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French defence


  • 2 years ago · Quote · #1

    auxentiu97

    Hey, learning the french. Can someone please tell my why white wouldn't want to play 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.xd5 ?

    To me it seems that white will have a comfortable game and not really have to worry about closed positions.

     

    Any help?

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #2

    pellik

    Black's already equal in the french exchange. He has equal center control, the same amount of center pawns, and white's only pawn break against the center (c4) isn't very good, although it is the only real try he has in the exchange. 

    The biggest problem for black in the exchange is that neither side can ignore the open e file, so heavy pieces come off the board and it can be difficult to avoid a draw sometimes. 

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #3

    SmyslovFan

    White does have a comfortable game after 3.exd5. The problem is that Black is even more comfortable! The position is already just about equal objectively. And usually, when Black achieves equality that early, Black can expect to outplay his opponent.

    Strong players sometimes do play the French Exchange as white, but they don't play it to be comfortable, they strive to create sharp positions. The problem is that 3.exd5 exd5 doesn't lend itself to sharpness. As long as Black is vigilant, he can usually draw, and often wins.

    One really famous game was Mikhail-Gurevich vs Nigel Short. Gurevich as white only needed a draw to advance to the next stage of the World championship. Short needed to win. Gurevich played the Exchange variation, reached a drawn position, but couldn't finish it.

    Here's that game.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #4

    NimzoRoy

    I believe Kasparov won a few games vs GMs using the FD Exchange Variation, so if you're as good as he was it's probably a wise choice. Otherwise it just immediately gives up White's advantage of moving first, although I suppose you could rationalize doing that in what Nimzovitch referred to as a form of "odds giving" (ie playing an inferior opening vs a weaker opponent).

    If you're just going for a draw as White I guess it's OK but IMHO it's still giving Black too many chances not just to equalize but to actually gain the initiative if you're not careful.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #5

    plutonia

    If you want a draw you still need to play for a win imo, not giving away adavantages.

     

    It might just be a way to study less theory though.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #6

    AnthonyCG

    I use it [4.c4] along with the Panov-Botvinnik to avoid theory and get an isolated pawn.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #7

    plutonia

    ^ and what do you play as 3. ?

    1.e4 e6, 2.d4 d5, 3. ???

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #8

    AnthonyCG

    3.exd5 lol

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #9

    plutonia

    ah ok lol.

    but it's different from the Panov because black has a pawn on c instead of on e. I don't play those positions but I reckon it would be slightly better for black to be able to contest the e file and having no problem with this lsB ?

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #10

    Silfir

    If you understand the resulting positions and plans very well, it makes perfect sense to play it. You'll simply be trying to win based on your better understanding of the middlegame or endgame while starting off on equal terms.

    The more serious White tries for advantage all result in quite different positions - if you don't understand those nearly as well as the Exchange, why play into them? Ideally, of course, you should strive to play the best possible moves and press your advantage; but you can't prepare for everything at once right away.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #11

    AnthonyCG

    plutonia wrote:

    ah ok lol.

    but it's different from the Panov because black has a pawn on c instead of on e. I don't play those positions but I reckon it would be slightly better for black to be able to contest the e file and having no problem with this lsB ?

    Yeah although I think a trade of rooks usually helps White because it pulls one of Black's pieces out of position.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #12

    auxentiu97

    Ok, well basically I'm trying to beat a stronger oponnent (He has great attack and tactics, but doesn't understand the strategical reasoning behind the moves that well) so I am trying to play closed positions. What are your opinions?

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #13

    Texesa

    Play Scandinavian Defense: Blackburne-Kloosterboer gambit.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #14

    auxentiu97

    Texesa wrote:

    Play Scandinavian Defense: Blackburne-Kloosterboer gambit.

    ...That's the not a closed position at all. In fact, I feel like it is too open for it to be of my liking.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #15

    AnthonyCG

    Well there is no way to prevent the exchange variation and opening the game unfortunately. The cost for White is that Black should get an equal game but at class level that's pretty irrelevant and White gets an easy to play weapon. On the other hand Black gets an easy to play defence.

    Personally I use it to avoid closed setups. I feel that the positional skill required to play them is more than is necessary to win at my level. Why should I worry about c-file pressure and stuff when I can just throw my pieces at my opponent with a minimal requirement of opening theory and advanced techniques? Most of my games are lost because someone missed something and not because someone increased the positional pressure to the point that the other player had to concede something. That's master chess.

    I don't really enjoy playing the exchange as Black but I can see why someone would settle for the simple exchange.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #16

    Estragon

    I don't understand the thinking.  White, by virtue of the first move, has a chance to try for a real opening advantage.  All of the brilliant White wins against the French over the last 100 years have been in the classical lines or Winawer or Tarrasch.  Yet players give up any serious attempt at opening advantage with the Exchange and think they are accomplishing something?

    I played the French for 19 years in all sorts of competition, including against three players who played in a US Closed Championship.  French players were sort of a sect, we would share ideas with each other sometimes.  I never met a French player who worried about the Exchange variation at all.

    It is only new French players who worry about it.  Experience teaches that if White wants to play an inferior line, don't complain.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #17

    plutonia

    AnthonyCG wrote:
     Most of my games are lost because someone missed something and not because someone increased the positional pressure to the point that the other player had to concede something. That's master chess.

     

    Maybe now, but already at 1700 - 1800 you surely won't expect to win a game because your opponent missed something.

     

    Unless you're happy of never improving much, sooner or later you'll have to tackle the more complicated positions.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #18

    auxentiu97

    @Estragon You're right! I played French defence against my friend (who is much better than me, and I've never won against him in standard games) and he did the exchange variation. I was winning in position and material throughout the game, it only ended in a draw because of a blunder.

    Hmm, yes. I think that French is highly strategical, and players that play tactical will not want to play it. I really enjoy playing tactical, but I feel that I need to understand the game more before sacking a rook for better position, so I choose to play strategical.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #19

    Expertise87

    plutonia - almost 100% of decisive games between players around 17-1800 are decided because someone missed some kind of tactical idea from what I can tell. That's also true of decisive games at 2000+ level, although you might occasionally actually see a game where one player wins because another player creates a positional defect that decides the game. This is still 'missing something' though.


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