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French, Tarrasch (C07)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 c5

Number of games in database: 7154
Years covered: 1890 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 32.4%
   Black wins 23.0%
   Draws 44.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Michael Adams  70 games
Michele Godena  49 games
Sergei Rublevsky  44 games
Viktor Korchnoi  66 games
Wolfgang Uhlmann  64 games
Rafael Vaganian  60 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Tarrasch vs E Thorold, 1890
Botvinnik vs Boleslavsky, 1941
Tal vs Uhlmann, 1971
Keres vs Botvinnik, 1948
Kasparov vs Anand, 1991
A Seppelt vs Leganki, 1950
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 page 1 of 287; games 1-25 of 7,154 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Tarrasch vs K Eckart 1-0201890NurembergC07 French, Tarrasch
2. Tarrasch vs E Thorold 1-0561890ManchesterC07 French, Tarrasch
3. W Pollock vs E Delmar  0-1631891Delmar - PollockC07 French, Tarrasch
4. Steinitz vs J D Cameron  1-0291893Montreal Chess Club, Simul 16bC07 French, Tarrasch
5. Steinitz vs J D Cameron 0-1251893Montreal Chess Club, Simul 16bC07 French, Tarrasch
6. L O Hesse vs J L McCutcheon 0-1421894Continental Corr (prelim-4)C07 French, Tarrasch
7. Tarrasch vs K Walbrodt 1-0491894Nuremberg mC07 French, Tarrasch
8. C Newman vs A Ettlinger 1-0401896Franklin CC vs Manhattan CCC07 French, Tarrasch
9. Steinitz vs Lasker 0-1441896NurembergC07 French, Tarrasch
10. E K Wagenheim vs Dulski  1-0131896RigaC07 French, Tarrasch
11. W Meiners vs J D Tresling 0-138189927th DCA Congress, AmsterdamC07 French, Tarrasch
12. Pillsbury vs NN  1-0301900Pillsbury Blindfold Simul 12b, LondonC07 French, Tarrasch
13. J Narraway vs W P Shipley 1-0391903Masters Tourn. - Pillsbury Nat. corr. assoc.C07 French, Tarrasch
14. H Suechting vs Alekhine 0-1311911KarlsbadC07 French, Tarrasch
15. J W Broadbent vs P Cox 1-0291914BCF-ch Second Class MajorC07 French, Tarrasch
16. S Rosselli del Turco vs D Marotti  1-0611923ITA-ch MatchC07 French, Tarrasch
17. S Rosselli del Turco vs D Marotti  ½-½441923ITA-ch MatchC07 French, Tarrasch
18. D Marotti vs S Rosselli del Turco  1-0281923ITA-ch MatchC07 French, Tarrasch
19. G Miasoedov vs S Canow  0-1331926Stockholm-Leningrad MatchC07 French, Tarrasch
20. Hromadka vs Flohr 0-1261927Kautsky mem 4thC07 French, Tarrasch
21. Euwe vs W Schelfhout 1-0411927AmsterdamC07 French, Tarrasch
22. Spielmann vs Alekhine ½-½411927New YorkC07 French, Tarrasch
23. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch  ½-½341927New YorkC07 French, Tarrasch
24. Kmoch vs Kostic 0-1311927Bad NiendorfC07 French, Tarrasch
25. Alekhine vs R Flores Alvarez 1-0611927SimulC07 French, Tarrasch
 page 1 of 287; games 1-25 of 7,154 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-24-05  Knight13: No kibitzing for this opening yet!? Jeez. Lots of Frech Openings leads to this kind of variation. It happens often when you play 3. Nbd2 instead of 3. Nc3.
Jun-24-05  jahhaj: This is Black's most promising move against 3.Nd2 but it leads to atypical French positions so many Frenchies don't play it. Personally I got fed up with trying to defend after 3.Nd2 Nf6 so now I play the 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 line with reasonable success.
Oct-09-05  notyetagm: Any good references for this opening?
Mar-19-06  marn0: This is Rublevsky's main line versus the French.
Feb-10-07  Bobak Zahmat: Well, this is also my main line against French :), but lately I do not play e4!
Apr-16-07  gambitfan: OPOD 16/04/2007
Apr-16-07  artemis: This opening is a great one to have in your arsenal as white. Even though this line, the 3. ... c5 line is supposed to lead to equality, I find that it gives white the psychological advantage. No black player will play the french defense if they want to reach a middlegame where they have to deal with an isolated queen's pawn with white's pieces already in perfect positions for the blockade. They want to deal with pawn chains, not isolanis. Therefore, a lot of peole will go into the strategically questionable Qxd5 line. That said, I dont quite allow the line jahhaj was discussing:

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3. This line cuts out a lot of the bite in Black's Qxd5 lines. It also allows black to make the mistake of clearing the center, placing white's knights on e4 and d4. Some of the same lines can be reached, but there are also great examples of white gaining an overwhelming attack against sloppy play by black, e.g. 4. ...cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. exd5 Qxd5. Notice the difference here over jahhaj's line, the knight is already on d4 and can be supported by Ndf3, or he can play 7. Nb5 Na6 8. c4 and 9. Be2, and White's grip on the darksquares on black's queenside/center is enviable indeed.

Apr-16-07  eXodus: A nice trap of this opening against white is that after 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 Qc5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Qe2 Qb6 9.Nb3 Bc5. White cannot take black's pawn and remains a pawn down,black has a strong centre and the activity is quite similar.White's move are the most normal played(looking in the database) what can white do in this situation....any opinions ?
May-15-07  Plato: < Even though this line, the 3. ... c5 line is supposed to lead to equality, I find that it gives white the psychological advantage. No black player will play the french defense if they want to reach a middlegame where they have to deal with an isolated queen's pawn with white's pieces already in perfect positions for the blockade. They want to deal with pawn chains, not isolanis.>

A lot of French players will play this line for the same reason that many White players play lines that allow an IQP position: isolanis are not only bad, as they can allow for active piece play.

An interesting anecdote: The very player whom the 3.Nd2 variation is named after, Siegbert Tarrasch, only played the opening three times, the last time being in 1894. It's named after him anyway because he was the first master to play it. But he soon gave it up, and why? *Because* the 3...c5 line gave Black an isolated d-pawn!

"Whoever is afraid of an isolated d-pawn should give up chess." --Tarrasch

May-15-07  Plato: <Therefore, a lot of people will go into the strategically questionable Qxd5 line>

This seems a bit harsh. There is nothing strategically questionable about it, in my opinion, nor in the opinion of many strong GMs. In the line that you recommend for White, 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. exd5 Qxd5 -- Black can also capture with the knight here, it's a matter of taste -- 7. Nb5 Na6 8. c4, Black can continue 8...Qc6! (a novelty by Israeli GM Dov Zifroni in 2002), which prevents your suggested 9. Be2 because the g-pawn is hanging (unless White wants to gambit it but Black would be better after 9. Be2 Qxg2 10. Bf3 Qg6).

In the game Avrukh-Zifroni, Israeli Championship 2002, White played 10.a3 (aimed against Black's knight on a6) but after 10...Be7 11. b4 0-0 Black was better developed and at least equal in my opinion, even though he eventually lost the game. I'd post a link to it but unfortunately it's not included in this very incomplete database.

Anyway, this is all in the spirit of good chess, and I'm sure there are strong players who agree with you and others who agree with me! I just thought I'd speak up in defense of a line for Black that I often play myself :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here are some traps n zaps in Tarrasch 3...c5 miniatures (C07):
Jun-28-07  Timeline: Statistically 4...Qxd5 variation is one of the best answers for black against Tarrasch probably closely trailing only to 3...Be7 variations.

After 4...Qxd5 black has scored impressive 47.5% and even after the mainline 10. Nxd4 a6 black has scored solid 44.4%. This is better than the mainline of the 4...exd5 variation which scored only 41.15% for black after 5. Nf3 Nc6. 3. Nf6 variations has scored quite poorly statistically.

The low scoring of these old lines could be because of that many games are played during the 70s and 80s when the French was struggling against the Tarrasch. However, this casts no doubt that modern systes such as 3...Be7 and 4...Qxd5 are indeed good choices because they are scoring impressive 48.05 and 47.5% for black respectively. The average score for black after 1.e4 is only about 45.8%. These numbers are very high compared to the numbers black posted against Tarrasch in other variations.

*Data is taken from chessgames opening explorer

Sep-11-07  drukenknight: A nice positional french. One rule Ive come up with is when you can make an en passant capture usually you should do it. When in doubt just do it and it seems to make sense. This seems to be whites main oversight. Some nice ideas here: a novel 3rd move to get the bad B moving; theme of breaking out with ...f5; open c file and desperado moves.

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nd2 Bd7 (this move seems novel for this data base but other games have transposed to position seen later. I like to play this, why not get my bad B out there is he's going to play something slow e.g Nd3?)

4. e5 c5
5. c3 Nc6
6. Ngf3 cxd4
7. cxd4 Nge7 (the novelty according to the crap pc)

8. Nb3 Rc8
9. Be2 Nf5
10. O-O Bb4
11. g4 Nfe7
12. Bg5 h6
13. Be3 Ng6
14. h3 O-O
15. Bd3 Be7
16. Qb1 (a3 here or earlier would be more in keeping with the idea of space grabbing)

17. Nxh4 Bxh4
18. Kg2? (a3 or someting else) f5
19. Nc5 f4
20. Nxb7 (so here white gets an interesting idea but it doesnt win a pawn and just makes it worse)

21. Bc1 Nxd4
22. Nd6 Rc7
23. Re1 h5
24. Rd1 Qxe5
25. Bh7+ Kh8 and 0-1

Mar-05-09  FiveofSwords: this is a pretty good line for black if hes okay with a draw. The isolated d pawn is never enough to win. Ive sometimes managed to get some promising kingside play against h7 etc. but its really difficult if black stays vigilant. Hard line to win against.

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