I usually play 1...e6 (French Defence) against 1.e4.

I love to play tactical games. Is the French opening good for me? My primary aim in a chess game is to develop an attack against the opponent's king as soon as possible ... Is the French Defence OK for that?

  • Wow, I play the French for the opposite reason, for the closed position that prevents tactics, and allows me to attempt to slowly build a positional advantage on the queenside. I'll be interested to see if there are lines of the French that lead to a kingside attack. Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 11:03
  • 1
    At the amateur level, you can probably make it into anything you want. But if you're looking for a tactical furball, consider the Sicilian Defense instead.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


French defense is often thought of as solid positional defense. However, French defense can be used as tactical weapon and many GMs use it that way. See two games by Alexander Morozevich below. Therefore, you should be able to play attacking chess using the French. If the French is working out for you, play it!


[FEN ""]
[Event "Wijk aan Zee Corus"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2000.01.18"]
[EventDate "2000.01.15"]
[Round "3"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Judit Polgar"]
[Black "Alexander Morozevich"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2658"]
[BlackElo "2748"]
[PlyCount "72"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6
gxf6 7. Nf3 a6 8. g3 b5 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. Qe2 Nd7 11. O-O O-O
12. Rad1 Bd5 13. Rfe1 Kh8 14. Nfd2 c6 15. c4 bxc4 16. Nxc4 a5
17. Nc3 Re8 18. Ne3 f5 19. Nc4 Qb8 20. Na4 Qb4 21. b3 Bf6
22. Qc2 Rg8 23. Qc1 Rg4 24. Ne5 Nxe5 25. dxe5 Be7 26. Rd3 Rag8
27. Red1 f4 28. Qc3 fxg3 29. hxg3 h5 30. Bxd5 cxd5 31. Rf3 Kg7
32. Qc7 h4 33. Kg2 hxg3 34. fxg3 Qe4 35. Qc3 Qe2+ 36. Kh3 Rg5


[FEN ""]
[Event "Sparkassen Cat XXI"]
[Site "Dortmund GER"]
[Date "2001.07.21"]
[EventDate "2001.07.12"]
[Round "9"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Michael Adams"]
[Black "Alexander Morozevich"]
[ECO "C03"]
[WhiteElo "2744"]
[BlackElo "2749"]
[PlyCount "54"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. e5 c5 5. dxc5 Nc6 6. Ngf3 Bxc5
7. Nb3 Bb6 8. Bd3 f6 9. Qe2 fxe5 10. Nxe5 Nf6 11. O-O Nxe5
12. Qxe5 O-O 13. Bg5 Bc7 14. Qd4 h6 15. Bh4 e5 16. Qc5 Be6
17. Rad1 Rc8 18. Qe3 e4 19. Bxe4 Bxh2+ 20. Kh1 Qd6 21. Bxf6
Bf4 22. Qf3 Rxf6 23. Bxd5 Be5 24. Bxb7 Qe7 25. Qe4 Rf5
26. Rfe1 Rf4 27. Qe3 Rh4+ 0-1
  • nice article, very usefful for me, thank you
    – user5847
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 8:12
  • Those two games are both good examples of sharp play resulting from the French but it seems that white ultimately controls how tactical the game becomes. Indeed, if white wants a quiet position they need only play 3. exd5 and black's hopes for a sharp game are gone.
    – sardoj
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 2:56

Yes it's pretty good for attacking play and tactics if White isn't careful. Master the positional ideas first and then interweave the tactics. Although most of the tactics will be in White's favour there is the thematic ...Rxf3 exchange sac eg in the Tarrasch.

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