The French Early Be7

| 11 | Opening Theory

by GM Magesh and GM Arun


Choosing to play a sideline sometimes helps a lot in avoiding a bunch of complicated theory that has been well analyzed and established by the elite players. It is quite common these days for players to venture into not-so-popular openings and look for interesting novelties. Today we will be studying one such side lines in the French defense, the early Be7 variation. Interestingly this variation has been played by players as frequently as the main lines against me. I guess in an era of modern chess theory, the difference between main and side lines is just a few games from the elite players!


In our first game today, a good friend of mine IM Peter Vavrak tried this variation against me in the UTD Invitational GM tournament. One of the main reasons I picked this game was because of the study-like finish in this game.



Black's difficulty in developing kept bothering him throughout the game. Nevertheless, it was a satisfying way to win a game.

Our next game had an interesting prelude to it. I was having a wonderful tournament in the World Junior Championships in Azerbaijan in 2003. I actually had defeated  Shahriyar Mamedyarov in the second round who eventually went on to win the championship dismantling the rest of the field. In the fifth round I was facing an English Fide Master Craig Hanley and my roommate GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly who has been recently very busy climbing up the rating ladder and working with Anand as his second, gave me an interesting suggestion based on his game against the same opponent a year before. All I had to do was check out the move for a few minutes with my engine and look up a bunch of possibilities that were available to black in that position and I was done with my preparation.



I was in cruise control for the whole game, isn't that a wonderful feeling? I would consider this game as one of the most satisfying wins I have had using some kind of an opening preparation. You fall behind so much when you have no idea what is happening in a position, and furthermore, it is irritating to see your opponent walking all over the place checking other board positions and spending just a minute or two for his moves. Hopefully our readers enjoyed both the games and learned a thing or two about the French Be7 variation.

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