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Zigfrids Solmanis vs Ernests Gize
National Team Candidates (1940), Riga LAT, rd 11, Oct-??
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Common Bishop tactics for students!

This game transposes to a pseudo C10 French Rubinstein variation with 4...dxe4 5.Nxe4. Black must tread carefully in this line, or he'll get miniaturized. A well-timed c-pawn thrust is necessary; 7...c5 was better than 7...a6 (which can be a useful move in other variations of the French, but not here). Black must MEMORIZE a bit of theory for his preferred defense to 1.e4!

8.Bxh7 g6 is a way to hem in a lone pawn-snatching bishop, but it's a bad idea for Black here given the B-Q battery on the diagonal. White gains three pawns for his light squared bishop and the initiative!

10...Ke7 11.Bg5+ skewers royalty, and the Black queen is thereafter removed. Perhaps show the kids that 11...Nf6? to block the check is suicide, as 12.BxNf6+ retains the skewer, or 12.QxNf6+ is just as good.

Also note that 5...Qxd4? would have been unwise due to the discovered check 6.Bb5+. It's dangerous for a queen to come out early just to capture a pawn. She takes the bait and becomes the target. (It's often good for her to come out to fork and capture an unprotected minor PIECE or cornered rook.) The early pawn grab by the White queen works in this game because the capture 10.Qxg6+ comes with check, and is followed by developing the dark-squared bishop with check.

Again, CAUTION: If Black plays the C10 French Rubinstein variation the wrong way, s/he gets smoked and devoured like salmon. Don't guess your way as you go.

_ * _ * _ * _ *

The French Defense appeared in a book by the Spaniard Luis Ramirez de Lucena (c. 1465 c.1530). His father was an ambassador to King Ferdinand; both having the privilege of traveling to France and Italy. Lucena's manuscript (perhaps copied from another chess player's book that did not survive) was published in Salamanca in 1497 by a traveling German publisher named Leonard Hutz joined there by Lope Sanz. Extensive history of the printing press and chess books can be found here:

However, the French Defense got it's name from an 1834 correspondence game between London and Paris.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: French, Rubinstein variation
C10 Sub-variants:
French, Paulsen variation
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3
French, Marshall variation
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 c5
French, Rubinstein variation
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4
French, Fort Knox variation
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bd7 5. Nf3 Bc6

French, Rubinstein variation
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7
French, Rubinstein, Capablanca line
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Ne5

French, Frere (Becker) variation
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Qd5

* More French Defense ECO Codes:

* Practical video explanation (4...Bd7 and 4...Nbd6) by IM Andrey Ostrovskiy: "...and Black is doing just fine." IM Ostrovskiy has other French Defense videos available.

* Instructive French Defense video variations (see blue links on that page): Write the move orders down on paper if you are going to play this!

* NM Dereque Kelley prefers the White pawn structures: "However..." Black has resources if he's studied the various lines that White may try.

* Of course, Black must be prepared for the Advance variation too: Black must also learn proper lines against the tricky Milner-Barry Gambit.

* Another perspective on the Advance variation; I tend to agree:

* Opening theory - a GREAT site (full access requires a subscription):

* Plenty of tactics against Black's Rubinstein variation -- avoid them:

* A slow-moving French Rubinstein video -- lots of chess history -- by GM Ron Henley (w/advertisement inserted): GM Henley advocates this defense (4...Nbd7) as a safe, sound career defense to 1.e4, making use of the raking bishops!

Note: Bing video links do not copy and paste, then transfer very well. At the time of this post, all links were working properly.

Black must rehearse his hand-written lines to be effective OTB! If so, these lines can be played reliably over and over again. Creating/substituting (inferior) moves on the fly is risky.

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