Advancing Against the French Defense – Grandmaster Jesse Kraai

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GM Strategy Masterclass Against the French Defense!

Advancing vs the French Defense Product Image

GM Jesse Kraai has produced one of the very best openings courses we’ve seen.

If you have ever struggled against the French Defense (and most of us have) then this is essential viewing.

Instead of loading you up with a million “if Black plays this, you play this” lines, Jesse explains the strategic ideas in the French Defense Advance Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5).

And this transcends the opening…

Jesse explains how to play with a space advantage, how to break down fortresses, and how to deal with attempts to break down your center.

This is a 6½-hour masterclass on playing this structure – and Jesse teaches every point with perfect clarity.

There are 2 main benefits to the French Defense Advanced Variation:

  1. It’s only seen in 15% of games after 1..e6 2.d4 d5 meaning your French-playing opponents won’t be as comfortable facing it.
  2. That space advantage! The e5 pawn pins Black down, forcing them to make timid little one-square moves.

But advantages are only useful if you know what to do with them. And that’s the subject of this course.

jesse kraai french defense
French Defense Advance Variation

About the Author

GM Jesse Kraai’s most notable chess achievements are winning the Denker Tournament of High School Champions in 1989 and 1990 and competing in the US championship from 2002-2006. Jesse received his final GM norm at the Foxwoods Open 2007 and has a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Heidelberg. Jesse is an active chess coach.


  • The easy win against Black’s …c4. Black often finds this move too tempting, closing the position and (seemingly) making life tough for our light-squared bishop. But Jesse shows a sneaky maneuver that cracks the position wide-open… leading to rapid execution of Black’s king!
  • Perfect piece placement. Take a look at this position (diagram). You might be tempted to ‘develop’ that bishop to e3 or g5. In fact, as GM Kraai points out, it’s perfectly placed already! Lift that rook to the 3rd rank and swing it over to the kingside to terrorize Black. Discover a ton of cool ideas like this to play with greater efficiency.
    french defense advanced variation position
  • Why Bobby Fischer struggled against the French. After studying Fischer’s games for years, GM Kraai found a curious feature of Bobby’s play that caused him to struggle against this formation. He also explains how you can avoid this problem!

Get a sure-fire way of taking the game to 1…e6 players AND master a ton of advanced positional ideas with this game-changing course from GM Jesse Kraai on the French Defense Advance Variation for White.

Additional information


Running Time

6+ hours

Type of Video

Opening Name




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Content Outline


Part 1 – Space, The Final Frontier! (50 min)
Part 2 – Space vs The Fortress (57 min)
Part 3 – Punishing 6..c4 (1 h 10 min)
Part 4 – Black Trades the Light-Squared Bishop (56 min)
Part 5 – Black Works Against b4 (43 min)
Part 6 – The Mosh Pit (48 min)
Part 7 – Space vs Time (1 h 5 min)
Part 8 – Final Thoughts (4 min)