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French, Winawer, Advance (C17)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5

Number of games in database: 1386
Years covered: 1883 to 2022
Overall record:
   White wins 43.4%
   Black wins 27.8%
   Draws 28.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Joseph G Gallagher  18 games
Throstur Thorhallsson  17 games
Mark Hebden  15 games
Ivan Farago  9 games
Emanuel Berg  9 games
Smbat Lputian  8 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Alekhine vs Nimzowitsch, 1930
Fine vs Botvinnik, 1938
Fine vs Flohr, 1938
Lasker vs Nimzowitsch, 1934
N V Pedersen vs L Karlsson, 1996
J Friedman vs Gulko, 1993
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 page 1 of 56; games 1-25 of 1,386  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Mortimer vs Winawer 0-1511883LondonC17 French, Winawer, Advance
2. J Cauveren vs L Renken  1-0211904Leeuwarden-BC17 French, Winawer, Advance
3. E Gruer vs W M Davidson  ½-½411910Cal Berkley-Stanford MatchC17 French, Winawer, Advance
4. Nimzowitsch vs John Bruun Hansen  1-0331921SimulC17 French, Winawer, Advance
5. Bogoljubov vs V Buerger 0-1451927ScarboroughC17 French, Winawer, Advance
6. Y Vilner vs A Model 0-1341927USSR ChampionshipC17 French, Winawer, Advance
7. Bogoljubov vs G A Thomas  1-0311927LondonC17 French, Winawer, Advance
8. F Bohatirchuk vs Botvinnik 1-0401927USSR ChampionshipC17 French, Winawer, Advance
9. Y Vilner vs Sergei Ballodit  ½-½541928Ch OdessaC17 French, Winawer, Advance
10. Levenfish vs A Model  ½-½531928Ch LeningradC17 French, Winawer, Advance
11. L Steiner vs Nimzowitsch 1-0411928Berlin BSGC17 French, Winawer, Advance
12. M Castillo vs S Ureta  1-03619283rd South American ChampionshipC17 French, Winawer, Advance
13. Reti vs S Beutum  1-0521928ViennaC17 French, Winawer, Advance
14. G A Thomas vs R P Michell  1-0281928ScarboroughC17 French, Winawer, Advance
15. W Schoenmann vs G Nagy  ½-½351928The Hague OlympiadC17 French, Winawer, Advance
16. D Marotti vs E Jonsson  1-0551928The Hague OlympiadC17 French, Winawer, Advance
17. B Verlinsky vs A Model  ½-½181929USSR ChampionshipC17 French, Winawer, Advance
18. A S Bernshteyn vs N Sorokin 1-0241929USSR ChampionshipC17 French, Winawer, Advance
19. Panov vs M Yudkovsky  1-0321929Ch MoscowC17 French, Winawer, Advance
20. I Kan vs Kostrov  ½-½321929Ivanovo-VoznesenskC17 French, Winawer, Advance
21. Yates vs Sultan Khan 1-0461929Quadrangular tC17 French, Winawer, Advance
22. A Becker vs Marshall  1-0541929KarlsbadC17 French, Winawer, Advance
23. A Becker vs G A Thomas  ½-½641929KarlsbadC17 French, Winawer, Advance
24. A Brinckmann vs D Przepiorka  1-0581929BudapestC17 French, Winawer, Advance
25. Alekhine vs Nimzowitsch 1-0301930San RemoC17 French, Winawer, Advance
 page 1 of 56; games 1-25 of 1,386  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-29-04  Helloween: Here is a nice 5...cxd4?! Winawer miniature of mine:

Helloween - TOTAL_chess [C17]
5m + 3s

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 cxd4?! 6.axb4 dxc3 7.Qg4! cxb2? 8.Bxb2 g6 9.Nf3 Ne7 10.Bd3 Qb6 11.0-0 Nbc6 12.b5 h5 13.Qg5 Nb4 14.Bd4 Qc7 15.Rxa7! Rxa7 16.b6 1-0

See Bogoljubov vs G Danielsson, 1935 for a very similar game in this line.

Jan-05-05  dukesterdog2: 5.f4 seems very playable. I'm surprised to find no games in the database where that move has been played.
Jan-05-05  pyryk: Dukesterdog2, may I suggest ChessBase's rather comprehensive online database at In this case though, it won't be of much help - there are only 4 games with 5. f4 there.
Jan-05-05  dukesterdog2: <pyryk> Thankyou for the link. What a great resource. I have added it to my bookmarks.
Aug-12-05  who: I need to kibitz on this game so that I can find the link later.
Dec-19-05  chessboyhaha: Hi everyone! I´m interested to study a little of French to my Black repertoire. Someone can indicate a book or a link? Please and thank you.
Dec-19-05  suenteus po 147: <chessboyhaha> I have also recently been trying to add the French to my black repertoire. I have no books or links to suggest. I have found though that by playing the French, losing, and then comparing my games against the games found in this database I find improvements much faster and that make more sense than consulting a "how to." Of course, that's just me. There are others who can probably suggest ways that don't involve losing a lot :)
Dec-19-05  Bad Star: <chessboyhaha> Play the French (3rd edition) by John Watson
Dec-20-05  vampiero: although it is a wonderful book, it is very difficult and i read a review about it that said that nobody below Master should even consider it because its full of variations.
Dec-21-05  sitzkrieg: What about this;

excellent free site for many openings and more.

Dec-21-05  Dudley: great sight and I think they have a lot of analysis on the French, but not too much on the Sicilian for Black.
Dec-21-05  sitzkrieg: I beg to differ sir;

etcetera. Just have to search a little.

Dec-21-05  Dudley: I was aware of that material, but the only variation covered in much depth for Black is the Taiminov-Kan. I love the site and heh-it's free!
Jun-03-07  get Reti: What do you guys think of the bishop retreat variation (5. a3 Ba5)? It leads to very lively play after 6.b4 cxd4 7. bxa5 dxc3 8. Qg4 Ne7 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qxh8 Nc6 followed by the capture of white's a pawn. Is it sound?
Jun-15-07  New Kasparov: 5 a3 cd! is very very interesting i keep on trying to find a book or theory on it does anything refute it?
Jun-15-07  nescio: <New Kasparov: 5 a3 cd! is very very interesting i keep on trying to find a book or theory on it does anything refute it?>

5...cxd4 looks quite playable, but the following convincing game has always been regarded as a model and will have discouraged the masters:

[Event "Leningrad ch-URS"]
[Site ""]
[Date "1933.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Rauzer, Vsevolod Alfredovich"]
[Black "Alatortsev, Vladimir Alexeevich"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C17"]
[PlyCount "53"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 cxd4 6. axb4 dxc3 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. Qd4 Ne7 9. Bd3 Nd7 10. O-O Nc6 11. Qxc3 Qb6 12. b5 d4 13. Qe1 Ne7 14. Qe4 Ng6 15. Re1 O-O 16. b4 Rd8 17. Bb2 f5 18. exf6 Nxf6 19. Bxd4 Qc7 20. Qe3 Nd5 21. Qg5 Nxb4 22. Bxg6 hxg6 23. b6 Qd7 24. Rxa7 Nxc2 25. Rd1 Rb8 26. Rd2 Qe8 27. Be5 1-0

Of course an improvement is always possible, but Nunn vs Eingorn, 1990 doesn't look promising either.

Jun-18-07  New Kasparov: thanks nescio!however the game with nunn and eingorn has quite a few flaws by black so i still think it is playable
Mar-11-12  LDJ: I want to start playing 3.Nc3 against the French because in the exchange variation with 4.c4 (which is what I play now) I always get problems with the isolated d pawn. I'm not a player who likes to study a lot of theory though, and I don't know what to play against 3...Bb4. I think It's worth noting that I prefer open games over closed ones. Does anyone have some advice?
Mar-11-12  ewan14: I used to enjoy playing the white side of the poisoned pawn variation of the Winawer

but now most players on the black side seem to castle king side to avoid it - and get a good game !

Anyone else found this ?

Thanks , Ewan

Mar-11-12  SimonWebbsTiger: @<ewan14>

It might be a question of fashion.

Vitiugov has played it and written a chapter on the Poisoned Pawn lines in his recent book on the French but otherwise most GMs have gone over to 7...0-0. I'm not sure if there is any specific reason because I always believed the 7...Qc7 lines enjoyed an OK theoretical reputation. That Computer analysis might say otherwise about the lines is another thought to add to fashion!

I'm certain at the club level, there will be those who play the Poisoned Pawn line because of John Watson's <Play the French>, which recommends it in the repertoire.

Mar-11-12  GBKnight: "I used to enjoy playing the white side of the poisoned pawn variation of the Winawer"

If I ever play you sir then I guarantee I will let you play the white side of the poisoned pawn! The trouble for players of the French is that white only allows the Winawer maybe 1 game in 10, and then there are the various sidelines (4Qg4, 4Bd2, etc) plus the closed variations (7Nf3), to contend with. I think it is fair to say, as Simon comments, that at GM level white players tend to avoid the poisoned pawn, especially with the benefit of vetry deep computer analysis, and long memories. At club level, it is basically fun to play, giving a very unbalanced game. There are many, many players at club level, who tend to sigh when they see 1 e6 trotted out.

Nov-10-15  deputy1: don't play the french but against this defence I would play offbeat variations

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