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Davidflude
01-12-2005, 06:16 PM
What does everyone think are the best lines to play against the French Defence.

Carl Gorka
01-12-2005, 08:52 PM
3.Nc3 but it's a lot of work. Do you want to discuss lines? :)

brett
01-12-2005, 09:17 PM
Not sure if there is such a thing as a 'best line'

Things you need to consider when choosing a line are

1) Your playing style

2) What positions you feel confortable playing

3) Typical plans in the position

PHAT
01-12-2005, 09:37 PM
What does everyone think are the best lines to play against the French Defence.

The Belgian border.

Gringo
01-12-2005, 11:22 PM
The Hercule Poirot Gambit......

PHAT
01-12-2005, 11:34 PM
The Hercule Poirot Gambit......

It involves giving up your Jews, but reaping a won endgame.

Kevin Bonham
02-12-2005, 12:12 AM
2. Resigns. See sig.

I don't know how typical my experience as a habitual 1...e6 player is but my least good results have come against unusual lines - second or third move deviations from the normal 2.d4 followed by 3.Nc3, 3.e5, 3.exd5 or 3.Nd2, or else Winawers where White doesn't play 4.e5. I average 69% in these kinds of unusual lines with Black but over 85% in the main lines. My suspicion is therefore that the best practical way to deal with a known French player is to book up on a different slightly offbeat line every time.

I've personally played 3.Nd2 against the French most of the time with mostly draws. I'm thinking of taking up the two knights line 2.Nc3 with 3.Nf3.

I've never cared who knows my opening preparations, except if it's someone I'm due to play within an hour!

Garvinator
02-12-2005, 12:17 AM
2. Resigns. See sig.

I don't know how typical my experience as a habitual 1...e6 player is but my least good results have come against unusual lines - second or third move deviations from the normal 2.d4 followed by 3.Nc3, 3.e5, 3.exd5 or 3.Nd2, or else Winawers where White doesn't play 4.e5. I average 69% in these kinds of unusual lines with Black but over 85% in the main lines. My suspicion is therefore that the best practical way to deal with a known French player is to book up on a different slightly offbeat line every time.

I've personally played 3.Nd2 against the French most of the time with mostly draws. I'm thinking of taking up the two knights line 2.Nc3 with 3.Nf3.

I've never cared who knows my opening preparations, except if it's someone I'm due to play within an hour!

what is your record in all these lines against players of similiar ratings to yourself?

Kevin Bonham
02-12-2005, 01:28 AM
what is your record in all these lines against players of similiar ratings to yourself?

Good question, I've never checked it before, and it's tricky because my records of games generally don't include either my rating at the time or the opponent's. I'll define that as players I reckon were within 150 points of my rating either way at the time the game was played (or within 150 points of my playing strength during a period in the mid-90s when the Tassie ratings weren't processed for a few years.)

Comes out to something like the following (scores are for me as Black):

3. e5: +8=6-0
3.Nc3 with 4.e5: +8=5-2
3.Nd2: +5=3-0
3.exd5: +3=5-0

total for main lines +24=19-2 (74%)

3.Nc3 without 4.e5: +2=0-1
2. or 3. other: +5=0-3

total for less usual lines +8=0-4 (67%)

Trent Parker
02-12-2005, 01:31 AM
Me likes Alapin gambit :D

might one day give the Diemer Duhm gambit a run in socal games :D

ElevatorEscapee
03-12-2005, 04:59 PM
I quite like the gambit that goes: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 ...

Keres used to play it, and I have played it in correspondence chess, however black seems to be able to fend off the attack with accurate play.

Of course in practical, over the board, situations, accurate play isn't necessarily what the defender can muster, and the unsound aggressor may reign victorious.

It depends upon what you are after Fludey, the best "technically correct" line, which with best play from both sides leads to a slight positional advantage (if there is such a thing)...

Or exciting, relatively unexplored lines which are fun to play and leave open both players' chances for creativity. :)

Axiom
04-12-2005, 01:08 AM
kia ala fischer, or this oddity e4 e6
d3 d5
f3!? with g3,bg2,and and fleixible systems with c3 or nc3/nd2, nh3->nf2 or ne2.........great fun and highly suspect,but it drags the routine french players into unknown dark alleyways

Altecman
04-12-2005, 09:36 AM
I find the French tough to play against, but the advance viriation is quite fun, or the exchance viriation i dont like the classical systems because the go into a middle game that i dont know :hand:

Davidflude
04-12-2005, 10:09 AM
I have been looking at all manner of lines against the French.

1) The Tait variation is giving black a hard time in the Winawer especially in correspondence. (My team captain in the Champion's League played a game analysed in Chess Mail where black got crunched with no play.)

2) The Advance is not looking so good. The Milner-Barry gambit has been analysed 30 moves deep and black appears equal or better in most lines. (I am not revealing my secret analysis which improves on lines in "Four Gambit's against the French" by Harding for black.

Also I only won by a monster swindle against a French expert (I think that he is a correspondence IM).

who played

1.e4 e6
2.d4 d5
3. e5 c5
4. c3 Nc6
5. Nf3 Qb6
5. a3 a5 and produced new ideas in the line that followed.

Incidently French players should play 4. Qb6 Nf3 5. Nc6 which avoids the line where white plays Be3 and Qd2. I cannot see how white can exploit this move order trick.

The Winckelmann-Reimer gambit against the Winawer is close to a forced win
if black accepts the gambit but very yukky is black declines.

On the other hand the Alapin-Diemer with f3 (1. e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3 dxe 4.f3) is great if black declines the gambit but suspect if black accepts the gambit.

White has demonstrated nothing very convincing against the solid Rubenstein variation 1. e4 e6 2.d5 d5 3. Nc3 (Or Nd2) dxe 4.Nxe4. I have had a long look at these lines in Steffen Pedersen's book "The main line French: Nc3"

The French Wing gambit gives white lasting pressure for the pawn and may be a good bet. However lots of analysus on this gambit is currently appearing
so its evaluation could change.

Oh well I suppose that I shall just have to keep investigating. Some writers suggest th King's Indian attack but with care black reaches an even game.

Axiom
04-12-2005, 01:28 PM
david , ever found anything on this line e4 e6 d5 d3 c5(any) f3?!, as above. nigel short said to me it was a "sack of manure" !, but i cant see obvious refutation, any ideas? i could play you in that line david, if you want

Aaron Bellette
29-12-2005, 06:01 PM
I like the Exchange 4. c4 system developed by GM Maurice Ashley and IM Josh Waitzkin. Having said that, I hardly ever see the French of late because I've mainly played 1. c4, 1. f4, and 1. Nf3 openings of late, especially in my correspondence games.

Aaron.

sleepless
14-03-2006, 09:29 PM
Here's an anti-French line that shocked me when I saw it on the ChessPub site. (given here minus annotations)
White: Walter,Alain
Black: Duffau,P (2038)
Event: Creon FRA: 10th Open (3)
Date: 2005-08-02
(C00 Lengfellner System)

1 e4 e6
2 Bb5 a6
3 Ba4 b5
4 Bb3 Bb7
5 d3 c5
6 c3 Nc6
7 Nf3 Be7
8 0-0 d6
9 Re1 Nf6
10 Bc2 Qc7
11 Nbd2 0-0
12 Nf1 Rfe8
13 Ng3 Rad8
14 Bf4 e5
15 Bg5 d5
16 Bxf6 Bxf6
17 exd5 Rxd5
18 Ne4 Be7
19 Re3 c4
20 Nfg5 Bxg5
21 Nxg5 f6
22 Nxh7 e4
23 Qg4 Kxh7
24 dxe4 Rd2
25 Qh5+ 1-0

Kevin Bonham
15-03-2006, 11:25 AM
Why does Black play 2...a6 in that game? I have never faced 2.Bb5 in a rated game but in casual games I've always responded with 2...c6 when 3.Ba4 can be met with an immediate ...d5.

Igor_Goldenberg
15-03-2006, 01:48 PM
I used to play French a lot about twenty years ago, and played against French few times until gave up 1.e4 completely.

My personal experience with black - was happy to play against 3.e5 and 3.Nc3, really disliked 3.Nd2 as 3...c5 leads to a dry position. Later switched to 3...Nf6 or 3...de4. Btw, Rubinstein is quite good as white can easily overstep the boundaries pushing for a draw, but otherwise does not give winning chances. However, 3.Nd2 was one of the main reason I gave up French.

For 3.Nc3 Bb4 see Botvinnik's games (especially annotated!) to get a good understanding of the line.

My experience with white is limited, but I usually played 3.e5 followed later by a3 (as 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.a3).

Black can either respond with 6...a5, but IMHO inclusion of a3 a5 favours white, or continue 6...c4. In that case white has trouble with untangling queen side and weakness on d3, but solving those problem usually leads to a very good position. I even remember a game where I even managed to pull b4 when black could not enpassant, solving all problems and getting very pleasant position.

Anyway, it was a very long time ago, so treat this advice with caution and make sure it satisfies your style and taste.

Basil
02-10-2006, 12:53 AM
david , ever found anything on this line e4 e6 d5 d3 c5(any) f3?!, as above.
This from back in 2005. I'd be forgiven for thinking you were obsessed! :)

Curiously I see Kevin has now changed his sig to accommodate you!

All that aside, I'd be indebted many HCDs for info on how to bugger up a Frenchie. Apologies Kevin, but the French really irks me - which I assume is music to the ears.

I'm a Nd2 guy, which I am equally happy to note irked Igor! :)

Kevin Bonham
02-10-2006, 02:09 AM
Apologies Kevin, but the French really irks me - which I assume is music to the ears.

It's such fun to play a line against someone who you know can't stand it.

Desmond
02-10-2006, 08:37 AM
I find most players rated several hundred points lower than me like to play the Exchange French. They are usually to casual about it though, and not aware of the barbs in the position.

I think for a player as white to find a good system with minimum effort might like to research the e4-Nc3-Nf3 system.

Kevin Bonham
02-10-2006, 01:59 PM
I find most players rated several hundred points lower than me like to play the Exchange French. They are usually to casual about it though, and not aware of the barbs in the position.

Yes. Club players imagine that because it has a drawish reputation at GM level that it is suitable for playing for a draw against a stronger player at club level. However in fact that reasoning is fatally flawed. I like what Watson says about the whole concept:


The exchange of pawns has actually deterred some players from playing the French Defence. With only one open file, they reason, both sides will mindlessly exchange their heavy pieces, and a drawish position will ensue. But there is a huge hole in this reasoning: in most cases, neither sides rooks belong on the e-file. Why? Because there will be no points of penetration available for them along the file, e.g. squares like e2, e3 and e4 for White and e7, e6 and e5 for Black will customarily be covered 2 or 3 times by that sides's pawns, knights and bishops. Moreover only one such defender is really necessary. So if, for example, White doubles or triples along the e-file while Black is blithely mounting a kingside pawn storm (backed by his rooks and queen) the second player has every chance of winning. Furthermore, Black can always make the struggle unbalanced should he choose. This has been pointed out and demonstrated by great players for at least 70 years.

[..]Although the Exchange Variation appeals to players who are trying to draw against stronger players, allowing equality on the third move as White may not be the way to go about that. Be aware that it's a strategy that has failed miserably throughout the years.

(my emphasis)


I think for a player as white to find a good system with minimum effort might like to research the e4-Nc3-Nf3 system.

That system is a bit annoying for a French player when they are not used to it and I have had a few losses against it through blunders or inaccurate piece placement. However once you have a bit more experience against it it starts to look fairly toothless and hackneyed. We have had a lot of games in this system on the top boards of Tassie tournaments lately and White is not getting a lot of satisfaction in the main line if after 11.Ne5 Black plays Watson's (2nd edn) move ...Qe8.

Desmond
02-10-2006, 02:11 PM
That system is a bit annoying for a French player when they are not used to it and I have had a few losses against it through blunders or inaccurate piece placement. However once you have a bit more experience against it it starts to look fairly toothless and hackneyed. We have had a lot of games in this system on the top boards of Tassie tournaments lately and White is not getting a lot of satisfaction in the main line if after 11.Ne5 Black plays Watson's (2nd edn) move ...Qe8.Yes, I have been smashed up by Smerdon and Zhou with me playing black. That was the first time I had faced the opening, and it is obviously very hard against that calibre player to make it up as you go along. However, I will be interested to see if either try it against me a second time. I think I would do better now :D

qpawn
02-10-2006, 02:20 PM
In the book "an attacking repertiore for White" Sam Collins recommends "attacking" lines after 1.e4 against all black defences. For the French Collins recommends the advance line followed by h4 at the right time. Collins calls theis the "modern" approach against the French.

Desmond
02-10-2006, 04:35 PM
In the book "an attacking repertiore for White" Sam Collins recommends "attacking" lines after 1.e4 against all black defences. For the French Collins recommends the advance line followed by h4 at the right time. Collins calls theis the "modern" approach against the French.
Does he recommend that white castle in connection with this, or Rh3 ideas, or does he just recommend jettisoning the h-pawn and hoping for the best?

Garrett
02-10-2006, 04:50 PM
As someone who played the French for years there are two lines I like least :-

1/ Like Igor, the Tarrasch (3.Nd2).
2/ The exchange system with c4.

Cheers
George.

Axiom
02-10-2006, 10:06 PM
This from back in 2005. I'd be forgiven for thinking you were obsessed! :)

Curiously I see Kevin has now changed his sig to accommodate you!

All that aside, I'd be indebted many HCDs for info on how to bugger up a Frenchie. Apologies Kevin, but the French really irks me - which I assume is music to the ears.

I'm a Nd2 guy, which I am equally happy to note irked Igor! :)
HD-you appear to be very adept at digging up the relevant post!...surprised you havent discovered the wealth of information on the possum in the 'dawn of the possum' thread! :)

and for the history of this revolutionary opening see also axiom v vasia,axiom v kb, and siberian tiger threads........see also my possum games in chesschat tourn 3

Basil
03-10-2006, 10:03 PM
Comments please.

The following is not a game I have any record of per se, but I have reached similar positions with white. I should imagine much depends on style and taste, but would appreciate objectivity.

Thanks

1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Qg4 cxd4 7. a3 Nc6 8. b4 *

Alan Shore
03-10-2006, 10:19 PM
I like the Exchange 4. c4 system developed by GM Maurice Ashley and IM Josh Waitzkin. Having said that, I hardly ever see the French of late because I've mainly played 1. c4, 1. f4, and 1. Nf3 openings of late, especially in my correspondence games.

Aaron.

I like this line - you can get into some interesting IQP positional struggles with it too.

Kevin Bonham
03-10-2006, 10:30 PM
Comments please.

The following is not a game I have any record of per se, but I have reached similar positions with white. I should imagine much depends on style and taste, but would appreciate objectivity.

Thanks

1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Qg4 cxd4 7. a3 Nc6 8. b4 *

I have never seen 6.Qg4 here and it doesn't look good since in those French positions where an early Qg4 has any effectiveness it is typically so because of a threat to the g-pawn.

If 8...a5 White will struggle to ever recover the pawn. I would say he has a small amount of play for it but nowhere near enough.

By the way, the Guimard variation against the Tarrasch (3...Nc6) appears to be a tad trendy at the moment. After not facing it for 19 years I had it played against me by two different players in consecutive games! The first one is on the HICC thread in Tournament News and Results. The second one was as good as won for me on move 10. Does anyone here play the Guimard with success?

Basil
03-10-2006, 11:19 PM
I have never seen 6.Qg4 here and it doesn't look good since in those French positions where an early Qg4 has any effectiveness it is typically so because of a threat to the g-pawn.
OK, thanks. The idea is the threat to the g pawn in advance forcing g6 or some other contrived defence.


If 8...a5 White will struggle to ever recover the pawn. I would say he has a small amount of play for it but nowhere near enough.Dare I suggest white doesn't want the pawn back - at least not for a long time. His bishop settles on d3 and black own pawns choke his development.

Having said that - there's obviously a reason for 500 rating points between us and I look forward to perhaps some other comments.

MichaelBaron
04-10-2006, 12:17 AM
6.Qg4?! looks very unnatural:hmm:

Basil
06-10-2006, 06:13 PM
Thanks Kevin and Michael. I plugged a similar position into a box and played white casually and came up with this. I now have two questions:

1. Are your assessments and others still similar to before (the position is slightly different - the queen's been chased a bit)
2. Does Fritz or any respected machine play 11... Bxb4?

If so, does your game (Fritz etc.) end with a win to white / draw scenarios?

1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Qg4 cxd4 7. a3 h5 8. Qg3
Nc6 9. b4 h4 10. Qh3 Qc7 11. Bb2 Bxb4

Kevin Bonham
06-10-2006, 07:03 PM
Thanks Kevin and Michael. I plugged a similar position into a box and played white casually and came up with this. I now have two questions:

1. Are your assessments and others still similar to before (the position is slightly different - the queen's been chased a bit)

Kinda irrelevant because Black was under no compulsion to play ...h5 but I'd say white still has relatively little compensation, because ...


2. Does Fritz or any respected machine play 11... Bxb4?

Mine doesn't, mine plays 11...g5!? which is complex but Black appears to be better.


If so, does your game (Fritz etc.) end with a win to white / draw scenarios?

After following lines for several moves as is my custom it seems that 11...Bxb4?! leaves White slightly better. A piece for three pawns is a dodgy deal in that sort of middlegame.

Desmond
09-10-2006, 09:32 PM
What can happen to the unwary adventurer in the Exchange French. Note the fatal weakness on white's light squares, and the black king's dancing along them:


[White "Mai k"]
[Black "AlmightyBoris"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bg4 5.Bd3 c6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Re1+ Ne7 8. Bg5 f6 9. Bc1 O-O 10. h3 Bf5 11. c3 Bxd3 12. Qxd3 Na6 13.Nbd2 Qd7 14. Nb3 Rae8 15. Bd2 Nc7 16. Na5 b6 17. Nb3 a5 18. a4 Ng6 19. Rxe8 Rxe8 20. Re1 Rxe1+ 21. Nxe1 Qe6 22. Qe3 Kf7 23. Qxe6+ Kxe6 24. Nf3 Kf5 25. Be3 Ke4 26. Nbd2+ Kd3 27. Ne1+ Ke2 28. Nef3 f5 29. Nb3 f4 30. Nc1+ Kd1 31. Bd2 Kc2 32. b3 Ba3 33. Ne2 Kxb3 34. Nxf4 Kxa4 35. Nxg6 hxg6 36. Bf4 Ne6 37. Be5 Bb2 38. h4 Bxc3 39. Kf1 Kb3 40. Ke2 a4 41. Kd3 a3 42. Nd2+ Bxd2 43. Kxd2 a2 44. Ke3 a1=Q 45. Kf3 Nxd4+ 46. Bxd4 Qxd4 47. Kg3 c5 48. f3 c4 49. Kh2 c3 50. Kh3 c2 51. Kg3 c1=Q 52. Kh3 Qdf4 53. h5 Qh1# 0-1

Kevin Bonham
09-10-2006, 09:38 PM
Hahaha. That's magnificent. I can picture white sitting there thinking "hmmm, nearly all the pieces are off, I should be able to draw this easy". That's a Steel King game, one of Tim Krabbe's favourite themes. (A steel king is when you get your king to the opposite end of the board; it's especially significant if you win.)

Capablanca-Fan
29-08-2020, 12:37 PM
Yes. Club players imagine that because it has a drawish reputation at GM level that it is suitable for playing for a draw against a stronger player at club level. However in fact that reasoning is fatally flawed. I like what Watson says about the whole concept:


The exchange of pawns has actually deterred some players from playing the French Defence. With only one open file, they reason, both sides will mindlessly exchange their heavy pieces, and a drawish position will ensue. But there is a huge hole in this reasoning: in most cases, neither sides rooks belong on the e-file. Why? Because there will be no points of penetration available for them along the file, e.g. squares like e2, e3 and e4 for White and e7, e6 and e5 for Black will customarily be covered 2 or 3 times by that sides's pawns, knights and bishops. Moreover only one such defender is really necessary. So if, for example, White doubles or triples along the e-file while Black is blithely mounting a kingside pawn storm (backed by his rooks and queen) the second player has every chance of winning. Furthermore, Black can always make the struggle unbalanced should he choose. This has been pointed out and demonstrated by great players for at least 70 years.
And sometimes, if White weakens entry squares on the e-file, Black can pile up on it with decisive pressure, e.g. William Winter vs Alexander Alekhine, Nottingham 1936 (https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008320).

Max Illingworth
30-08-2020, 03:48 PM
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 is the most critical line from White, for sure. I had very good results with 3.Nd2 in the past as well, while lately the Advance with 3.e5 has grown on me as a way to set Black problems.

MichaelBaron
31-08-2020, 02:09 PM
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 is the most critical line from White, for sure. I had very good results with 3.Nd2 in the past as well, while lately the Advance with 3.e5 has grown on me as a way to set Black problems.

I struggled against 3.e5 most simply because it is probably most effective against players of my style who do not study/forgot all opening theory as it leads very concrete kind of play.