Switching from Scandi(Qd8) to a French, good or a bad decision? What to expect?

ESP-918

Been playing Scandi (Qd8 line) against stronger opponents (strong CM's or medium strength FM , OTB chess) and it's been great , because many of them don't know theory well enough and I usually get an advantage(sometimes just time advantage) , especially valuable in blitz.

If I were switch to a French opening(learning it's theory of course ) , my opponents might be prepared much better then Scandi and I will get crushed or.... ? Also what to expect after switching in terms of game play (in comparison to Qd8 line) .

TanakaYui
Not a french defense player, but I’m going to share what little I know.
As you probably know, two are very different openings in that the positions that arise can be very varied (compared to the Scandinavian) in the French!

I would say play (in the opening at least) is much more easier to prepare for in the Scandinavian Qd8 lines despite white having more choices. In the French, white has a plethora of approaches - Paulsen, Advanced, Tarrasch, two knights, Exchange... the center can be closed with e5 where black will play for c5 or f6 pawn breaks. In the exchange variation it’s completely different and usually Bd3 Bd6 Nf3 Nf6 castles castles is what happens. In the tarrasch, you have the choice of entering closed or open structures. (3..Nf6 / 3...c5). More choices, more forks in the roads!
I feel that pawn play is much more important in the French. Because of the various structures that can come about! Black can also face some kingside scares in some sharper lines such as the Winawer, and white has a lot more resources (at least from my experience and knowledge) to initiate k-side assaults in such closed pawn centers with the pawn chain pointing towards the kingside compared to the scandinavian. However, I think the French is great in that usually it’s easy to understand what is going on and how to form plans - where to break, how to prepare pawn breaks and the common themes that come up.
ESP-918

#2 

Thank you for you answer, very clear, professional explanation.

 

OldPatzerMike

I've been playing the French for about a year. In my experience, half of the players of the White pieces have played the Exchange. Another 1/4 of them have played the Advance.

I can recommend two excellent resources for learning about the French:

1. Uhlmann's book, "Winning with the French", consists of well annotated games by the master of the French Defense.

2. The website https://charlottechesscenter.blogspot.com contains a series of 20 well written articles on the French, written by chess.com member @ThrillerFan.

ThrillerFan

In response to Post 4, if you want easy access to the first of those 20 without having to sift through month by month, here it is:

https://charlottechesscenter.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-french-connection-volume-1.html

 

And just a note - it won't be limited to 20.  I do write other articles as well, but that series will continue and be on the lookout for future articles in the series.

OldPatzerMike
ThrillerFan wrote:

In response to Post 4, if you want easy access to the first of those 20 without having to sift through month by month, here it is:

https://charlottechesscenter.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-french-connection-volume-1.html

 

And just a note - it won't be limited to 20.  I do write other articles as well, but that series will continue and be on the lookout for future articles in the series.

Your articles are very helpful; glad to hear that the series will continue.

I contemplated playing in the G/60 tournament in Charlotte in July, but I'll be playing in the Charlottesville Open the previous weekend. Traveling two weekends in a row would be a bit much. I do expect to make it to a tournament in Charlotte one of these days. Hope to meet you then. 

SpiderUnicorn

good decision my good man. the French in my opinion is thousands times better than the Scandinavian

FranklinLeroyCarroll

In all honesty, you would be better off switching to the Caro-Kahn. The pawn structures are more similar to each other than the Scandinavian is to the French; however, not playing the Scandinavian is a good move. 

SeniorPatzer
OldPatzerMike wrote:

I've been playing the French for about a year. In my experience, half of the players of the White pieces have played the Exchange. Another 1/4 of them have played the Advance.

 

Heh, heh.  What rating range do you play in when you play?  

 

FWIW, my first game back in OTB play after 30 years, I played the French Exchange as White.  happy.png

OldPatzerMike
SeniorPatzer wrote:
OldPatzerMike wrote:

I've been playing the French for about a year. In my experience, half of the players of the White pieces have played the Exchange. Another 1/4 of them have played the Advance.

 

Heh, heh.  What rating range do you play in when you play?  

 

FWIW, my first game back in OTB play after 30 years, I played the French Exchange as White. 

My opponents are generally in the 1500-1900 range, with a smattering of experts and masters. Generally, it seems that the lower the opponent's rating, the more likely they are to play the Exchange.

I practically salivate when White plays the Exchange. lol. Last weekend I went into the last round of an OTB tournament tied for first. My opponent, with whom I was tied, played the White side of the French Exchange. I won the game and the tourney. 

SpiderUnicorn

i think you need to go for the Sicilian and the 1...e5, as well as the Caro-kann. they all offer as many if not more instructive ideas and concepts of chess. having a wide repertoire is important in chess, as you can get the juices of all aspects of opening play, and makes your opponents harder to prepare against you, as they don't know what opening you are going to play. i myself play e5 or c5 against e4, and i go for a variety of different variations of said moves, like the Scheveningen, the Chigorin, the Berlin, and the Giuoco Piano. and against d4, i have the KID, the Benoni, the Semi-Slav, and even the Benko sometimes. you don't have to stick to a single opening all the time. 

rychessmaster1

Try 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6