Every player has a unique playing style and that should play a huge role in their opening choice. Notice that we use the word "should" here, since we have personally seen many players getting into trouble with wrong opening choices. The opening we are going to discuss today, The French defense has such a unique style that the players who feel they understand it, show it off with a certain pride.
I myself had tried the opening briefly and realized it can be rather confusing if you do not get the hang of it. It looks like black's pieces are generally not very active and also lacking space, however as Nimzowitsch mentions, who has the initiative is not of importance; it is the player with the potential to break through that makes the difference.
We will study the little center positions arising after 3...dxe4 this week. Given that the US championship is about to begin, we decided to start our study with one of the experts in the French and the defending US Champion and my former colleague from UTDallas, Yuri Shulman.
The next game is a rapid game in which Evgeny Bareev has showed how defensive skills are very useful for such positions even against the rock solid Kramnik.
Now that we have seen how black equalized and slowly came out on top in the previous games, it is time to take a look at our favorite player Vishy Anand lashing out at his opponent. Keep in mind, this is a Blindfold game!
Our last game this week will be a strong positional display from Grand Master Evgeny Alekseev outplaying the strong Azerbaijani Grand Master and former World Junior Champion Mamedyarov.
We hope our readers enjoyed and also learned from the little center and the queenside, kingside majority positions arising out of the French defense. Like we had mentioned earlier, the French defense is very enterprising and offers plenty of potential, provided we are patient with our approach and not afraid to put our defensive skills to the test. Next week we will be working on the English Opening.