Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

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

Post by Simon Rogers » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:33 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:22 am
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.
I agree. One of my weaknesses in the Opening, is that sometimes I play something offbeat then adopt it as one of my main openings.
For example, a number of years ago, I adopted the Owen's Defence, had a couple of early major successes then adopted it as one on my main openings. I then suffered a lot of reverses as I ended up in bad French positions.
The 2.f4 Labourdonnais Variation/McDonnell attack for my level has a lot of merit against people the same standard or slightly higher.
There is a number of other games in OTB classical with wins by white including :
Nakamura- Seirawan 2016
Weiss - Maroczy Budapest 1895.
Yasser Seirawan also played it himself and beat a Soviet GM back in 1988.

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

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:01 pm

Never had difficulties with it and never been able to work out why anyone would ever play it. I once had 1. e4 e6 2. b3 played against me by the current county champion, whose rating was usually just above 200. He attempted to castle queenside and got it all wrong. It resulted in one of the fastest checkmates I've ever had for the simple reason he realized he'd played a load of rubbish and lost all interest.

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

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:22 pm

Actually, b3 seems to have some merits to me. If you are not enjoying playing the normal closed French centre the line below with 0-0-0 and g4 is at least something entirely different.

Still a sideline of course, the only way you can hope for an advantage is if you know more than you opponent, whereas with a main line you only need to know as much as them.

I generally start 1. d4 when 1...e6 is a already something to think about. I am sure 2 e4 is the best move, and I have always done ok with the Tarrasch. But as Petrosian said, if you think your opponent wants to play the Dutch, don't discourage them!


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

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:15 pm

2 b3 against the French falls into the "semi respectable" category I would say, and has claimed a few notable scalps in the past.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

John McKenna
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by John McKenna » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:39 pm

And one for the pot (an ebook from Everyman) -

"FIDE Master Alexis Harakis provides a complete overview of the underrated and underplayed 3...h6 in the French against both 3.Nd2 and 3.Nc3. This is a pet topic of his and a line he has been flirting with for more than 15 years now. He is also a French expert of more than 30 years."

After that one from the starter menu here's a taster of a vintage main -

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 Bb5 7.c4 Bc4 8.Bc4 Qb4 9.Nbd2 dc 10.a3 Qb5 11.Qe2 cd 12.Nd4 Qd5 13.N...



Which N move would you choose?
Last edited by John McKenna on Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Nick Ivell
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Nick Ivell » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:55 pm

This happened in my classic game against Beliavsky. Lloyds Bank, 1985.

I played N2f3, but I'm by no means sure it's correct.

John McKenna
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by John McKenna » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:28 pm

An unforgettable draw then, Nick, but it seems that GM Pedrag Nikolic gave 13.N4f3 an exclamation mark annotating in the mid-1990s.

I used to play the French until the early 2000s and then for some reason (following Dreev's example perhaps) switched to the Caro-Kann.
Last edited by John McKenna on Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Nick Ivell
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Re: Some Q's concerning the French Defence.

Post by Nick Ivell » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:46 pm

I wanted the position to be a genuine pawn sac. I'm sure Pedrag has the right idea. The one time I played him, incidentally, I also played a pawn sac, on the Black side of a Tarrasch. To my great good fortune, that game has never made its way onto the databases...

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

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:44 pm

Nick Ivell wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:55 pm
This happened in my classic game against Beliavsky. Lloyds Bank, 1985.

I played N2f3, but I'm by no means sure it's correct.
That is world #5 on the January 1985 rating list younger readers.

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

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:04 am

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:15 pm
2 b3 against the French falls into the "semi respectable" category I would say, and has claimed a few notable scalps in the past.
When is be ever anything than semi-respectable at best. Seeing an early b3 shifted into the Sicilian with Anand and Carlsen a few years back didn't exactly put anyone on the edge of their seat.

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

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:08 am

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:22 pm
Actually, b3 seems to have some merits to me. If you are not enjoying playing the normal closed French centre the line below with 0-0-0 and g4 is at least something entirely different.

Still a sideline of course, the only way you can hope for an advantage is if you know more than you opponent, whereas with a main line you only need to know as much as them.

I generally start 1. d4 when 1...e6 is a already something to think about. I am sure 2 e4 is the best move, and I have always done ok with the Tarrasch. But as Petrosian said, if you think your opponent wants to play the Dutch, don't discourage them!

It is a side-line yes but sometimes people play them purely to escape main lines or just fancy something a bit different for once, which was the case with my much higher rated opponent. But the bottom line is if you play something you aren't really into and don't know much about, the chances of it back-firing are increased greatly. I don't think you should play side-lines unless you know them very well.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:54 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:08 am
It is a side-line yes but sometimes people play them purely to escape main lines or just fancy something a bit different for once, which was the case with my much higher rated opponent. But the bottom line is if you play something you aren't really into and don't know much about, the chances of it back-firing are increased greatly. I don't think you should play side-lines unless you know them very well.
The game can continue



That looks like home brew, but is actually known to some players from both sides. The best reply may be a matter of debate.

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

Post by Simon Rogers » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:08 pm

At my level. Off beat Openings and sidelines are a lot more common especially in Congresses and League.
I've faced things like the St George and Basman Defences as white.
As black, I have faced nearly every possible white Opening.

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

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:50 pm

Same here but my opponent was rated around 200, and when he realized he made a bit of a mess over a sideline it seemed like he just lost all interest. If you are much lower rated I don't think your standards are so high, so it doesn't bother you so much.

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

Post by Simon Rogers » Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:45 pm

I'm afraid I am just a mortal compared to most forum members and my weakness is certain Openings. My strength is middlegames.

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