The Deadly French Defense
Learn how an intermediate chess player used the French Defense to beat someone rated 600 points higher.

The Deadly French Defense

Silman
IM Silman
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46 | Opening Theory

Last year, I wrote about the French Defense. I am bringing this up because this new article is all about the French Defense and many of you will learn a lot if you read the old one too. You can find it here.

During the Batumi Olympiad in 2018 I noticed a young lady on the Japanese team wipe out her Israeli opponent (rated 600+ points higher) in the first game.

The opening of the 2018 Olympiad.  Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.The opening of the 2018 Olympiad. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The Japanese woman, Misaki Shibata, was Black and played the French Defense. I think you’ll like this game, and if you’re a French Defense player, you’ll love it!

In the third round, a very strange thing happened: White played the same moves that Michal Lahav (from the first game) played!

A USEFUL RULE: Whenever your opponent makes a “threat," your first thought should be, “This is probably rubbish!”

Then look at it in a calm manner and if you really have to protect something, do so. But in many cases, the “threat” isn’t a threat at all.

Try to create three ways to get a slight advantage.
Once again, after 24...Qa6 is 25.Rxd4 good?
Here is the rest of the game:
Misaki Shibata had one more French Defense. However, the first two French games were very dynamic, while the third was purely positional.
I hope this article, and the older one, will help you understand the French Defense better.
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