The opening remained a rare bird for the rest of the nineteenth century as However, in modern times, the French Defense is the second most popular response to 1. From my own personal experience, while I may have learned how to play the game at the age of eight in , I didn't get seriously involved in studying books until , and while I was studying beginner level books on strategy and tactics, I was playing what came naturally to me since I knew nothing about openings at the time.
I was playing what felt right and natural, and one day asked if what I played had a name, and low and behold, it was the French Defense, and so I established my interest in the French Defense in a similar manner that a baby determines if it will be left- or right-handed. While I played my first tournament in , it was March of that I regularly got involved in tournament chess, and while I played other openings for brief stints, my primary defense for my first 10 years of competition against 1.
Then came A number of new ideas came up for White in the Advance Variation, and it was starting to cause just as many headaches for Black as 3.
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Nc3 has. Nc3 has always been considered the main line, and White's best shot at an advantage.
Tactics in the Chess Opening 3
This caused me to go through an eight year drought of not playing the French Defense, and going with other openings from through Then came and I started playing the French again, particularly after finding a slightly offbeat line against the Advance Variation, and since playing it, I have either won or drawn every game in which I was on the Black side of the Advance Variation. Now that I am older, being in my early 40s rather than 20, I don't see myself discontinuing the French any time soon, if ever!
There are a number of players at the GM level that played the French Defense heavily, and many cases their entire life. I would recommend looking at their games. As for the White side, the biggest advocate of the line I am going to recommend for White would be, by far, Evgeny Sveshnikov, and I would recommend looking at his games if you are an e4 player.
So let's take a brief look at what the future articles will cover. The first five articles will cover the repertoire for Black with the French Defense. They will be covered in the order of importance based on my own personal view of how easy or how difficult it is to fully equalize, starting with the easiest and finishing with the most critical lines.
Then, part six will cover a complete repertoire for White on beating the French Defense. I can hear the groans already. Oh my god, the dreaded, boring exchange variation! Not all success comes with excitement. You will have plenty of opportunities to show off a bunch of thrilling victories in the French Defense, but in this case, I am going to advocate a very solid line that immediately equalizes for Black, and rely on White to implode. Most of the people reading this article are not grand masters over , and so don't go thinking that White's going to play the perfect game.
How do you normalize the variable rating issue? About the date of the data, are they from recent games? Because I think may be the winning percentage of Ruy Lopez is bigger in the past than it is today. May be. Then there is one very important issue Being comfortable with the opening is what matters. If there are flaws in an opening, they will likely come up in your games at some point and you can switch to something better then.
For me, the French is good because I find I can develop my pieces fairly quickly to normal squares and reach a somewhat even game. That's all I'm looking for with the Black pieces.
French Defense Advance Variation (Ideas/Plans) - Chess Only
There will be opportunities to complicate things by varying a particular move or two later in the game. If you go by statistics, we should all play the Blackmar Diemer Gambit. I had played the Sicilian for quite some time - specifically the Dragon, but didn't know it well enough, and then, though I had much better success with the Najdorf, found that I was alwas a little behind in the theory.
So I switched to the French. There I played the Winawer against 3. Nc3; and vs the Tarrasch 3. Nd2 , the dear old Guimard line The latter was not so well known. I didn't go for the normal piece play, but transformed the thing into a kind of Owen's Defence not that I knew anything about Owen's Defence at the time with a view to action on the Q-side. That one turned into very much a positional game. Here's a more tactical one from odd years ago against a strong opponent whom I had never beaten before I might annotate this thing one day White: J.
Black: Me Wellington, 1. Nd2 Nc6!?
Ngf3 Nf6 5. Nb3 b6 - This is the way I liked to handle this line. More usual is a direct strike at the centre with Bd3 a5!? Qc2 a4? But it does have its tricky aspects Nbd2 f5 - Normally one expects But I took the policy that until the thing was refuted I would advance the two squares and invite the "en passant" capture. Nxf6 Bb5 Bd7 Bxa4 Bd3 c5 Ne5 Nc6 Ndf3 c4 Be2 Ne4!? Rather risky, but it turned out very well Nxc6 Bxc6 Looks good, but invites a disaster: b Qb2 Ba3 Qxa3 Rxa3 Bxa3 Rxf2! Ra2 cxb3 Nxc3 It's Mate in 2. One of my nicer Guimard wins Yusuf is correct,the French is a great leaning experience,but requires alot of "patience",which is one of the reasons some players avoid it.
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For black,another reason the french is avoided,of course,is many times the problem with his light squared Bishop,locked inside the pawn chain formation. Many times not always,but many times , this problem Bishop may cause problems,even in the endgame. Will I play it? Usually not,unless my opponent is about or more rating points below me. As Yusuf pointed out,his post is mainly for under master levels,but other players should pursue the French,if only to learn more about the pawn chain formations.
As to the Blackmar Diemar Gambit,it is certainly somewhat exciting in the beginning,but "statistics" or not,it is NOT particularily good atleast on the higher rated levels and other than a learning experience should be avoided,in my opinion,except for perhaps a blitz game. I consider the Albin Counter Gambit even better than the Blackmar. But again,this is all relative,depending uopn your chess strength abilities and insight into the various lines of play. In Eric Schiller's aging French Defense book for instance, he pretty much busts one of blacks fianchetto lines.
A hefty achievement, being vs what was considered a mainline system. I know a guy who thrives on keeping his QB and keeping it BAD, tho even as a French player myself, the sight of it can make my eyes roll involuntarily. I'm thinking maybe he enjoys watching opponents try to crack his Bad Bishop Position For me, it is preferable to play the Sicilian than the KI.
The main idea is to force my opponent to think from the very start and not just playing opening lines from memory. By playing 1. And if 1…e5, I may play 2. Without understanding the ideas behind the opening it may be difficult for my opponent to play the Sicilian with color reversed kingside is now on the left. Bad bishop issue should not be a problem as every openings have their problems that can be solved if you know the theory I have been struggling building a repertoire against the French. I have done a research in Exchange Variation where I try to find a way to force an opposite side castling so I can do some kind of Yugoslav Attack.
Currently, I play something like the KIA against the French, but it will easily transform into different kind of opening. This may lead to position similar to KIA position 2 1. Actually cannot remember ever getting even one vs my French in Postal Chess. I wonder why that might be. But I surely do not know. Not that I'd have minded playing against it at all. In one such I even got to sac two Rooks in otb vs WT o-o, for the mate. Or else WT can play c3 but initiate rolling pawns on the Q-side very early before BL even has o-o-o there and then BL can get into trouble if he does so.
And then going Have you tried either? And BL may benefit from the position when he is familiar with playing the Dragon or anti-Sicilian structures where BL very often fianchettos his K-bishop. Craig, that is exactly what I did and found promising in my research with the Exchange Variation. I did my research because I read that Kasparov once experimented with the Exchange Variation. And I stopped my research because I thought if there were really something there, people would have found it. Yes, that makes sense.
The resulting position will be the same with the first line I posted above KIA against the French : 1. Qe2 c5 4. Nf3 From the French 1. Nf3 e6 3. I lost my research documentation regarding to these lines employing Qe2 but I think the line employing Qe2 will be more popular in the near future. Or probably it is now already popular, I don't know LOL. Knowing your formations is important guidance in early planning, especially when you consider how you want to approach a particular opponent.
But you also need to know the governing principles behind the opening moves for those formations. That is where neglect usually occurs because it is not only tedious work to learn but also the ideas are somewhat obtuse at times. People think they will get more 'bang for the buck' by concentrating on their opening formations instead of principles. The truth is that you need both. Opponents don't often play the way you expect.
If you know the governing principles for a particular opening, rather than just memorizing lines, you can often find the most appropriate response even when you are unfamiliar with the particular position OTB. I don't think there is any one best opening. What is best for you may not be for me because we will play differently. This means that your black bishop should be on c5 attacking f2 and your knights are placed on the natural squares c6 and f6.
This is a good and solid setup for Black. If White plays the Scotch, then you still can play Bc5 later on in some variations. Make sure you get your pieces out fast to be able to castle on time. How are you doing? Are you making any progress learning chess? What Chess Openings do you play? Please share your knowledge for others to learn! Please write at least words to make for a real page Close Help.
Tactics in the Chess Opening 3: French Defence and other half-open games
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