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sf115 ♡ 19 ( +1 | -1 )
The French does anyone know anything about the French?
suggest any good books on the French?

Does anyone know anything about the line 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe5 (Rubenstine variation)?
ionadowman ♡ 126 ( +1 | -1 )
The only thing... ... I can say about the Rubinstein Variation (which can also arise after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4) is that many commentators reckon that by so playing Black "gives up the centre". I think it was Nimzovitch who gave the corrective to this: Black is doing nothing of the kind.
After 4.Nxd4, 4...Be7 and 4...Nf6 have been tried, but "the only move that matters" according to my MCO is 4...Nd7 which might be followed up by 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6ch Nxf6... From here White has easy development and a big choice of moves, and Black has to play very accurately to survive.
I played the French for several years but rarely departed from my favorite Guimard Variation if the enemy played the tarrasch: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6!? Sure, it's not pleasant to block your "break move" pawn, but there are other fish to fry. I recently posted a Guimard game in the brevity thread:
(White S.A. Black IAD 1986; 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.c3!? f5?! (...f6 is better, but I used to like to tease my opponents with this. No one ever failed to take e.p.) 7.exf6 e.p. Qxf6 (...Nxf6 is also good) 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.0-0 e5 10.dxe5 Ndxe5 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Re1? (Overfinessing. 12.Bc2 is indicated) 12...0-0 13.Bc2 Qxf2ch 14.Kh1 Bg4 0-1 Black is about to lose a piece at least!) Black got great piece play in that game, which is the idea behind Guimard's line.
ccmcacollister ♡ 13 ( +1 | -1 )
ion IM Alan Savage once used the Guimard in winning an APCT Rook Championship, which was the organizations championship tournament ...
ganstaman ♡ 190 ( +1 | -1 )
The great thing about the French is that it is so very thematic. Almost regardless of the line played, you will have the same basic attacking and defensive themes to work with. This can be a slight problem because minor changes in the position may force different move orders, but simply paying attention and a bit of memorization and I think you'll know when to do what.

These are 18 games with Nimzowich playing the French (he played it amazingly well, IMO, and in fact won all 18 games) from both sides of the board (1 game is fake, sadly) with annotations (so he did play other French games). I believe he understood the French better than nearly everyone, so those should be good.

I didn't get any books to learn the French, just searched online.
Good intro and stuff: ->
Forum on French: ->

There's a lot more, and practice really helps. I don't think I've ever loved an opening as much as this. However, there are 2 important things to know:

1) The exchange (1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5) is quite different from other French's. Hard to get a real advantage, but development is easy. Think of it as a Petroff where you don't waste a tempo bringing the knight back from e4...

2) The Rubenstein is also quite different, and I know nothing about it. I almost studied it a few times, but decided that the other French lines were just too enjoyable to not play.
ccmcacollister ♡ 300 ( +1 | -1 )
FRENCH DEFENSE hi again sf115 , Noticed your question about books just now. I'm a little slow on the uptake lately. ....
Anyway, Ill tell you what I have studied. mostly John Watson books on the French. The very first "Play the French" was such a masterpiece, with very few errors in it, tho there were 2 or 3 I know of. .... that I got his other French books too. Before that I was into the Gligorich book, which was bit outdated even then, but for that very reason, held some important old lines I didnt see elsewhere. Also you may find Watson and others referring to a book by MOLES. Well I don't have it, but sounds like a good source. Also have Shorts French book. They often played the Queen differenty in Europe, I think probably due to this book. Short likes Qc7 , whereas Watson is definately a Qb6, and ....f6 kinda guy!! Brash!? or Sharp activity seeking!? Each can decide based on style.
I also have a French book by Talbout .... and again the Americans are different, for instance Taulbot likes Nge7 in the Advance, but Watson still likes it with ....f6 early instead.
I stopped buying French books after that , but feel I used them all for my Master & Expert play, and class opponents at times. But i usually reserved the French for someone I did not think might settle for a drawish line. There are a couple :)
For GM's, as mentioned there is Short. But I've also learned some things from Ivanchuck (Mostly not to play Ivanchuk lines as Black!!? But now that he's trying to top up the FIDE list ... I'll have to check him out again. Actually I feel like he is just a daring player regarding new ideas at times. So he's taken a loss here and there to try out some new things, and I've learned a lot from some of his games.)
And Especially GM Nogieras, a French stalwart.
Here on GK ... you might check out the d-base as some very good players use it a lot.
PS// Oh yes, I also have the Schiller book on the Winawer, which I thought quite nice, with some very important analysis on lines with 4....Qd7 and/or ...b6. I will say that I wouldnt like to play the bl side vs his analylsis there! Tho I disagreed with him on the "best" line vs the Mainline PP w e5 and Qg4 by WT. He liked Qxc3 back at the time. I prefer Nxc3 there as more versatile and possibly transpositional .... is all after the Qd3 retreat. (Which can be interesting to delay a bit, btw )
If you've been looking at it, you will know what I mean.
You could see my game with mate_in_two , to see a mainline sequence of the PP with Ne7 then Qc7 by BL, sac'g his kingside pawns in the typical way. The game is a bust as bl will drop a piece early, in a way that hurts (vs the lines that it didnt hurt in :) but I'm thinking a the WT side should be interesting if MateIn plays it . This is one var where you Dont follow Ivanchuk tho, unless he has improved something since that time :)
ccmcacollister ♡ 311 ( +1 | -1 )
FRENCH DeFENSE 101 ... Since you DID say "ANYTHING" about the French Defense, perhaps we could start at the beginning and write our own French book here, now? So addressing this to everyone who might be just starting it out... and If some people continue it, I'll give it a start:

1.e4 e6 French Defense

2.d3 2.Nc3 2.f4 are ways it may become a "closed French or KI Attack" type position. 2.e5 may be playable, but its not on my own play list since the pawn and battle for d4 remain and become even more thematic targets, and announces it on move 2.

2.d4 d5 NOW some variations:

3.e5 the Advance Variation ... some have called the Nimzovich Var I beleive.

3.exd5 Exchange Var.

3.Nd2 the Tarrasch Var. with two mainline replies: ...c5 or ...Nf6, the latter typically more fun for everyone involved, one way or the other.

3.Nc3 Nf6 Classical Var. now e5 or Bg5 are most common. The MacCutcheon Var could follow that if Bg5 is followed by Bb4!?

3.Nc3 Bb4 the Winawer Var. ...which can be a fun one indeed. IMO, here the strongest for WT is e5. But Nge2 may be a reasonble attempt. 4.Bd2 is my game with Schiller as WT 0-1 [GAME BELOW] (which is pretty much what Watson predicts for that line, tho Eric and both want to get into the same interesting new line and try it out, we found as it played out. But the new attempts did not really swing it WT's way from the Watson assessment, imo.)
I think that e5 before 5.Bd2 is better for WT than

4.Bd2 and ended up drawn in my game with Randy Bauer as WT {... who won the Iowa State Champ of Postal Chess that year I beleive, from that event.} who did have to offer a d4 pawn sac later, ala Nimzovich however, on his way to it ... and is quite a good tactical player, as well as "double master" {OTB and Postal}. Perhaps some have seen his Chess writings online? He also edited the Iowa Newsletter "En Passant" for a time.

Also tried is 4.Qg4 immediately. Which Watson also favors for BL. And the Gligorich book calls the "weakest reply". Certainly BL gets good enough play and the burden seems to be on WT to improve it. Despite having had two draws or win and draw in Expert/Master level games of play, as BL. I forget at the moment.

PS// How could I forget?! Mentioning "En Passant", I would like to add that besides the books of Watson, THAT state magazine was undoubtably the second most influential learning tool for the French that I used. Under the longtime Editorship of DoubleMaster Mitch Weiss, who explored the French defense quite meaningfully during his tenure there. Consequently, imo anyone would find his writings there invaluable, if you can find them.
[For instance the annotation of the French game Weiss vs CCM Max Zavanelli ... wherein both players were probably strong enough to set their cap to make IM ranks. And even some errors of Watson pointed out in that mag. I miss his writings very much, especially on the French.] }8-(
E.Schiller-C.A.Collister {This & our others can be found online at -> }
1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Bb4
4. Bd2 dxe4
5. Qg4 Qxd4
Allowing this BL capture is a mainline var. His follow-up is Exactly a line I had wondered about how it would play out ... and had prepared for it with 12. ...Ke7 ,
which as far as I know ... was a new move then too.
6. O-O-O Nf6
7. Qxg7 Rg8
8. Qh6 Rg6
9. Qh4 Rg4
10. Qh3 Qxf2
11. Be3 Qf5
12. Bb5+ Ke7
13. Rf1 Qg6
14. Nge2 a6
15. Nf4 Rxf4
16. Bxf4 axb5
17. Nxb5 Rxa2
18. Kb1 Ra5
19. Nxc7 Nc6
20. Bg3 Nd4
21. Bh4 Rf5
22. Qe3 Qxg2
23. Rc1 Nf3
24. Bxf6+ Rxf6
25. Rhd1 Nd2+
26. Ka2 Rf5
27. b3 Ra5+
28. Kb2 Ba3+
29. Kc3 Rc5+
ionadowman ♡ 78 ( +1 | -1 )
Nice one, Craig! ... Quite a freewheeling game. In an earlier thread you mention this line of the Tarrasch: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 as being "more fun for everyone involved". I played it once (only once) and came under a tremendous attack:
White: L. McL. Black: I.A.D. Feb 1980
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5
6.c3 Nc6 7.Ngf3 f6 8.Ng5!? fxg5 9.Qh5ch Ke7 10.Nf3 h6 ...
11.Nxg5 Ndxe5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Bb5 Bd7 14.Bxd7 Qxd7 15.0-0 g6
16.Qh4 Bg7 17.Ne4ch g5 18.Bxg5ch hxg5 19.Qxg5ch Kf8 20.Nxc5 Qd6 ...
21.Nb3 Nf3ch 0-1
Rather an abrupt finish, and I'm not sure at what point White's attack began to peter out... At any rate, it was quite fun for both of us ... one way or another! ;-)
sf115 ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Is "play the French" by Watson a good book?

Do you know anything about "starting out: the French"?

thanks for the help everyone! I will research Nimzowitch