The French defence is a Black defence starting with “e6” that can be played against “e4” or “d4”. Although it has somewhat of a reputation as a passive defence, it is actually often played by extremely tactical masters. There are numerous lines of counter-attack and great tactical complications.
Diagram: French Defence Basic Position
The French defence is usually played against e4. The opening moves are typically:
- 1. e4 e6
- 2. d4 d5
Transposition from the Queen Pawn Games
The French defence can also be played against d4 with:
- 1. d4 e6
White can then choose between playing “e4” and the French Defence, or “c4” and playing a Queen’s Pawn Opening such as a Queen’s Gambit after Black plays “d5” (or perhaps Black plays a Nimzo-Indian with Nf6 or Franco-Indian with Bb4+).
Main French Variations
The sub-variations of the French Defence include:
The French defence is one of the Black moves with the best records against “e4”. Although it is not as popular as the Sicilian Defence, it probably deserves to be more popular.
Anti-French Lines for White
Some of the “anti-French openings” include:
- Milner-Barry gambit
- Qe2 French
- d3 French
Read more about: Anti-French Lines.