Play the French

Advance Variation

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 The natural move which supports the centre. After other moves White even has to fight for equality.

4. ♘f3

a) 4... cxd4 5. ♘xd4 ( 5. ♗d3 ♘c6 transposes to the line after 4...Nc6. ) 5... ♘c6 6. ♘xc6 ( 6. ♗b5 ♗d7 ) 6... bxc6 Black has good play. 7. ♗d3 ♘e7 8. ♘d2 ♘g6 9. ♘f3 ♗e7 10. ♕e2 c5 11. c4 ♗b7 12. O-O O-O 13. ♗d2 dxc4 14. ♗xc4 ♗xf3 15. gxf3 ♗g5 16. ♗e3 ♗f4 17. ♖fc1 ♕h4 18. ♗xf4 ♘xf4 19. ♕e3 ♕g5+ 20. ♔f1 ♖ad8 21. ♖d1 ♕g2+ 0-1 Bastian,H (2351) -Khenkin,I (2597), Bad Liebenzell 2010

b) 4... ♘c6 5. ♗d3 ( 5. c3 transposes to the main line. ) 5... ♘xd4 The easiest solution. 6. ♘xd4 cxd4 7. O-O ♘e7 The knight aims for c6 to protect the pawn on d4 and to attack e5. 8. ♘d2 ♘c6 9. ♘f3 ♗e7 10. a3 ( 10. ♗f4 ♕b6 ) 10... f6=

4. ♕g4 A very aggressive move. White exerts pressure on g7. With precise play this move can be refuted. 4... cxd4 5. ♘f3 ♘c6 6. ♗d3 ♕c7! Without hesitation White's centre is attacked.

a) If White decides to sacrifice a pawn with 7. O-O ♘xe5 8. ♘xe5 ♕xe5 9. ♗f4 Black will be better after the precise 9... ♘f6! . 10. ♕g3 ( 10. ♕xg7? ♕xf4 11. ♕xh8 ♗d7−+ ) 10... ♕h5=/+

b) 7. ♕g3 7... f6! The key move. 8. ♗xh7 ( 8. ♗f4 g5 9. ♗d2 fxe5 ; 8. exf6 ♕xg3 9. hxg3 ♘xf6=/+ ) 8... ♘xe5 9. ♗g6+ ♔d8

4. dxc5 ♘c6 5. ♘f3 ♗xc5 6. ♗d3 f6! White's centre falls apart. 7. ♕e2 ( 7. ♗f4 fxe5 8. ♘xe5 ♕f6 ) 7... fxe5 8. ♘xe5 ♘xe5 9. ♕xe5 ♘f6 10. O-O ( 10. ♗b5+ ♔f7 11. O-O ♗d6=/+ ) 10... O-O 11. ♗e3 ♗d6 12. ♕g5 e5=/+

4... ♘c6 5. ♘f3

5. ♗e3 ♘ge7 The knight aims for f5. In combination with ...Qb6 Black exerts strong pressure on d4. Black has a good position. 6. ♗d3 ( 6. ♘f3 ♘f5 7. ♗d3 ♕b6 8. ♕d2 ♘xe3 9. fxe3 ♗e7=/+ ) 6... ♕b6 7. ♕d2 c4 8. ♗e2 ♘f5 9. ♘f3 ♘xe3 10. fxe3 ♗e7 11. O-O ♗d7=

5... ♕b6 6. a3

6. ♗e2 f6

a) 7. O-O fxe5

a1) 8. dxe5 ♘h6 9. c4 ( 9. ♗xh6 gxh6 Black does not need to fear the doubled pawn on the h-file. Even though the pawns are weak, they cannot easily be attacked. Black develops his bishop to g7 and attacks the pawn on e5. After that he can castle kingside or even better queenside and attack on the semi-open g- and f-file.; 9. ♘a3 ♗d7 10. ♗f4 ♘f7 11. ♕d2 ♗e7 ; 9. b3 ♘f7 10. ♗f4 ♗e7 ) 9... d4 10. ♗d3 ♘f7 ( 10... g6 11. ♘bd2 ♗g7 12. ♘e4 ♘f7 ) 11. ♘bd2 ♗d7 ( 11... ♗e7 12. ♖e1 ) 12. ♘e4 O-O-O

a2) 8. ♘xe5 8... ♘f6 9. ♘xc6 ( 9. ♗h5+ g6 10. ♘xc6 bxc6 11. ♗f3 a5 12. ♖e1 ♗d6 ) 9... bxc6 10. ♕c2 ♗d6 ( 10... cxd4 11. cxd4 ♖b8 12. b3 ♕xd4 ) 11. ♗e3 ♖b8 12. b3 O-O= For the moment White has stabilized his pawn on d4, but Black has a good centre and several strong follow-ups. A logical plan would be to trade the light-squared bishops via a6 and to advance with ...e5.

b) 7. exf6 7... ♘xf6 8. O-O ♗d7

b1) 9. a3 c4 ( 9... cxd4 10. cxd4 ♗d6 11. ♘c3 O-O ) 10. ♘bd2 ♗d6= 11. b3 cxb3 12. ♘xb3 O-O 13. c4 dxc4 14. ♗xc4 ♖ac8 15. ♕d3 ♘a5 16. ♘xa5 ♕xa5 17. ♗d2 ♕h5 18. ♗b4 ♗xb4 19. axb4 ♘d5 20. ♘e5 ♘f4 21. ♕b3 b5 22. ♗d3 ♗c6 23. ♘xc6 ♖xc6 24. ♕d1 ♕d5 25. ♕g4 ♘xd3 26. ♖xa7 g5 27. h4 ♕f5 28. ♕g3 g4 29. ♕e3 ♘f4 30. ♖fa1 ♕d5 31. f3 ♖c2 32. ♖a8 ♖xg2+ 33. ♔h1 ♖xa8 34. ♖xa8+ ♕xa8 35. ♕xf4 gxf3 0-1 Bitoon,R (2439)-Tu Hoang Thong (2493), Vung Tau 2008

b2) 9. dxc5 9... ♗xc5 10. b4 ♗d6 11. ♘a3 O-O 12. ♘c4 ♗xh2+ 13. ♘xh2 dxc4 14. ♗xc4 ♕c7

6. ♗d3 This pawn sacrifice was popular some years back, but thanks to strong engines safe ways were found for Black to react. 6... cxd4 7. cxd4 ♗d7 (You should, of course, know that the sacrifice should not be accepted immediately because after 7... ♘xd4? 8. ♘xd4 ♕xd4 9. ♗b5+ Black loses the queen. .)

a) 8. ♗c2 ♘b4 9. O-O ♘xc2 10. ♕xc2 ♖c8 11. ♘c3 ♘e7 12. ♗e3 ♘f5=/+

b) 8. ♘c3 ♘xd4 9. ♘xd4 ♕xd4 10. O-O transposes to the line after 8.0-0.

c) 8. ♗e2 ♘h6 9. ♘c3 ( 9. ♗xh6 ♕xb2 10. ♘bd2 gxh6 11. ♖b1 ♕a3 12. ♖xb7 ♘b4=/+ ) 9... ♘f5 10. ♘a4 ♕a5+ ( 10... ♗b4+ 11. ♔f1 ♕d8 12. a3 ♗e7 13. g4 ♘h4 14. ♘xh4 ♗xh4 15. ♔g2 O-O 16. f4 f6 17. exf6 ♗xf6 18. ♗e3 ♗e7 19. ♖c1 ♗d6 20. ♖f1 b6 21. ♘c3 ♘e7 22. ♗d3 ♘g6 23. ♗xg6 hxg6 24. ♕d3 ♕e8 25. ♔g1 ♖c8 26. ♖ce1 a5 27. ♗c1 ♖c4 28. ♔h1 a4 29. ♖e2 ♕f7 30. ♖ef2 ♖fc8 31. ♗d2 ♕f6 32. ♘e2 b5 33. ♗c3 b4 34. axb4 ♗xb4 35. ♗xb4 ♖xb4 36. g5 ♕f5 37. ♕a3 ♕e4+ 38. ♔g1 ♖b3 39. ♕d6 ♗b5 40. ♘c3 ♖cxc3 41. bxc3 ♗xf1 42. ♖xf1 ♖b2 43. ♕d8+ ♔h7 44. ♖f2 ♕e1+ 45. ♖f1 ♕e3+ 0-1 Nandhidhaa, P (2160)-Ni Hua (2637), Dubai 2012) 11. ♘c3 ♕b6=

d) 8. O-O 8... ♘xd4

d1) 9. ♘xd4 ♕xd4 10. ♘c3 ( 10. ♕e2 ♘e7 11. ♘d2 ♘c6 12. ♘f3 ♕b6 13. ♗e3 ♗c5 14. ♗xc5 ♕xc5 15. ♖ac1 ♕b6=/+ ) 10... a6

d11) 11. ♖e1 ♖c8 12. ♕f3 ♘e7 13. ♗g5 ( 13. ♖d1 ♕b6 ) 13... ♘c6

d12) 11. ♗e3 ♕xe5 12. ♖e1 ♘f6 White's lead in development does not compensate for the two pawns.

d13) 11. ♕e2 11... ♘e7 12. ♔h1 ( 12. ♖d1 ♕h4 ) 12... ♕b6! 13. f4 ( 13. ♗e3 d4! 14. ♘e4 ♘g6!−+ ) 13... d4 14. ♘e4 ( 14. ♕f2 ♘f5=/+ ) 14... ♘f5=/+

d2) 9. ♘bd2 9... ♘xf3+ 10. ♘xf3 ♘e7 11. ♗e3 ♕d8 Black will gradually develop and eventually convert his extra pawn. 12. ♖c1 ( 12. ♘g5 ♘c6 13. f4 g6 ) 12... ♘c6 13. a3 ♗e7

6. ♘a3 cxd4 7. cxd4 f6 Black attacks the white centre without hesitation. 8. ♗d3 ( 8. ♗b5 ♗xa3 9. ♗xc6+ bxc6 10. bxa3 ♗a6 ) 8... ♗b4+ 9. ♗d2 fxe5 10. dxe5 ♗xd2+ 11. ♕xd2 ♘h6 12. O-O O-O

6... f6 There are several other good options at this point like 6...Nh6 or 6...c4, but 6...f6 fits in our concept to attack the white centre.

7. ♗d3!

7. b4

a) 7... fxe5 8. dxc5 ♕c7 9. c4 ♘f6

a1) 10. ♗b2 ♗e7

a11) 11. ♗e2 O-O 12. ♘c3 e4=/+ ( 12... d4 )

a12) 11. b5 11... e4=/+

a2) 10. cxd5 10... exd5 11. ♘c3 d4 12. ♘b5 ♕b8 13. ♗c4 ♗g4 14. ♕b3 a6 15. ♘bxd4 exd4 16. ♗f7+ ( 16. O-O ♗xf3 ) 16... ♔d8 17. O-O ♗xf3

b) 7... c4! The most precise move. Black has two plans - ...fxe5 and ...a5.

b1) 8. ♘bd2 fxe5 9. ♘xe5 ♘f6 10. f4 a5

b2) 8. ♗e3 ♕c7 9. ♗f4 fxe5 10. ♘xe5 ♘f6 11. g3 ( 11. ♘g6 e5 12. ♗xe5 ♘xe5 13. ♘xe5 ♗d6 14. f4 O-O 15. g3 a5 16. bxa5 ♖xa5=/+ ) 11... ♗d6 12. ♕e2 g6 13. b5 ( 13. ♗g2 ♘h5 14. ♗h6 ♗xe5 15. dxe5 ♕xe5= ) 13... ♘d8 14. ♗g2 O-O 15. ♗h6 ♖e8 16. O-O ♘f7 17. ♘xf7 ♕xf7 18. f4 a6

b3) 8. ♗f4 8... a5 9. ♘bd2 g5 10. ♗g3 ( 10. ♗e3 axb4 11. axb4 ♖xa1 12. ♕xa1 g4 13. ♕a8 ♕d8=/+ ) 10... axb4 11. axb4 ♖xa1 12. ♕xa1 g4 13. ♘xc4 ( 13. ♘h4 fxe5 14. dxe5 ♘h6=/+ ) 13... dxc4 14. ♘d2 ♘xb4 ( 14... ♕a7 15. ♕xa7 ♘xa7 16. ♗xc4 f5= ) 15. ♘xc4 ♘c2+ 16. ♔d2 ♕b3 17. ♕d1 ♘xd4 18. cxd4 ♗h6+ 19. ♘e3 ♕b4+=

7. exf6 ♘xf6 8. ♗d3 ♗d6 9. O-O O-O

7. ♗e2 fxe5 8. ♘xe5 cxd4 9. ♘xc6 bxc6 10. ♕xd4 ( 10. cxd4 ♗d6 11. ♘c3 ♘e7 12. ♘a4 ♕c7 13. g3 ♘f5 14. O-O O-O 15. f4 a5 ) 10... ♘f6=/+

7... fxe5

7... g6

a) 8. exf6 ♘xf6 9. O-O ( 9. b4 cxd4 10. b5 ♘a5 11. cxd4 ♗g7 12. O-O O-O 13. ♖a2 ♗d7 )

a1) 9... ♗g7 10. dxc5 ( 10. b4 cxd4 11. b5 ) 10... ♕xc5 11. b4 ( 11. ♗f4 O-O 12. ♘bd2 ♘g4 13. ♗g3 ♘e3 ) 11... ♕d6=

a2) 9... cxd4 10. cxd4 ♗g7 11. ♘c3 O-O 12. ♘a4 ( 12. ♗e3 ♘g4 ; 12. ♗c2 ♗d7 ) 12... ♕c7

b) 8. O-O 8... fxe5 9. ♘xe5! ♘xe5 ( 9... cxd4 10. cxd4 ♗g7 11. ♗e3+/= ) 10. dxe5

b1) 10... c4 11. ♗c2 ♘e7 12. ♕e2 ♘c6 13. ♘d2 ( 13. ♗e3 ♗c5 14. ♗xc5 ♕xc5 ) 13... ♗g7 14. ♘f3 O-O 15. ♖b1!+/=

b2) 10... ♗g7 11. c4

8. dxe5

8. ♘xe5 ♘f6! 9. O-O ♗d6

a) 10. dxc5 ♗xc5

b) 10. ♘g4 O-O

c) 10. ♘f3 O-O ( 10... c4 11. ♗c2 O-O 12. ♕e2 e5= ) 11. dxc5 ♗xc5 12. b4 ♗xf2+ ( 12... ♗d6 13. c4 ♕c7 ) 13. ♖xf2 ♘g4 14. ♖a2 ♘xf2 15. ♖xf2 ♘e5

d) 10. ♘xc6 10... bxc6 11. dxc5 ♗xc5 12. b4 ♗d6 13. ♗e3 ( 13. c4 ♕c7 14. f4 dxc4! 15. ♗xc4 O-O=/+ 16. ♕e2 ♔h8 17. ♘d2 a5 18. bxa5 e5 19. ♗b2 exf4 20. ♗xf6 gxf6 21. ♘b3 ♗e5 22. ♖ac1 ♕d6 23. ♕e4 ♖a7 24. ♖fd1 ♕xa3 25. ♕xc6 ♗g4 26. ♖e1 f3 27. gxf3 ♗h3 28. ♖c2 ♕b4 29. ♖d1 ♗f5 30. ♖cc1 ♕b8 31. ♔h1 ♗b2 32. ♘d4 ♗xc1 33. ♘xf5 ♗f4 34. a6 ♕b2 35. ♘g3 ♕c3 36. ♕e4 ♗xg3 37. hxg3 ♖g7 38. g4 f5 39. gxf5 ♕f6 40. ♕f4 ♖g5 41. ♕d4 ♖xf5 42. ♕xf6+ ♖5xf6 43. a7 ♖h6+ 44. ♔g2 ♖g6+ 45. ♔f2 ♖g7 46. ♖a1 ♖a8 47. ♗d5 ♖gxa7 48. ♖g1 ♖d8 49. ♗e4 ♖g8 50. ♖h1 ♖g5 51. ♖h6 ♖ga5 52. ♔g3 ♖5a6 53. ♖h5 h6 54. ♖b5 ♔g7 55. ♖b8 ♖a5 56. ♖b6 ♖5a6 57. ♖b8 ♔f6 58. ♔f4 ♖f7 59. ♖b5 ♔g7+ 60. ♔g4 ♖a1 61. ♖e5 ♖g1+ 62. ♔h4 ♖a7 63. ♔h3 ♖a2 64. ♖e7+ ♔f6 65. ♖h7 ♔e5 66. ♖e7+ ♔f4 67. ♖f7+ ♔e3 68. ♗d5 ♖a5 69. ♖d7 ♔f2 70. f4 ♖a4 71. ♖f7 ♖d4 72. ♗b7 ♔e3 73. f5 ♔f2 0-1 Vandenbussche,T (2263)-Laurent,B (2339), Eupen 2008 ) 13... ♕c7 14. h3 e5=/+

8... g6 Very logical with the idea to play ...Bg7 and to exert pressure on e5. The queen can increase the pressure on c7 and the knight on g8 can be developed via h6 to g4 or f7. Usually, Black castles short, but if White plays h4 it is also possible to play ...Bd7 and castle queenside.

8... c4 9. ♗c2 g6

a) 10. h4 ♘h6!

a1) 11. ♕e2 ♘g4 12. h5 ( 12. ♘d4 ♘xd4 13. cxd4 ♕xd4 14. f4 h5 15. ♗xg6+ ♔d7 ) 12... gxh5 13. ♖xh5 ♖g8

a2) 11. ♘bd2 ♘g4 12. ♕e2 ♕c7

a3) 11. h5 11... ♘g4 12. ♘d4 gxh5

a31) 13. ♔f1 ♗d7 ( 13... ♖g8 ) 14. ♖xh5 ♘gxe5=/+

a32) 13. ♖xh5 13... ♖g8 After ...Bd7, long castle and ...Bc5 Black will get good attacking chances against the white king using the half-open f- and g-file. 14. ♔f1 ( 14. ♗a4 ♗d7 15. ♗xc6 bxc6 16. a4 c5 17. ♘f3 O-O-O=/+ ; 14. f4 ♗d7 ; 14. ♖xh7 ♗d7 ) 14... ♕c7 15. ♕e2 ( 15. ♕f3 h6 16. ♘d2 ♗d7 ) 15... h6 16. ♘d2 ♕f7 17. ♖h4 ♘cxe5 18. ♘2f3 ♕f6 19. ♖h5 ♘d3 20. ♗xd3 cxd3 21. ♕xd3 ♗d7

b) 10. ♕e2 10... ♗g7 11. h4 ♗d7 ( 11... ♕c7 12. ♗e3 ♗d7 13. ♘bd2 O-O-O 14. O-O-O ♘xe5 15. ♘xe5 ♕xe5 16. ♘f3 ♕c7 ) 12. ♗e3 ♕c7 13. h5 O-O-O 14. ♘bd2 ♘h6 ( 14... ♘ge7 15. O-O-O ♗xe5 16. ♘xe5 ♕xe5 17. ♘f3 ♕g7 ) 15. O-O-O ♘g4 16. ♗f4 gxh5 17. ♖xh5 ♗e8 18. ♖xh7 ♖xh7 19. ♗xh7 ♗xe5 20. ♘xe5 ♘gxe5=

9. O-O

9. h4 c4 10. ♗c2 ♘h6 transposes to the line after 8...c4.

9... ♗g7 We delay the decision wheter to play ...c4 or not in order to stop the white knight from coming to d4.

9... c4 10. ♗c2 ♗g7 11. ♘bd2 ♘ge7 12. ♖e1 O-O

a) 13. h3 ♕c5 ( 13... ♕c7 14. ♕e2 ♗d7 15. a4 ♖f7 16. ♘g5 ♖ff8 17. ♘gf3 )

b) 13. a4 13... ♖f7 ( 13... ♘f5 ; 13... ♕c7 14. ♕e2 ♗d7 15. b3 cxb3 16. ♗xb3 ♘f5 17. ♗a3 ♖fe8 ) 14. h4=

10. c4

10. b4 c4 11. ♗c2 ♘xe5

10. ♖e1 c4 11. ♗c2 ♘h6 12. ♘d4 ♘f7=

10. ♕e2 c4 ( 10... ♘h6 11. c4 dxc4 12. ♗xc4 ♘f5!∞ ; 10... ♘ge7 11. b4 c4 12. ♗c2 O-O ) 11. ♗c2 ♘h6 12. ♗e3 ♕c7 13. ♘d4 ♕xe5=/+

10... ♘ge7 11. ♘c3 O-O 12. ♖e1

12. cxd5 exd5 13. ♖e1 ♗g4 14. ♗e2 ♖f5 15. ♘xd5 ♘xd5 16. ♕xd5+ ♔h8=/∞

12. ♗g5 ♕c7! ( 12... ♖xf3 13. ♕xf3 ♘xe5 14. ♕g3 dxc4 15. ♗e4 ♘7c6 16. ♖fe1+/= ) 13. ♗xe7 ♕xe7 14. cxd5 ♘xe5

12... ♘d4

12... d4 13. ♘e4 ( 13. ♘a4 ♕c7 ) 13... ♘xe5 14. ♘xe5 ♗xe5 15. b4 ♕c7 16. g3 cxb4 17. axb4 ♗g7 18. b5+/=

13. ♘xd4 cxd4 14. ♘b5 ♗d7

14... dxc4 15. ♗xc4 ♘f5

15. a4 ♘c6