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John watsons new french book
John Watson a well known US author, has recently published the third installment in his highly acclaimed book on the french defence. Has anyone bought the third edition of the french defence? I would be particularly interested to see what he recommends against the french tarasch.
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I have had the book for some weeks now: the two main lines he recommends for black against the Tarrasch run.
1.34 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5
A) 4.Ngf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.e5 Nfd7 7.Nsf3 nc6 8.Bb5!? Qb6! 9.c3 Bc5
B) 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 csc4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 c6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4
with good prospects for black of course.
The new book is much like its predecessors, in other words well done.
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And what about 4. dc?
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I have had this book for about 4 months now. Watson's analysis is very good, but I feel like this book serves as more of a complement to PTF2 than a comprehensive work on the French. There's no analysis of critical variations like the Nf6 Tarrasch or Poisoned Pawn Winawer.
One of the variations of major interest that Watson analyzes in the 3rd edition is 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7.
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its covered as a sub-variation.
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ptfIII is a repertoire book for black using the French. He only gives the variations he is recommending and he puts all his energy into finding resources for black.
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As a previous tarasch player, line B as stated by baseline does seem promising for black. I dont think I could ever play the french though as there seem several drawish lines that white can choose. e.g. e4 e6 d4 d5 exd5, these positions are very difficult to win as black. But as I believe Watson's book is relatively inexpensive it could prove an interesting read.
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Actually, the exchange French is only drawish if Black chooses. There are some excellent lines for Black to choose from, since White's third move removes all Black's opening problems. I have played this variation from the Black side many times over the past 20 years, and have had excellent results, in both over the board and in correspondence play.
The French would not be a popular choice for Black if it was that easy to draw against it. It has the same chances to draw, win, or lose as any other popular opening system, such as many flavors of the Sicilian, Black Ruy, etc.
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I would estimate that over 70% of my games in the Exchange Variation have been decisive (more often, in favor of black). I've had much fewer draws in the Exchange Variation than in any other variation.
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thats quiet suprising for me, the symettrical structure appear to offer neither side an advantage
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I have similar experiences
With Exchange Slav, another symmetrical line. At my level it is no more drawish than any other Slav line, really. It seems to me some chess players refuse to accept there is a big difference between amateurs and GMs, and give up perfectly good openings for no reason at all.
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Not sure that it is simply a difference between amateurs and GMs, I don't often see GMs playing 3. exd5 to try to draw with White. I don't really know. By playing 3. exd5 White immediately solves the problem of Black's light bishop and the open e-file is not so important as it seems. The game is fully symmetric in the initial position and neither side has an advantage, and with best play, the game will be a draw, yet many, many games are not. The Exchange Variation offers me no worse results (better, in fact) than other variations.
The variation that I have had the most draws with would actually be with White against the French, in the Rubinstein Variation (3... dxe4). With Black I think most of my draws have been in the Poisoned Pawn variation.
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No, I don't think anyone here commits themselves to a draw by playing *any* opening variation, let alone the french.