Review: Understanding the French!

by Fiona Sieber
7/26/2017 – Rustam Kasimdzhanov was FIDE World Champion in 2004, a renowned opening expert and a successful trainer. He was a long-time second of Vishy Anand and helped him to prepare for several World Championship matches. For ChessBase, Kasimdzhanov has published a number of popular opening DVDs. Fiona Sieber had a close look at his DVD about the Main Line of the Classical French.

The Classical French - Main Line The Classical French - Main Line

After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3, the author takes a detailed look at a daring line with 7... cxd4 8. Nd4 Qb6, as well as the quieter plans with 7...cxd4 8. Nd4 Bc5, and the main line with 7... a6 and b5.


Kasimdzhanov explains the French

"Excellent and full of useful details"

Rustam Kasimdzhanov's DVD, "The Classical French — Main Line" impresses with its deep and detailed analyses of topical lines that top grandmasters play today. Kasimdzhanov shares his vast knowledge and presents high-class analyses to give an overview of the ideas of the Classical French while proposing a number of promising novelties.

He looks at the variation 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 from both sides and provides his viewers with lines that help them to build their own repertoire.

The DVD includes more than five hours of video lectures, databases with the analyses of the lectures, databases with more extensive analyses and more than 100 illustrative games.

Kasimdzhanov's English is easy to understand and at the end of each video he summarizes the most important points which helps to know which lines are good and which lines one should avoid. The DVD ends with 15 tasks that challenge the viewer to test his or her knowledge.

Now to the lines Kasimdzhanov analyzes: he focuses on the following three main positions which are regularly played in current top tournaments and also indicates alternative paths one might take before reaching these positions.

Main position 1


Kasimdzhanov dedicates no less than nine videos to this line which is a favorite of Hikaru Nakamura. If you study this line deeply you can surprise your opponent and score an easy win. White, for example, has a chance to sacrifice the exchange and Black can hope for a promising queen sacrifice!

The following line in which Black plays Qa5-c7 to prevent White from blocking Black's attack with Na4, also leads to sharp play.

Main position 2


The following main line is extremely popular and was played in about 3,500 games:

Main position 3


This line is extremely flexible because Black did not yet decide where he wants to put his c-pawn. Kasimdzhanov analyzes a wide range of ideas for Black and White.

Sample Video

When working with Kasimdzhanov's DVD I particularly liked his detailed analyses of crucial positions. This saved me a lot of time and effort — had I just relied on the Megabase it would have been much more difficult to find, to analyze and to evaluate the critical positions. Kasimdzhanov also shows how the critical lines have developed over time which considerably helped my understanding of the Main Line of the Classical French. However, in some positions I would have liked even more detailed variations in the analyses. I also hope for a follow-up that treats the popular line with 7…Be7. But all in all I highly recommend Kasimdzhanov's "The Classical French - Main Line", particularly to ambitious players with a rating of 1900 or more.

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

Understanding the French! The Classical French - Main Line

• Video running time: 5 hours 05 min (English) 
• With interactive training including video feedback 
• Exclusive database with over 50 essential games plus analysis of variations by Kasimdzhanov
• Including CB 12 Reader

Fiona Sieber (born 2000) is one of the greatest German talents. She learnt to play chess at the age of 7 and from 2013 to 2015 she was German Champion in her age-group. In 2015 she finished fourth at the Youth World Championships and in 2016 she became European Champion U16-Girls.


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