Anti-French Openings

Anti-French Openings are chess openings for White against the French Defence. The goal is usually to avoid some of the reams of theory that exist in many of the long-standing lines. Some lines often used as an “anti-French” line include:

There are also a number of the main-line systems against the French. But the player with Black is surely likely to know the Black side of the theory for these French lines.

Dubious Gambit Line

Milner-Barry Gambit: An interesting gambit line is the “Milner-Barry Gambit” involving Bd3 and the sacrifice of the “d4” pawn. It is probably not fully sound but is unclear and interesting, especially for rapid play or blitz.

Diagram: Milner-Barry Gambit (Advance French Bd3 Gambit Line)

Unusual French Lines

Uncommon French Lines: Some interesting sidelines in the first two moves include:

  • Qe2 French (2.Qe2!?) (Chigorin French). White then plays g3 and a kingside fianchetto setup, and probably a later “c3” move to forestall a Black Nd4 move.
  • c4 French (2.c4!?) is an odd line, which can be played a bit like a Scandinavian, or alternatively White can later play “d4” to harmlessly transpose into an Exchange French where White has then played c4.
  • d3 French (2.d3!?). Probably White is intending a King’s Indian Attack.
  • Nf3 French (2.Nf3!?). White avoids “2.d4” playing 2.Nf3 and 3.Nc3 instead. Black can push “d4” with independent lines, or simply transpose to various normal French lines, since White probably has to play “d4” eventually.

Related Chess Openings Topics

Read more about these related chess openings, strategies, chess puzzles, and other chess topics: