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French Defense - the bulletproof chess opening

Posted on:May 9, 2023

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The French Defense is a popular chess opening responses to 1.e4. The French defense opening is entirely based upon the pawn structure in the center of the board and usually leads to closed games.


The French Defense starts after 1.e4 e6 resulting in this position:


French Defense - Exchange Variation

The Exchange Variation is a solid option for white in the French Defense, but it does not offer many chances for an immediate advantage. The resulting position tends to be symmetrical, with each side having a pawn on d5 and a pawn on e6.


French Defense - Exchange Variation PGN:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5

French Defence - Advance Variation

Here white aims to control more space in the center and restrict Black’s pawn on e6. The Advance Variation can lead to dynamic and tactical positions, where both sides must be careful and precise in their play.


French Defence - Advance Variation PGN:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5

French Defence - Steinitz Variation

White closes the center and Black tries to build up pressure by playing c5. The Steinitz Variation can lead to complex and strategic positions


French Defence - Steinitz Variation PGN:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5

French Defense - Winawer Variation

In the Winawer French, Black immediately pins the Nc3 with the dark-squared bishop, putting additional pressure on e4.


French Defense - Winawer Variation PGN:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4

French Defense - Rubinstein Variation

The Rubinstein Variation is a solid and interesting option for both sides in the French Defense. It is often favored by players who are comfortable playing with a slightly unbalanced position and enjoy strategical battles.


French Defense - Rubinstein Variation PGN:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4

French Defense - Tarrasch Variation

The Tarrasch Variation in the French Defense arises after the moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2. This move aims to support the e4 pawn and prepares to castle kingside. Black has several options in response, but the Tarrasch Variation specifically continues with 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7.


French Defense - Tarrasch Variation PGN:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2


The French Defense is a solid opening with a good reputation. It is considered an excellent defense for beginners that allows you to reach a solid position without knowing a lot of theory. The French Defense aims to establish a pawn in the center and fight White for central control.