This is one of the common defenses in modern tournaments. It can be used against 1. d4 as well as 1. e4 although it’s most often seen against 1. e4. The standard opening sequence is 1. e4 e6; 2. d4 d5. At this point White has at least 4 plausible continuations: White can play 3. ed. This leads to a symmetrical position after Black plays ed. White often fails to get any significant advantage. Another option for White is 3. e5. This restricts Black’s development and sets up attacking possibilities on the Kingside. c5 has long been considered the only good reply. If Black castles kingside he could find himself quite vulnerable if he is not careful. Otherwise the position is roughly equal. 3. Nc3 and 3. Nd2 both offer reasonable chances to make things difficult for Black.

French Defense Advance Variation French Winawer Exchange Variation


As White I encounter the sequence: 1. e4 e6; 2. d4 d5; 3. Nc3 Bb4; 4. ed ed; 5. Bd3 Ne7? 6. Qh5 with far more frequency than you might expect. Black has far better prospects of getting equality with either Nf6 or Nc6. For some reason quite a few players make the mistake of playing 5___Ne7? which gives White a big advantage. In tournament practice I nearly always win even against higher-ranked players. If Black plays 6. ___g6 White can maintain his advantage with 7. Qf3, Qh6, or Qh4. Black’s kingside is riddled with holes after 6. ___g6.


For further information about the items below please click on an image or the blue text below the image.

French Defence Strategy – Davies (PC-DVD)

French Winawer – McDonald

Foxy Openings #154 The Classical French – Martin

The French Advance 2nd Edition – Collins

The French: Tarrasch Variation – Pedersen, S.

Master the French, Part 1 #11 – Polgar