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  1. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    15 Nov '10 17:45
    The tread title is a joke, for some reason a few years ago a bunch of neo-conservatives in the U.S. got mad at France during the invasion of Iraq. So mad, in fact that many of them began calling French fries "freedom fries." (On the island of my forefathers they call fries "chips" and chips "crisps" .....but I digress).


    Anyway, this post is about the French defense. A lot of people who know me wonder why I play the French so much, since it's really not suited to my "natural style."

    Right now I consider myself an attacking player who loves fighting for initiative from the get-go, and in most cases there are a few positional things you have to get out of the way before you can even consider attacking.


    There are a couple of reasons I play the French. The first being that everyone and their momma at the chess club I go to play the H.A. Dragon, and I want to be different. Later on I've learned quite a bit of Najdorf theory and I also have an e5 repertoire I'm working on, but I still play the French.

    One reason for this is that a lot of players absolutely hate playing against it. Another is that I don't want to be a player with just one uniform style. I want to be a universal player and I think that playing an opening that forces you to take into account quieter positional considerations (if you're naturally more of a dynamic player you have to learn patience with the French. Several times I've tried attacking with it before I improved my position adequately and I paid the price).

    French games can be very tactical, and they can become tactical very quickly. But before that happens, the first issue that must be settled from black's point of view, is the fight for the center.

    I think that the importance of black's claim on the center is understated when talking about the French and way too much time is spent on talking about what to do with the light-squared bishop.




    This game got tactical quick, all because white ceded me the center.



    Most of the time you have to fight for the center though, and that should take priority over what to do with your light squared bishop.




    Theory abounds with the French. I do not like John Watson's "Play the French." No doubt the man knows a whole lot about it, but it's basically a human database dump. He gives a LOT of variations, but he doesn't bother to do much explaining why he recommends many of his recommendations. Plus he spends a lot of time on Winnawer theory, and I prefer to avoid all that and go into the classical variation.

    As has been said, and will be said over and over again, Uhlmann's "Winning with the French" is the most instructive book yet written on the subject.

    I haven't read "Dangerous Weapons: The French" yet, but I'll probably have to. One thing about it is that if you want to do theoretical work on the French you have to deal with Watson.

    The problem is if you want to think about plans using that theory, he leaves you on your own.
  2. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    15 Nov '10 21:50
    H.a. dragon = Hyper Accelerated Dragon?
  3. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    15 Nov '10 21:58
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    H.a. dragon = Hyper Accelerated Dragon?
    Yeah. That thing is like a religion for the guys at that club.
  4. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    15 Nov '10 22:12
    Interesting, that used to be more of a surprise opening, best played if you knew your opponent wouldn't opt for the Marozcy Bind.

    At the club level, I think the only detractor to playing the French is that if you decide to switch most of what you have learned about structures/positions don't transfer well to other openings. Oh and of course, it is one of the worst choices of opening vs an unambitious lower rated player who is happy with a draw.
  5. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    15 Nov '10 22:30
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    Interesting, that used to be more of a surprise opening, best played if you knew your opponent wouldn't opt for the Marozcy Bind.

    I think it's a case where the guy who was the strongest in the club played it and everyone emulated him. I've thought about taking up the Marozcy against it, but I decided to just treat it like a regular Dragon, castle QS and launch an attack with h4-h5 most of the time.
  6. 15 Nov '10 22:52
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    Interesting, that used to be more of a surprise opening, best played if you knew your opponent wouldn't opt for the Marozcy Bind.

    At the club level, I think the only detractor to playing the French is that if you decide to switch most of what you have learned about structures/positions don't transfer well to other openings. Oh and of course, it is one of the worst choices of opening vs an unambitious lower rated player who is happy with a draw.
    This isn't entirely true if you like to play the e6 sicilian. The main lines are different, but many of the sidelines overlap greatly. The most obvious example is 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5.
  7. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    16 Nov '10 02:16
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    I think it's a case where the guy who was the strongest in the club played it and everyone emulated him. I've thought about taking up the Marozcy against it, but I decided to just treat it like a regular Dragon, castle QS and launch an attack with h4-h5 most of the time.
    0-0-0 shouldn't be terribly effective vs the Accelerated setups- otherwise it would defeat the whole purpose of not playing 2.d6 regular Dragons.
    I would look at the Maroczy, good practice working with a nice space advantage.
  8. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    16 Nov '10 02:18
    Originally posted by Erekose
    This isn't entirely true if you like to play the e6 sicilian. The main lines are different, but many of the sidelines overlap greatly. The most obvious example is 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5.
    True that you see overlapping sidelines- but moving from the French to the Sicilian is like apples and oranges if you decide to play the Najdorf knowing Winnawer theory is not terribly useful or instructive.
  9. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    16 Nov '10 04:14
    Speaking of the French and transpositions, Kasparov played one game in the French, and it was the result of a crazy transposition.

    Here's the first few moves of Kamsky Kasparov. The game went for over 100 moves.

  10. 16 Nov '10 08:04 / 7 edits
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    The tread title is a joke, for some reason a few years ago a bunch of neo-conservatives in the U.S. got mad at France during the invasion of Iraq. So mad, in fact that many of them began calling French fries "freedom fries." (On the island of my forefathers they call fries "chips" and chips "crisps" .....but I digress).


    Anyway, this post is about the Fr that theory, he leaves you on your own.
    Getting rid of the center is not an issue for white if he controls the d4 and e5 squares and gets his pieces active. There is an interesting system in the flexible french(as a proposed white system). Pretty fun to play-here is an example game


    1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. d4 c5 6. dxc5 Bxc5 7. Bd3 Nc6 8.
    Qe2 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. Bf4 O-O 11. O-O-O a6 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 b5 14. g4
    Qe7 15. g5 Nd7 16. Bxh7+ Kxh7 17. Qh5+ Kg8 18. g6 Nf6 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Rhg1
    Qg7 21. Nxd5 Bb7 22. Nf4 Bxf2 23. Nxe6 Be3+ 24. Kb1 Qh6 25. Qf5 Bc8 26. Rg3 Ra7
    27. Rh3 Re7 28. Rxh6 Bxe6 29. Qh5 Bxh6 30. Qxh6 Rg7 31. h4 1-0

    I am having trouble putting in the pgn..don't you just type pgn with brackets around it and at the end of the game with[/pgn]?
  11. 18 Nov '10 14:33 / 1 edit
    Thabtos, on your 8th move, Bxf2+ still works as you have a battery on f2, the white queen must recapture deserting the bishop on b6.
  12. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    18 Nov '10 16:09
    Originally posted by Goshen
    Thabtos, on your 8th move, Bxf2+ still works as you have a battery on f2, the white queen must recapture deserting the bishop on b6.
    Yes it does, thanks!
  13. 18 Nov '10 17:06


    Yes you do that but sometimes you need to fiddle around with spaces and such.