A dangerous surprise: 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4

by Priyadarshan Banjan
1/26/2015 – Some players like to play 1.d4 but are not happy after 1...d5. Maybe they fear the dangers of the Queen's Gambit or the intricacies of the Catalan. GM Henrik Danielsen from Iceland proposes a surprising alternative: 2.Bf4! The bishop move is rarely played and looks innocent. But in a 60 minute ChessBase DVD Danielsen shows why it is a good weapon for White.

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Henrik Danielsen: "Pressing straight away - The London System with 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4": A review

Pressing Straight away - The London System is an opening Fritztrainer from the ChessBase 60 minute series and introduces you to a rare but dangerous method of playing the London System after 1.d4 d5, namely 2.Bf4!

Usually White enters the London System with 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3, but Icelandic GM Henrik Danielsen - your host in these presentations - asks you to play 2.Bf4 and promises you a position which offers White good prospects for an opening advantage. He wants to provide you with new but dangerous ideas which can help you win crucial points. Danielsen claims that he won the Icelandic Blitz Championship because of this line which caught many opponents off-guard.

Danielsen has tested the variations he proposes in his own games and his recommendations are a product of his experience in the given lines and thorough computer analysis. He helps you to obtain a solid advantage with white with a classical approach - no skirmishes involved. All this and more in sixty minutes.

Danielsen kicks off with a quick overview of the variations he is going to cover. He explains that one of the main arguments against the idea of developing the bishop before the knights has always been that Black after 2.Bf4 can develop his white-squared bishop easily and play 2…Bf5 followed by c6 and e6 resulting in a Slav-like structure. The white-squared bishop is often a problem for Black in these positons and sometimes stays on c8 late into the middlegame. However, this argument does not convince because after 2…Bf5 White will quickly hit the center with 3.c4, grab space on both flanks while keeping the initiative all the time.

Sample position after 16 moves when black plays 2…Bf5

Then Danielsen gives a quick antidote to the Chigorin defense arising after 2…Nc6. He shows White a safe and certain way to get an advantage: White should develop his pieces quickly and keep the better pawn structure.

A sample position arising after 2…Nc6

The Icelandic GM believes in objective assessments and relies on the classical factors - power, space and time - to evaluate any position. This makes his explanations clear and reliable. Although he obviously prefers the white side of this line he does not distort the variations in White's favor.

Position arising out of a Slav like set-up

Black can also play e6 before developing the light-squared bishop intending to hit the center with c5. Here too, thanks to black's unhappy bishop on c8, White holds a minimal edge. Danielsen then moves on to the Gruenfeld territory that you enter when Black uses a Gruenfeld setup against your London system. Danielsen recommends a line which gives White a slight edge because he is better developed.

The DVD finishes with a segment covering Black's alternative set-ups, focusing mainly on the idea to play c5 and Qb6 quickly. Here Danielsen suggests an interesting idea involving a quick Nc3, which is practically a new idea in the theory of London system.

White plays 4.Nc3 to counter an early c5 break

In only 60 minutes this DVD arms you with a solid and effective opening system after 1.d4 d5. Nevertheless, a recommendation how to further study this line would have been welcome.

However, considering that most of the relevant theory in this variation is based on games by Danielsen, it makes sense to look at his games first. And his clear and concise explanations of his games in this system help to understand the ideas White has in this line which is underrated but dangerous. For long-time 1.d4-players it definitely pays to buy this DVD - you get a dangerous positionally sound surprise weapon that is easy to learn.

Sample Video:

Henrik Danielsen:
Pressing straight away - The London System with 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4

 

€9.90

This DVD can be be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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Jd1985 Jd1985 1/29/2015 09:02
Says someone at a mere 1600. You, my friend, should pursue something else and troll someplace else.
Crazyhorses Crazyhorses 1/27/2015 03:21
Anyone who aspires to play this system should pursue something else.
Jd1985 Jd1985 1/26/2015 07:41
I notice Komodo choosing this ever so often.
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