A message to all London players (from someone who used to hate it but recently picked it up again)

I hated the London with a fiery passion; I made it my mission to defeat anyone who used it against me. It’s simple to learn, and anyone can do it. I hated the London.

But recently a friend posted on social media that they were trying to learn how to play chess, and I offered to teach him. Seeing as how the London was the first opening I ever learned, I figured I should teach it to him (as well as a couple other people who became interested).

I wanted to brush up on the London, so I could teach it to them. (I’m not teaching them to memorize move orders — I just felt like the London offered easy lessons in how to develop pieces and take the initiative). I began playing it again because I wanted to have some games where I could explain my moves and show them how I gained an advantage from the opening.

In the time that I began playing the London, I’ve improved from 1400 to 1552 (my highest!) in only a couple weeks (and I’ve been hovering in the low to mid 1500s for several weeks now). To put this into context, at one point several months ago, my win rate with White was 43% while my win rate with Black was 59%. I had tried everything with White — Scotch, Italian, Spanish, Belgrade Gambit, Smith-Morra Gambit, Danish Gambit, Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, Queen’s Gambit, Catalan, Trompowsky, Stonewall, English — nothing seemed to feel quite right (this was after a lot of studying as well; I wasn’t just looking up moves and trying to play).

But playing the London just felt so natural. It’s simple to learn, and anyone can do it.

When I found this subreddit, I was appalled at how many people were actively discouraging others from playing the London. Yeah, I didn’t enjoy playing against it, but let’s not start gatekeeping chess.

My point is, if you’re a London player, and you enjoy playing it for fun, then play on. If you want to take your game to the next level, then maybe pick up a different opening, so you can get a better idea of how to navigate mid-games and spot tactics.

P.S. for everyone who hates playing against the London: the Benoni can take London players out of their comfort zone, the Englund Gambit straight up prevents a London, and the Queen’s Indian can present some significant difficulties due to White’s Light-Squared Weaknesses.



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