Steiner Variation?


I was thinking about how I would play White against the French, and I think I would play 1. e4 e6 2. c4, the Steiner Variation, with the idea that Black could play d5, at which point I would probably exchange and turn it into some sort of French-Scandinavian hybrid. Does anyone have experience with this particular variation, and what you would play as either White or Black? Thanks!


Here's a video by NM Dennis Monokroussos on this variation:

Video 1

Video 2


I've scored 70% from the Black side--over 120 games. I've scored 100% from the White side--one game, and Black had equality until a tactical blunder.


Haha what a bad opening!


I've played against it a million times on playchess blitz. I'm generally quite happy to see it as the variation is a reliable indication that my opponent knows zero opening theory and is probably not very good.


Would anyone like to explain why? Or post some games that demonstrate why? According to the database, white wins 41% of the time.


Black easily equalises by playing d5.

 If you dont like these positions theres still the options of playing e5!? or c5.  In both lines the move c4 looks a bit wierd.


Cymantex, if you watch Dennis' videos, the dangerous lines arise from 4. Qb3, not 4. exd5.


The Qb3 line might be most dangerous move but that line actually gives black an advantage if black playes it correctly. I think dennis mension it in the video aswell,


Here is how you play it:


somehow I don't like the position in the diagram, as: White has a pair of Bishops, a potentially strong (now blocked, but nevermind that) passed pawn. Black's knight is pinned and unless Black wants a doubled f pawn, which seems as a suicide in this situation, he has to keep the Queen around Nf6 until he moves.


Ok, today I faced this idea, but they played 3. e5.  I looked in Chessbase, but there are limited ideas.  Here was his core idea against me...seems like Chessbase is recommending an early ...Nge7-f5 idea, combined with ...dxc4.  Ideas?


I like 2...c5! I doubt whether White then has anything better than 3.Nf3, transposing to a rare Anti-Sicilian that is not very threatening to say the least. The following lines are taken from the "Quick Repertoire" sketch in the excellent book The Safest Sicilian (2nd ed.) by Delchev and Semkov.


I debated on this actually...but I was steering away from that style at the moment.  I am about to begin classes with GM Gavrikov on Monday, and he said he would look at the line as well and provide his opinion (which I will share come Monday).

I will look more into it.  Honestly, my heart was saying 2...c5 (based on my feel of the position), but I wanted to be able to force the idea with the normal ideas I am playing.  

I did find some stuff on Chessbase that involved ideas such as ...dxc4 and ...Nge7-f5, but not sure I wanna get into that yet or not.

EDIT - thanks for the post.  That is a fairly different position, would you ever consider approaching it with a ...d6 rather than ...d5 feel?

EXTRA EDIT - I just noticed you showed e5!? at that spot, which is more a type of move I would prefer.  I might consider studying that idea.


Ok, I just got done with my class with Viktor, and this was one of the first things he covered (per my request).  Like I am saying, if you want affordable, personal lessons from a world-class teacher, give him a try!