The French of the Week (9) - Robson-Vovk,Y, Steinitz-Boleslavsky Variation
As you probably know, the World Cup is being played in Baku these days and, with it, two seats for the Candidates. Only in 8 of the 415 games played before the semifinals has our beloved French Defense appeared on the board. Not many, and it comes to mind the explanation I heard not long ago from semifinalist GM Peter Svidler about the scarce presence of the French Defense in elite tournaments. He more or less said that it's very difficult to prepare the French for a particular game, and so, only specialists play it.
The hero of our defense in Baku has been GM Yuri Vovk, who has answered 1.e4 with e6 in 5 occassions. Curious, because the Ukrainian GM is a Sicilian player, which seems to contradict Svidler, but in this case Vovk has had more time to prepare for the World Cup. From the 5 games, Vovk has won two, drawn another two and lost one, a good percentage for Black. In today's game he beats American GM Ray Robson in a vibrant struggle. It was played in the first round and the young American could not recover from it and was eliminated.
As usual, after the game you will find the download link, study material and a video in Spanish.
- Fitzsimons-Jessel, Dublin 2015, 0-1, French of the Week #4
- Anand-Morozevich, Amber 2005, draw
- Nijboer-Sielecki, Breda 2001, 1-0