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Info about the French defence
he French Defence is a chess opening characterised by the moves:
1. e4 e6
This is most commonly followed by 2.d4 d5, with Black intending ...c5 at a later stage, attacking White's centre and gaining space on the queenside. White has extra space in the centre and on the kingside and often plays for a breakthrough with f4–f5. The French has a reputation for solidity and resilience, although some lines such as the Winawer Variation can lead to sharp complications. Black's position is often somewhat cramped in the early game; in particular, the pawn on e6 can impede the development of the bishop on c8.
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Chessboard480.svg a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rooka7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawne6 black pawnd5 black pawnd4 white pawne4 white pawna2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawna1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook 8
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Position after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5
Following the opening moves 1.e4 e6, the game usually continues 2.d4 d5 (see below for alternatives). White makes a claim to the centre, while Black immediately challenges the pawn on e4.
White's options include defending the e4-pawn with 3.Nc3 or 3.Nd2, exchanging it with 3.exd5, or advancing the pawn with 3.e5, each of which lead to different types of positions. Note that 3.Bd3 allows 3...dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6, after which White must concede to Black either a tempo or the advantage of the two bishops.
Exchange Variation: 3.exd5 exd5
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Chessboard480.svg a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rooka7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawnd5 black pawnd4 white pawna2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawna1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook 8
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Exchange Variation after 3.exd5 exd5
Many players who begin with 1.e4 find that the French Defence is the most difficult opening for them to play against due to the closed structure and unique strategies of the system. Thus, many players choose to play the exchange so that the position becomes simple and clearcut. White makes no effort to exploit the advantage of the first move, and has often chosen this line with expectation of an early draw, and indeed draws often occur if neither side breaks the symmetry. An extreme example was Capablanca–Maróczy, Lake Hopatcong 1926, which went: 4.Bd3 Bd6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Bg5 Bg4 8.Re1 Nbd7 9.Nbd2 c6 10.c3 Qc7 11.Qc2 Rfe8 12.Bh4 Bh5 13.Bg3 Bxg3 14.hxg3 Bg6 15.Rxe8+ Rxe8 16.Bxg6 hxg6 17.Re1 Rxe1+ 18.Nxe1 Ne8 19.Nd3 Nd6 20.Qb3 a6 21.Kf1 ½–½.
Despite the symmetrical pawn structure, White cannot force a draw. An obsession with obtaining one sometimes results in embarrassment for White, as in Tatai–Korchnoi, Beer Sheva 1978, which continued 4.Bd3 c5!? 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Qe2+ Be7 7.dxc5 Nf6 8.h3 0-0 9.0-0 Bxc5 10.c3 Re8 11.Qc2 Qd6 12.Nbd2 Qg3 13.Bf5 Re2 14.Nd4 Nxd4 0–1. A less extreme example was Mikhail Gurevich–Short, Manila 1990 where White, a strong Russian grandmaster, played openly for the draw but was ground down by Short in 42 moves.
To create genuine winning chances, White will often play c2–c4 at some stage to put pressure on Black's d5-pawn. Black can give White an isolated queen's pawn by capturing on c4, but this gives White's pieces greater freedom, which may lead to attacking chances. This occurs in lines such as 3.exd5 exd5 4.c4 (played by GMs Normunds Miezis and Maurice Ashley) and 4.Nf3 Bd6 5.c4, which may transpose to the Petroff. Conversely, if White declines to do this, Black may play ...c7–c5 himself, e.g. 4.Bd3 c5, as in the above-cited Tatai–Korchnoi game.
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