39 ( +1 | -1 ) French DefenseI am interested in playing the French Defense as black. Would this be a good opening for a beginner, like myself? Can anyone recommend any good books that will explain the concepts and ideas of the opening, without having to memorize 20 different variations? Id rather learn how to play the opening by knowing the ideas than learn how to play it by memorizing how to do it.
55 ( +1 | -1 ) Check this site out ...I always plug this site, I find it clear and interesting ...
A book I quite like for explaining concepts of the opening is Znosko-Borovsky's "How to play the chess openings". It's a little book, but it explains ideas and gives a few lines. It's probably enough to get you started.
Good luck! The French is a fun alternative for black ... but I think it's supposed to be fairly complicated. More advanced players might have other suggestions.
18 ( +1 | -1 ) Easy French?Against the French, I often play 1. e4 e6, 2. d4 d5, 3. Nd2, The Tarrasch line. Many people do not know how to handle it. Against those who like open games, be prepared for such lines.
109 ( +1 | -1 ) It's as good a defense as any other, and the French does tend to highlight some important aspects of position play (pawn structure issues, good/bad minor pieces) and very solid. I've been frustrated more than once holding the White pieces by French players who able to hold the position against viscious attacks and counterattack, and draw positions that were clearly inferior.
Though I don't play the French as Black, I've thumbed through Watson's "Play the French" as it has always garnered praise, and it's not a bad book at all. It's certainly enough to get you started.
There is going to be some memorization work involved, so you may wish to consider holding off opening study in favor of improving other aspects of your game; up to you. Sharp variations in the French such as the Poisoned Pawn in the Winawer, the Alekhine-Chatard Attack, and the McCutcheon Variation in the Classical revolve to a large degree around concrete variations rather than general principles, although of course some generic French Defense principles apply to some extent.