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Posted by houseofcook


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Subject: French Defence, What do you play as White.

Hi there,

A question for players who play the French defence as their main opening.
What openings would you play as white ? I know this is dependant on the response by black. Is it a similar setup to the French, or totally unrelated?
What was your thinking in choosing these setups ?

Posted by ionadowman


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My own favorite...

... for White is 3.Nc3, hoping for the Winawer (an opening I like as Black as well, which says something about this line): 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5. 3.Nc3 and if Black plays 3...Bb4 we have the Winawer line, leading to a good fighting game. Black can try instead the exchange on e4 (I have a consultation game going on Gameknot at the moment in which the opponents have played this). Or he can try 3...Nf6, an OK line, but one I dislike as Black.

Playing the French OTB almost exclusively for several years, I found four opponents out of five favoured the Tarrasch, 3.Nd2, keeping the c-pawn free to advance. Not particularly committal, it's not easy for Black to get a hold on the ensuing game. I favoured the Guimard (3...Nc6) with considerable success, but blocking Black's c-pawn isn't everyone's cup o' java.

Finally, there's the more committal Advance Variation: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 (3...c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 are often played. White can then continue with the "standard" 6.Be2, or try the more ambitious 6.Bd3, possibly heading for the violent Milner-Barry Gambit: 6...cxd4 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.0-0 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 Qxe5 11.Re1 ... An example is the game kikoursus vs <a href="/" target="_blank" o