Typical middle game play in French

Typical middle game play in French

GM brightthunder
Apr 23, 2014, 3:31 PM |

In this article let's talk about Classical French opening. We'll see White's main ideas in Winawer.


Position Looks very closed for White. Because of doubled c2-c3 pawns - we have very bad connections with the Queen's side. What White has to do?


By all means we have to attack on the King's side. Pawn structure also clearly indicates it. At least - for now.
10. h4! 
h4-h5-h6 is a typical advance to weaken Black's pawn structure.
10... h6 
sooner or later Black will need to make this move to stop our h pawn. So it's not important they'll wait till h4-h5 or immediately push h7-h6
11. h5 c4 
Stabilizing pawn chain. at some point white could exchange on c5 or even push c3-c4, so as Black plans to place the king on the queen's side - c5-c4 is quite logical continuation.
12. Be2 
Now, when White's plan is clear, question is - what Black has to do?
12... Kd7! 
This is a famous theoretical idea. Black King goes to the safe side.
Black King goes to other side but it does not mean that we have to change our intentions.
13. Nh4!
We want to prepare f4-f5. actually it is the main resource for White and if we'll be able to advance that - it almost always guarantee advantage.

13... Qg8! 
queen goes to h7 for pressure on c2 and to support King's side advances like g6 or f6
There is absolutely no rush as Black does not have any dangerous strikes on the King's side. We have to make all necessary prophylaxis moves before we really will be ready to push f2-f4 and meet g7-g6 with Ne3-g4 or with something else. 
21. Kh2 a5 22. Ne3 Ka7 23. Rb2! 
We have to activate all your pieces before we start some concrete advances.
24. Qe2 Ka7 
In this game Black did not want to play b6-b5 as was afraid that Bishop a4 would stay out of the play. But now he gets other problems - Nc4 sacrifice can destroy their position in any moment.
I wanted to play immediately 25. Nc4, but did not like that after 25... Bb5 26. Rb5 Nb5 27. Nb6 Nc7 28. Nd7 Rd8 - Black Queen was still open and finally would enter into the game after Qc2. However, Computer Engine likes that continuation...
25. f2-f4!? 
I wanted to force g7-g6 in case of avoiding f4-f5 and than already sacrifice Nc4 as h7 Queen is closed. My opponent understood my idea and played: 


How now White has to continue the attack?      

Last part of the game was played in time-trouble for both sides and there are some little mistakes, but anyway, game is decided: