Understand Chess Opening, The French Defense

Understand Chess Opening, The French Defense

Sep 7, 2014, 9:33 PM |

Hello friends, opponents, and viewers to another blog on the series Understand Chess Openings. In this blog we'll go over an opening that's simple and unpredictable. While I personally do not play this opening because of others I still admire the fact of it's simple and easy to learn system. Let's dive right into this clear opening:








The Variations are many but let's go through the main ones:

  • The mainline is Nc3 holding onto that E pawn and seeing what Black's next move will be.
  • Classical variation of Nf3 keep eyes on the D pawn and making sure black doesn't take it.
  • Advanced variation where white avoids the exchange of pawns and increases the space on the king side. However, this move is not a developing move, and black seems to gain the initiative. The move is e5.
  • Exchange variation: White avoids a closed center and the unique strategies of the French Defense, but frees Black's bishop on c8 and allows retention of a center pawn with no compensation with exd5

Now there are other variations like the Winawer, Ribenstein, Tarrasch, and more, but those are not as common with beginners. Instead of going through the replies, mainlines, and trap lines that would confuse many, let's go over the ideas that both sides want to obtain.

White's goals are to:

  1. Defend pawn on D4
  2. Set up a King side attack
  3. If possible attack black's H pawn with his bishop on d3
  4. If on e5, support the pawn with f4
  5. Block black's chances of opening the center with f6 or f5.

Black's goals are to:

  1. Play c5 to attack the pawn on d4
  2. Set up a Queen side attack
  3. Attack the pawn on d4 with moves like c5, Nc6, and Qb6
  4. Play f6 to attack pawn on e5 (if advanced)
  5. Free and develop the bishop on c8.

The french is a very simple and easy opening to learn, if you get into the theory then you can have a fun game however the French can be avoided by Exchange variation and I will have to agree that it is hard to play after such moves. However I have a link to a article that will help you overcome the Exchange variation here and a three part video series on the French right below from my favorite Chess player Will Steward.


Before I just leave you hanging (Chess joke please laugh Smile) here is a 4 part video series from my favorite Chess play Will Steward and an article on the Exchange variation of the French, maybe you'll choose to play it and hopefully convince me of how great this opening can be.

Until then, good luck and I'll see you the new upcoming series. We will be coming back to this series but I will need to prepare for the upcoming openings after these, we will go over some of the advanced openings but before then we'll be going to a different path. Enjoy my blog and please enjoy the videos and article to help you with the French. Your loyal blogger, -Kingdom_Hearts

 For those who read my blog more than once or enjoy reading, please join The Learning Library.