A couple of games with the French

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
Post Reply
Nicky Chorley
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:26 pm
Contact:

A couple of games with the French

Post by Nicky Chorley » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:12 am

I've been away from serious OTB chess for quite a while now (though we do have a club at work where I still play some casual games) and so most of my chess activity these days is online, where I'm playing blitz or correspondence (but I'm really trying to avoid the former!). I played a couple of rapid (30 min) games online recently, so here they are for your viewing pleasure. I've been playing the French quite a bit, though I don't know all the theory. I looked over the games a bit with Stockfish.



When I saw the knight was trapped, I immediately played b5 as I didn't see that c4 was a better way to continue, gaining space, protecting the pawn and still leaving the knight trapped. 12. ... Bb7: the choice really was between this and f6, but I decided upon Bb7 to continue with development (probably due to being taught to develop pieces and still not recognising when it might be better to do something else). Perhaps I could have played f6 as early as move 7, instead of a6 and c5. 16: ... Ndxe5: this is not a move I'd normally play, but it just looked kinda fun. Just a normal move like Rc8 would have been better. I missed d4 on move 22, too, giving the bishop a bit more of a diagonal and then aiming to go Rc4 on Qxd4.

I ended up resigning, as I felt that I must be worse. It felt very uncomfortable to defend.



First of all, I played 5. ... Bg4 to exploit White playing Bd3. However, by move 14 this bishop looks out of place :(. I suppose why Bd6 is preferred here is just to stop White's bishop coming to f4. Obviously I ended up playing Bd6 anyway, but I guess I ended up wasting time. I spent a whole 5 minutes or so on move 11 and as you can see, I got into severe time trouble later so really had no time to think when I needed it. I completely missed the continued threat of Ne4 and Ng6 and then didn't see Qxd6 on move 31. Stockfish suggests the ending is better for Black, but even if I had plenty of time, I'd likely not have held it.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18188
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:45 am

Nicky Chorley wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:12 am
I've been playing the French quite a bit, though I don't know all the theory.
It doesn't look as if your opponents knew any French theory either. There's always the option of a transposition to the Sicilian if White doesn't play 2. d4. So 1. e4 e6 2. Qf3 c5

Nicky Chorley
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:26 pm
Contact:

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Nicky Chorley » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:04 am

I guess I'd probably be even more out of depth with a Sicilian, though I suppose said opponents maybe wouldn't know the theory either ;). Hopefully I'm still managing to play OK!

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18188
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:14 am

Nicky Chorley wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:04 am
Hopefully I'm still managing to play OK!
In the second game, where you lost on time, you have at least two reasonable ideas to seek a draw.



You could play Re3 with the idea of an immediate liquidation to a drawn King and pawn. King and pawn endings can however frequently be hazardous because it's too easy to miss something, so just playing Rd8 should also suffice. The point being that if White gets adventurous with his Rook, there's a threat of d3-d2-d1Q. Slightly earlier I thought White was wrong to take on f6 and should have retained the connected pawns.

User avatar
David Shepherd
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:46 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by David Shepherd » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:30 am

Nicky Chorley wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:12 am
I ended up resigning, as I felt that I must be worse. It felt very uncomfortable to defend.
If I did that, I would end up resigning all my games :oops:

If you play the French it is often uncomfortable to defend as the opponent tends to have more space in front of your king due to the pawn structure, however black tends to be fairly solid and it is not so easy for white to finish off the game most of the time.

Nicky Chorley
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:26 pm
Contact:

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Nicky Chorley » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:19 pm

Roger: thanks for that. I figured that passed pawn was the asset in that ending. I was also surprised by 45. exf6 and thought that e6 made sense there.
David: also thanks. Yeah, perhaps I should have played on. Apparently c3 is OK (working with that loose bishop) or exd5 getting two rooks for the queen. Do you play the French yourself?

I was thinking actually, about positions that might suit me best: those that are simple and clear, i.e. where there's not too much choice. I don't deal well with information overload! I don't know about getting into such positions, though. Also, in the second game, I really didn't like playing a rook to the e file on move 11. It just seemed like that that was keeping some symmetry in the position and while not being a very strong player, I kinda felt that would make it quite boring.

Alan Walton
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:33 pm
Location: Oldham

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Alan Walton » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:19 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:14 am
Nicky Chorley wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:04 am
Hopefully I'm still managing to play OK!
In the second game, where you lost on time, you have at least two reasonable ideas to seek a draw.



You could play Re3 with the idea of an immediate liquidation to a drawn King and pawn. King and pawn endings can however frequently be hazardous because it's too easy to miss something, so just playing Rd8 should also suffice. The point being that if White gets adventurous with his Rook, there's a threat of d3-d2-d1Q. Slightly earlier I thought White was wrong to take on f6 and should have retained the connected pawns.
I maybe missing something but isn't Black winning after Re3; Black has a5 after white gives opposition

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18188
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:01 pm

Alan Walton wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:19 pm
I maybe missing something but isn't Black winning after Re3; Black has a5 after white gives opposition
Black to move and play .. a5 or .. a6 winning.


White could have kept the Rooks on at the cost of the b pawn. It still looks good for Black

LawrenceCooper
Posts: 5104
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:13 am

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by LawrenceCooper » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:46 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:14 am
Nicky Chorley wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:04 am
Hopefully I'm still managing to play OK!
In the second game, where you lost on time, you have at least two reasonable ideas to seek a draw.



You could play Re3 with the idea of an immediate liquidation to a drawn King and pawn. King and pawn endings can however frequently be hazardous because it's too easy to miss something, so just playing Rd8 should also suffice. The point being that if White gets adventurous with his Rook, there's a threat of d3-d2-d1Q. Slightly earlier I thought White was wrong to take on f6 and should have retained the connected pawns.
A move early you could have played 46...Rg8 instead of Re8 with the threat of Rg4+ to follow. Although unlikely to happen 47 Rf3 would be a rather unfortunate selfmate after Rg4 :D

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 3152
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:57 pm

Nicky Chorley wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:19 pm
I was thinking actually, about positions that might suit me best: those that are simple and clear ....
If that’s what you want your should probably consider taking up a different game :wink:


FWIW I don’t think you played the opening of game 2 that played. Compare your choice with Heine Nielsen’s against Short in 2008
http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... e-vii.html

- and he was a 2600 GM playing a full length game.



You might want to take a look at

Gurevich - Short, 1990 {Black plays ... Bg4 a move earlier which I think is probably a bit better]
http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... es-ii.html


and there are other French Exchange games here;-
http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... index.html


That said, if you’re looking at what positions to play, the usual recommendation is to play Open Games with 1 ... e5 when you’re starting out. I think that’s the best way to go.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18188
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:25 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:57 pm
That said, if you’re looking at what positions to play, the usual recommendation is to play Open Games with 1 ... e5 when you’re starting out. I think that’s the best way to go.
If opponents are going to play against the French in a "non-book" manner, doesn't Black get easier positions to play than against 1. .. e5? There's no Kings Gambit where players under 125 tend not to have much of a clue as to how to defend and counter attack. Equally it avoids the sterility of 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 d6 5. Nc3 Nf6 etc where constructive plans are thin on the ground for both players. (Perhaps that's why similar variations have reappeared at top GM level)

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 3152
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:42 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:25 pm
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:57 pm
That said, if you’re looking at what positions to play, the usual recommendation is to play Open Games with 1 ... e5 when you’re starting out. I think that’s the best way to go.
If opponents are going to play against the French in a "non-book" manner, doesn't Black get easier positions to play than against 1. .. e5? There's no Kings Gambit ....

Why would opponents who play non-book moves against 1 ... e6 suddenly start playing sensible opening moves against 1 ... e5?

Anyway, I think you learn more playing 1 ... e5 - how to develop pieces, for example - but also it’s easier to take advantage of substandard play. Those quiet Italian positions may be sterile to you but they’re not to inexperienced players.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18188
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:33 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:42 pm
Why would opponents who play non-book moves against 1 ... e6 suddenly start playing sensible opening moves against 1 ... e5?
It's a lot easier to find logical moves against 1. .. e5 than it is against 1. .. e6. That's witnessed by the games above where White didn't even find the "normal" 2. d4 .

Nicky Chorley
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:26 pm
Contact:

Re: A couple of games with the French

Post by Nicky Chorley » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:39 pm

Thanks for the game references, Jonathan; I'll have a look when I have some more time. Even if I've been playing on and off for a number of years, I still consider myself quite inexperienced. Having said that, I still find the Italian quite dull..

I'll probably try to start playing some OTB rapid events in the new year.

Post Reply