Mastery: Openings

Why Simon Loves the French Defense

Why Simon Loves the French Defense

GM Simon Williams has played the French Defense throughout his whole career and it has served him well, even against strong opposition. Now Simon presents an in depth course on how to handle every line of the French. It's a great system, allowing you to play for a win against all levels of opposition.

  • The Advance Variation

    GM Simon Williams begins a comprehensive new series on the French Defense, one of the most solid and versatile responses to 1. e4. GM Williams kicks off the lesson series with a very important line, the Advance variation, and teaches you all the reasonable moves. Watch how the always-dangerous Alexei Shirov played the Advance French to dismantle his Grandmaster opponent.

    • 24 min
    • 5 challenges
  • The Exchange A.K.A. The Groan Variation

    What exactly is the Groan variation in the French Exchange? You can count on GM Simon Williams to tell you how this opening got its memorable name. Can anyone spice up this drawish-looking position? The Ginger GM can. After this lesson, you’ll be using the Groan to make your opponent do the same in defeat.

    • 22 min
    • 5 challenges
  • The Tarrasch

    GM Simon Williams continues his primer on the French Defense with one of the trendiest variations today, the Tarrasch with Nd2. Learn how to make this opening spicy and aggressive, whether White likes it or not. Stick around for some of Simon's best rhyming slang in this fun video.

    • 26 min
    • 5 challenges
  • The Universal System

    GM Simon Williams has played the French Defense all his life, and he has quite a few secrets to share. Learn how to play against the dynamic Tarrasch French in this extremely useful lesson, covering the most commonly played moves by White. Find out how GM Williams did against one of the best players in the world in this opening in a late-night barroom battle.

    • 18 min
    • 5 challenges
  • The Rogue A-Pawn

    Do you realize how fun the French Defense can be? GM Simon Williams sure does. Check out this wild lesson on the rogue a-pawn in this supposedly solid and positional opening.

    • 20 min
    • 5 challenges
  • The Classical Variation

    It took GM Simon Williams 25 years to master the French Defense, but it should take you a lot less time now that you know all his secrets. Get ready for a lesson on perhaps the most popular of White’s responses to the French Defense — the classical variation with Nc3. Learn what to do against this important variation favored by some of best players in the world, including Fischer and Tal.

    • 24 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Classical Variation With 4.e5

    If your opponent meets your Classical French Defense with e5, you can always play Nd7 with a solid theoretical footing. But what would be the fun in that? GM Simon Williams, as usual, recommends a shocking move to immediately blast the game out of the opening books. Find out about this spicy idea in this bold video.

    • 21 min
    • 5 challenges
  • King's Indian Attack

    How did Bobby Fischer play against the French Defense as White, and what can you do to respond to his system? GM Simon Williams continues his love letter to the French with this fun and important video lesson on the King’s Indian Attack.

    • 14 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Odds And Ends

    If you’ve made it this far in GM Simon Williams’ examination of the French Defense, you’ve got to watch the last video in this educational series. Simon wraps up his French lessons with the odds and ends of the opening to make your knowledge complete, including how to play against the “spicy” wing gambit. After this video you will be able to stare down 1. e4 with full confidence.

    • 19 min
    • 5 challenges
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