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French defense

  • #1

    How do you handle this sort of position playing white when black plays h5 disallowing you to play b4 and place your bishop on b2 to protect the d4 pawn? (black's threat is Ne7, Nf5 attacking the d4 pawn the third time and if black doesn't play h5 I usually handle it by playing b4, then Bb2 and my d4 pawn is defended by three pieces).


  • #2

    I didn't check this with an engine, so you might want to do that in case I missed something. 

  • #3

    Thanks. Looks promising for white. Good idea to place your knight on weak b5 square where it not only has good outpost and Nd6+ threat in some variations, but also protects the d4 pawn. I think that's exactly the reason why h5 is not considered in standard openning book, because it creates that hole on b5. Nevertheless, I wasn't able to figure it out in blitz games and have lost my d4 pawn and my position was hopeless. Thanks again.

  • #4

    You're welcome.

  • #5

    It was a mistake, of course it's a5 not h5.

    I don't know why Qc3, but one possible reason might be that it defends the d4 pawn. With queen on c2 you can't really imedietly retreat that knight to c3, beacause the d4 pawn will be lost. The knight on b5 can't be chased that easy anyway, beacuse of Nc7+ threat if white queen stays on c column.

    Whether you play Qc3 or Qc2 black has to play his rook back to a8 (beacause of Nd6+ and discovered attack on the rook from bishop). And then I think the plan for black is to play Rc8 lining with white's queen and then move the knight on c6 and to challenge white's knight on b5. I am not convienced that keeping queen on c file is good for white. There might be something better than either Qc3 or Qc2.

  • #6

    Actually, I've been thinking about this, and I think Qd3 might be better. First of all, it doesn't obstruct any pieces, which is excellent. Second of all, it keeps the d4 pawn well defended. It also puts some indirect pressure into Black's Kingside, and something like an h4-h5 plan seems promising. It also keeps the c3 square available, and Black won't be able to attack the Queen easily. Castling is also a good option, but I think our King is really safe right where he is right now. Black can't do anything to get to it....

  • #7


  • #8

    Castlening also came to my mind.

    Qd3 both defends the d4 pawn and keep c3 square free for a knight. But it has a disadvantage that if queen isn't on c file then knight on c6 will be able to move and to challenge white's knight on b5 (not immediately, but in the near future). Also in some variations it may block the bishop.

  • #9

    I don't like too much the set of moves (Be2, a3).

    If I want to keep the bishop on d3, then I'd play an a3-b4 plan, but with the Be2 I think it's enough with the simple b3-Bb2

  • #10

    I don't like Bd3, beacuase I have to worry about d4 pawn. I also prefer a3 and b4 instead of just b3.

  • #11

    Actually, every move has it's pros and cons. I think that it's a matter of how the person feels about the position. Each person thinks different, and in my opinion, all three Queen moves discussed here are probably equally good, I would probably play Qc3 if I had this position, (Which I will never have cause I play the Tarrasch) but it's just a matter of how each person evaluates the position.

  • #12

    I'm not well rounded in this Theory, I'm guessing that this arised from the Advanced Variation.... 

  • #13

    The pawn on a5 looks very out of place. White's usuall plan in the Advance Var. is to play for a K-side charge.

  • #14

    harryz - not really, I think there is no time for that, the position I've shown is the standard position from the opening book, where black deviated from it playing it's last move a5 which is not considered in the opening book (but my oponnents played it a couple of times to try to win the d4 pawn).

    Yes, this position arrised from advanced variation:



  • #15

    6. - c4. End of discussion. =)

    Seriously, I prefer 6. - c4 as then white will have work very hard to find a line that gives him winning chances. I used that line in the decisive game to reach national master class (only needed a draw), also it is Korchnois favourite move in the position.

  • #16

    Actually we're assesing this position form white's perspective. Congrats nevertheless!

  • #17

    I am aware of that. It was an (possibly unsuccessful) of putting the line in perspective.


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