The Winawer Variation with 7. Qg4 is probably the sharpest line in the entire French Defense. Black has plenty of possibilities on 7th move, but only two of them lead to more or less balanced positions – 7… O-O and the Poisoned Pawn Variation, which can occur via two different move orders: 7… Qc7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 or 7… cxd4 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 Qc7.
When Black castles, White usually continues with 8. Bd3 where Black, again, has two viable choices – the highly complicated 8… Nbc6, and the less common alternative 8… f5, which we recommend for club level players.
As a reaction to 10. Ne2 Black can try 10… dxc3, which gives him an extra option against 11. f4 – apart from the transposition with 11… Nbc6 to the 10… Nbc6 11. f4 dxc3 line, he can also opt for 11… Bd7 12. Qd3 Nf5, with the idea to meet 13. Nxc3 with 13… Na6. For those following the main theoretical discussions, we recommend 10. Ne2 Nbc6 11. f4 dxc3 12. Qd3 Bd7 13. Nxc3 a6, with very complex double-edged positions.
[Diagram: White to Move] J. Myrene – T. Franzen, corr. 2005. As a reaction to 22. Qf6, Black has prepared 22… Nxh6 as his response. Is there a flaw in Black’s calculation?
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