Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Nick Ivell
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Nick Ivell » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:46 pm

I would expect people who play the Winawer to be well booked up. Especially if they're planning to allow those Qg4 x g7 lines. Those lines are scary!

Matt Fletcher
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Matt Fletcher » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:04 pm

Nick Ivell wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:44 pm
An idea that's well worth considering against the Winawer is 4. exd5. A kind of delayed Exchange.

I've never played it. Why, as I was recommending the Exchange upthread?

Because, in playing 3.Nc3, I need to be prepared for ...Nf6 and indeed dxe4, as well as the Winawer.

And that's too much work.
I’ve taken to playing Pentala Harikrishna’s “French Toast” repertoire (it’s a Chessable course rather than a book) which goes with 4.exd5. I did a short video of the main lines here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xgPa6CH3jXg

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:49 pm

Alan Walton wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:34 pm
And also 5.... Qb6
6 Qd2 is normal against that, as I played against you in 2009 ;)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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MJMcCready
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by MJMcCready » Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:11 am

Nick Ivell wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:46 pm
I would expect people who play the Winawer to be well booked up. Especially if they're planning to allow those Qg4 x g7 lines. Those lines are scary!
Yes nice point. From experience over the years, I thought those who the Winawer are likely to be booked up on the sharp scary stuff but not much beyond that. I think that's the general trend isn't it? Learn the lines most dangerous to you then work your way down to more positional side-lines? Especially when you are choosing something sharp yourself.

Simon Rogers
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Simon Rogers » Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:56 am

There is a DVD which came out a number of years ago called :
E4 for the Creative Attacker by GM Nigel Davies
It recommends playing 2.f4 against the French Defence.
GM Nigel Davies brought out another DVD about the same time called: D6 Universal.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:18 am

Nick Ivell wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:46 pm
I would expect people who play the Winawer to be well booked up. Especially if they're planning to allow those Qg4 x g7 lines. Those lines are scary!
It varies, I think, and down at club level its often less than you'd think.

I've definitely felt pretty well obliged to at least have looked at/studied something half workable after 7 Qg4 o-o. Just markedly irresponsible not to, even if I've never had the deep theory appear OTB and probably wouldn't remember the details if I ever did.

What I've actually got as white though has nearly always been people going for the various less critical move 6/7 sidelines that black has available. There's loads of those and they're all playable and often quite a bit less sharp too, so you can see why they'd do it.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:00 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:18 am
I've definitely felt pretty well obliged to at least have looked at/studied something half workable after 7 Qg4 o-o.

Castling in that position just looks a suicide attempt, but I'm aware that engines have tried to make it work. There's something similar that's developed in the Bg5 Najdorf, where it's now considered potentially viable to "castle into the attack".

The problem with playing sharp lines of the Winawer from the White side is that the resulting positions are difficult to play and thus favour the player with the greater specialist depth of knowledge. This was being demonstrated by Botvinnik in the 1940s.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:07 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:00 pm
MartinCarpenter wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:18 am
I've definitely felt pretty well obliged to at least have looked at/studied something half workable after 7 Qg4 o-o.
Castling in that position just looks a suicide attempt, but I'm aware that engines have tried to make it work. There's something similar that's developed in the Bg5 Najdorf, where it's now considered potentially viable to "castle into the attack".

The problem with playing sharp lines of the Winawer from the White side is that the resulting positions are difficult to play and thus favour the player with the greater specialist depth of knowledge. This was being demonstrated by Botvinnik in the 1940s.
7..o-o was a main line well before computers! If anything they've made it look more marginal than before.

That o-o line in the Bg5 Najdorf is splendidly thematic :)

Simon Rogers
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Simon Rogers » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:56 pm

Simon Rogers wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:56 am
There is a DVD which came out a number of years ago called :
E4 for the Creative Attacker by GM Nigel Davies
It recommends playing 2.f4 against the French Defence.
GM Nigel Davies brought out another DVD about the same time called: D6 Universal.
Are there any books about the 2.f4 reply to the French Defence?

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JustinHorton
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:14 pm

Presumably it doesn't merit a whole book
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Simon Rogers
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Simon Rogers » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:34 pm

I think it's known as the Labourdonnias Variation. I know that Hikaru Nakamura plays it.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:42 am

I think playing 2 f4 against the French is for those people who want to create a non-standard position as soon as possible, whether it is good or bad. If you are try-hard like me, you either need to spend a lot of time analysing 2 f4 independently or learn something more mainline. Nakamura deliberately pays rubbish to entertain his viewers online. But he plays mainlines OTB. He plays all of them in the French, he is a serious theoretician.

Back at the beginning of the thread the idea was to switch from the Tarrasch to the Advance. I suppose like Nakamura we should aim to know both. But I am a bit curious. Isn't 3...Nf6 the most common response to 3. Nd2 at club level? If you are not doing well in those structures in the Tarrasch, switching to the Advance probably isn't going to fix things.

Simon Rogers
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Simon Rogers » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:00 am

There is a game of Nakamura's in the US Championship in 2012. He beat Yasser Seirawan in St Louis with the Labourdonnais Variation/ Mc Donnell Attack.
I think he also beat Duda in the World Blitz Championship in 2019 with it.
I've just started to look at the opening over the summer.
I've not played it yet in any OTB chess.
I tend to play the KIA against the French. I have also played the exchange variation in the past which I am revisiting.

Mick Norris
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:04 am

Simon Rogers wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:56 am
There is a DVD which came out a number of years ago called :
E4 for the Creative Attacker by GM Nigel Davies
It recommends playing 2.f4 against the French Defence.
GM Nigel Davies brought out another DVD about the same time called: D6 Universal.
Nigel recommends choosing the French
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:22 am

I stand corrected on Nakamura playing 2 f4. I meant classical OTB, but even then I missed the Seirawan game. I'd argue it is an exception that proves the rule, since a specific reason to play something offbeat against a particular opponent despite having objectively better lines available. I wasn't saying 2 f4 is bad or criticising Davies for recommending it. Magnus has played it in blitz too. But I am saying offbeat lines are offbeat for a reason.

Nigel Davies has recommended a lot of offbeat lines in Chessbase DVDs. I think he is a good presenter who knows his audience. But I do recall him writing when he was stuck at IM, a major part of what got him over the line to GM was learning mainline Ruy Lopez theory.

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