32

Peter Svidler answered this in a recent video for Chess24: Why do the majority of GMs and almost all super-GMs play 1…e5 or 1…c5 in answer to 1.e4 rather than the French Defence (1…e6)? Peter: I think the answer is twofold. Firstly, both the Spanish and the Sicilian offer you a much broader scope to choose from. If you play 1…e5 you’re not ...


24

One option is to play 1... e6 against 1. d4 anyways! After 1. d4 e6, white doesn't really have a choice other than to transpose into a standard opening anyways. If white plays 2. e4, well that's just the French Defense that you know and love. If white plays something else, like 2. c4 (as most Queen's Gambit players will), then you have a few options: ...


18

First, a side note: I play the black side of the French Defense almost religiously, and my results against the Exchange variation have traditionally been very good. It's not a variation that's feared by most French Defense practitioners. Neither, for that matter, is the Advance variation, which gives black a very clear plan of strategic counterattack based ...


16

Why is the French defence not played at the highest level? If you consider any statistically small (~20) sample of chess players, regardless of standard, then you will get clustering of openings chosen. This has very little to do with soundness or otherwise and much to do with fashion and temperament. Just look at someone like Nakamura. So I wonder why ...


13

Rudolph Spielmann, a great advocate of the French Defense, would play e6 against d4, to give White the chance to transpose into the French defense with e4. When Rubenstein played c4 instead, Spielmann played f5 and went into a Dutch defense/Stonewall formation, rather than play d5, which seems to give White an edge. If White plays c4 on the second move ...


12

I am going to describe a system for Black that I play, but you can flip the situation around and play the system for White. I actually saw it played as White first (possibly by Serper?), and I decided to try it for Black. Play Bd3, Qf3, and Ne2, (c3 and h3 are probably necessary at some point). I may bring the bishop out to f4 or g5 if allowed. The key here ...


11

There's the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Winawer: [fen ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 Qc7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 In general, though, it's hard to find a good pawn for Black to give away in the French.


10

According to "The Batsford Guide to Chess Openings" by Leonard Barden and Tim Harding: "This move had its introduction into master play as the result of a fingerslip by Alekhine against Flohr, at Nottingham in 1936. He had intended 4 P-K5 P-QB4 5 B-Q2, but played the moves in the wrong order" The game is at http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=...


9

Grandmaster Igor Glek wrote a survey about 1. e4 e5 2. f4 in Secrets of Opening Surprises, volume 8 (2008). Some quotes: With 2. f4 we return to the nineteenth century, when modern chess understanding made its first steps. The basic idea is clear I suppose - after 2... d5to play 3. e5! - gaining some space in the centre. So in principle we see the same ...


8

Actually, the GM who taught me (Vladimir Kosyrev) plays c4! closing the structure then Na5 then Bd7 then Nb3, after Nxb3, you pin the N on b3 with Ba4! and you can leave the pin until the queen moves, of course castle long and f5 to break through on the king side [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. ...


8

The Nbd2 --> Nc4 plan to protect the bishop doesn't work because c4 is attacked by black's pawn. Stockfish takes a more direct route to kick the pin: [fen "r1b1kb1r/pp3ppp/1q2p3/n2pPn2/1P1P4/P4N2/1B3PPP/RN1QKB1R w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. Nc3 {White can kick the pin in a moment.} (1. Nbd2 {This move also poorly develops the knight - and as you can see, c4 is ...


8

The plan you outlined with ...Bd7, ...Rc8, ...Nc4 is a good strategical plan, but there are a few concrete reasons it doesn't work well: In the opening you should be focusing on developing all your pieces and castling. Your plan with maneuvering the knight to c4 will move the same piece three times. At depth 33, Stockfish gives 10.Nc3 Bd7 11.Rb1!, breaking ...


8

Well, first, when you are lower-rated, there really is no opening that can be considered drawish since it takes a fair amount of skill to be able to draw at will. That is often a skill associated more with the Grandmaster ranks, and maybe some solid IMs too. Assuming that someone has the skill to draw, it really comes down to the ability to exchange pieces ...


7

I can think of a couple counter arguments against what your friend says: 1) Sure in the Caro-Kann you can easily develop your Bishop outside the pawn chain, but there are several variations where the Bishop ends up being a target when developed to f5. The most prominent example is in the advance Caro-Kann: [fen ""] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3 e6 5. ...


7

It's undoubtedly sound in the sense that it does not by force lead to any sort of catastrophic disadvantage for White, but it offers very little if any objective possibility of obtaining a theoretical edge. If you're specifically trying to reach an IQP position, it's probably preferable to play the Exchange Variation and only then follow up with c4, since ...


7

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! Polgar-Morozevich: [FEN ""] [Event "Wijk aan ...


7

I am new to french (so forgive me if the question seems elementary) I've just came across the pawn break f6 for black in the french advance variation, and I find the pawn break quite dubious for me for several reasons You must understand one whole new concept of chess modern strategy : Weakness is not a weakness if it can not be exploited. And another ...


7

INTRODUCTION: You did not have to award a bounty, all you had to do is ask me to expand on my comment. I would have posted this answer. To be honest, I thought that you found the line and solved your problem... CONCRETE LINES: Pay attention to the comments that go along with moves. You will see comments inside the textbox. Textbox is placed just below ...


6

Here is one line: [fen ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. Nb5 O-O 9. Nc7 Nc6 10. Nxa8 cxd4 Black has castled, and is pretty well developed, while the white king is still in the center, and white does not have one normally developed piece. You probably won't find many games with professionals playing the line, ...


6

There is also the gambit from the game Capablanca-Alekhine (St Petersburg, 1914), but it's not very good. [fen ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 h6 (4...Be7;4...Bb4)5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. exd5 Bb4 7. Bb5+ The check is annoying. If black could castle without disturbance, this gambit would perhaps be playable. I have thought about using the same idea one ...


6

How should Black defend against the Steinitz attack? This line of attack seems to break so many opening theory principles (don't move same piece twice, don't overextend, develop minor pieces ASAP) that I am surprised it's not immediately punishable. Why should you defend, at the first place?? All of your observations are correct, so we can conclude that e5 ...


6

Well, let's start by looking at the position [FEN ""] 1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 Why does white play 2.Nc3? Because white gets two options after the standard (!) 2...d5, namely 3.d4 or 3.Nf3 as shown below [FEN ""] 1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 (3.Nf3) In case black wants to aim for a French system position, I would say that 2...d5 is the best option. In case black wants to ...


6

The starting position is [FEN ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 White has committed with e4-e5 since the e4-d5 tension is lost. In return, white controls the vital squares d6 and f6 for a future attack as well as stopping black from developing normally. The e5 pawn has its pawn base on d4. The critical line for black in this variation is to build up a pressure ...


6

There are several excellent books covering the French Defense. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid complications, despite how much you want to, there are going to be complications, just because you play this line, doesn't mean the game can't somehow explode into a tactical mess. Also how can you be a French player if you don't want to play the critical f7-f6 ...


6

Mate, please... What do you want to learn in 10 minutes? Be serious... People spend years on learning openings. The French is complicated. But well, to the question: if you have no idea about french and your opponent is familiar with it, you have 2 choices: a) Play the exchange variation: [FEN ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Bd3 Bd6 5. Qf3 Nf6 6. h3 ...


6

I'm a French Defense player. As Peter Svidler opined in his interview on Chess24, "If the white player would prefer a quiet life he will find it harder to find a quiet life in the French than in the Spanish [Ruy Lopez]". The main reason it isn't played is that it is harder for Black to play the French Defense than it is for White to play against it. He ...


6

First, you need to narrow down your scope a bit. The French Defense has a massive amount of theory and you only need to learn a small portion of that to play it competitively. You'll most commonly face 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3. Here, there are two main choices: 3... Nf6 and 3... Bb4. From an openings database or explorer (here, for example), you can pick ...


6

The immediate point of Bd7 versus Bg6 is to prevent White from playing 6 e6 which could give Black's King a lot of trouble. Generally, Black cannot entirely avoid White's g4 anyway (it's always a move to keep in mind in the advance variation). However, the question is: Does that move actually help White in the long run? Yes, it gains the short-term ...


6

The point here is that Bd2 blocks your queen's mobility and also leaves the defense of the d4 square. So after say Qb6 you pretty much have to go back with Be3, which will move closer to a draw by threefold repetition if blacks continues again with Qa5+. Also if after Qb6 you play c3 instead of going back with the bishop, now your bishop is not well placed, ...


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