French Defence

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
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Michele Clack
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French Defence

Post by Michele Clack » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:42 pm

What books would people recommend on the French Defence? There seem to be so many on this opening it's difficult to know what to go for for different levels of player.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Defence

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:46 pm

michele clack wrote:What books would people recommend on the French Defence?
John Watson, the American IM and author, wrote a series "Play the French". This started over twenty years ago and is now on its fourth edition. Players of the French like it anyway.

Michele Clack
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Re: French Defence

Post by Michele Clack » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:31 pm

I have an older edition of Watson and find it very useful for its comprehensive cover. I do find it a bit impenetrable at times though. I notice the 4th Edition is out next month. I think I might get it, has anyone seen an advance copy at all? I've played the classical for a while but someone suggested having a go at the Winawer. What would people recommend specifically for that variation? I've got the Williams book which is interesting but I wonder if it's a bit too adventurous for me.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Defence

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:45 pm

michele clack wrote:. I think I might get it, has anyone seen an advance copy at all?
There's a lengthy thread about it at the chesspub.com forum. That includes links to previews on Amazon and Everyman.

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/Y ... 1265959700
http://www.amazon.com/Play-French-John- ... 1857446801
http://www.everymanchess.com/extract/PT ... tracts.pdf

As someone who only ever plays against the French, I find some of Watson's assessments and recommendations in earlier books to have a touch of optimism about them.

James Coleman
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Re: French Defence

Post by James Coleman » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:03 pm

If you don't want something too weighty you could also consider Simon Williams 2 DVD's on the Killer French which are good. I've got his book as well and there isn't much overlap between the two products.

Michele Clack
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Re: French Defence

Post by Michele Clack » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:07 pm

I had a look on the Ginger gm website and was able to watch a clip from one of the videos. It looked very good so I've ordered both volumes. I think I will enjoy them even if I don't get any better.

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Jon Mahony
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Re: French Defence

Post by Jon Mahony » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:16 pm

michele clack wrote:I had a look on the Ginger gm website and was able to watch a clip from one of the videos. It looked very good so I've ordered both volumes. I think I will enjoy them even if I don't get any better.
It’s a really good DVD set for playing against the Advanced, Tarrasch and Exchange, as well as other sub lines such as the Wing Gambit

I will just say, be careful about playing some of his ideas in the Winnower - there is a Rook sac recommended in there (sorry, can’t remember the analysis now, as it’s been ages since I’ve watched the DVD - but it’s in the mainline where white plays 7.Qg4) which I’ve had several opponents refute on Chess.com and I’ve just ended up in an awful mess. Admittedly this is CC, so you may enjoy better results with it OTB, but I wouldn’t risk it in a serious game now - personally I’ve started playing 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6, as I feel black is living on a razors edge in the Winnower at the best of times.

Another slight problem is the Chigorin Variation (1.e4 e6 2.Qe2) which seems quite popular at club level at the moment, isn’t covered at all - so you do need to back the content up with a book.
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

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Gavin Strachan
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Re: French Defence

Post by Gavin Strachan » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:56 am

The Watson books are very detailed and not great for people starting out. If you want to get into a specific opening books like Black is OK or a Complete Reportoire for White/Black are great as they get you going. They have their limitations but are good starting blocks for someone starting out looking for a quick fix solution.

Timothy Hilton
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Re: French Defence

Post by Timothy Hilton » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:19 pm

The French defence reloaded by Vitigov is the best !

Andrew Bak
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Re: French Defence

Post by Andrew Bak » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:34 pm

The best book about the French Defence?

Any book that recommends playing something else :lol:

Mike Gunn
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Re: French Defence

Post by Mike Gunn » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:59 pm

I would recommend "Winning with the French" by Uhlmann, if you can find it for a reasonable price (I guess the fact that it is out of print has out of print has increased the online price a bit). It is a collection of 60 games. Of course it is a bit out of date (original publication date 1991) so the lines are not all current but that is not so important around our level. I had also been put off the Winawer by all the other books but I started playing it after going through Uhlmann's games.

Another good single volume is "starting out: the french" by Byron Jacobs (2002, Everyman).

Apart from those I would also endorse the Simon Williams offerings (book + DVDs).

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