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Whats your insights opinion ideas or variation in this opening...
Don't know much about 5...Bd7, have tended to prefer the more classic Qb6 attacking d4. Watson covers it in his books I think, and also Williams in "Attacking with the French", but prefers the more aggressive 6...f6 approach
I played the French for 19 years in competition, from blitz games to postal games to OTB, including against two players who had played in US Championships (IM Ed Formanek and SM Andrew Karklins, lost to both), but switched to the Caro-Kann about 20 years ago so I don't claim to be up on the latest theory.
I used to like to play 4 ...Qb6 and 5 ...Bd7, usually transposing into the main lines with 6 ...Nc6 (or 6 ...cxd4 and 7 ...Nc6), but I developed a reputation for playing the weird 6 ...Bb5 (or 6 ...cxd4 & 7 ...Bb5) (when you play a lot, the players in your region get to know your openings) so often White would take his time on move 6, which to me justified the whole move order.
I like the early Q development because it puts early pressure on d4 and keeps an eye on b2, so White has to think about how to develop his Bc1, and also keeps an eye on b5 for both sides. But there is nothing wrong with the early deployment of Nf5, it is thematic and Black will aim for it soon anyway.
The most natural reaction from White is 9 Nc3, when the moves ...a6 and ...Rc8 are good and almost interchangeable, because both will need to be played. Also worthy of attention is 9 ...h5!?, solidifying f5 and firing a shot on the Kingside. Even 9 ...h6, denying g5 to White pieces and entertaining a later ...g5 with Kingside ambitions, is perfectly good. Black has no problems here.
White doesn't have any good alternative, either - 9 Be3 doesn't threaten anything and leaves Black with several good choices, 9 g4 Nh4 can't be bad for Black, 9 a3 doesn't do anything, and 9 Na3 is just as pointless while 9 Re1 pitches a pawn to ...Qb6!
In the Caro-Kann, the Advance is perhaps the best way to find some winning chances for White but in the French, Black is always okay.
Quite like the early Qb6 too, it rules out early be3 lines from white. Not sure the wade variation, bd7-b5 is that great objectively speaking. Have played it myself sometimes too, but the bad bishop is useful for defending e6, to allow f6 ideas. Also exchanging the bad bishop uses up several moves.
Don't really like the 8...Nf5 position the OP interested in. Think bd7 is a neutral developing and would prefer having Qb6 played. The idea of bd3, either 9Bd3, or after 9d4xc5 bxc5 10bd3 seems to give black some problems. The position is still playable of course, but that way of playing with bd7 seems too passive for my taste. [Edit looking in Watson's book, he thinks 9Bd3 be7 10bxb pxB 11Nc3 be6 is equal too. Watson tends to think everything in French at least equal though, and personally wouldn't be that keen to play that position].
Don't think the advanced is so easy for black either, some very strong players like Grischuck do very well playing it.
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