When played C00 French:KIA 2. d3 d5, I choose to move my pawn 8. ... b4 to reply 8. Bd2.

After that, 'the battle at early game is held' with 9. a3 bxa3 10. Nxa3 Bxa3 11. Rxa3 and at the end of game, I forced to resign in game..

I feel that 8. ... b4 is my first bad move because it enabled 'battle' at developing phase when I actually not ready for that. What should the right move to reply 8. Bd2 in this case??

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e6 2. d3 Nc6 3. d4 a6 4. Be2 d5 5. e5 Nge7 6. c3 Ng6 7. g3 b5 8. Bd2 b4
(8... b4 9. a3 bxa3 10. Nxa3 Bxa3 11. Rxa3 )

Best Regard,

  • 1
    White's tempo-wasting 2. d3 followed by 3. d4 makes this game appear in no databases.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jul 16, 2013 at 11:40
  • you are right, but it actually transpose from French to French:KIA Jul 16, 2013 at 12:01
  • 1
    I don't have a chess engine loaded currently. If I have time, I'll run the game through one and see what it expects to happen after 9. a3.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jul 16, 2013 at 12:07
  • 1
    I am not sure that 2.d3 3.d4, is time wasting. After 2.d3 black plays 2...Nc6 probably planning ...e5, if black can get that they should have a good game. 3.d4 is probably the best way to prevent that. Moreover, black knight is misplaced on c6, since it is impeding the typical c7-c5 break. I still feel that white has the edge after 3.d4, I don't have access to an engine right now, is there a refutation?
    – Akavall
    Jul 16, 2013 at 22:19
  • 1
    The game actually transposes to the 1.Nc3 opening with opposite colors. Then 3...Qh4 !? is an interesting idea, attacking white's central pawns. Jul 17, 2013 at 9:22

2 Answers 2


Stockfish offers the variation below. The Knight goes to the rim so it can be repositioned to c4.

[FEN ""]
    1. e4 e6 2. d3 Nc6 3. d4 a6 4. Be2 d5 5. e5 Nge7 6. c3 Ng6 7. g3 b5 8. Bd2 b4 
    (8... Na5 9.h4 c5 10.Nf3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc4)

with an equal game. Look how nicely the Black Knight is perched on c4.

Stockfish doesn't think 8... b4 is a particularly bad move, by the way.

[FEN ""]
    1. e4 e6 2. d3 Nc6 3. d4 a6 4. Be2 d5 5. e5 Nge7 6. c3 Ng6 7. g3 b5 8. Bd2 b4 
    9.f4 bxc3 10.Nxc3 Rb8 11.Nf3 Nge7 12.Bd3 Rxb2 13.Na4 Rb8 14.O-O Bd7

again, with a roughly equal game.

  • ok.. thanks anyway.. it means taking 9. a3 bxa3 in my game is a bad move. Jul 17, 2013 at 3:21
  • it should be take 9. a3 bxc3 instead. ^^ Jul 17, 2013 at 3:30
  • 1
    Yes, stockfish liked 9... bxc3 much more.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jul 17, 2013 at 3:42

I'm answering without an engine to back me up, but I do have some knowledge of French positions and can answer on that account:

The move b5-b4 is not necessarily a bad move. What Black always should worry about in the French is placing all his pawns on white squares and then exchanging his dark squared bishop. It is a common theme in the Winawer variation of the French.

Here it is Bxa3 which is the most strategically dubious move. In the French, do not exchange this bishop unless you get something for it. Look at your remaining bishop, all closed in by the pawns. Your bishop at f8 was stronger than the white knight at a3.

Besides, the move bxa3 is not so strong either. It opens the a-file for Ra1 and the principle for pawn exchanges is to capture towards the center, not away for it. That put aside, Bxa3 is strategically much worse as you give up the fight on the dark squares and your bishop pair for a knight in the rim.

  • yeah, you're right. The battle at development phase is just bad idea. Jul 17, 2013 at 6:26

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