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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Download Play the London System by Cyrus Lakdawala [2010]

Download Play the London System by Cyrus Lakdawala [ 2010 ]

Play London System Cyrus Lakdawala
It’s no secret why the London System is such a popular opening, especially at club level. White’s development plan is very easy to learn, and it can be employed against virtually any defence. What’s more, depending on mood, style or opponent, White can choose either to attack directly or to instigate a more positional strategy. Many players admit they hate facing the London System, which is surely another good reason to play it!
In this book, Cyrus Lakdawala presents a reliable repertoire for White with the London System. Using illustrative games and drawing upon his vast experience in the opening, Lakdawala reveals all his secrets and explains in detail the typical plans and tactics for both sides. This book tells you everything you need to know about the London System.
  • A repertoire for White with the London System
  • Covers both the main lines and tricky sidelines
  • Includes game summaries with key points to remember

Book review at Chessville by NM Bill McGeary :

When is an opening not an opening?  When it is a system!
That was a joke we used to describe the amorphous complex  known as “Queen Pawn Openings”.  Playing a setup that could be reached almost without regard to the opponents moves and from which one could operate successfully fell well short of our youthful desires to be “up on theory.”  Such is the London System.
The London system (d4/Bf4) is so logical and easy to pick up that it has been nicknamed “The Businessman’s Special.”  The explosion of available chess material might cause that moniker to disappear.  Play the London System brings to light much of the thinking that “theory” has about the London.
Don’t misunderstand, this is not really a theory book as we know them.  It certainly isn’t a compendium, as a number of possibilities for White are passed over.  I can’t really suggest that it is a repertoire book either.
The material is parsed out into chapters depending on Black’s approach, yet because this material is presented in the form of annotated games it takes on a feel of 'concepts on display' instead of move sequences.  I have to say that this works well for this specific topic.
At its heart, playing the London successfully is based on arranging the White pieces in a solid logical manner.  With this simple setup White seeks to create play around small weaknesses in Black’s position.
A simple example of what I mean, and a mainstay for London players, would be how to approach a simple Black setup with d5, c5, e6, Nf6, Be7 and 0-0:.  White’s standard approach is to delay castling, play Bd3/Nbd2 and then Ne5, Qf3 and g4 with an attack as witnessed in the stem game Pribyl – Penrose:

Pribyl,J (2455) - Penrose,J (2450) [D02]
Nice ol (Men) fin-A Nice (9), 1974

Position after 9.Qf3

This may be an over simplification, yet that is how the London flourishes.
The advance of theory has created a few lines where White’s task is a bit more involved and Lakdawala pays attention to a number of these.  Against a move order favored by Benoni players - 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 - the author recommends playing 3.c3 and following 3…cxd4 4.cxd4 d5 the Exchange Slav appears.  Lakdawala presents some good material here without going overboard into an opening that would normally be outside the scope of the book.
Another place where some care is used are lines with a kingside fianchetto for Black being differentiated into chapters with an eventual c7-c5 (London vs. Reversed Reti) and a Black approach with e7-e5 (London vs. Kings Indian).  These approaches are quite different and this is the first book where they have been separated like this.
Two points that Lakdawala deals with deserve special mention.
First off, the move h3 has been passed off as part of the standard package, giving the Bf4 a safe spot.  The author takes special care to note where h3 is most appropriate and best timed.
The second point concerns the differences in the move orders 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 and 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4.  This last move order has been the suggestion for Black in some recent books.  Again, we find that Lakdawala’s approach to the problem is keyed on move order combined with the concept behind them and not a dozen or more moves of memorized theory.
I found these points alone to be a great value in reading the book, but theory will do that to any opening.
Play the London System is a good example of the basic philosophy of the London.  It doesn’t cover all the lines available for Black, 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Bg4 for example.  Also, some of the chapters take a view of the opening that won’t appeal to all players.   This is a natural drawback to a book on the London.
The opening has such a range of flexibility that a reader will probably like some of an author's suggestions and struggle with others.  That is the nature of this particular beast.
My biggest hangup with the book are the number of games that were played with fast time controls or as internet blitz.  I won’t take the standard line that the quality of these games is in question, instead I want to ask why more games at standard time controls aren’t available?  Does this imply something about the opening itself?  I don’t know.
This book is good for any player wishing to use the London.  Rookies will be given a very clear view of the good and bad points of the opening.  More experienced practitioners will find lots of good stuff to help clean the teeth.  Just remember that it is really hard to win a post mortem without theory on your side!

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