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French Defense (C00)
1 e4 e6

Number of games in database: 4627
Years covered: 1827 to 2019
Overall record:
   White wins 41.0%
   Black wins 34.4%
   Draws 24.7%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Mikhail Chigorin  39 games
Lawrence Day  32 games
Wilhelm Steinitz  21 games
Simon Kim Williams  22 games
Alexei Barsov  20 games
Viktor Korchnoi  15 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Nimzowitsch vs Systemsson, 1927
Keres vs Verbac, 1933
Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858
M Ortueta Esteban vs J Sanz, 1933
Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1911
Chigorin vs Blackburne, 1898
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 page 1 of 186; games 1-25 of 4,627  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. C Vezin vs W Schlumberger ½-½541827friendlyC00 French Defense
2. Mrs. F vs The Turk 1-0411827ExhibitionC00 French Defense
3. McDonnell vs W Fraser 1-0371831MatchC00 French Defense
4. McDonnell vs W Fraser ½-½741831MatchC00 French Defense
5. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1501834LondonC00 French Defense
6. G Walker vs Saint Amant 0-1441836London m1C00 French Defense
7. La Bourdonnais vs Daniel Wilson 1-0441837Blindfold simulC00 French Defense
8. La Bourdonnais vs L S Lecrivain 1-0281837ParisC00 French Defense
9. Staunton vs W M Popert 0-1271840MatchC00 French Defense
10. Kieseritzky vs Saint Amant 0-1391840ParisC00 French Defense
11. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1381842London m2C00 French Defense
12. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1381842London m2C00 French Defense
13. Cochrane vs Staunton 1-0231842LondonC00 French Defense
14. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1241842LondonC00 French Defense
15. Taverner vs Saint Amant  0-1421843Great BritainC00 French Defense
16. A Shishmanovich vs Zytogorski 1-0201844RousseC00 French Defense
17. C Stanley vs E Rousseau  0-1281845New Orleans mC00 French Defense
18. Von Der Lasa vs Loewenthal  ½-½321846ViennaC00 French Defense
19. Utrecht vs Wijk bij Duurstede 0-1291848City MatchC00 French Defense
20. E Lowe vs H Kennedy 0-1421849MatchC00 French Defense
21. Bird vs G W Medley 0-1291849LondonC00 French Defense
22. Bird vs G W Medley 1-0331849LondonC00 French Defense
23. Bird vs G W Medley 1-0211849LondonC00 French Defense
24. Zeist vs Amsterdam  ½-½481849correspondenceC00 French Defense
25. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0281850Calcutta mC00 French Defense
 page 1 of 186; games 1-25 of 4,627  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 15 OF 15 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-24-12  thomastonk: <kitbitzer31> White is in no hurry to prove the compensation for the pawn. Black has a long lasting problem with his king. If Black intends 0-0, White can simply develop Nf3, Bd3, and 0-0, and then launch a king side attack. If Black forces White early to do something with Ba3/Nb5, then he won't be able to castle, and Black is permanently badly coordinated.
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: Ah... I see.Thanks. You were very helpful. I remember a quote by Petrosian that went something like this, "Many players after sacrificing a pawn aim not to obtain the initiativefor it but to regain the sacrificed material". It certainly applies here to me. Once again, thank you for your great help..
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: Once again, sorry to bother you but what would you play after 8...Bc7? Any recommendations for White? Thanks.
Sep-24-12  haydn20: <k31> 8....Bc7 9. Bxa3 Nc6 10. Qg4 g6 11. Bd3 followed up by Nf3 0-0 and Nxc7 and White has a blistering attack with an unopposed DSB, while Black is still trying to get developed. 6...cxd4 looks a lot more sensible for Black. Maybe one of the resident stronger players has a deeper view than I.
Sep-24-12  thomastonk: <kitbitzer31> Maybe this opening explorer can answer some of your questions:
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: Thanks to both <haydn20> and <thomastonk> in answering my numerous questions. Thanks or being so patient and kind to an amateur.
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: But what if 9...Ne7 instead? Then after 10.Qg4 0-0....
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: It appears to me that there is no direct refutation in the 6...cxb4 line. Most likely the line has just gone out of fashion...
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: Can I play with Black against one of you with the 6...cxb4 line? Thanks.
Sep-24-12  thomastonk: <kitbitzer31: there is no direct refutation in the 6...cxb4 line.> Well, White cannot announce a mate or does not win a piece by force, but I think that Black is clearly worse, and hence it "gone out of fashion".

<Kitbitzer31: Can I play with Black against one of you with the 6...cxb4 line?> Where are you going to play?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <kibitzer31>

<1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 6.b4 cxb4 7.Nb5 Nc6 8.axb4 Bxb4+ 9.c3 Be7 10.Ba3 Nh6 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Nd6+ Kf8 13.Bb5 f6> is the mainline according to Fritz 11 opening book. However <13... Nf5> is the move Fritz suggested on infinitive search with <14.Nxf5 exf5>

click for larger view

and now either 15.Ne2 or 15.Qb3 with only +0.2 pawns advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: And for the sake of classification, the a.m. line belongs properly spea♔ more to French, Winawer, Advance (C17) or possibly even to C18
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: To <thomastonk>, In chesscube?
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: Thanks for the help guys... I've gotten a better idea on how to play the opening thanks to you guys..
Sep-24-12  kitbitzer31: <Whiteshark>, why 7...Nc6 and not 7...bxa3+?
Sep-26-12  kitbitzer31: Whiteshark, any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks.
Sep-26-12  thomastonk: <kitbitzer31: why 7...Nc6 and not 7...bxa3+?> Well, 7.. bxa3 opens the diagonal a3-f8 for the Bc1, whereas 7.. Nc6 and another book line, 7.. b3, don't.

BTW, I don't like White's play in Fritz 11 opening book given above.

Sep-27-12  kitbitzer31: Ah. Thanks <thomastonk>..
Feb-18-13  Tigranny: I love the French.
Feb-18-13  parisattack: <Tigranny: I love the French.>

I am learning to. I want to be a breed apart, also. :) List of books on the French on my forum.

Feb-24-13  2blackrooks: Hi all
I've been playing the odd rubinstein French Roll Eyes. It doesn't seem to get a good press and a lot of players think its boring. Is it possible to sex it up a bit and make it more aggressive?? I play it because it cuts down on the theory as I'm learning the game.

How does the Frere (Becker) variation hold up? 1,e4 e6. 2. d4 d5 3.Nc3/Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Qd5 Or the Ellis Gambit: 1,e4 e6. 2. d4 d5 3.Nc3/Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 e5 Ellis Gambit Delayed: 1,e4 e6. 2. d4 d5 3.Nc3/Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nc6 5.Nf3 e5.

Mar-05-13  parisattack: <2blackrooks: Hi all
I've been playing the odd rubinstein French Roll Eyes. It doesn't seem to get a good press and a lot of players think its boring. Is it possible to sex it up a bit and make it more aggressive?? I play it because it cuts down on the theory as I'm learning the game.>

The Rub actually seems to be more popular than ever (relatively speaking). I've seen several articles on the so-called Fort Knox setup within the Rub.

Becker seems to be OK tho to me it looks as if black is just playing a somewhat limited Center Counter. The Ellis, on the other hand, I think you're sort of just asking for it...

Dec-24-13  zipperbear: French Defense is not a good option, much stronger is Russian Game, Stalin Defense! Just for fun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: John Cochrane page 261 from his 'A Treatise on the Game of Chess' printed in 1822.

Inside cover in two pics.

When analysing The French (which he calls: 'The King's Pawn One Game', the opening - it did not get named the French Defence till after the London - Paris correspondence match (18341836.)

John Cochrane was not too fond of Captain Joseph Bertin's (1690s 1736) suggestion of 3.e5. Though Cochrane did himself play it in later years.

He gives in this section of the book general advice that grabbing the centre with pawns, d4,e4 and f4 may not always be a good thing and the White centre can be 'extremely feeble'.

Published in 1822 just about 100 years before 'hyper-modern' chess was making it's mark.


Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: The variation 1. e4 e6 2. Bb2 is known as the Papa-Ticulat Gambit - does anyone know how it received this name?
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