Killer stuff in the French Defence

by ChessBase
9/8/2006 – The French Defence is very well suited for players who do not have time to continuously keep up with latest opening theory. You can focus on understanding of positional ideas and strategy, rather than worry about tactics. Buy this new DVD training course on the French Defence by IM Ari Ziegler, or read this review.

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A fantastic repertoire DVD  
Review by Bob Long

IM Ari Ziegler's THE FRENCH DEFENCE is close to a masterpiece. It is a new effort from ChessBase in their fritztrainer opening series. 

1. They chose the right guy to present the French-he was a former Sicilian player, for many years. As he grew older and even more positional, he preferred the "slower" play of the French. But don't let this fool you... there are MANY positions on the screen where a false step will be ALL she wrote. If you like tactics, you will see them here.  

2. The DVD is over 6 hours long, probably the longest of all CB DVDs. You get your money's worth. Ziegler (publisher of Quality Chess in Sweden) is no stranger to the French and has played against it too-but now he is a French player.  

3. He is reflective, thinking while looking at the screen. This takes a little getting used to, but as time went by I rediscovered the virtue of patience.  

4. There is killer stuff on this DVD. He doesn't dodge lines and isn't afraid to admit that even though Karpov won a particular French Tarrasch, he shouldn't have.  

5. Ziegler comes right out and makes it clear that sacking the Exchange is OFTEN an effective way to get center control, pawns pushed, and wins in the offing.  

6. He covers the Advance in detail and says, basically, there is NOTHING to be afraid of.

Watch the beginning of "Advance Variation VI" (in reduced quality)...

7. When he gets to the Tarrasch, he covers that in detail too and acknowledges the "awkwardness" of White's Knights in some positions... he particularly doesn't like Knights on b3. He also gets to the Modern Tarrasch which he admits is tougher on Black. There are a few losses and draws on this DVD for Black, but there are a lot of wins, and a number of them by Ziegler himself.  

8. He gets into the Classical which I didn't get a chance to watch all the way through (I wanted to get this report out right away). But he adds in the Alekhine-Chatard Attack and GM (Sweden) Jonny Hector's valuable contribution which was later used by Kasparov in a quick game against Korchnoi. The coverage is brief but quite good.  

Buy it now...

9. No Winawer as this is a repertoire DVD and Black will know how to play whatever White throws AT HIM.  

10. He shows lots of positions where players make moves such as a4, or a5 by Black, or h4, or h5 by Black. He gives constant tidbits of advice everywhere such as when ...f6 is a good move. He rolls pawns down the Q-side and he comes up with amazing defenses and counterattacks a la Korchnoi-ian methods.  

11. He philosophizes about strength, ratings, and other chess subjects as it pretty much pertains to what he is presenting. He LOVES people who "think."

Sweep away the little regrets here and there and sit down and discover the pleasures of the French Defense.

Oh, one other thing. Some of you may know we are publishing Andy Rea's THE UNREAL CHESS OF ANDY REA, a former master. Even though Andy does a lot of his work through the Modern and transpositions, it was like reading his manuscript again! There are NEW things in chess and this DVD exploits them. In the past month I "feel" like my theoretical knowledge has increased 200-300 rating points! Now of course we have the stamina problem, the age problem, and the memory problem, so, subtract 150 rating points. Still, everything considered, I know a lot more about particular positions and setups than I ever knew concerning the French AND others.

This is an ACE dvd from ChessBase."

Full review at

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