Understand the French Defence includes all the videos and the PGN file from an online training workshop from Modern Chess. Overall, the material consists of approximately 9 hours of video and a PGN database which includes 100 files!
You will find the following lectures:
Must-Know Structures in the Exchange Variation – GM Petar Arnaudov
Must-Know Structures in Winawer Variation – GM Abhijeet Gupta
Must-Know Structures in Advance Variation – GM Ivan Salgado
Typical French Endgames – GM Grigor Grigorov
White’s Queenside Majority vs Black’s Kingside Majority – GM Ioannis Papaioannou
Must-Know Structures in Steinitz Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6) – GM Davorin Kuljasevic
Here are some interesting moments taken from the lectures:
Must-Know Structures in the Exchange Variation
In this lecture, GM Petar Arnaudov covers one of the most important structures in chess – the symmetrical structure arising via the French Exchange Variation.
Here is how the author introduces the topic himself:
In this lecture, we will discuss one of the most important pawn structures in French Defense – The Exchange Structure. In my opinion, the Exchange Variation was always very unpleasant for “French” players. In recent years, White has discovered some new ideas, and the line has become a nasty weapon in the hands of some very strong players, including Magnus Carsen. Still, in my opinion, in most of the cases, White uses this variation when he wants to achieve a “risk-free” position or when he plays with a higher-rated opponent.
In this lecture, I will show you mainly Black’s plans and different ways to complicate the game. I should mention that the plans in symmetrical structures are similar for both sides. So any idea for White can be used by Black as well.
The important rule for playing for a win such positions is to gain small advantages. You can’t win by brutal force, but little by little. I will provide you with my vision for the most interesting variations for both sides and explain the move orders to you.
In the database, you will find 19 commented games. I started with some classical game of Alekhine. I recommend you study them well because they show how the game can go against lower-rated opponents. The 4th world champion shows most of the ideas for Black. Later I continue with modern games, which show different ways to imbalance the position. In the end, I add eight games from other lectures. Four of them are Mihail Marin’s analysis for his fantastic trilogy about French Defence. Another four are my analysis from the previous lecture about exchange structures, where you can see some of White’s ideas in the arising positions.
Must-Know Structures in the Winawer Variation
In this lecture, GM Abhijeet Gupta examines the typical structures in the Winawer Variation. The author mainly focuses on the position arising after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3 5.bxc3 Ne7
Besides just explaining the structure, GM Gupta also provides a basic Winawer repertoire for Black. By the word “basic”, we do not mean for beginners. This rich of new ideas and fresh concepts repertoire features primarily the main directions.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 4 theoretical chapters and 5 model games.
Must-Know Structures in Advance Variation
We are happy to present the new member of the Modern Chess Team – the Spanish GM Ivan Salgado.
In his first lecture, he deals with the most important structures in the Advance Variation.
Here is how the author presents the topic himself:
For this lecture, I have prepared a selection of games that will help you grasp the most important concepts and plans for both sides in the Advance French structure.
The starting position of the current survey is reached after the moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3
Now, we will divide the study of this middlegame taking into account 4 different scenarios: a) Black changes the pawn structure by playing .. .f6. b) Black changes the pawn structure by playing …c4. c) Black keeps the tension and doesn’t change the pawn structure d) Black changes the pawn structure by playing …cxd4. We are going to focus on scenarios a) and b), as they are the most common ones in modern practice.
The lecture consists of 17 model games.
Typical French Endgames
The current lecture of GM Grigor Grigorov is dedicated to the most important French endgames. Let’s take a look at how the author presents the lecture himself:
Since the French structures are very fundamental, the knowledge of the French endgames will dramatically improve your general chess understanding. As you will witness on many occasions, the French type of structure could arise from a wide range of different openings. For the purposes of this lecture, I have decided to focus on the endgames with a closed pawn centre. There are two reasons for that:
1) Other types of positions such as queenside pawn majority, symmetrical structures, as well as isolated d5-pawn are covered in the lectures of GM Petar Arnaudov and GM Ioannis Papaioannou
2) When you try to examine many types of positions, the coverage gets superficial When you play a given opening, it’s very important to build the bridge between the middlegame and the endgame. In this way, in every middlegame, you will know what type of endgame you want to achieve. This knowledge will obviously improve your decision-making process. You will be able to better evaluate the lines that you calculate. Besides the specific understanding of the French endgames, I believe that this lecture will also improve your conceptual understanding of the space advantage.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 13 model games and 7 test positions.
White’s Queenside Majority vs Black’s Kingside Majority
In this lecture, GM Papaioannou gives an overview of the various plans in the 4+2 vs 3+3 pawn structure. It is one of the most common ones as it can arise from multiple openings: most often from the French Defense or the Caro-Kann. He focuses on the position specifics from Black’s side of view (the side with 4+2 pawns) and provides some subtle guidelines on how to navigate it.
Besides all his structural explanations, he discusses general chess aspects such as creating imbalances by exchanging bishop for a knight, positions with opposite-coloured bishops, pawn play, and so on. This lecture will definitely improve your general chess understanding.
Must-Know Structures in Steinitz Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6)
In this lecture, GM Kuljasevic presents the most important ideas that you should know in the so-called Steinitz Variation.
The starting point of the lecture arises after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7
In the introduction to the PGN version of his lecture, Davorin writes:
The Steinitz variation is one of the most complex in the French Defence. In this lecture, we will examine typical middlegame ideas for White and Black in this variation. To simplify our analysis, I found it appropriate to split the large body of Steinitz material into three typical structures: 1) positions with blocked centre (Games 1-3) 2) positions with fluid centre and kingside castling by White and Black (Games 4-7) 3) positions with fluid centre and opposite-side castling (Games 8-10) .
|Type of Video|
Chapter 1. Must-Know Structures in the Exchange Variation – GM Petar Arnaudov
Chapter 2. Must-Know Structures in Winawer Variation – GM Abhijeet Gupta
Chapter 3. Must-Know Structures in Advance Variation – GM Ivan Salgado
Chapter 4. Typical French Endgames – GM Grigor Grigorov
Chapter 5. White’s Queenside Majority vs Black’s Kingside Majority – GM Ioannis Papaioannou
Chapter 6. Must-Know Structures in Steinitz Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6) – GM Davorin Kuljasevic
Chapter 7. Q&A Session GM Grigor Grigorov & GM Petar Arnaudov