[February 27, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Aleksandar Kovačević:
French Defense, Normal Variation – Classical Variation (Boleslavsky Variation with 7… a6)

[Line 339 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 a6]

The idea behind 7… a6 in the Boleslavsky Variation is to launch an early pawn advance on the queenside. White usually opts for short castling and tries to make use of his spatial advantage.

After 8. Qd2 b5 White has a few possibilities. For club level players we recommend 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. Bd3 Qb6 11. Bf2, where with precise play Black can reach satisfactory positions.

White’s main response is 9. a3, with the idea to postpone the b5-b4 advance. Black has two interesting choices: 9… Bb7 10. Bd3 Be7 11. O-O O-O or 9… Qa5 10. Ra2!? Qc7 11. Bd3 Be7, which both offer him reasonable counterplay.

[Diagram: White to Move] W. So – S. Volkov, Kocaeli 2015. Black’s last move was g7-g6, with the idea to stop the thematic f4-f5. However, Black’s plan is seriously flawed, and White can exploit the weaknesses in his opponent’s position. How did So continue in the diagrammed position?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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