The French Opening is a semi-closed chess opening for Black which occurs after the moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 (see the position on the right).
It is one of the most trusted openings in chess, popular at all levels from beginner to strong grandmasters.
The French Defense has been used in the past by Mikhail Botvinnik, Viktor Korchnoi, Tigran Petrosian, Rafael Vaganian and Wolfgang Uhlmann, among others, but also by many leading grandmasters today. Wesley So, Ding Liren and Alexander Morozevich all regularly rely on the French Defense as one of their major opening weapons and thus make its high reliability evident.
French Defense: Latest Trends In The Exchange Variation
In this iChess Club exclusive video, GM Alex Lenderman takes a look at the Exchange Variation. Non-premium members can only watch the first 3 minutes of the video, premium members have access to the full video.
Many White players like to avoid the strategically complex lines with a closed center in the French Defense.
Therefore, they choose to clear the situation in the center early on by exchanging on d5. The positions become a lot simpler and easier to play than the other main lines of the French Defense.
The Exchange Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 – see the diagram on the right) leads to a symmetrical pawn structure. Although White can’t hope for an opening advantage in this variation, it is also not easy to play for a win with Black.
White is a tempo up in a symmetrical structure. The Exchange Variation is often played by those who only aim for a quick draw with the White pieces.
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