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  1. 14 Dec '12 01:38 / 1 edit
    I've changed my mind on this opening... I use to loathe it thinking that it gives white an easy game.

    The only variation I fear while using it is the variation I play against it as white... 3.Nd2 which gives white a good with proper play and it is very tough to get anything going as black BUT if black defends properly white usually loses.

    I like it because I can use it against 1.e4 and 1.d4. I use to use the Sicilian vs 1.e4 and the Grunfeld or Benoni against 1.d4. I still may use these on occasion.



    The key for white in this opening is to keep that light square bishop on and try to trade dark square bishops.
  2. 21 Dec '12 08:52
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    I've changed my mind on this opening... I use to loathe it thinking that it gives white an easy game.

    The only variation I fear while using it is the variation I play against it as white... 3.Nd2 which gives white a good with proper play and it is very tough to get anything going as black BUT if black defends properly white usually loses.

    I like it b ...[text shortened]... s to keep that light square bishop on and try to trade dark square bishops.
    3.Nd2 (Also affectionately referred to as the Tarrasch Variation of the French Defense) isn't the most critical. The top players are most frequently playing 3.Nc3 these days. The Tarrasch is of course quite playable, but White isn't getting that much against a well-prepared Black and the game often fizzles out to equality, not an advantage to Black as you also incorrectly stated.
  3. 24 Dec '12 19:51
    I play the French Defense a lot, it is my main defense against 1 e4.

    I used to play the Steinitz/Classical variation (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6) but I found out that many variations invariably lead to a drawn rook ending. If White knows the theoritical moves in the Classical variation with 4 Bg5, it is almost impossible for Black to win, unless he is a rook ending wizard.

    So now I play the Winawer (3...Bb4) which I find more promising for Black.
  4. 25 Dec '12 03:51
    Originally posted by w0lver1ne
    I play the French Defense a lot, it is my main defense against 1 e4.

    I used to play the Steinitz/Classical variation (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6) but I found out that many variations invariably lead to a drawn rook ending. If White knows the theoritical moves in the Classical variation with 4 Bg5, it is almost impossible for Black to win, unless he i ...[text shortened]... ook ending wizard.

    So now I play the Winawer (3...Bb4) which I find more promising for Black.
    That's good to know. I'll make sure to brush up on my rook endings... I bet this will lead to many a good wins against those who are mediocre at rook endings.
  5. 25 Dec '12 08:55
    Originally posted by w0lver1ne
    I play the French Defense a lot, it is my main defense against 1 e4.

    I used to play the Steinitz/Classical variation (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6) but I found out that many variations invariably lead to a drawn rook ending. If White knows the theoritical moves in the Classical variation with 4 Bg5, it is almost impossible for Black to win, unless he i ...[text shortened]... ook ending wizard.

    So now I play the Winawer (3...Bb4) which I find more promising for Black.
    Against 4.Bg5 Bb4 is much more interesting for black. I love the French but don't play 3.... Nf6 because after 4. e5 I believe it is tricky for black, maybe not theoretically, but in practice anyway. For example see the recent Leko - Ivanchuk game where a great master goes down without a whimper against accurate play from white
  6. Standard member kingshill
    Mr Ring Rusty
    25 Dec '12 14:58
    Originally posted by queenabber
    Against 4.Bg5 Bb4 is much more interesting for black.
    I played the French about 30 years ago and I also played the French, McCutcheon (C12) variation. At the time it was of dubious merit but no one knew (at my level anyway) what to play against it.

    The French is a hard nut to crack. If black can solve his bad bishop and get into the endgame then he's usually better
  7. 25 Dec '12 15:23
    think there have been some games involving shirov, anand and carlsen lately so I think its theoretical standing can't be too bad!
  8. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    25 Dec '12 16:38
    Often black gets a good game if he can get c5 in. I try tonot let him get that move in. I took Keene's advice in his book An Opening Repertoire for the Attacking player by playing the Nimzowitsch variation of the Winawer and the Old Steinitz Variation 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4.N(c)e2, with the idea of playing f4. The problem with the later I've encountered is black can play 4...c5, which as I said seems to give him a great game.
  9. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    25 Dec '12 17:34
    The French was my mainstay when I first started playing. A very beautiful opening that can be as tactical as it is positional.


    I quit playing it for the most part because I didn't like the Winawer very much and I hated the cramped position I got with the classical variation.
  10. 25 Dec '12 21:00
    Originally posted by ChessPraxis
    Often black gets a good game if he can get c5 in. I try tonot let him get that move in. I took Keene's advice in his book An Opening Repertoire for the Attacking player by playing the Nimzowitsch variation of the Winawer and the Old Steinitz Variation 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4.N(c)e2, with the idea of playing f4. The problem with the later I've encountered is black can play 4...c5, which as I said seems to give him a great game.
    Black almost always gets in ...c5 i'd rather stop him from getting ...f5 if he has castled.
  11. 25 Dec '12 21:30
    the french is a good solid idea, i play it occasionally as black, as some people said im not keen on the classical (3 Nc3 Nf6) it seems rather dull which i thought would suit my style!!! but no, i like the winawer (3 Nc3 Bb4) now, i find it fun although i treat it rather positionally and dry. botvinnick would be weeping from above at my treatment of one of his many contributions to opening theory!!
  12. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    25 Dec '12 21:37
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    Black almost always gets in ...c5 i'd rather stop him from getting ...f5 if he has castled.
    If he castles KS, he is often vulnerable to a B sac on h7.
  13. 26 Dec '12 09:03
    Originally posted by ChessPraxis
    If he castles KS, he is often vulnerable to a B sac on h7.
    That's why he tries to play ...f5. To stop any kingside attack from gaining steam so that he can use his superior space to win on the queenside.


    This is why I usually plop a knight on f4 at some point... To put pressure e6 so black has troubles playing ...f5. Then I try to get black to settle for ...g6 so that I can sac there if I haven't gotten the opportunity to sac on h7.
  14. 26 Dec '12 13:47
    You often play f4, and answer f5 (or f6) with exf6, creating a hole on e5 and a backward pawn on e6. I won lots of games this way, just slowly crushing black in the centre, and when he tries to attack on the queenside, he gets mated on the kingside.
  15. Standard member kingshill
    Mr Ring Rusty
    29 Dec '12 19:34
    I was surprised to find that currently the third most popular move in the French other than the Winawer (Bb4) and Classical (Nf6) is h6. This has scored quite well recently but here is a game that my son played yesterday in a IM tournament in Germany where he manages to take this variation down. Haven't had time to analyse it yet but this was not part of his opening preparation.

    [Event "Augsburg IM"]
    [Site "?"]
    [Date "2012.12.28"]
    [Round "2"]
    [White "Rees, I."]
    [Black "Schmittdiel, E."]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [ECO "A00"]
    [WhiteElo "2274"]
    [BlackElo "2434"]