the previous game, 15. 'ild1 e6 16.lf::i d 2 lf::i xd2 17. 'i!.xd2"t,
C H A PTER SEVEN - G R U N FELD SET-U P 1 87

11. il.xf6! rooks, which prevents them from


showing their natural strength!

15 b6 16. d6 fS 17. xfS WxfS


1s.'i!te2?!
Of course the place for the king
is in the center, but before this
White should prevent any eventual
counterplay, so 18. E:a6! fixing the
pawns on the queenside!

18 b5?
.

White accepts the challenge and


the next four moves are forced!

11 it.. xe2 12. xe7 E: fes 13 .ilxcs


..

l!xb3 14.axb3 it.. xfi 15.Wxf1

The wrong decision: creating


a weak point on cs and the a-pawn
starts to be a weakness. Black could
best utilise his chances with 18 ...
as! 19.CZJa3 (19.c4 a4! 20. bxa4 dxc4
21.CZJc3 fst.) 19 ... a4 20.b4 We7t.
and this endgame is not so clear
In the end White has profited anymore!
with two pawns for the exchange,
which guarantees a stable advan 19. E:as a6 20.ll:la3!
tage especially thanks to the very The shortest route to the b4
healthy pawn structure. Black square!
doesn't have any open files for his
1 88 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

20 ...5 21.C2 e6 31 ... g7 32.d3 a7 33.b4


Only by bringing his rook to d6 Fixing the pawn on a6 and prevent
can Black defend the pawns. Black ing possible counterplay with . . . as!
loses another pawn after 21. .. f4
22.b4 fxe3 23.fxe3 33 ... e6 34.cs d6 35. as c6
36. a1 d6 37. a3 c6 38. as
22.b4 d6 23.h4! Over the last few moves White
Taking space is always good: was probably waiting for the 4oth
White doesn't have to hurry. move in order to get more time and
find a wining plan.
23 ... Wf7 24.d3 We6 25.es
gs?! 26.Wd3?!

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

White is still playing this posi After a long search for the cor
tion in a 'relaxed' manner and misses rect plan, White finally opens the
a win. Now was the right moment for position in the center and goes on
taking action with 26.c4! bxc4 27.bxc4 to realize his big advantage.
as 28.cs dds 29.b4 dbs 30.d3+-
40 ...fxe4 41.fxe4 dxe4 42.ds cs
26 ... We7 27. a1 f6 28.g3 hs?! 43.Wxe4?!
Black decides to close the posi A white pawn could arrive on the
tion on the kingside but he makes 7th rank after 43.d6 e3 44.d7 d8
a route for the White king. 45.Wxe3 We7 46. ai+-

29. We2! d6 30. Wf3 Wf6 31. Wf4 43 ... e7+ 44. Wf4 et
White's pieces stand well and now Black decides to give up the a
it is only left for him to prepare e4! pawn and finally activate a rook!
C H A PTER SEVEN - G RU N FELD S ET-U P 1 89

45. !!xa6+ Wg7 46. !!a7+ Wh6 White complicates the win in
Threatening mate in one with stead of just calculating a little bit.
!!fs. If 46 ... Wf6 47.e4++- Of course the position is still win
ning but now White has to play
47.e6 !!c4+ 48. Wf3 !!ce4 carefully. 55.c4! !!b1 56.cs !!xb3+
Black has activated his rooks but 57. We4 !!xb4+ 58. Wes !!c4 59.c6 b4
it's too late. 6o.d6 b3 6i.e6+ Wf7 62.gs+ Wg7
(62 ... We8 63. d7+ We7 64.e6+-)
49.f4 63.d7 b2 64.dS!f bi if 65.!fd7+ Wg8
White still need to be care 66.!ff7+ Whs 67.ifh7#
ful! 49.gs?? leads to a draw! 49 ...
!! 1e3+ 50.Wg2 !!e2+ si.Wh3 !! h2+ 55 Wf6 56.c5 !!c1 57. Wf4!

52. Wxh2 !!e2+ 5 3 . Wh3 !! h2+ White uses geometry!


54. Wxh2 stalemate
57 We7 58.e4 !!b1 59.We5!
.

49 ... !!es 50.e6 l:!e5 51. !!d7 !!e1 White gives up the b3 pawn, but
52.b3 !!as 53. !!ds he will take the bs-pawn in return.
Simplification is very often the
best way. Again playing for mate 59 !!xb3 6o.d6+ Wds 61.Wd5 !!b1
.

leads to the stalemate! 53.gs?? 62. Wc6 !!c1 63. Wxb5


!! fs+ 54. Wg2 !!e2+ ss. Wh3 !! h2+! With three connected pawns the
56.Wxh2 !!fa+ s7.Wg1 !!fr;;!;; game is finished!

53 !!xd8 54.xdS Wg7 55.e6+?!


.. 63 Wd7 64. Wc5 !!e1 65. f6+
.

We6 66.d5 !!e5 67.c4 Wd7 68.b5


g5 69.hxg5 !!xg5 70.b6
Conclusion: By giving up the
center, Black doesn't have any ac
tive play and every attempt to look
for complications will be punished.
1-0

a b c d e g h
C H A PTER E I G H T

Q.U E E N'S GAM BIT S E T-U P

In this chapter we will actually see 5.CLlc3


one side-line from the Queen's Gam Here Black has two plans which
bit not so often used by Black. Here will be shown in this chapter. The 1st:
Black makes a "triangle" with pawns
c6-ds-e6 which reminds us a lot of 5 ... it.d6
the set-up from the Semi-Slav. trying to simplify the position by
exchanging the bishops. And the
other is s ... it.e7 6.CLl f3 o-o 7.V!!/c 2
lLlbd7 8.h3 a6 in Meran spirit. Black
... (ftl. /
....
.I m:
8
. -
. is preparing . . . dxc4 with a subse-
7 /y- -///// quent . . . bs, . . . cs plan but first he

a .1. a .1. 1< a


waits for il.e2 or il.d3 to win a tem
6
po. 9. d1!
sa a .1. a a
4 fj 3 r m fj
3m a n a
2 3 ?J - 0 8 0
1 -i=%/
a b c d e f g h
Only from this move order may
there arise the rare line from the
Queen's Gambit. In my rich career
in the "London System" I still have
not faced this plan. This line is dubi This is also a useful and waiting
ous for Black due to the pawn on c6. move. White wants to take on c4 at
Usually in the Queen's Gambit with once from fr. See Kramnik V.-Lpu
il.f4, Black's main idea is to play . . . tian S. EU ch-T 1992.
cs at once. For example: i.d4 <ls 2.c4
e6 3.CLlc3 CLl f6 4. il. f4 il.e7 s.CLl f3 6. il.g3!
o-o 6.e3 cs! or the more modern 6 ... See Gurevich M.-Erwich M. BEL
lLl bd7! also with the . . . cs idea. eh Team 2008.
1 92 WI N N I N G WITH TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

6. kg3!
This is usually the best reaction.
M. Gurevich (2631) - M. Erwich (2416) White wants to exchange bishops
BEL-chT 2008/09, Belgium (5.2). but preferably with the opening of
07.12.2008 the h-file. With this move White
also hinders Black's development
In this game we will see the rare because . . . bd7 is not possible!
line in the Queen's Gambit with an
early c6 which is considered dubi 6 ...o-o 7.f3 b6
ous for Black. With 5 ... d6?! Black Black has almost no other way to
already entered a very tough posi develop his pieces on the queenside.
tion to play, mainly because he has
big problems finishing his develop
ment on the queenside. At some
point, with the most aggressive ap
proach combining e4 and long cas
tling, White seized the initiative
which resulted in a mating attack
at the end.

1.d4 f6
Our move order is i. .. ds 2. f4 c6
3.e3 f6 4.c4 e6 5.c3 d6

For me this kind of move always


looks extremely risky when Black
has already castled! The justifica
tion we can find is the need to play
. . . bd7. Simplifications with 8 ...
i.a6 9.e2 i. xc4 10. k xc4 dxc4
1i.xc4;!;; do not solve all Black's
problems but was nevertheless nec
essary. The white-squared bishop
will be a very important factor in
White's attack.
C H A PTER E I G H T - QU EE N 'S G A M B I T SET- U P 1 93

9.hxg3 h6 10.e2 CZJbd7?! 12.CZJxe4 e7


Black doesn't feel the danger and 12 ... iLb7 13.CZJd6 C7 14.CZJ xb7
continues with thematic play. He xb7 15.o-o-o cs (15 ... b5 16.c5 B'.fdB
avoids the worst of the troubles af 17. B'. h4 and g4 is coming.) 16.g4!
ter 10 ... iLa6! 11.CZJes CZJ fd7 (11 dxc4
cxd4 (1 6... CZJxg4 17. ii.e4+-) ngs
12. iLxC4 ilxc4 13. XC4 bs 14. e2 hxgs 18.CZJ xgs--+
CZJfd7 15.CZJd3"t:; 11 cs 12.cxds ii.xd3
.

13.xd3 exd5 14.g4--+) 12.cxds iLxd3 13.CZJ xf6 + CZJ xf6 14.CZJe5 ii.b7
13.CZJ xd3 exds (13 ... cxds 14.g4 CZJc6 15.0-0-0
15f4/6 16.0-0-0) 14.b4 CZJf6 15.0-ot: Black is powerless to oppose the
g4 plan.

15 c5

Black could avoid the mating


attack by passing into a bad end
game, e.g. 15 . . . B'. fd8 16.g4 CZJd7
(1 6. . . B'.xd4 17.gs! hxgs 18. iL h7+
CZJxh7 1 9. B'.xd4 + -) 17. e3 ! (17.
e4?! CZJfB 18.CZJxc6 iLxc6 19.xc6
gs+ 20. b1 xg4 21.e4 xe4
22. ii.xe4"t:) n .. CZJ xes 18.dxes gs
(18... c5 19. B'.xh6!gxh6 20. xh6 B'.xd3
21. B'.hi+-) 19.xgs hxgs 20. ii.e4

With this typical opening of the


position in the center White grabs
the initiative.

11 dxe4

In the spirit of the Meran would


be 11 ... dxc4 12. i. xc4 bs 13. i.d3 es!?
14.dxes CZJg4 15.e6! fxe6 16. B'.d1!
(After 16.0-0-0 b6 White has to
worry about the fa pawn.) 16 ... c7
17. i.c2 but it's not a great version
for Black as White has a much bet
ter structure.
1 94 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

16 l!fds
. 18 g6
..

Losing quickly is 16 ... cxd4 17.gs 18 ... exds 19.CiJg6!+-


hxgs 18 . .t h7+! <i!?h8 (18 ... tiJ xh7
19. l!xh7! <i!fxh7 2 0. l! hi + <i!fgB 19.e3 CiJd7 20.CiJg4 fs 21.d6 g7
2i.hs+-) 19. it.g6+ <i!?g8 20. i.xf7+! 22.xe6+ <i!?fs 23 ..ixfs

l!xf7 2i.CiJg6+- 1-0

17.g5! Lessons to be learned:


Opening the h-file is more im
portant than one pawn! i. In this rare line of the Queen's
Gambit after 5 ... .td6, again
17 hxgs?+-
. the best reaction is it.g3! It
After this move the game is ac forces Black at some point
tually over! The last hope was 17-.. to take on g3, otherwise he
CiJd7 18.gxh6 gs+ 19. <i!?c2 CiJ xes can't finish developing his
20.xes xes (20 ...gxh6 2i.xgs+ queenside.
hxgs 22.dxcs bxcs 23. l! hs) 2i.dxes 2. After the opening of the h
gxh6 22. l!xh6 file, use that in the most ac
tive way by long castling and
opening the position in the
center with e4.

V. Kramnik (2590) - S. G. Lputian


(2560)
EU-chT (Men), Debrecen (6.3), 11.1992

Compared to the previous game,


here the Armenian grandmaster
used another plan with the most
logical . . . it.e7 instead of . . . .td6. The
ex-World Champion reacted in the
best way by delaying the develop
18 . . . fxg6 1 9 . l! h 8 + <i!? x h 8 ment of his bishop from fi wait -

20.CiJ xg6 + <i!?g8 2i.CiJ xe7+ <i!?f7 ing for the move dxc4. At one point
22. l! e 1 .t e 4 23 . CiJ c 6 .t xc 6 Black had spent all his useful moves
24.xe6+ <i!?g6 25.xc6+- and he took on c4 at the worst mo
ment, resulting in a rapid collapse.
C H A PTER E I G H T - QU EEN'S G A M B I T SET- U P 1 95

i.d4 e6 8 ... a6 9 . "i!.d 1


Our move order is i. .. ds 2. f4 c6 The best position for the rook af
3.e3 CZJ f6 4.c4 e6 5.CZJc3 e7 6.CZJ f3 ter the opening of the position in
o-o 7.!fc2 the center.

2.c4 CZJ f6 3.CZJf3 ds 4.CZJc3 ii.e7 9 ... h6?!


5. ii.f4 o-o 6.e3 c6 7. !fc2

a b c d e g h

Finally we arrive at our position


after a different move order!

7... Cl:Jbd7
It's too early for the typical 7...
Cl:J hs?! 8. d3! fs (B... h6? weaken
ing his king position would be fa
tal for Black after 9. es CZJd7 10.g4!
Cl:J hj6 11.gs hxgs 12.CLixgs CLixes
13.dxes CZJg4 14. ilh1+ WhB 15. ii.gB!
fs 1 6. exf6 CLi xf6 17. CZJj7+ "i!.xf7
18. ii.xf7+-; 8... CZJxf4 9. ilxh7+! WhB
10.exf4 g6 11. ii.xg6 fxg6 12. !Vxg6;
B...g6 9. ii.h6 'BeB 10.0-0) 9. es
CZJd7 10.h3 Cl:Jxes 11.dxes

8.h3
Now White doesn't allow the Kramnik V. -Zude A. Bundesliga
possibility of . . . Cl:J hs! 1994.
1 96 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

9 ... dxc4 10. xc4 bs 11. iLd3 iLb7


12.l:Lie5! ;!;; and it's very hard for Black
to play . . . cs without some materi
al losses. For example 12 ... cs (12 ...
h6 13.0-0 cs 14.dxcs xcs 15. .1l.h7+
WhB 1 6. l:Li e4 + -) 1 3 .dxcs xcs
14.l:Lixd7 l:Li xd7 15. it. xh7++-
9 ... a5 10.l:Lid2 bs (10... cs 11. ke2
cxd4 12.exd4 l:Lib8 13.c5 l:Lic6 14.l:Lib3
dB 15.l:Lia4;!;;) 11.cs b4 12.l:Lib3 ds
13.l:Lia4;!;; Belov, I (2430) -Kluth,C
(2190) Hamburg 1995
White gives up the bishop but he
10.a3! has achieved full control of the es
A very useful move with a hidden square, and also an open e file, in re
idea; after a few moves the idea will turn. The pawn on f4 may also ac
be seen! tively participate in the attack with fs
sometimes. Black's position wouldn't
10 dxc4
. be so bad, were it not for his pawn
Blacks has spent all his useful having moved from h7 to h6. A de
waiting moves and almost at the fensive plan with . . . g6 never will
worst moment he is forced to react work because of sacrifices on g6 or
in the center. e6. Now White has the simple plan
of i.. a 2-.1l.b1 with a huge attack.
11. i.xc4 l:Lids
11 ... bs 12 . .1l.a2 as 13.l:Lies b6 13 ... c7 14.l:Lies l:Lif6
14 . .1l.b1 ds 15.l:Li xd7 xd7 16.l:Lie4 14 . . . l:Li xes 15.fxes b6 (15 . . . bs
i.b7 17. 0 - 0 l:Li xe4 18. xe4 16 . .1l. a2 cs 17. ds! xes 18. fe1)
Mirzoev,A (2523)-Bhat,V (2409) Bal 16. .1l.a2 g6 17. fe1 Wg7 18. e3 .1l.b7
aguer 2006 19. g3 with the threat of ke6

12.0-0! l:Lixf4 13.exf4 1s. it.a2!


This is the old method of treating Now we can see the point of 10.a3!
this position which was used in the
past by Alekhin. 15 .1l.d7 16. b1 eS?!

Losing quickly, but in a position


in which you have no good options
it's very hard to criticize. 16 ... fds
17.g4!+-;
CHAPTER E I G H T - QU E E N 'S G A M B I T SET- U P 1 97

16 ... Wh8 ne4 g6 (17. . xe4. 18 ... exds 19.xds xds 20. xds+-
18. 'Jfixe4 fs 19.g6+ +-) 18. xf6
xf6 19. xg6+ fxg6 20.'Jf/xg6 il.e8 19.dxe6 xd1 20. xd1 fxe6
2i.'Jf/xh6+ Wg8 22. d3 f7 23. g3+ White didn't land checkmate,
il.g7 24. 'Jf/xe6 but he has reached a strategically
winning position. Black is full of
weaknesses!

21.e4 g60 22.cs


Now the dark squares will be also
be problematic for Black.

A typical break in such positions


with an isolated pawn, after which
Black's position collapses.

17... d8
17... cxd5 18. xd5 'Jf/xc2 19. xe7+
Wh8 20. XC2+-; After a successful campaign, the
17... exds 18. xds+- bishop moves to another diagonal.

18. fet! 24 ... Wg7


Still Black doesn't have a threat 24 ... f7 25. 'Jf/d6+-
and White can increase the pres-
sure even more. 25. xe6 f8 26.d7
Black has no defence against the
18 ... Wh8 upcoming 'Jf/e7.
The idea is to remove the king 1-0
from checks and now Black
threatens to take on ds! 18 ... cxds
19. xds+-;
1 98 W I N N I N G W I T H T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

Conclusion:

If Black makes the "triangle" with


his pawns e6-d5-c6 as in the Semi
Slav, his idea is usually to take on
c4 with . . . bs next. Because of that,
don't hurry with the move it.d3 -
it loses time. Play some other use
ful moves and recapture on c4 in
one move. In the game a "young"
Vladimir Kramnik cast doubts on
the Black set-up with very clever
and useful moves in the opening
like h3 (preserving the f4-bishop),
and d1, which was played against
the further . . . cs after . . . dxc4, . . . bs
plan. Also a3 provided a nice retreat
for the bishop, enabling him to uti
lise the diagonal b1-h7.
C H A PTER N I N E

CHIG ORIN S E T-U P A ND Z ... g4

The Chigorin set-up is very rarely ez:Jc6 3. i.f4 with the idea being to
played against the London System. play against the knight on c6. The
In my opinion the reason is the im move c4 appears later when Black
possibility for Black to play actively cannot react actively in the center
in the center with . . . es as in the Chi (or 3.e3 with the same idea)
gorin proper, and so the knight on
c6 stands awkwardly. 2 ez:Jc6

a b c d e g h

a b c d e f g h
2 ... g4 This move has been used
several times by Ivan Sokolov! The
This is the main position in the main idea of this move - in the
Chigorin Defense. Here Black has spirit of the Trompowsky - is to
the rapid development, but it's not prevent the e3 move and making
a guarantee of equalizing because the London set-up! From the exist
White takes the bishop pair and ing games in the database it is not so
builds up his center. The theory is clear how White should react. After
going like this: 6. d2 xc3 7.bxc3 many years of experience in these
(or 7- il.xc3 exd4 8.ez:Je2) positions, my conclusion is that the
A lot of players have in their rep only way to fight for the initiative is
ertoire against the Chigorin 2.ez:J f3 with 3.ez:Jc3! -the idea being to play
200 WI N N I N G WITH TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

like in the Veresov Attack in which


the bishop on g4 is exposed. White
will play f3 with tempo.

Usually in the Veresov Black devel


ops his bishop to f5. 3 ... e6

a) 3 ... c5 4.h3 h5 5.g4 g6 6.e4!


dxe4 7. b5+ d7 8.dxc5;

b) 3 ... c6 4.f3 h5 (4 ... e5?! 5.dxe5


e6 6. e3 and I don't see suf
ficient compensation for the
pawn!) 5.e4;;t;; ;
In this position Black has also
tried another plan 3 ... f6 4. f3
ii.g4?! 5.h3! il.xf3 (5... ilh5 6. ilb5!i
with the unpleasant g4- e5) 6. xf3
e6 - see Rozentalis,E (2551)-Zeber
ski, J (2437) Ustron 2007.

4.c4!
White doesn't have to be afraid of
complications!

This is the point!

(Thematic would be 5.g4 g6


6.h4 h5)

5 ... h6

6.g4 g6 7.d2 f6 8.o-o-oi


and White has a nice attacking
position!
CHAPTER N I N E - CH I GO R I N SET- U P A N D 2 g4
... 201

Apparently the active 4 ... .1i. xb1? 7.a3!?


is not dangerous for White. 5 Jhb1 A useful prophylactic move which
e5 6.dxe5 .1i.b4+ 7. We2 dxc4 8. 'i!fc2 prevents . . . b4 ideas! See Van We
and White's king is safe in the cent ly-Sokolov I. Kasparov Chess G P
er. The plan is d1- f3-g3-.Jlh3 or 2000.
ilg2 Kovacevic, S (2396)-Morales
Camacho,J (2193) Lorca 2004;
Also, 4 ... e5 doesn't work 5. 1'.xe5! E. Rozentalis (2551) -J. Zeberski
1'. xb1 (5 ... b4 6.a3; 5 ... ii. b4+ (2437)
6.c3 xes 7.dxes ii.xc3+ 8. bxc3 POL-chT Ustron (6), 06.09.2007
e7 9.f3 o - o 10. i!fb3) 6. xb1
.1i.b4+ 7. We2 xe5 8.dxe5 dxc4 In this game Black played the Chig
9.g3 c6 10.'i!fxd8+ xd8 11. f3 e7 orin set-up, where Black chose a du
12 . .ig2 o-o 13. hc1 b5 14.d4 bious plan with . . . kg4 after which
he was forced to give up the bishop
5.c3 f6 6.f3 il.. e7 pair. White used his pluses in the
Black also has other possibilities position with the energetic plan h4
in this position: 6 ... ilb4 7. c1 e4 connected with long castling and
8.cxd5! exd5 9. kd3 o-o 10.0-0 e8 playing for the attack, after which
(10 ... 1lxc3 11. bxc3 as 12.gs!?) Black encountered problems at an
11.b5! ka5 12.e5 xe5 13 . .1i. xe5 early stage of the game, from which
c6 14 . .1i. xe4 .Jl xe4 15.d6 f6 he was unable to escape.
16. xb7 i!fb6 17. xa5 'i!f xa5
18. 1'.d6 'i!fxa2 19. k a3 Galyas,M 1.d4 ds 2.f3
(2444) -Kaufman,R (2319) Budapest Our move order is 2. il.. f4 c6
2007; 3.e3 f6 4. f3 i.g4?! 5.h3
6 ... kd6 7. kg5! .ie7 8. c1;
6 ... b4!? 7. c1 dxc4 8. ii.xc4 c6 2 ... c6
3 . .if4 g4 4.e3 f6 5.h3!
9.0-0 bd5 10. i.e5 ile7 (10... xc3 An important move which forces
1i. xc3 (11. bxc3!? 1i. a3 12. a1 Black to hand over the bishop pair!
ii. b2 13. b1 ii.xb1 14. i!fxbi kxc3
15. i!fxb7 o - o 16.gs i!b6 17. bi 5 ... .1i.xf3
i!fxb7 18. xb7 with the very un Black was more-or-less forced
pleasant threat of f7.) 11 ... i.d6 into this! 5 ... k h5 6.g4 kg6 7. kb5
12.i!fb3 b8 13. ii.xd6 i!fxd6 14 . .id3 e6 8.e5i
ii.xd3 15. xd3 o-o 16. c1) 11.'i!fe2
o-o 12.h3 ii.g6 13. fd1 Xu, J
(2668)-Miladinovic,I (2563) Istan
bul 2000
202 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

would have a comfortable posi


tion after 9. h4 gs! 10. g3 xg3
11.xg3 /.ie4 12.f3 d6 13. d3f5
14. h5+ Wd700 ) 9 ... xf6 10.xf6
gxf6 11.g3;;!; with a better structure
and the possibility to play c4 taking
a space advantage on the queenside,
and guaranteeing White a small ad
vantage, with no risk. Now Black
has to improve his "bad knight"
with 11 ... /.ie7 12.c4 c6 (12 ... c5 13.dxc5
Ji.xc5 14. cxd5 l.ixd5 15. g2;;!; the
bishop on g2 is a beast! 15 ... /.i b4?!
16. We2 l.ic2 17. gc1 l.ixa1 18. gxc5
In this type of position the usual and the knight on ai will fall sooner
plan for White is to play c4, but here or later.) 13./.ic3 fs 14.cs Ji.q 15.b4
with the queen on f3 that isn't a good l.igs (15 ... e5 will met always with
option because Black has . . . b4. To 16f4!) 16. Ji.d3 /.i f6 17./.ie2;;!;
prepare the plan with d1 and a3 is
too slow, and Black can react with . . .
d6 followed by . . . es after which he
is solves all his problems. With the
move in the game 7.c3! White de
cides to play more in the 'London
spirit', choosing a normal set-up with
l.id2-d3 concentrating the power
on the kingside and supported by the
active queen on f3!

7 .. d6 8. g5
.

A logical decision to avoid giving


up the bishop pair for nothing!

8 e7
White doesn't play thematically
A very passive move which loses and instead uses exactly the right
time! The best for Black was to go in moment to seize the initiative. This
for the slightly worse endgame after motif was already seen in the first
8 ... h6 9. xf6! the best decision is to game of CHAPTER 5. Kovacevic V.
play on the better structure (Black Ree H. Maribor 1980.
CHAPTER N I N E - C H I C O R I N SET-U P A N D 2 g4
.. 203

10 ... e5
Black seeks active play in the cent
er, but the next move brings a very
strong answer! With 10 ... a6 Black
cannot make sufficient counterplay
after 11.0-0-0 es 12.g4 bs 13. xf6!
xf6 14.g5 il.e7 15. g2 e4 16.'Llxe4!
dxe4 17.Yl!xe4 'Lias 18.Wxa8 Wxa8
19. xa8 xa8 20.e4

11. bs!
The crucial move in White's con
cept. In this way, pressurising the Black should search for his chanc-
knight on c6, Black is forced to es with the active 12 ... 'Lle4!? 13.'Llxe4
abandon the center. dxe4 14.Yl!fs h6 (14 ...g6 15.Yl!f4 Yl!d6
1 6. Wxd6 xd6 17. hs) 15. d2
11 ... exd4 xh4 16.0 - 0 - 0 il.gs n xgs
Another logical reaction is 11 ... e4 YWxgs+ 18.YWxgs hxgs 19. hs 'Lle7
but it promises nothing good after 20. xgs c6 2i. 2L.c4 fe8 22. es
12.Yl!h3 a6 (12 ... Wc8 13.Wxc8 fxc8 'Llg6 23. fs e7 24. e1
14f3 exf3 15.gxf3 with a strong
center and bishop pair there is no 13.0-0-0
doubt about White's huge advan Of course, Black is too slow on
tage!) 13. e2 bs 14.f3! and again the queenside!
Black's center crumbles. 14 ... exf3
15.gxf3

12.exd4
In this symmetrical structure
White has much better placed piec
es and the possibility to feel free to
attack the Black King.

12 ... eS?
An indifferent move which leads
to even bigger problems.

a b c d e g h
204 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

A very nice move with a concrete gxf6 2i.CZJe4 b6 22.ll:Jxf6+! xf6


idea: to take on f6-eS and then play 23 . xf6 .1l xf6 24. xeS+ xeS
fs! 25. xeS++-

15 d6
18. he1
Black must make a connection
between his rooks. After 15 ... b4
White is winning by force! 16 . .1lxf6!
bxc3 (16... .1lxf6 17. xe8+ xe8
18. f5+ -) 17-bxc3 .1la3+ 1S. Wc2
xf6 19. xeS+ xeS 20.xf6 gxf6
21 . .1lxa6+-

16.a3 CLJa5
Leaving the es square unpro
tected, but Black didn't have many
better options. he has no time for a b c d e f g h
16 ... abs 17.g4! as 1S . .1l f4 d7
19.g5 CLJg4 20. hg1 fs 2i.gxf6 CLJ xf6 Black loses material! The biggest
22. i. h6 il.. fs 23. xes xeS 24. i.gs problem in Black's position is the
(24. xf6? ei+! 25. xe1 gxf6+) 24 ... weak Sth rank and pinned rook on
il.. e 7 25.hs (25. i.xf6? i.xf6 26. xf6 eS!
ei+! 27. xe1 gxf6 28. ilxb5 Wf8
29.CLJb3 d6oo ) 25 ... b4 26.h6 bxc3 18 WfS

27.bxC3 .1lxa3+ 2S. Wdi+- or 16 ... h6 In this way Black tries to solve
ng4! d7 1s. il fs ds 19 . .1t. xh6! both problems. 1S ... d7 19. i. xf6
gxh6 20.gs CLJe4 2i.tl:J xe4 dxe4 .1t.xf6 20. fs!+- Deflection!
22. i.xe4+-
19 .1t.xh7!

17. es!+- Unfortunately for Black, some


White dominates the e-file and thing is always hangs.
the threat is ilf6-d5.
19 ll:Jc4 20.tl:Jxc4 bxc4 21. il fs

17 c6
White chooses the safest way!
Black can't solve his problem The fastest win was 21.hs abs
with the d-pawn after n .. CZJc4 in 22.h6 g6 23 . .1lxg6! fxg6 24. e6+-
view of 1S. i. xc4 dxc4 (18 ... bxc4
19. il.. xf6 il.. xf6 20. xd5+-) 19. he1
ads (19... Wf8 20. xe7!+-) 20 . .1lxf6
CHAPTER N I N E - CH I G O R I N S ET-U P A N D 2 i. g4
... 205

21 ... Cl:Jgs 22 .1i.f4


1.Cl:Jf3
Waiting for the handshake, Our move order is i.d4 d5 2. f4
White misses a quicker win again. CLJc6 3.e3 it. f5 4.c4 e6 5.CLJc3 CLJf6
22. ii. xe7+ xe7 23 . xe7 Cl:J xe7 6.CLJ f3 e7 7.a3
24. e6 f6 25. h5+-
1 ds 2.d4 kfs 3.c4 e6 4.CLJc3 CLJc6
.

22 f6 23.g4 xh4 24. it.. d7


. 5 .1i.f4 CLJf6 6.e3 ke7 7.a3!?

Also was good 24. h1 f6 25.g5


d6 26. e3 d8 27. h8+-

24 edS 25 .1i.xc6 acS 26. it.. xds


.

CLJf6 27. hl
Conclusion: If your opponent
doesn't respect the basic principles
of the opening - by giving up the
bishop pair and helping to develop
your pieces, don't miss the chance
to punish him with energetic play.
In this game, the plan with . . . it.. g4
cannot be recommended for Black!
1-0 A useful prophylactic move, pre
venting ideas with CLJ b4! White
didn't want to play twice with the
L. Van Wely (2646) - 1. Sokolov (2637) bishop after 7. e2 CLJb4 8. c1 dxc4
KasparovChess G P g/60 I nternet (1.z), 9. xc4 c6= or 7.cxd5 Cl:J xd5! 8. kg3
11.0Z.ZOOO (8.CLJxds?! xds 9.a3 as+! 10.Cl:Jd2
esi) 8 ... o-o 9. it.e2 it.b4 10.d2
In this game there appeared once CLJ f6oo
again the Chigorin set-up - but 7. c1 is also a good move with
not from our move orders. In the a similar idea to 7.a3
structure characteristic of many
openings, Black sought an early 7 0 - 0 8. c1 a6 9.cxds exds
.

"fight" with 11 CLJh5?! and he took


10. it.d3;t
the bishop on g3 too early, before This is the typical Queen's Gam
White castcastled. White used that bit position with theawkward
inaccuracy with a nice plan involv knight on c6 which causes Black
ing We2 and using the open h-file, difficulties.
winning in an instructive way.
206 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

10... xd3 11.xd3 hs?!

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

This is too ambitious. Black had Of course, White doesn't miss


a very interesting option in 11 ... the chance to attack along the open
a7!? with the idea of improving h-file!
his knight's position and now White
can fight for an advantage only in 14 ... i.f6 15.g4 kg7 16.gs fs?
the following way: 12.h4!? c6 13.gs Now the pawn h7 becomes a se
d7 14. es g6 15.f3! (15.hs g4) rious weakness and Black remains
15 ... h6 16. h3 bs 17.\t>fa;t without counterplay. Still, it would
not be terrible after 16 .. .f6! 17.gxf6
12. i.g3 xf6 18. <i!tfi e7 19.e4 c6;l;;
The typical idea with 12. i.es
doesn't promise anything big af
ter 12 ... g6 13.0-0 xes 14.dxes c6
15. fd1 g7

12 xg3?!
.

This is too early. Black should


wait for White to castle and only
then take on g3. In this way White
will use his open h file for attack
ing purposes. 12 ... g6 13.0-0 xg3
14.hxg3;l;; and the plan is M creat
ing pressure on the queenside. Also,
we should not exclude the possibil
ity of e4.
CHAPTER N I N E - CH I C O R I N SET-U P A N D 2 g4
... 207

The king makes way for the 26 xb2


knight transfer to the f4 square. 26 ... d8 27. d1+-

19 ... d6 20.lL:le2 lL:\e7 21.lL:\ f4 cs


Black has nothing to lose
and starts his search for some
counterplay.

22.g3 b6 23. Wg2 CS


23 ... xb2 24. b1 a2 25. xb7+-

24. h6 c6?!
In a difficult position Black blun
ders. Also 24 ... cxd4 brings no relief:
25.exd4 xb2 26. b1 c3 27.xc3
xc3 28. xb7+- or 24 ... c4 25.d1
xb2 26.g1!+- and Black can't
prevent h2- h7 1-0

Conclusion:

In the Chigorin set-up against our


lovely "London", the main and per
manent problem of Black is his
knight on c6 and that has to be ex
ploited with a well-prepared c4! In
that way you avoid some unneces
sary complications in the center
after which White can count on
a small but long-term advantage
playing on the c-file. More about
can be read in CHAPTER 9 if you -

haven't read it already!

25 kxes 26.dxes

Now Black loses the <ls pawn and


also the game!
C H A PT E R T E N
TY PICA L E NDCAMES: LO NDON SYSTEM

Although the main theme of this actors were two top GMs in 1980.
book is the opening, I decided to The leader of White's pieces was
devote some care and attention to one of the best team players in ex
the endgames typical of the London Yugoslavia (our well-known London
System. expert), and Black was the famous
One of the most important as Hungarian theoretician (at the mo
pects of chess is the endgame, so it's ment the successful coach and cap
very important to know which end tain of the Austrian team). Black
games may arise in your openings. was well-prepared and he proved
In the London System, endgames that the endgame which happened
can occur in several ways and they in the game held more prospects for
are in general good thanks to the Black thanks to the space advan
healthy pawn structure. Howev tage. This game presents a very rare
er, there are cases when you have case where the endgame doesn't ap
to avoid them, and all will be ex peal to White. We can classify this
plained in this chapter. game as a chess classic.
Also in this chapter I could place
some games from previous chap
ters! Pay special attention to these
games: Delchev-Behling (Chap
ter 3), Sedlak-Miranovic (Chap
ter 3), Sedlak-Ascic (Chapter 5),
Kharlov-Dokutchaev (Chapter 6),
Prie-Varga (Chapter 6), Burmakin
Jerez Perez (Chapter 7).

V. Kovacevic (2555) - Z. Ribli (2610)


Bugoj no (11). 1984

This is one of the critical games in


developing the London System. The
21 0 W I N N I N G W I T H TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

7.xb6?! This move is probably played


Not the best decision! The space against . . . b4, but it doesn't prevent it.
advantage provides Black with
a pleasant game, so White should 9 e6
..

avoid this ending! A better option 9 ... b4!? was also possible and after
was 7.c2 fs! 8.c1 e6 9.ll:\bd2= 10.ll:Jxc6 bxc6 11.cxb4 e6 Black takes
with the idea of b3 or e2-d1-c2 back the pawn with a comfortable
trying to push e4 later. position!

7 axb6
10.b4?!
Now Black has an easy plan with Understandably White doesn't
. . . bs-b4 freeing himself of the dou allow b4 but this move creates
bled-pawns! It's interesting to com a weakness on a3 and gives up the
pare this position with the games bishop pair, which will cost him ex
Kharlov A.-Dokutchaev and Prie pensively in the end. After 10. e2
E.-Varga P. from chapter 6. In those Black equalizes with 10 ... b4
games White pushed cs and forced
an endgame after . . . xb3. 10 ll:Jhs !

After killing the London bishop,


8.a3 a future breakthrough with . . . es is
Another option for White is 8.ll:\a3 easier for Black.
after which Black achieves a minimum
of an equal position in many ways.
8 ... li.fs (or 8... as 9. li.q e6 10. li.xb6
a6 11. li.cs li.xcs 12. dxcs ll:\ e4
13.ll:\bs We7) 9.ll:\bs as 10.a4 c2

11.ll:Jxc6 ll:\xf4!
An important intermediate
move! Why miss this chance?
C H A PTER TEN - TYPICAL EN DGAMES: LO N DO N SYSTEM 21 1

12.exf4 bxc6 13.d2 f6! 20 ... E:a7 21. E:a1


Black takes control of the es White was probably hoping for
square and prepares . . . es ! a draw in view of the closed posi
tion and doubled c-pawns, but Black
found a very nice plan.

21 ... E:xai 22.Wxa1 d7


The partially-forgotten bishop
comes into the game via the e8
square.

23. Wb2 es 24. Wc2 g6+ 25. Wd2


e4
With pressure on the knight, the
. . . es threat becomes more real.

26.We3
White can't move the knight, be
Here is one more point of 13 .. .f6: cause . . . es comes.
the rook comes to the a file, pressur
ing the a3 pawn.

17. Wd2?+
White gives up a pawn! It was pos
sible to save the pawn with 17. d1
E:fa7 18.a4! bxM 19. E:a3 a6! other
wise White takes back the pawn af
ter Wd2-.ic2- E: ha1-E:M! 20. E: xM
bs 2i. E: xa7 E: xa7 22. Wd2 E:a2+
23. c2+ and although Black has
the more active pieces and controls
the a-file, it's not easy to find a way
to make progress!

17 ... E: fa7 18.Wc2 E: xa3 19. E: xa3 A very nice and difficult move!
E:xa3 20. Wb2 It is always a very tough decision to
White gave up the pawn but he enter a position with opposite-col
didn't give up the file! oured bishops. It turns out that the
white pawns on the queenside will
21 2 W I N N I N G WITH TH E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

be very weak after the break with 34. e6 Wc7 35. f7 il.. e7 36. li.es
. . . es! Wb6
The winning plan is . . . f6 and
27. xb Wf7 then . . . cs!
It's necessary first to bring the 0-1
king to the center in order to defend
the pawns on the queenside. 27... es?
is too early 28.fxes fxes 29. g4= V. Kramnik (2801) - N. Grandelius
(2649)
28. g4 We7 29.h4 h6 30.hs es! Stavanger (1), 19.04.2016
Finally! Everything is well-pre
pared for the break in the center! This game was played between the
ex-World Champion, a well-known
deep thinker and great techni
cal player, and the talented young
Swedish player. After the opening
Nils chose the wrong plan of enter
ing a slightly worse endgame, af
ter which Kramnik demonstrated
his impeccable chess technique!
The biggest problem from Black's
perspective was the position of his
king. Persistent defense from Black
was not sufficient in the end.

31.fxes 1.d4 f6 2. il.. f4 ds 3.e3 e6 4.c3 cs


Of no help is 3i. fs exd4+ 5.d2 c6 6. il.. d3
32.Wxd4 Wd8 33. e6 b8! switch With 6. ii.d3 Kramnik chooses an
ing to the diagonal a?-g1, after older plan, one which was used in
which Black is able to push . . . d4 the past by Vlatko Kovacevic! About
34. We3 (34. Wes Wq mating) 34 ... this more is written in chapter 4.
a7+ 35. We2 d4 36.cxd4 xd4-+
6... d6 7. xd6 xd6 8.f4
31 ... fxes 32.f4 exd4+ 33. Wxd4 This is the point! White plays f4
'i!tds! before gf3!
In the endgame the king plays
a very important role! 8 ... cxd4!
Black uses the right moment to
take on d4 after which White must
CHAPTER T E N - T Y P I CAL EN DGAMES: LO N DO N SYSTEM 21 3

take back with his c-pawn (much 14. !!c1 it.d7 15. e2 c8!
better would be to recapture exd4 A typical maneuver! Black seeks
for White). the best place for his knight!

9.cxd4 o-o 10.a3


Always useful to prevent . . . b4.

10 ... e7 11.gf3 b6?!


Forcing an endgame against
Kramnik? Black could continue
more actively with 11 fs! 12.e2
..

g4 13. it. xfs (13.ft b6! 14. h3


f6 15.g4 d6 when Black has nice
control of the es square and the plan
could be . . . it.d7-it.bs exchanging
his bad bishop for the strong col
league on d3!) 13 ... exfs 14.h3 f6 He cannot successfully fight for
15.0-0 as= and the idea is . . . b6-it.a6 the c-line with 15 ... !! fcs 16. it.a6!
activating the bishop! !! X C l 17- !! X C l .ft. cs 18. it.d3;!;

16.es it.a4 17.d2 d6


With this maneuver Black's knight
takes up the best place, with the aim
of exchange bishop via bs square.

Why not! White's king is better


placed closer to the center.

12 ... xb3 13.xb3;!; b6 a b c d e g h


Covering the cs square!
21 4 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYST EM

Black has exchanged his the


worst piece but still hasn't equal
ized as c-file is under White's con
trol and also the c6 square - again
pay attention to the king's position!

20.a4 eLJd6 21. c6


All with tempo! White has to play
energetically!

21 ... fds 22. at!?

24 axb6
..

Accepting the challenge wouldn't


be a good idea 24 .. .fxes 25.dxes tl:Je4
26.bxa7 and White has too many
pawns for the knight, one of them
on the 7th rank!

25. xas xas 26.eLJd7 bs 27.ll:Jcs


After a couple of forced move,
White has obtained a powerful
point for the knight.
An interesting and unthemat
ic solution! Kramnik aims to cre
ate weaknesses on the queenside
in Black's position. Doubling rooks
with 22. hc1 also brings an ad
vantage for White: 22 ... ll:J fe8 23.b4
f6 24.eLJd3 Wf7 25.b5;;!; with un
pleasant pressure. The pawn a7 be
comes a target in the future after
lLl b4- eLJc6.

22 tl:Jfes 23.as f6 24.axb6!


An important intermediate move


after which the knight from es en
ters the heart of Black's position!
CHAPTER TEN - TYPICAL EN DCAMES: LO N DO N SYSTEM 21 5

White takes action! 28.g4!? was an Black has chances to save the game
interesting option with the idea of due to his active pieces and the re
staking even more space and keep- duced position. (36... 'B.xd4? 37- 'B.b7+
ing the tension. 28 ... 'B.a2 29. Wd3 Wg6 38. 'B.g7+! Wh6 39. 'B.xgs!)
'Bai 30. 'B.b6 'B.h1 31.li fJ;!;

The first serious mistake after


Until this moment Black has de which the position is hopeless for
fended his position successfully, Black. The right move was 33 ... g4+!
but now after constant pressure 34. Wxg4 (34. Wg3 /Jg7!) 34 ... 'B.xg2+
an inaccurate move appears. Black 35. Wf3 'B.xh2 36./Jxe6 'B.h3+ 37.We4
missed a way of making strong 'B.xb3 38. Wds;t and Black still has to
counterplay after 29 ... 'B.a2+ 30. Wf3 solve the problem of his knight on e8.
'i fs! 31./J xe6 /J h4+ 32.Wg3 /J xg2
33./Jc3 'B.b2 34./Jd5 /Je1!= 34. 'B.b7+! Wg6 35./Jxe6
Now Black's king is in danger!
30.1lxe4 'B.a2+ 31.Wf3 'B.b2 32./Jc5
gs!? 35 ... Wfs
What else? Black can't wait any 35 ... 'B. xb3+ loses after 36. Wxf4
more -he needs to bring the knight with the unpleasant threat of
into the game somehow! /J f8-'B.h7

33. 'B.b6!? 36./Jc5 'B.c2


Another possibility was 33.fxgs Nothing helps now: 36... 'B.<l2 37. 'B.d7
fxgs 34.h3 (34. 'B.xe6?!'B.xb3;t) 34 .../Jf6 and knight is cut from the game or 36...
35. 'B.b6 'B.d2 36. 'B.xbs hs! ;t and still 1Jd6 37. 'B.d7 /Jc8 38.'B.xh7+-
21 6 WI N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

37.e4 c7 38 .B'.b6 ds 39 .B'.d6!


exactly which endgames were prom
And the worst Black piece in the ising for him and what to do in them.
game finally falls! A very good game
from the ex-World Champion!
1-0

A. J. Miles (2562) - L. Dominguez


Perez (2556)
36th Capablanca Memorial El ite,
H avana (9), 15.05.2001

This game is not so theoretically im


portant and mainly I would like to
use it to explain the endgames which
arise in these structures. In this
game we see the Carlsbad structure! 9 e6
..

Here, mostly the exchange of queens At this point Black had a difficult
comes after the moves !fb3- !fb6 decision: to choose between two
which gives a pleasant and prospect bad endgames. Finally he decided to
ful endgame to White. In this game enter the one with doubled pawns.
Anthony Miles showed how you have 9 ... !xb3?! brings Black noth
to use White's resources in this kind ing good either: 10.axb3 a6 (10 ... e6
of endgame. Unfortunately, at the 11.es a6 (11 ... xes? 12.dxes hs
end he failed to crown his excellent 13. il.e3) 12. xg4 xg4 13.b4
play with a win! This is a game we can il.e7 14.b3;;!;) 11.b4 e6 12.bs axbs
connect with chapter i. 13. i!.xbs d7 14.h3 il. hs 15.g4 il.g6
16.es! dxes 17. il.xe5;;!;
l.d4 ds 2. il.. f4 f6 3.e3 cs 4.c3
c6 5.d2 !fb6 6.!fc2 lo.es xes 11. !xb6 axb6
A little reminder, from chapter 3. 12. il.. xes;;!;
I prefer 6. !fb3, but as I said, in this Black's pawn structure is dam
chapter we have illustrative games aged on the queenside but White
about typical endgames! doesn't have an open file for ex
ploiting it. Without a concrete plan,
6 cxd4 7.exd4 il.. g4 8.gf3 .B'.cs
. Black will not feel the weaknesses.
9.!fb3!
Antony Miles had a great feel for
these structures. He could evaluate
C H A PTER TEN - TYPICAL EN DGAMES: LO N DO N SYSTEM 21 7

a b c d e g h a b c d e g h

12 lL\d7 13. hs Wds 14. il. g3


.

lL'lbS!? 17...bxas
Black improves his knight's po Black had no better option! 17-..
sition and also attempts to pre xas 18. xas lLl xas (18 . . . bx as
vent White's plan with M-as, but 19. a1 Wd7 (1 9 . . . lL\ a7 2 0. xas
unfortunately for him it's simply lL'lxbs 2i. xbs WcB 22. as) 20.3
unstoppable! fs 2i.lL'lb3 d6 (21 ... b6 22.lL\xas!
bxas 23. xas+-) 22. il. xc6+ bxc6
15.0-0 lL'lc6 16.a4! 23. xas) 19. a1! f6 20.b4 lL'lc6
White starts a very strong plan 2i. a8+ We7 (21 ... Wd7 22. bB+-)
on the queenside. Although it's an 22.3 il. fs 23. c8+-
endgame, Black's king is not safe
and White plans to use that factor. 18.lL'lb3 e7 19. a2!
A nice move with the idea of dou
16 ... as bling rooks! Regaining the pawn
16 ... e7 17.lL\b3 f6 18.as lL'l xas with 19. xc6? means a return to life
19.lL\xas bxas 20. xas for Black! 19 ... bxc6 20.lL'l xas Wd7=

17.a5! 19 ... Wcs 20. fa1 ds 21.lL'lcs!


One pawn is not a big loss if you White continues his brilliant play
develop an initiative: time is more and he is still not interested in the
important. If you play slowly how pawn. His idea is b4! 21. xc6? leads
ever, your opponent has a chance to to a draw! 2i. .. bxc6 22.lL'l xas xas
consolidate his position. 23. xas xas 24. xas Wb7=
21 8 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

21 i.b6
Always, after good positional
In case of the passive 2i. .. 1)b8 play, tactics come easily and White
with the idea of . . . b6, comes 22.b4 soon regains his material!
b6 23.1)b3 Wb7 24.bxa5 bxa5 25.c4!
and his king is in big danger! 24 ... ilxas
Here is the point! In case of 24 ...
22.b4 1)a7 llJxb5 25.llJb6+! then an important
After this move White wins intermediate move comes! 25 ...
material, but it's very hard to find ilxb6 26. gxa8+ Wd7 27. gxh8+-
a better option for Black. For ex
ample: 22 ... xc5 23.dxc5 or 23 ... 25. gxas b6!
e5 (23 .. .f6 24. i.d6 e5 25.bxa5 1)b8 Black defends really well and
26.a6 bxa6 (26... 1)xa6 27.c6+-) 27.c4 finds the best practical chance!
d4 (27... dxc4 28. xc4 ga7 29. gbi 25 ... Wd8 26.llJb6 We7 27. ild3 h6
llJc6 30. gb6 Wd7 31f3 il.fs 32.g4 28.b5+- or 25 ... llJxb5? 26.llJb6+ Wd8
g6 33. gaxa6 gxa6 34. gb7+ WdB 27. gxa8++-
35. il.xa6+-) 28.c6 g a7 29. gb2+
with ..ta4 next) 24. d3 f6 25.3 i.e6 26. ga2
26.b5 llJd8 27. g xa5 g xa5 28. gxa5 Again precise! This is strong
er than 26.llJ xb6+!? Wb7 27.llJ xa8
23.llJd7! llJ xb5 28. g xb5+ Wxa8 29.fa f5
Black doesn't have time for a break! (29 ... hs 3 0. c4!+ -) 30. gc5 it.g6
3i. gc7 gb8 32. e5 gb7 33. gc8+
Wa7 34 . ..t xg7 gb8 and as always
the endgames with opposite-col
oured bishops involve a small risk
of a draw.

26 ... gdS!?
Again the most resistant! With
an exchange down Black would
have nothing to hope for! 26 ...
llJxb5 27. gxa8+ Wxd7 28. gxh8 ..tf5
29. gb8! Wc6 (29 ... llJxc3 30. g b7+
WeB 31. gxb6 llJe2+ 32. Wft llJxd4
33. es+-) 30.3+-
CHAPTER T E N - T Y P I CA L EN DGAMES: LO N DO N SYSTEM 21 9

27.es! 32 ... g6
Of course, Anthony does not Now Black is almost back to life!
fall into the trap! 27.xb6+?? Wb7
28. xa8 xb5-+ 33. xg6
Entering the endgame with op
27... hs 28. a6+ Wc7 29.xf7+ posite-coloured bishops is always
Wc6 30.xd8+ a questionable decision. 33. xb5+
Wxb5 34. a7 Wc4 35. C7+ Wd3
36. il.e5 b5 37. xg7 as 38.h4 ai+
39. Wh2 a3 40. c6 xc3 41. xe6
c2 42. Wg3 Wc4 with some chanc
es for a draw!

33 ... hxg6 34. e2?

A pity! White gives his opponent


some microscopic chances. More
precise was 30.e5+! Wc7 3i.d3+
Wd7 (31 ... Wc6 32.bs+ Wd7 33.es+
We7 34. ii.b7+-) 32. b7+- with the
idea b5- b4 a b c d e g h

30 ... xds 31. d3 bs With a series of inaccurate moves


Black is a pawn down, but it White casts a shadow on his pre
seems as though he has never stood vious brilliant moves! It was very
better than he does now! important to control the a-file. By
taking the a-file Black can create
32.f3?! counterplay. White could still win
Starting to lose the advantage with 34. e1! c8 35. Wfa Wb7 (35...
step-by-step. White could take Wd7 36. We3 q 37- Wd3+-) 36. e2
another pawn with 32. xh7! g6 c6 37.h4+- and nothing can stop
33. ii.e5 e8 34.g4 xg4 35. xg6 the white king from going to g5
g8 36. h7+-
220 W I N N I N G WITH T H E M O D E R N LO N DO N SYSTEM

34 ... cr!;>d7 35. e1 Bes 36. Be3 Bas;!; The fortress is a necessity. Af
Now White's advantage is purely ter . . . b5- c4-cr!;>f7 white can only
symbolic and the draw is not far off. dream about the win! White's king
cannot enter between the Black
37. crt>fa Ba2+ 3S. Be2 Bxe2+! pawns!
Black does not miss his chance to
save the game! 41. h4+ crt>es 42.b5!?
A last try but unsuccessful. The
rest of the game was just waiting for
a draw offer!

42 ... xb5 43. crt>c2 d6 44. crt>b3


c4 45. g5 cr!;>d7 46. ii. f4 crt>c6
47.h4 crt>d7 4S. crt>b4 crt>c6 49. crt>b3
cr!;>d7 50. cr!;>b4 crt>c6
1/2
CO N C LU S I O N

I hope that by reading the first book I have ever written you managed to
make a connection with the very cunning London System - an opening
which I always keep very close to my heart, having played it for over 10
years!

I also strongly believe that I have managed to fill the book with all of my
knowledge and understanding of the London System, which in turn will
give you a solid edge even against much stronger players, and from the
very first moves!

In my opinion, it is an extremely strong weapon in a practical game - and


the "simple looking positions" which arise are much harder to understand
than they appear at first sight and actually contain huge potential.

I hope you will enjoy winning with the Modern London System at least as
much as I do!