French vs. The Sicilian

TheChessAnalyst

I only have the time to study one response to 1.e4 - would you suggest the French or the Sicilian. 

Before you trot out your answer based on your preference - remember it is me that must play the opening not you. I am looking for something that comploments my style.

Currently I play:

1.d4 ???? 2.Bg5   as white (The Trompowsky and the Pseudo Trompowsky)

As Black against 1d4 I try to play a Semi - Tarrasch

 

I was fairly convinced that the Schevengen Silician was my finial choice for 2015, but personally I never minded playing against the Silician as white when I played 1.e4 and always hated to play against the French.

 

Suggestions of which you think would fit better with my other openings and why would be great. And 1 or two top study guides or books to get started would be nice. 

drybasin
AlexandraThessa wrote:

Neither of them. Sicilian requires too much study and French is dull opening where black suffers to the end.

Best choices would be Caro-Kann or Petroff defence.

Funny, your reasons for not going with the French or Sicilian are the exact two reasons why I wouldn't recommend the Caro-Kann.  Petroff is decent, though.

Go with the French.  It'll require some knowledge of theory and resulting positions, but it's an opening that you can depend on for a long time, and there are less-theoretical options out there than the Poisoned Pawn Winawer.  Neil McDonald has a decent introductory book to the French, How To Play Against e4, although you'll want to graduate to more advanced options later on.

Apotek

hi drybasin and Alexandra,all the above openings are tried and tested.the problem with the petroff is that you play e5 so you need to study king's gambit,three and four knights as well as some sacrificial variations(Nxf7).im not saying that the french is better or worse than the caro,however it seems that in recent years the caro kann is regarded as one of the very best openings against e4 and it is certainly far from dull or miserable for black.in fact i strongly suspect that most e4 players hate to have to play against itSmile

 
 
 
 
cornbeefhashvili

Play the French since you hate it so much. Maybe it would annoy your opponent as well. I do that with the Two Knights Defense because I find the white side annoying.

pfren
AlexandraThessa wrote:

Unfortunately, at higher level French is doomed. There are very few variations where black barely holds and almost all endgames are theoretically won for white.

That's complete and utter nonsense, I'm afraid.

DrSpudnik

I'd go with the French, if only because there is much less to learn.

BTW: your white repetoire won't work with me or anyone else who answers 1.d4 with e6. What's your Plan B?

TheChessAnalyst
AlexandraThessa wrote:

Unfortunately, at higher level French is doomed. There are very few variations where black barely holds and almost all endgames are theoretically won for white.

On the other, hand in Caro-Kann black solves all problems, there no bad bishop, the pawn structure is better and almost all endgames are better for black. I think nobody plays French nowadays at high level.

Petroff is also nice but it's hard to win with it while in Caro-Kann you can play for win in many variations.

I forgot all about the Caro-Kann. That was my goto opening in the 90's but I got tired of it during Coorospondence Chess. Great point about the bad Bishop, that was the reason I picked it over the French back in the day.

I probably still have most of my old games, study material, and even reprotorie - that would be a great time saver.

I do disagree that it is not dull, some lines can be quite boring. If I remember correctly, the advance variation was the popular choice for white and that turned into a locked down battle for position that could tire the mind of anyone. I am fairly sure I hated that variation.

varelse1
AlexandraThessa wrote:

Unfortunately, at higher level French is doomed. There are very few variations where black barely holds and almost all endgames are theoretically won for white.

On the other, hand in Caro-Kann black solves all problems, there no bad bishop, the pawn structure is better and almost all endgames are better for black. I think nobody plays French nowadays at high level.

Petroff is also nice but it's hard to win with it while in Caro-Kann you can play for win in many variations.

Just because an opening isn't viable against Carlsen or Anand, so what?

They're gonna beat us, no matter what we play. But many openings that are impractical at GM level, are perfectly viable at the club/weekend tournament level.

Often times even more viable, because opponents are less likely to expect them, and thus are less prepared for them.

Time4Tea

If you don't have much time to study then I would definitely not choose the Sicilian, as most variations seem to require a monstrous amount of theory, plus you have the anti-Sicilians. Thing is, what are you looking for out of the opening? 1..e5 very reliable and will help develop classical opening principles (what I use). If you want something a bit more offbeat and tricky, why not try Alekhine's defence (1..Nf6)? Thing is, for us amateurs, it's not recommended to spend much time studying openings anyway.

chyss

The French matches your other openings better. 

TheChessAnalyst
DrSpudnik wrote:

I'd go with the French, if only because there is much less to learn.

BTW: your white repetoire won't work with me or anyone else who answers 1.d4 with e6. What's your Plan B?

I have only ran into e6 a couple of times since I moved to d4 - I beleive that e6 is the English Defense where black is looking to play 2.....b6

I have been adopting a double fanchetto Reti type system with a focus on keeping those queenside pawns rolling. Alejandro Rodregouz has a nice video out on the double fanchetto system - covers ideas and stradigy not move orders. So I kinda stole his thoughts and converted them over for 1...e6

Apotek

hi time for tea,no doubt e5 is an excellent reply,however it demands of you to know tons of theory and i think the op is trying to avoid that.

Pulpofeira

Botvinnik, Kortchnoi, Vaganian and Short played the French often.

TheChessAnalyst
Apotek wrote:

hi time for tea,no doubt e5 is an excellent reply,however it demands of you to know tons of theory and i think the op is trying to avoid that.

Exactly, I played e5 back in the day when I was serious about chess. I am 45 going on 46, own a bussiness, have awife and kids, I dont have time for all the therory.

I am just looking for something that will give me some practical chances OTB and is fun to play. Heck I have given thought to NC6 - I like the off the wall things.

pfren
AlexandraThessa wrote:

 Whereas I don't think any world champion used the French. I think French is opening for beginners. It's so because you can push the pawns in the first few moves without thinking to much. But once you've pushed all available pawns there is not much black can do.

Excluding Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Petrosian, Anand, Topalov and Carlsen you are totally right... Tongue Out

chyss

lol

Synaphai
AlexandraThessa wrote:

I don't think any world champion used the French. I think French is opening for beginners. It's so because you can push the pawns in the first few moves without thinking to much. But once you've pushed all available pawns there is not much black can do.

All undisputed World Champions except Steinitz and Fischer played the French at least once in their careers. The rest of your comment doesn't deserve a response and makes one wonder how a player with your knowledge of chess history and understanding of chess strategy achieved a blitz rating over 2200 on this site.

TheChessAnalyst

The French seems to have the most support here. Isn't the therory kinda long and tough with the French though.

White has several ways of handling the French, The Advance, the Tarrasch, heck even KIA - seems that I could get bogged down in opening therory. With the limited time that I have to study - I want to spend most of that on Tatics and/or Pattern reconigition not opening therory. Kinda why I picked the Tromp and the Tarrasch not a lot of therory but they still have some sting for the the ill prepared.

cornbeefhashvili

Didn't Botvinnik and Tal play the French Defense most often before and during their reign?

PaullHutchh

I usually have more difficulty against the French. The Smith-Morra wins for me almost everytime.