[June 25, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
French Defense, Normal Variation – Classical Variation without 4. Bg5

[Line 336 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 without 4. Bg5]

Line 336 deals with various sidelines in the Boleslavsky Variation (4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3) of the French Defense, as well as with the alternatives for both sides, starting from White’s fourth move.

In the Boleslavsky Variation, the main examined line is 7… Qb6, where White usually responds with 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. c3. Positions tend to become quite closed after 9… c4 10. b4 Qc7, and after several accurate moves, Black should be able to equalize. His 9th move alternative is 9… b6 10. Bd2 c4 11. b4 Nxb4 12. cxb4 Bxb4, and though it’s easier to play the position for White, Black still has his fair share of counter-chances. The other try for Black (9… cxd4 10. b4 Nxb4 11. cxb4 Bxb4+ 12. Bd2) leads to his opponent’s advantage.

Nakamura had tried 7… Rb8 several times, and that is the line we recommend for beginners.

For the players of White that want to avoid the most critical lines, we recommend either 5. Nce2 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Nf3, or 4. exd5 exd5 5. Bg5, which is more suitable for beginners.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black’s central pawns seem terrifying, and they would indeed offer him dangerous compensation, were it not for White’s unexpected blow. How can White get an almost winning position?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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