Should I learn the French Defense Winawer or the Classic Variation?


No. Learn a real opening, not that wimp garbage.


Why choose? Play them both for a while and you will learn which one suits you best. Or you may end up with both of them in your repertoire. Many good players play both

iAmBlindNow schreef:

Both start on the same position and black choose the one he wants to play. I think at certain moment of live I am going to learn both, but before that I want to master only one of them.

About my style, I would say I prefer to play solid games/lines over aggressive ones, but like to play dynamically, so I prefer 1,000 times to play a gambit than complicated positions. Here is an example of a game where I felt very confortable (except from move 16 to 18... I have issues with the horse).



Currently, as black, I am playing only the french (exchange and advance learned, Tarrash in progress) and I need a line against 3.Nf3. Do you recommend the Classic or the Winawer?


The game you showed is the advanche variation with 3.e5 .  With is perfect for black if white is play it like this, lol!  For the Winauwer or Classic white has to play 3.Nc3 first and then you can chooses between 3....Nf6 classic or 3....Bb4 winauwer.


robbie_1969 schreef:

 Not sure if this is mainline but it looks pretty good for white

Yeah the Bd2 variation against the Winauwer! Normaly I never play the French because I play the Petrov against 1.e4 but one opponent played one line so good that he cracked me more then once. So for him exclusive I decide to play some thing else, the Fench and also the Winauwer why not! I saw games of it And I play the nimzo indian not that it is a like at all.  He went Bd2 against me and wow I knew only a3 Bxc3 bxc3 etc so I was surprised but I realise at once after cxd4 he wanted to play Nb5!  And he knew again more of the opening then me, not my plan so I decided to play a6!?  I don t know about this move at all and so did he. I won the game. But what about the move? Is it possible?


I play the MacCutcheon and Steinitz as black, just because the Winawer has more detailed theory that you have to memorize to keep up with, and everyone has their favorite line against it, so I'd have to learn them all. The Mac leads to similar dynamic play, except that my opponents aren't as prepared for it. But the Steinitz comes up far more often.

As white, I play the Steinitz, or the Bd2 line against the Winawer. So I know the Steinitz very well from playing it from both sides. In fact, I just got a really nice win on the white side of the Steinitz this past weekend, in my first USCF tourney game since returning to chess after a 2.5 year break. The Bd2 line is supposed to be inferior to the true mainlines of the Winawer at GM level, but I once got a winning position against a master (NM) playing it, in a slow OTB tournament game. I ended up losing the game in the end, but I definitely had a big advantage in the middle game. So it may not be good enough for GMs, but it's certainly good enough for a class level patzer like me (1700ish USCF).



You should play e5 tongue.png


I would lean toward the Winawer as Black with 3...Bb4 instead of the Classical's 3...Nf6 because, as White, I love 3...Nf6 because I can play 4 e5, where Black's best move is 4...Nfd7 and it's almost like White has played the Advance Variation while forcing Black to waste his 4th move.  The Winawer also usually includes 4 e5, but there's not a Black Knight on f6 White gets to chase away.

The Winawer generally results in Black exchanging a B for an N, but White gets doubled Pawns, an isolated Pawn, and ...c5 starts what can be a tremendous Q-side counterattack.

Remember, the whole point of the openings is to give you a middlegame you are comfortable playing and the typical Q-side attack by Black in the Winawer often wins.

Personally, I play the Caro-Kann because of the difficulty of getting the Black QB into the game with the French, but Caro player's pay for getting their Bad Bishop outside their pawn chain by requiring two moves to get a Pawn on c5, where the French requires just one move.

poucin wrote:

Just try both and make your choice.

Personnally i prefer Winawer because i find plans rather easy.

Freaking IM says the winawer is easy... what an asshole wink.png

The winawer blows my mind. I really hate trying to navigate it, and so I avoid it.


But yeah, ideally (IMO) look at some GM games (historical or modern).

When you like the look of some middlegame plan, then pick that opening. Maybe a GM really crushes some guy, or maybe the GM loses, but you thought the position offered a lot of promising stuff.

So then you play it yourself, trying to copy what you saw and use those same ideas... usually it doesn't work out entirely as planned wink.png but after a few tries in serious games you'll usually know whether or not you like that variation.

DeirdreSkye wrote:

Zakharov's idea against Classical  is quite dangerous.

A very interesting system that sometimes leads to interesting positional games and others to very sharp attacking games.It doesn't offer any objective advantage but the position is much easier for white than it is for Black. 

Ok, 8...f6 is the normal move. I'm no great chess player, but that move followed by 9...Nxf6 strikes me as positionally unsound. In the resulting pawn structure, the e5 square is the key to the position, and Black is giving it up. That's why 10. Qe2 is strong: it solidifies control of e5 as well as pressuring the e6 pawn. Also, allowing exf6 opens the h2-b8 diagonal for White's dark square B.

My idea would be to postpone ...f6 until Black is better prepared to contest e5. If he does play 8...f6, then after 9. exf6 Black might consider 9...Qxf6. This disputes control over e5, though the Q might be somewhat vulnerable on that square.

I am in the early stages of learning to understand chess, so I would appreciate your insights on this line of thought.


I personally prefer the Classical.