The Secret to the French Defense

The Secret to the French Defense

FM Boorchess
Hi Lovers of Defense and Counter Attack!

I am going to share with you a very simple idea for understanding the best defense to 1.e4. Wait a second, did I say best ? Yes I did. The French Defense might not be as popular as the hyper theoretical Sicillian or the classical, yet stodgy, 1...e5. But in my opinion it contains the best elements of both of these defenses. In any event, let me show you two of my games and share with you my analysis of this rich playground of chess ideas.


This past month I had an encounter with the strong Macedonian GM Nikolai Mitkov in the 4th round of the Cardinal Open in my hometown of Columbus Ohio. I had the black pieces and stood at 2.5/3 and did need a win to get in postion for a 1st place duel in the final round.


Now take a breath and look at position where we leave the game. What do you think about the placement of the black pieces ? What is the "focal" point of the black army ? 

If you see the pressure on the d4 point as well as the potential for attack on the white squares you are starting to get a good idea of what the French is all about. 

Don't like the French ?  I am pretty sure Victor Korchnoi doesnt care!


In the actual game I convinced myself to trade off my wonderful knight because I thought I was crashing through to the king.

So I come to my final point about this game and my feelings about the secret of the French Defense. From the very first moves black is fighting for the white squares while creating a blockade on the dark. It is a beautiful metaphor for life and not a half bad way to play chess.
BUT wait a second I hear you scream ! What about the bad french bishop, how could that translate to the strategy of attacking the white squares ? Point taken. The deeper truth is that the French is a collection of structues (Advance, Rubinstein, Winawner, Classical, IQP) and they all have their own rules. Today's lesson is a study of the Winawer/Rubinstein/Burn structues and the resulting color complex strategies.
I would like to invite you all to visit my homepage to learn more about my affordable and proffessional chess coaching services as well as my latest chess adventures.
Until next time!
Coach Carl