The fighting French Tarrasch

2/28/2007 – The French Defense is considered a fighting opening, but that general attitude doesn’t usually extend to the 4…exd5 line of the Tarrasch. However, that is a mistake, as our Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos shows us in this week's talk. Be there and learn.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

The French Defense is correctly considered a fighting opening, but that general attitude doesn’t usually extend to the 4…exd5 line of the Tarrasch: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 exd5:

Black gets an isolated d-pawn, and those familiar with Karpov’s successes against this line might think the only question is whether White wins or Black draws. That’s a mistake! Unless, of course, you’re playing Karpov – but how likely is that?

Wolfgang Uhlmann, the great German specialist with the French Defense, will be our guide this week, as we investigate his win over Lothar Vogt from Potsdam 1974. The fine points of theory have moved along, but the strategic themes we’ll see in this game remain important to this day. What’s great about this game is just how many key Tarrasch French (and general IQP) themes come into play! If Karpov-Uhlmann, Madrid 1973 offers a model for White’s play (and we’ll take a look at that game, too), Uhlmann provides the antidote for Black. Best of all, it’s an outstanding all-around game: instructive and attractive, too, from beginning to end. French, Tarrasch anti-French, and IQP players of all sorts will find something of benefit, and it’s good entertainment besides!

See you this Thursday night – 9 pm Eastern time, as always.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Friday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).


Dennis Monokroussos is 40, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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