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French (C10)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3

Number of games in database: 6292
Years covered: 1851 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 44.5%
   Black wins 18.0%
   Draws 37.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Viswanathan Anand  27 games
Sergey Karjakin  25 games
Nigel Short  19 games
Georg Meier  121 games
Yannick Pelletier  38 games
Dragan Kosic  38 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Spielmann vs R L'hermet, 1927
Najdorf vs Glucksberg, 1929
Tarrasch vs J Mieses, 1916
E Corzo vs Capablanca, 1902
J Klavins vs Tal, 1949
H Lohmann vs R Teschner, 1950
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 page 1 of 252; games 1-25 of 6,292 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Wentel vs C Naret Oliphant  0-1311851AmsterdamC10 French
2. Paulsen vs Kolisch 1-0311861Paulsen - KolischC10 French
3. Steinitz vs L Hamel  ½-½361863Casual gameC10 French
4. Paulsen vs A Schmorl 1-0301864LeipzigC10 French
5. Steinitz vs Bird 1-0321866Bird - SteinitzC10 French
6. Steinitz vs Bird ½-½431866Bird - SteinitzC10 French
7. Steinitz vs Bird 1-0121866Bird - SteinitzC10 French
8. Steinitz vs Bird 0-1281866Bird - SteinitzC10 French
9. Mackenzie vs G Reichhelm 1-0291867Mackenzie - Reichhelm 2nd US Championship MatchC10 French
10. Steinitz vs H Czarnowski 1-0231867ParisC10 French
11. Blackburne vs C Puller  1-0381868Blindfold simul, 6bC10 French
12. Blackburne vs Sutton 1-0201871Blindfold simul, 10bC10 French
13. Anderssen vs K Pitschel  1-0431871WSB-09.KongressC10 French
14. Zukertort vs Major Creagh  ½-½351879Blindfold simulC10 French
15. Blackburne vs Worrall 1-0291880ManchesterC10 French
16. J Wisker vs A Burns 0-1261880MatchC10 French
17. A Sellman vs J Grundy 1-03718805th American Chess Congress, New YorkC10 French
18. A Clerc vs de Riviere  1-0221881Clerc - de RiviereC10 French
19. Paulsen vs W Paulsen ½-½3018812nd DSB Congress, BerlinC10 French
20. C Locock vs F Morley  ½-½19188311th Oxford - Cambridge Varsity mC10 French
21. W Wayte vs E Thorold 1-0441884BathC10 French
22. C Locock vs F Morley 1-033188412th Oxford - Cambridge Varsity mC10 French
23. Gunsberg vs E Thorold 1-0291885Hereford BCAC10 French
24. C Salvioli vs B Forlico  ½-½2918865th Italian Championship, RomeC10 French
25. D van Foreest vs H Kothe  1-0321887DCA Congress 15thC10 French
 page 1 of 252; games 1-25 of 6,292 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-17-07  Open Defence: <Thorsson> is the Fort Knox the line where Black plays dxe4, Bd7 followed by Bc6 ?
Jun-17-07  ganstaman: <Thorsson> I had basically given up on the FK in favor of simply more exciting lines (ie give white more chances to win...), meeting 3. Nd2 and 3. Nc3 with 3...Nf6.

But thanks for the suggestion, which I may actually look at. I love the French, but am trying to find a way to add a little variety to my games and may otherwise have to begin to throw in a few 1...e5's (gasp!!).

Jun-17-07  ganstaman: <OD> Yes, that's it.
Oct-29-07  get Reti: Why do people play the Fort Knox variation (1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3/d2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bd7 and 5...Bc6) when they can fianchetto the light bishop instead without blocking the c pawn from advancing two squares?
Dec-11-07  Freidenker: I'm curious about something, what do you guys think of 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3. Nc3/Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 b6! ?

My database gives a pretty bad % for this line (for black), but the perf. rating suggest this is mosly because black players had lower ratings. I know 3...Nf6 is probably more accurate, but I just feel too uncomfortable with it.

Dec-11-07  centercounter: Freidenker, I think Yasser Seirawan used to play something like that, although I don't know if it was exactly that. You can delay with 3. ... Nd7 also, instead of 3. ... Nf6.

I recently played against 3. ... Bd7, but because of the exposure of the B at c6, I cannot recommend it.

Dec-11-07  mrbasso: <Freidenker> White has a comfortable position after 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Bb5+ and 7.Bd3. I wouldn't recommend it.
Dec-11-07  Freidenker: I see exactly what you both means... 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Bb5+ look very annoying for black.

Then, what's the best way to play the dxe variation ? (I think it's called Rubinstein). According the database here, the best way seems to be with an early Bd7/Bc6.

May-19-08  Alphastar: 3. ..Nc6 also falls under this ECO, which is an interesting move.

Not very natural as it blocks the c-pawn but its hard to obtain a tangible advantage as white.

Dec-23-08  patzer of patzers: Could anyone tell me anything about 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 c6? It doesn't seem to be played much and the Opening Explorer gives white a large winning percentage, but I just can't make much sense of it. How is it best refuted? I also posted this in the Caro-Kann (B15).
Dec-23-08  patzer of patzers: I see <Holden> once played it and used 4.e5 ...?
Dec-23-08  whiteshark: <patzer of patzers> What's the idea behind your <3...c6>?
Dec-23-08  patzer of patzers: I don't really have one, and wouldn't play it myself. All I can say is that d5 won't be attacked very soon, though I'm not sure whether or not that's very important.
Dec-23-08  blacksburg: there's no real problem with 3...c6, it just doesn't DO anything. it doesn't hang material or anything like that, but it's the definition of passive.

the point of playing the caro-kann is that c6 can be played instead of e6, keeping the line open for the queen's bishop. then after ...Bf5 or something, ...e6 can be played with no disadvantage.

but once ...e6 has already been played, ...c6 has no point. d5 is not under any threat, so another move to defend it is not as good as a developing move.

also, ...c6 is essentially a wasted tempo in the french because black almost always wants to play ...c5 in the french. ...c6 also takes a square away from the knight.

note that the semi-slav, where black plays ...c6,...d5, and ...e6, is a whole nother ball of wax, and the idea there is much different.

so basically, ...c6 doesn't lose material, or create a big weakness, but it also doesn't do anything active, it doesn't help to develop a piece, and it takes away the knight's square and wastes a move since ...c5 is going to be necessary. the only positive thing it does is defend d5, but that's not threatened anyways. ...c6 has a bunch of cons, but no pros.

any developing move is better. Nf6, Be7, Nbd7, Bd7, probably all better. even the immediate ...c5 is playable, check frank marshall's games for examples.

Dec-24-08  patzer of patzers: <blacksburg>, thanks for the explanation. And if I encounter it, I should just continue developing?
Dec-24-08  blacksburg: pretty much. it's not one of those mistakes you can refute with a 3-move tactic. just develop normally, don't exchange pieces unless it benefits you concretely, watch as black suffers and writhes trying to develop his queenside. eventually he will make some positional concession, like another pawn move on the queenside, or he will be playing down a piece, and you must take advantage of this.

note that exd5 is generally good for black, because by ...exd5, black frees his c8 bishop.

Dec-24-08  patzer of patzers: <blacksburg> Before you read this, I want to make it clear that my questions had only the very best intentions and that I actually learned from your helpful thoughts on 3...e6.

You're right about the opening. I have something very shameful to admit: I...I'm...I'm playing...Chess Titans.


(Okay, it got a little weird near the end.) But seriously, I AM that weak. Fortunately, my "opponent" on level 4 blundered a queen for a bishop, and it went downhill from there. I may have to move up to level 5 soon, or maybe I just got lucky.

By the way, if you don't have Chess Titans (ex on Microsoft Vista), don't get it. From what I've read on the internet, its top level (10) could be about 1700, but is probably lower--and without an opening book, it takes forever to think about EACH and EVERY MOVE. It also, as you have seen, trys out blunderous novelties.

Well, thanks for the info! Following your advice, the "game" went wonderfully!

click for larger view

It burns the eyes. Oh, it is sad.

Dec-24-08  blacksburg: have no shame, bro. a win is a win. and don't feel bad that chess titans is weak, trust me, there ain't a lot of people walking around with plus scores against rybka and fritz.
Dec-26-08  patzer of patzers: Well, sure...oh well. Opening novelties, even weak ones, can often take me by surprise. By the way, I see you've changed your avatar--care to elaborate? Or did you just happen to feel like it?
Dec-28-08  KingG: <patzer of patzers> <Could anyone tell me anything about 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 c6? It doesn't seem to be played much and the Opening Explorer gives white a large winning percentage, but I just can't make much sense of it. How is it best refuted? >

Kasparov played e5, which looks logical: Kasparov vs Fritz, 1992

Apr-16-10  rapidcitychess: Any one got any thing on the 3...Be7 line? Thanks.
Jan-25-13  JustWoodshifting: High level Rubinstein variation:
Depth = 27

[Event "Computer chess game"]
[Site "North America"]
[Date "2013.01.22"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Deep Rybka 4.1 x64 "]
[Black "Deep Rybka 4.1 x64 "]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C10"]
[WhiteElo "3305"]
[BlackElo "3305"]
[PlyCount "86"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Bd3 c5 8. O-O cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bc5 10. Be3 Qe7 11. Re1 O-O 12. c3 Rd8 13. Bg5 Bxd4 14. cxd4 h6 15. Bh4 Rd6 16. Rc1 Bd7 17. Bb1 Bc6 18. Qd3 Kf8 19. Bg3 Rdd8 20. Be5 Rac8 21. h3 Bd5 22. Rc2 Ne8 23. f3 a6 24. b3 Rxc2 25. Qxc2 Bc6 26. Rd1 Qg5 27. Kh2 Nf6 28. Qf2 Nd5 29. Re1 Qe7 30. Qc2 f6 31. Bg3 Qd7 32. Qh7 Ne7 33. h4 Qd5 34. Be4 Qxd4 35. Bxc6 Nxc6 36. Rxe6 Qd5 37. Re4 Qg8 38. Qf5 Qd5 39. Qg6 Qf7 40. Qh7 Qg8 41. Qf5 Qd5 42. Qg6 Qf7 43. Qh7 Qg8 1/2-1/2

Jun-01-20  The Rocket: The Forth Knox variation (dxe4, Nxe4, Bd7, Bd3, Bc6) is actually a better version of a Nd7 Caro-kann..

No pawn on c6 but similar structure. Unlike the Nd7 Caro, back has speedy development of the light squared bishop. The one drawback is the same as for Caros, slightly passive for black.

There is the option to go really boring and trade the light squared bishop for the f3 knight and then solidifying with c6... But I don't reccommend it unless you only want a draw.

You will have to be ready to play advanced frenches, which shouldn't concern you though. Because advanced Caros are more dangerous anyway.

Jun-01-20  The Rocket: There is a queen e2 line which forces you to take on f3 though, or else b6.. Ne5, bb7, Qb5+ with a superior position for White.

But black can actually part with one of the bishops and still be solid since there is no tension in the center. In most cases giving the bishop pair is dangerous but not here

Jun-01-20  The Rocket: Wow! Black only wins 17% of the time in the Nc3 lines!

I think the French is a very decent, deep strategical opening. And it's actually less drawish than the Caro-kann in the mainlines

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