Knights, Rooks and Kings video for October 7: French Defense Part 1

At this week’s club meeting, the Knights, Rooks and Kings groups will watch a short video on the French defense.  The French defense has a reputation for solidity and resilience, though it can result in a somewhat cramped game for Black in the early stages. Black often gains counterattacking possibilities on the queenside while White tends to concentrate on the kingside.

The French Defense is named after a match played by correspondence between the cities of London and Paris in 1834. It was Chamouillet, one of the players of the Paris team, who persuaded the others to adopt this defense.

As a reply to 1.e4, the French Defense received relatively little attention in the nineteenth century compared to 1…e5. The first world chess champion Wilhelm Steinitz said “I have never in my life played the French Defense, which is the dullest of all openings”. In the early 20th century, Géza Maróczy was perhaps the first world-class player to make it his primary weapon against 1.e4. For a long time, it was the third most popular reply to 1.e4, behind only 1…c5 and 1…e5. However, according to the Mega Database 2007, in 2006, 1…e6 was second only to the Sicilian in popularity.

We examine a popular defense to white’s e4 pawn opening and discuss the important things you need to know when playing the French Defense. This in depth analysis should share some light on how to play the French Defense correctly. This is Part 1 so make sure to watch Part 2 for the second part of this video.