French defence - locked position

TotalChessFun
TotalChessFun
Nov 12, 2009, 12:31 PM |
1
To be honest, I find French defence difficult. Often the "normal" rules do not apply because of the position. Have you ever heard, knight on the rim is dim? Usually, it is not sound to place the knight on the edge, since it delimits its movability. Placing it in the corner must be double-dim, or what?
Here is a game where the corner seems to be the only place for it:

 
14.h5!? Simple move aiming to disrupt black's defence. There is no place to move that knight. 
 
14...Nh8!  This is actually the only move to maintain equilibrium. All other moves either lose material or lose position for black. The analysis suggests 14...Ngxe5 15.dxe5 h6 16.O-O Qc7 17.Bf4 it is slightly weaker.
The interesting part about ...Nh8! is that the game seems to open up after that. Following the best line for both sides, it is interesting to see how more and more options becomes available for black after this.
The next moves are more straight forward.
 
15.h6 Aims at stalemating the black king. Strategical goal: Weak king.
 
15...g6 16.O-O There are some other equal alternatives here that can be done before castling. I suggest that you take a look at the deep analysis if you are interested, but note how the game opens up again for black by giving options.

16...f6!? Frees up either the king or the knight. Situation is now equal. ...f6 This is a common move for black in french defence. If white takes, black retakes with the bishop and thus attacking the d4 pawn. It is of course against the rule of thumb to always attack a pawn chain from the root, but whatever, this is french defence. In this position, it also gives either the knight or the king space to move. 
There are certain alternatives here. See below if interested. 
17...fxe5 18.Nxe5 offers white a slight lead because of the outpost because it is defended, and no pawn can force it to move. If black exchange it, the bishop will be in place stalemating the king again.
Did I see this when I played the game. NO. How did it go? LOL. The rest of the game resembled panic on my part. My congratulations to OneHundredBucks Laughing
 

Deep analysis.