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  1. 06 Apr '07 03:16
    In the last few days, I've played over two dozen French games in Blitz. My score is probably close to 40% against mostly weaker players (good thing they were unrated!). This is also not due to lack of opening preparation as I consulted the Shredder opening database during the game, assuring me a decent position.

    The problem occurs when I'm out of book. While I know some general ideas, I have trouble finding the moves that secure an advantage once my opponent has made a mistake. Moreover, when I do get an advantage, I often don't know how to use it. For example, I would have a very active and well coordinated position evaluated as +1.00 for black and I just don't find the moves to enlarge or at least keep this advantage.

    In the hypermodern openings, like the Accelerated Dragon, even a slight inaccuracy (Bd3 vs Be3 for example) by White would give me a GREAT game and I would often win untroubled. I knew exactly what to do to take advantage of the error. This was also in part to the very consistent set-up that, left to its own, becomes very strong. And that's what the White sidelines did, they let me get my set-up with Bg7, Nc6, Nf6, O-O, and then it was easy.

    While I'm confident in the French, I'm not so sure about myself. Will I be able to quickly get a much better position if I stick with the French or is this not likely to change much?
  2. 06 Apr '07 03:41
    Can you show me the position or games you are talking about?
  3. 06 Apr '07 04:08
    There is no one position, it's every position. :p I'll get one soon.
  4. Donation !~TONY~!
    1...c5!
    06 Apr '07 04:26 / 1 edit
    Keep in mind that one mistake in the opening from White doesn't lose. Maybe it's just not the best move but it's perfectly fine. Normally White has to make a bunch of mistakes to just be losing. Also, the AD is an extremely trappy opening, and if White does something stupid and lets Black like a Dragon without having to play ..d6, there are all kinds of ..d5 breaks and Nxd4 discovery tactics, etc...You should really be disapointed if you don't get an incredibly great position with black if someone doesn't play perfect, because no one does. You can maybe equalize if you play well, then maybe if white plays badly you can secure an advantage, then maybe you convert that into a win. Also, you said these were blitz games. No one plays close to great in blitz.
  5. 06 Apr '07 04:33
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    There is no one position, it's every position. :p I'll get one soon.
    Ok cool. I bet there are a lot of advance variations
  6. 06 Apr '07 07:43
    I've played something like 30 Blitz games in the French today against 1500+ players (a bit weaker than me usually) and I'm having trouble. f6 is often an idea in the Steinitz variation and I play it (engines agree when I do) but always have trouble after. Not only have I weakened the kingside, I have a weak backward pawn and am forced to keep the Bishop to defend it. Moving to e5 usually does not work. As a result, it is hard for me to get active and dynamic play. The position is solid, but I don't get much initiative. I really like positions with few weaknesses and very active/dynamic play and I'm not getting many of them in the French. Of course, these were Blitz games and I'm sure I missed a lot, so I will try in a longer game too and then see if I stick with it as I planned or not. However, right now, the Sicilian seems to suit me better in style.

    BTW: I also tried the Caro-Kann and it's not too bad. I felt like White had nothing the whole tme, but I lost in the endgame.
  7. 06 Apr '07 15:22
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    In the last few days, I've played over two dozen French games in Blitz. My score is probably close to 40% against mostly weaker players (good thing they were unrated!). This is also not due to lack of opening preparation as I consulted the Shredder opening database during the game, assuring me a decent position.

    The problem occurs when I'm out of book. ...[text shortened]... t a much better position if I stick with the French or is this not likely to change much?
    Even if you play just one opening or move onto another, you will still encounter positions from time to time that you just aren't comfortable in. The thing to strive for is universality in your play. I'd suggest finding those types of positions you do not understand (i.e., wing attack, closed center, open center) and gain an understanding of the position instead of memorizing reams of analysis.

    Here's a recent game I played where I was clearly out of book early on and suffered from a bad opening. I did understand that if I kept the center closed, I might have success with an attack on the flank:

    Game 3299112
  8. 06 Apr '07 19:01
    Thanks for the game, and I'm by no means giving up on the French. I'm just having my doubts. The main problem with my play seems to be a lack of patience. I always try to find moves that seize the initiative and this doesn't work with the French unless White's attack has gone awry. Playing f6 too early just results in weakness, as does plying e5 for activity at the cost of a pawn. I view the initiative as very important but I haven't completely understood it in the French. Clearly the initiative should not come at the cost of a much worse position with good play, so f6 does not seize the initiative, it only seems to. I already feel that as a result of playing and studying the French I've gained a better understanding of chess. Now, I will try it in longer time control games.
  9. 07 Apr '07 07:03 / 1 edit
    Well, I'm getting A LOT better in the French. I played my first standard game with it and then a blitz game right after against significantly weaker opposition. Both were very tactical and entertaining. I also think I found a way to be more active after f6 to make up for the weakness. Please tell me what you think and where I can improve.

    [Event "ICC 20 20 u"]

    [Site "Internet Chess Club"]

    [Date "2007.04.07"]

    [Round "-"]

    [White "SOMEONE"]

    [Black "ExpertNewbie"]

    [Result "0-1"]

    [ICCResult "White resigns"]

    [WhiteElo "1551"]

    [BlackElo "2010"]

    [Opening "French: Steinitz, Boleslavsky variation"]

    [ECO "C11"]

    [NIC "FR.04"]

    [Time "00:12:18"]

    [TimeControl "1200+20"]



    1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 cxd4 8.

    Nxd4 Bc5 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O a6 11. Qf2 Bxd4 12. Bxd4 Nxd4 13. Qxd4 b5 14.

    Be2 Bb7 15. Rhf1 f6 16. exf6 Nxf6 17. h3 Qd6 18. Bd3 b4 19. Ne2 a5 20. g4

    Rfc8 21. Kb1 a4 22. g5 Nd7 23. h4 Ba6 24. h5 Bxd3 25. Qxd3 Nc5 26. Qe3 b3

    27. cxb3 axb3 28. axb3 Qa6 29. Nc3 Nxb3 30. Rfe1 d4 31. Qxe6+ Qxe6 32. Rxe6

    dxc3 33. bxc3 Ra1+ 34. Kc2 Rxd1 35. Kxd1 Rxc3 36. g6 Rc8 37. f5 Nd4 38. Re5

    Rf8 39. f6 gxf6 40. Rd5 Nf3 41. Rd7 hxg6 42. hxg6 Ne5 43. g7 Nxd7

    {White resigns}

    0-1



    [Event "ICC 8 10 u"]

    [Site "Internet Chess Club"]

    [Date "2007.04.07"]

    [Round "-"]

    [White "SOMEONE"]

    [Black "ExpertNewbie"]

    [Result "0-1"]

    [ICCResult "White resigns"]

    [WhiteElo "1347"]

    [BlackElo "1557"]

    [Opening "French: Burn variation"]

    [ECO "C11"]

    [NIC "FR.05"]

    [Time "02:22:44"]

    [TimeControl "480+10"]



    1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. c3 f5

    8. Ng3 c5 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Nxd7 11. Qh5 Nf6 12. Qe2 Qd5 13. Nf3 h5 14.

    h4 cxd4 15. O-O-O O-O-O 16. Rxd4 Qxa2 17. Rc4+ Kb8 18. Ne5 Ne4 19. Rxe4 fxe4

    20. Nxf7 Rc8 21. Nxh8 Bf6 22. Nxe4 Bxc3 {White resigns} 0-1
  10. 10 Apr '07 00:40
    Sorry dude, I was on vacation. I will look over these games and help you out once I get some freetime. Peace.
  11. 11 Apr '07 06:55
    On more than one occasion, I considered getting John Watson's Play the French 3ED, but I hesitated, thinking that databases and chess engines are enough. Moreover, I was not sure the book was recent enough, even for an opening not quite as sharp as the Sicilian. (2004) However, realizing how much the French is based on ideas, rather than just variations, I am very tempted to get it.

    Is the book worth getting for someone just starting with the French at an 1800 level? Also, is it possible that a new edition would be released very soon? (this year)
  12. 11 Apr '07 13:46
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    On more than one occasion, I considered getting John Watson's Play the French 3ED, but I hesitated, thinking that databases and chess engines are enough. Moreover, I was not sure the book was recent enough, even for an opening not quite as sharp as the Sicilian. (2004) However, realizing how much the French is based on ideas, rather than just variations, ...[text shortened]... an 1800 level? Also, is it possible that a new edition would be released very soon? (this year)
    The french defense lovers clan endorses that book . You might be surprised how sharp some french lines do get.... If you can figure out when to play Ng8-e7-f5 and when to play Ng8-e7-g6 with f6 or Ng8-h6 etc. Of course the two main ideas are c5 and f6 but f6 gets very tricksy.
  13. 11 Apr '07 18:01
    So, I guess this is a recommendation to get it. I will probably do that. However, any idea when the 2nd ED was released? Maybe the span of time between the 3rd and 4th ED would be the same as between the 2nd and 3rd.
  14. 11 Apr '07 18:32
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    So, I guess this is a recommendation to get it. I will probably do that. However, any idea when the 2nd ED was released? Maybe the span of time between the 3rd and 4th ED would be the same as between the 2nd and 3rd.
    The one thing to know about the book is that it is a repertoire book and he choose the Winawer as his line of choice against 3. Nc3. He has two different lines he suggests and I think he gives a brief coverage of the classical, but I don't recall (I always play the Winawer).
  15. 11 Apr '07 18:44
    What I would do if I was having problems in one opening is to do a search of stronger player games on that opening. I posted a game here recently where my engine played poorly vs the French in the engine room. Looking at a few GM games like Short-Korchnoi I soon realised what was wrong.