out: The French
|Price: £ 12,99
|Reviewed by: Pelle
||Date: 27/3 2003
out: The French
The idea behind this book, like other in the series, is to
explain the basic ideas of the opening. Modern chess has become so
theoretical, that it seems overwhelming to learn and understand the
numerous variations in openings like The French. This book is
supposed to make things easier for junior or club players, who wants
to pick up the Defence. It nearly makes it but not quite.
Introduction (2 pages)
Winawer Variation 3.Nc3 Bb4
1 The Winawer with Qg4 (18 pages)
2 The Winawer: Positional Main Lines (21 pages)
3 The Winawer: Other Lines (14 pages)
Classical Variation: 3.Nc3 Nf6
4 Modern Variation: 4.e5 (12 pages)
5 The Burn Variation: 4.Bg5 dxe4 (14 pages)
6 Others: 4.Bg5 ( 20 pages)
Tarrasch Variation: 3.Nd2
7 The Tarrasch with 3...Nf6 (12 pages)
8 The Tarrasch with 3...c5 (14 pages)
9 The Tarrasch: Others (8 pages)
10 The Advance Variation (15 pages)
11 The Rubinstein Variation and Others (16 pages)
A Look at the the Variations
The book is written by the international master Byron Jacobs.
According to my database Jacobs has little experience with the
French in practice. He has played White in the Winawer a few times,
and this part of book seems like the best to me. Jacobs has
collected some of the most important games in the Winawer, and he is
able to guide the reader with useful tip, notes an warnings.
However the part of book dealing with 3.Nd2 is very bad. In one
of the main lines 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3
Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd 8.cxd f6 there is not much help to find for Black.
Byron Jacobs: "There is wild complications after 9.Nf4
Nxd4 10.Qh5 Ke7 11.Ng6+ hxg6 12.exf6+ Nxf6 13.Qxh8."
Yes, Byron I have eyes in my head. But how does play continue?
Since Black is killed instantly if he does not know this line, it
would be fair to ask for at least one safe way to play. In many
other critical positions the author is neither at any help what so
In the reserved line after 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.0-0 Bd6 11.Nf3 Qb6 12.b3
0-0 13.Bf4 Black is also on his own.
This has become popular recently. Byron Jacobs has picked out two
games where poor Black is completely humiliated. Not even the notes
is giving any suggestions of improvement.
Black or White?
Like others in the Starting Out series, this is a book for both
White and Black. I honestly does not like this idea. It is very easy
to fall between two stools, and I believe, that Byron Jacobs has
done just that. In my opinion, he should have recommended one line
for Black only in every Variation and given a few
It is a tough task to describe the fundamentals of the French
Defence. In the first part of the book I believe that Byron Jacobs has done an acceptable
job. However the rest of it seems to be written much too fast.
The French is a beautiful defence. It deserves better!