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houseofcook 30 ( +1 | -1 )
French Defence, What do you play as White. Hi there,

A question for players who play the French defence as their main opening.
What openings would you play as white ? I know this is dependant on the response by black. Is it a similar setup to the French, or totally unrelated?
What was your thinking in choosing these setups ?
ionadowman 137 ( +1 | -1 )
My own favorite... ... for White is 3.Nc3, hoping for the Winawer (an opening I like as Black as well, which says something about this line): 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5. 3.Nc3 and if Black plays 3...Bb4 we have the Winawer line, leading to a good fighting game. Black can try instead the exchange on e4 (I have a consultation game going on Gameknot at the moment in which the opponents have played this). Or he can try 3...Nf6, an OK line, but one I dislike as Black.

Playing the French OTB almost exclusively for several years, I found four opponents out of five favoured the Tarrasch, 3.Nd2, keeping the c-pawn free to advance. Not particularly committal, it's not easy for Black to get a hold on the ensuing game. I favoured the Guimard (3...Nc6) with considerable success, but blocking Black's c-pawn isn't everyone's cup o' java.

Finally, there's the more committal Advance Variation: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 (3...c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 are often played. White can then continue with the "standard" 6.Be2, or try the more ambitious 6.Bd3, possibly heading for the violent Milner-Barry Gambit: 6...cxd4 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.0-0 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 Qxe5 11.Re1 ... An example is the game kikoursus vs ionadowman played in 2005.

There may be other lines (I gather 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 is sometimes played), but these are the main ones.

kansaspatzer 16 ( +1 | -1 )
I think he's asking what openings French players play when they're White. But FWIW, I play 2.Qe2 when faced with the French.
chessisvanity 33 ( +1 | -1 )
pffft... Throw them off....I play the exchange.

Why would I sit there and let a guy play his favorite opening?

If i play 1.e4 and he plays 1...e6 I know he knows the French.

So i play 2.d4...d5


Yes some say this might be drawish....but unless he is 2200 or better then i have the advantage.

The same goes with the caro-kann. The exchange variation!!
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houseofcook 33 ( +1 | -1 )
French Defence,what do you play as white. Thanks for the replies.
It was interesting to find out what French players would play against the French.
I appreciate the in depth reply from ionadowman, but I did mean what does a French player play as white, what would be your initial moves, would you start with 1.d4 or 1. e4 or something else ?
chessisvanity 13 ( +1 | -1 )
... well duh...

A french player will have an advantage playing against the French so I imagine they play 1.e4 as white.
ionadowman 75 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry - - Misunderstood you to mean what would I play if faced with the French.

But you can infer that I was not afraid to face the French myself, so would open 1.e4 at least sometimes.

But my stock opening as White, for even longer than the French was when I was Black, was the English Opening: 1.c4. 1.e4 was more of a "change" opening, just for the sake of variety. Some "English" players tend to stick with "pure" English positions, but I was more than happy to transpose into King's Indian Defences (from White's perspective), Sicilians Reversed or (surprisingly frequently) Maroczy Binds. Quite a few French defence player like the King's Indian Attack as White, but I never had much luck with it...

lighttotheright 14 ( +1 | -1 )

You and I apparently like the same openings with the same variations! That's spooky. Maybe we know some things others don't.:-O
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ionadowman 21 ( +1 | -1 )
... Ken -
I wonder what they can be?? :-/

Maybe we just like lines with a bit of fight in them?
(I have to admit, though, my record with the English on GK hasn't been all that wonderful...)

premium_steve 56 ( +1 | -1 )
i'm a french player now (i used to play the alekhine and scandinavian), and i most often prefer 1.e4.
it's true that as black i like to play fairly solidly with 1.e6 because i have found that most lines give me a position i am comfortable with - without much risk of being a lot worse out of the opening.
as white i feel i can take more liberties in an open style game and look for some kind of attack. (that being said, i still fear open sicilians as white!)

sometimes i'll give 1.d4 or 1.f4 a try, or maybe 1.g3.
markb56 37 ( +1 | -1 )
Maginot Line / Hitler Gambit If I were playing white against the French I would try to try to get black to play the Maginot Line after which it's an easy matter to maneuver your pieces around the flank. However, white must be careful and avoid the now refuted Hitler Gambit, because if white gets too bold he will find himself fighting on two different fronts.
kansaspatzer 26 ( +1 | -1 )
I just recently switched to the French and I normally play e4, although there are certain opponents I'll play d4 against. I must admit I'm not all that booked up against the Sicilian but playing lots of Gameknot games using the opening DB helps when you get OTB, IMO.
wulebgr 7 ( +1 | -1 )
As I French player, I understand the futility of 1.e4. I play 1.g3, 1.d4, 1.c4, and 1.Nf3, reserving 1.e4 for weaker opponents and blitz.
kansaspatzer 7 ( +1 | -1 )
So what is the Hitler gambit? The only Google hit for it is this page...
jstevens1 56 ( +1 | -1 )
Expert Draw! Hi everyone! Just to let you know that there is a game on the Public Annotations where I had the black pieces and played against The Tarrasch. The game is called Expert Draw because at the time my opponent was 832 points north of my rating. Despite a 2 pawn deficit I managed to draw it. This was a big result because it is still the only time I have managed to draw against an Expert. Ionadowman has already commented on the game but if any of you have anything to add please feel free to do so.

Hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.

Cheers and bye for now.

savage4731 9 ( +1 | -1 )
Kansaspatzer That's because the correct way for black to play is just to resign as soon as possible.