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roland_l ♡ 28 ( +1 | -1 )
Good Solid line for white against the French ... not looking for anything fancy or tricky. When black plays the French against me I seem to get crushed quite often. Looking for a nice line solid line that can help me steer the game into clear, normally developing lines. Any ideas?
wschmidt ♡ 73 ( +1 | -1 )
John Emms, in "Attacking with 1.e4", says, "the King's Indian Attack is probably most effective, and certainly most popular, when it is played agaainst the French Defence. The point is that Black is already commited to the move....e6, even thought in a lot of lines he would prefer his e-pawn to be on either e7 or e5!...White's idea is pretty straightforward and easy to play. To a certain extent White plays the smae moves regardless of how Black plays. The set-up involves developing moves such as Nd2, Ngf3, g3, Bg2, 0-0 and Re1"

I've started using it against the French and it would appear to meet your request for a solid line with normal development. You might check out the book for the more subtle nuances that inevitably develop.
coyotefan ♡ 18 ( +1 | -1 )
Just pick one line Study the heck out of it. There are many great plays. I use 5.e5, but that is just because it was the one I chose years ago. i know the line better than any of my opponents. Choosing and studying is the key.
ionadowman ♡ 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Any thoughts on the Tarrasch? As a long-time "French" defender, I found my OTB opponents almost invariably played (after 2.d4 d5) 3.Nd2. It avoids some of the sharper lines that follow from 3.Nc3, and is less committing than 3.e5. (My own favorite line against the Tarrasch, by the way, was the Guimard: 3...Nc6.)
roland_l ♡ 17 ( +1 | -1 )
these are all interesting ideas. Thanks, I'll give them each a try and see which I like best.

Wschmidt ... how does white initially continue then after 1. e4 e6 ?
schnarre ♡ 29 ( +1 | -1 )
ah... After 1. e4 e6 with a KIA setup, usually 2. d3 is the following move. It's plenty solid for White, though a bit too passive for my taste. I tend to favor the Tarrasch most of the time (vs. the Guimard I'll play 4. Bb5 regularly), as White can steer it to open or closed positions depending on Black's reply moves.
brilliance ♡ 94 ( +1 | -1 )
... Once an advocate of 3. Nd2 I find myself switching to the far more sharp, as commented above by ionadowman, 3. Nc3. I find it offers even stronger play for white, while 3. Nd2 aims for a solid setup (when I played it I played with a pawn-chainroot on b2).

When I play blitz against the french, even against stronger opposition (1600+), a bishop sac on h7+, followed by Ng5+, always seems to hang in the air and most of my victories against the french have not been the drawn-out games I myself played when I studied the french. But, this isn't about me or how I play so I'll leave you with just one word of advice:

Don't fear the french, full steam ahead! :)

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Bb4
4. e5 c5
5. a3 Bxc3+
6. bxc3


1. e4 e6
2. Nf3 d5
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. e5 Nfd7
5. d4 c5
6. dxc5

or the alekhine-chatard attack

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Bg5 Be7
5. e5 Nfd7
6. h4!?

Although black can decline :/ and use the pawn's weakness later on, atl that's what I heard, never faced a decliner.
ionadowman ♡ 46 ( +1 | -1 )
3.Nc3 or 3.Nd2 Like "brilliance", I prefer the sharper 3.Nc3 when facing the French, but 3.Nd2 is the more solid, leading to a rather easier buildup by White. It is more aggressive than it looks, too. I sense that "roland_l" would prefer this line (at least for now), unless he wants to change the nature of the game altogether with the KIA. Get hold of several games that begin 3.Nd2, play them through (fairly quickly) to see how the games shape.
jacofin ♡ 40 ( +1 | -1 )
Bd2 lines are also worth consideration... As white against Winaver I've played 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Bd2!? and the lines have different character than those with a3.

I feel sometimes it's good to mess your head with some theory, as they are proven to be strong contiunations. It's still important to know the strategic concepts about particular opening, knowing those will help you if you are facing some offbeat lines.

sough ♡ 47 ( +1 | -1 )
3...dxe Whether you're a Nc3 or Nd2 you sometimes run into 3...dxe I find this solid and annoying. The book isn't as vast for these lines but it doesn't seem to leave white with much of an advantage. Often black plays 4...Nd7 and 5...Nf6 but otb I have 4...Nf6 played against me and it seemed just fine. Quite a theory saver for black too, to e4 they only have to prepare for this and the advance variation for everything, other than the exchange and KIA stuff anyway. How do you all handle this line?
ionadowman ♡ 107 ( +1 | -1 )
roland_l... I had a look at some of your games (active and archive) with and against the French, and except for one horror with the Black pieces, your record seemed OK to me. That you often chose the Exchange variation (1.e4 e3 2.d4 d5 3.exd5...) suggests you want something that hasn't too many surprises. The Exchange has a drawish reputation, tho', which might not meet your requirements (tho' you ought to welcome opponents who want to preserve the symmetry for as long as possible: a fine way to secure a disadvantage for Black! :-) ) . I won't be recommending the Milner-Barry Gambit!
I still think 3.Nc2 is your best choice, but the Advance Variation, with 3.e5 might also be a good 'fit'. The main line runs: 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qc6 [you can see here Black applying pressure on White's d4, but White is holding it comfortably enough] 6.Be2 [Usual, but also playable are 6.a3 and the complicated 6.Bd3 that can lead to the Milner-Barry Gambit] 6...cxd4 7.cxd4 ... You might want to get hold of some master games that begin with this sequence of moves. Black can deviate, I guess, but that shouldn't worry you any!
schnarre ♡ 48 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmnnn... Properly used White can come out reasonably well with the Exchange: I'll try to get c4, g3, Nc3, Bg2, Nge2,0-0 following at some point or other with White more often than not winning control of the d5 square.

I've not usually had a problem with 3...dxe5: vs 4...Bd7 I'll develop normally with either 5. Nf3 or 5. Bd3; vs. 4...Nd7 again 5. Nf3 is good (I'll usually follow with 6. Bc4); vs. 4...Nf6, a Burn transposed 5. Bg5 with 6. Bxf6, breaking the Knight pair has fared well.

Nothing wrong with the Advance at all! Try it anytime!!!
roland_l ♡ 34 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks for all of the input, guys. A special thanks to Ion who actually took time to look at my game history. I've decided to give the advance variation my undivided attention for awhile. Thanks again, and if you have any particular advice about the advance, let me know.

Also, is there any big deal if instead of waiting for 3. e5 to go ahead and do that on my 2nd move?
ionadowman ♡ 67 ( +1 | -1 )
1.e4 e6 2.e5... seems playable... It appears that 2.e5 is a rarely played old fashioned line: the Steinitz Attack. Black could offer a transposition into normal lines with 2...d5 (3.d4) but White is at liberty to choose a different continuation. Black could play instead 2...d6, 2...f6 or (probably my own preference) 2...c4. One of my games on GK several months ago
began (I was Black) 1.e4 c5 2.e5!?, which would seem to lead to a similar kind of game as 2...c4 in this Steinitz Attack line. Why would Black try 2...d6 or 2...f6? This induces a pawn exchange that results for White in a loss of time, it seems to me. But this might not matter all that much, and for variety from the standard Advance line, it seems OK!
alberlie ♡ 18 ( +1 | -1 )
In that case... I simply play d5 anyway. After all, black want's the french - that's why he played e6. And I can think of little else for white than transpositions into french mainlines?
ionadowman ♡ 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes... ...White can choose to return to the standard Advance line [1.e4 e6 2.e5 d5 3.d4...]. There's nothing wrong with this! But it seems that instead 3.exd6e.p. is a popular choice (for a given value of 'popular'!). This leads to a rather more open style of game rather akin to some QP openings. Roland_l might find that these lines 'fit' into what he wants from an opening as much as the Advance line does.
jstack ♡ 37 ( +1 | -1 )
advance variation I would reccomend the advance variation not because it is the best line. The advantage is that you can play the advance variation no matter what black plays. The Nc3 has too much theory and black has more say as to what variation is played. Nd2 narrows it down a little more but you have to be ready for the rubinstein variation(a Nc3 line that black can transpose to from the tarrash).
schnarre ♡ 10 ( +1 | -1 )
The Advance.. has simplicity in its favor to be sure! Worry not at all about the rubinstein jstack; it's only a problem if you let it be one (& I usually don't).
ccmcacollister ♡ 2 ( +1 | -1 )
roland_l Why do you want to play 2.e5 ?
jstack ♡ 68 ( +1 | -1 )
Schnarre I think you may have misunderstood me a little. I did not mean "worry about" the rubinstein as meaning the rubinstein is dangerous, which it certainly is not. The rubinstein usually leads to a pretty equal game. I meant worry about it as in playing a type of game that you prefer to play. I started playing the rubinstein(as black) to avoid the tarrash. My first experiences against the tarrash were not pleasant. I found it much easier to find a good plan in the rubinstein. Sometimes I see a look of disapointment on my opponent's face when I transpose. However, I probably should confront my fear. I ought to study up on the tarrash and take my revenge. We are supposed to confront our fears...right?
schnarre ♡ 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Indeed... so jstack!! Tally ho!
roland_l ♡ 43 ( +1 | -1 )
ccmca ... um ... I don't know LOL. 1.e4 e6 2.e5 seems ... aggressive. My thinking was that French players probably a. like positional games and b. have a favorite line in the French. 2. e5 might take them out of their comfort zone? It more or less begs 2. d4 (the advanced variation) or a different kind of line entirely I would think ... once again, taking them out of their comfort zone. I guess that was what I was thinking ...
jstack ♡ 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Roland I have played the french for years and I am always happy to play the advanced variation. I am even happier to see 2. e5 because after 2..d6 and the exchange of pawns black has equality.
However, there is a line that make me uncomfortable, although probably it is not com completely sound. The Alapin's gambit. 1. e4 e6 2. d5 Be3!? with the idea of rapid developement with f3. It can be very aggressive giving the french player the kind of game he is not used to.
appelfflap ♡ 23 ( +1 | -1 )
or 1 e4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 e5! c5 4 b4
dangerous for black if unknown. otherwise equal position

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Bb4 (Be7 5 Bxf6 Bxf6 6 e5) 5 exd Qxd5 (exd 6 Qf3!) =
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 5 exd exd 6 Bd3 =
or exchange variation.

this are very annoying lines for a frencch player.
not often played and quite dangerous if you don't know or remember it.
schnarre ♡ 40 ( +1 | -1 )
The Wing Gambit vs the French isn't seen much, but I recall GM Raymond Keene gave it good reviews in his 'Complete Book of Gambits'. It opens practically a whole new world of possibilities in dealing with the french.

In the hands of a serious player, any of the lines mentioned here can be wielded with confidence against the french, provided the player of White doesn't get careless during the game.
ionadowman ♡ 24 ( +1 | -1 )
Wing Gambit... How does this go? 1.e4 e6 2.b4 maybe? 2...Bxb4 looks OK for Black, but the pawn on b4 looks so inconsequential, I wonder if Black might be better advised to ignore it? Mind you, people seem to think 1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 is OK for Black. Can't think why...
ccmcacollister ♡ 115 ( +1 | -1 )
Roland_l Thats honest :) Frankly, as a French player you would make me jump for joy with 2.e5 since one of the things French players love to do is Undermine d4, and liquidate white centers :) You see the pawn at e5 often cannot be held there in the mainlines With a pawn at d4 supporting if for awhile. By getting e5 a move earlier, i get to start working on undermining it sooner, with all means and options to do so still open. Usually go with 2...c5 myself. That is what I dont like about it for white. On the otherhand, the Advance can get terribly dull and if you want to take a little risk to mix it up ...
I think you will get more Mixing with 2.e5 probably :)
Tho its true Nimzovich had a go at sac'g his d4 pawn and maintaining e5 at all costs. Has such a game in My System. And I played one with BL vs Randy Bauer, in the Iowa Postal Chess Championship Prelims, that ended up drawn, even tho he gave up d4. That may have been a Tarrasch tho. (He won the Finals btw. Quite a good player, with OTB and Postal Master ratings. Iowa seems to get them double Masters; also BOGG here and Mitch Weiss, a fantastic French Player. Must be cuz we're corn fed ... Guess i didint eat enough of it tho!? :-)