The time I have to devote to my opening repertoire I would much rather spend on studying middlegame strategy or endgame technique. However, a somewhat solid knowledge of the openings you play is necessary, and of course there's an obvious advantage to getting good positions out of your openings.
The first opening I want to take a closer look at again is the French Opening, particularly playing White. I want to play the Winawer Variation because I think it gives White very practical attacking chances.
As someone who used to enjoy playing the French defense with both colors, I now think that from a practical point of view, many variations and in particular those that I'm talking about in this article, are easier to play for White.
Having said that, I think it is clear that if I want to play the Winawer, I have to be prepared for Black's 3 main responses:
a) The Rubinstein Variation (Black plays 3. ... dxe4)
b) The Classical Variation (Black plays 3. ... Nf6)
c) The Winawer Variation (Black plays 3. ... Bb4)
|The Rubinstein Variation after 3. ... dxe4|
B) The Classical Variation:
|The Classical Variation after 3. ... Nf6|
C) The Winawer Variation:
|The Winawer Variation after 7. Qg4|
Approach: Even though it is quite old already, I think Lev Psakhis' "The Complete French" is still the definitive treatment of the French defense. In my studies of this opening I'll rely mostly on this book. I'll supplement this theoretical treatment with some more recent games from top level tournaments, some of which I plan to be discussing here.
If any readers of this blog have good bad or ugly experiences playing the Winawer, I'd like to hear from them.
|It takes brass balls to play the French Defense, particularly for Black. (Scene from Glengarry Glen Ross, one of my favorite movies)|