The French In Depth Part 3(The Winawer)
In the 3rd part of the Fremch in Depth series we will be looking at the Winawer Variation. The Winawer is played by the moves 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3.Nc3 and 3.Bb4 pinning the Knight. The Winawer is probably least like all of the other Frenches due to the early development of the bishop and sharper play.
There are a few ways for white to respond to the Winawer but the best in my opinion is by playing e5 gaining space in the center. The other moves are a3, Ngd2, and Bd2. After white has pushed in pawn black will immediately challenge the center with c5 after which play usually continues with a3 forcing black to make a decision whether to trade off his Bishop or to retreat it. I recommend trading it off as I do not think that the point of the Winawer is passive play.
We are pretty much in the main position of the Winawer now, gambit lines aside. In this position white will usually play Qg4. There are other candidate moves in this position but this one outweighs them by quite a bit so I will not be looking at them but feel free to do so yourself. After Qg4 the standard move for black is to put his Knight on g3 blocking the Queen's threats and entering it into play. However is think that there is a more dynamic way to play called the poisoned pawn variation which is playing the Queen to c7. What is the point of this you may ask, isn't this just a blunder? It may look unsound but black is actually only gambiting 1 pawn and oftentimes gets the other one back also.
Lets look at the poisoned-pawn in action now. Find the crushing tactics that Black played in these games against their unsuspecting and underdeveloped opponents.