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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) C00-C19: best book to use to learn the french? (Read 10219 times)
emary
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #27 - 10/31/09 at 10:12:57
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Hello endali!

I like "McDonald: How to play against 1.e4" best.

Uhlmann's game collection is certainly a great
book, but it is not what you are looking for,
because Uhlmann has consistently played 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5
3.Nc3 Bb4 and then if allowed the most critical line 4.e5 c5
5.a3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 Ne7
7.Qg4 Qc7 (later he switched to 7...0-0). 

Practical problem of this choice:
Fourth move alternatives:
a3, Qg4, Bd2, Ne2, Bd3, exd5, Qd3
Fifth move alternatives:
Nf3, Bd2, dxc5, Qg4
Seventh move alternatives:
Nf3, a4, h4

Nethertheless I think Uhlmann's games against
weaker opponents, who tried Exchange variation,
King's Indian Attack etc are a great learning
tool even if you are not interested in the Winawer.

Watson's book "Play the French" is also a great book,
but it does not contain complete games. Therefore I
would not advice you to start your study of the French
with Watson.

As a FIRST book  McDonald's
"How to play against 1.e4"
looks best to me! 
"Moskalenko: The Flexible French" and
"Eingorn - Bogdanov: Chess Explained, the French"
are other new books about the French.

McDonald often gives basic explanations. For instance he shows
us the dangers of the Bxh7 sacrifice if Black is not careful.
Or the dangers of the d4-d5 break-through in the Fort Knox. 

McDonald gives a complete, safe and sensible repertoire for Black.
He doesn't recommend the most trendy lines:   

Advance Variation
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 b6!?
                    c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Bd7!? 
with the idea to exchange the bad bishop via b5.
I am sceptical about 3...b6!?, but it is a practical choice,
because it is not very deeply covered in Sveshnikov's
great books about the Advance Variation.


Exchange Variation
First McDonald tells us how soon black can be lost,
if he plays inaccurate.
He suggests an agressive setup:
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nc6!? 5.Bb5 Bd6!?
(5...Ne7 looks safer)
6.c4! dxc4! 7.d5 a6 8.Ba4 b5.   
...4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Bd6 6.Qf3 Be6 (6.Ne2 Qh4)
...4.Nc3 c6!? with the idea of Bd6.


Fort Knox (Bxf3 is delayed!)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2/Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7
5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 with the idea of Ngf6

King's Indian Attack
Main idea is to delay castling thus denying
White a target.

Odds end Ends
1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 is covered
1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 Bd7!? avoiding the Wing gambit
1.e4 e6 2.b3 d5 3.Bb2 Nf6!? avoiding the typical Reti Gambit
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3 dxe4 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.f3 Nd5!
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6


This is already a complete and safe repertoire
against 1.e4!

But McDonald also covers the Tarrasch:
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 and now
4.Bd3 c5 5.dxc5 Nf6 6.Qe2 0-0 7.Nf3 a5!?
4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 b6!? 
4.e5 c5 5.Qg4 Bf8!?
I did some research: 3...Le7 is not very well known
beyond 2000 elo, at least in Austria.

The McCutcheon against the Classical:
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4!?

7...Be7 versus Khalifman's suggestion in the
Steinitz variation:
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd7 5.f4 c5
6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7!?
His explanation of this magical move I like very
much. Even Khalifman calls it the best of Black's
side lines (a6, Qb6 and cxd4 are his main lines)

And finally not so surprising: 
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd7
5.Nce2 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.f4 Be7!?

McDonald's does not cover the most trendy lines,
but he takes you near to them. If you want to
upgrade to sharper or more trendy stuff this
is possible without learning everything new.



Some further reading:

Moskalenko is a very good complement to McDonald,
there is also coverage of the Tarrasch-Be7 and the
McCutcheon. 

If you are serious about the French, then
Watson is a must have, first, second and third edition. 

Uhlmann's game collection is great.

Korchnoi's best games with Black!!

Nikolaiczuk: Mittelspielpraxis - 100 mal
Französisch (there are hundred critical
positions, you have to evaluate different
follow-ups. The complete games are lightly
annotated in the solution-section. I don't know wether
this book has been translated)

Minev: ? (this is a collection of offbeat ideas in the
French Defence, I have lost this book)

Taulbot has written a book about the French, which I
like, but it is dated.

Also dated is the book of Rolf Schwarz, but it
contains a great number of complete games.

Btw.
Have a look at Korchnoi's french defences
against Karpov and Spassky, encouraging.

Good Luck with the French
  
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DionTheGreek
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #26 - 10/30/09 at 14:41:57
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durring the current discussion was mentioned by other users DVD sources...

I preffer books too and do understand the topic is about books but like I said DVD's already mentioned..

if you dont want to respond to my question maybe is better to just don't respond at all instead of making smart remarks...

I agree 100% with Keano....

Keano wrote on 10/08/09 at 08:03:47:
If you are just starting out and want to learn the French you can hardly go wrong with these two:

Watson - Play the French, 1st Edition
Uhlmann - Winning with the French

If these books dont get you enthusiastic and give you some inspiration for the French then nothing will. Later you can do all the boring stuff like keeping up to date with current theory etc.



  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #25 - 10/30/09 at 02:05:32
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Perhaps because a DVD is not a book?
  

The book had the effect good books usually have: it made the stupids more stupid, the intelligent more intelligent and the other thousands of readers remained unchanged.
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #24 - 10/29/09 at 16:25:25
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Why noone here mention Susan P. 3 DVD's on the French?
I watched the first one and the presentation is not bad.

Personally, I prefer Ziegler DVD to start...

  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #23 - 10/22/09 at 15:27:30
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i think that  the besxt french text book its the Pimsleur (Pimsleur French Complete Course) .
  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #22 - 10/19/09 at 11:18:16
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I would recommend Neil McDonald's 'How to Play against 1.e4' for those starting out playing the French.  He gives complex but slightly offbeat lines against both the Tarrasch and the Classical (3...Be7 and the MacCutcheon, respectively), and something a bit different against the Advance, too.

So you can get a feel for typical structures, plans and ideas, without being subjected to razor-sharp theory.

He also does a good job of introducing the Fort Knox, so that you've got an easy alternative if you find yourself needing to patch up your lines against 3.Nd2 or 3.Nc3.  Or are just really lazy!

Plus, nobody can doubt Neil's commitment to or expertise in the French so you can be fairly sure the lines have at least something going for them, even if they don't always lead to full equality (whatever that means).
  

If sometimes we fly too close to the sun, at least this shows we are spreading our wings.
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #21 - 10/19/09 at 10:03:33
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I agree with MNb on his fast food remark. Books have a number of advantages over DVDs: you can take them anywhere, they usually contain more indepth analysis, and are usually more harshly criticized as they take longer to produce so expectations are higher. The strengths of DVDs to me is that some people are more 'auditory learners' and DVDs can be a 'fear free' way of introducing an opening. Still most DVDs contain less than 30 games with notes that are rather shallow, while books, by their nature, afford room for greater depth. I have two DVDs, I am not planning on buying anymore in the foreseeable future.
  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #20 - 10/18/09 at 20:55:01
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Antillian wrote on 10/18/09 at 12:56:30:
However, the mode of delivery - akin to having a grandmaster giving  you a personal lecture in your own living room - is what sets them apart.

Maybe my question is not fair either, but isn't this nullified by the fact that the audience can't ask questions? If yes I don't see any advantage in a DVD compared to a book. Consequently I don't buy chess-DVD's. Recently I have bought three books on the French and by far I haven't finished them yet.
Maybe it's just because I don't particularly enjoy fast-food either?
  

The book had the effect good books usually have: it made the stupids more stupid, the intelligent more intelligent and the other thousands of readers remained unchanged.
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #19 - 10/18/09 at 18:36:42
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I do agree very much with Antillian. Wondering though why I have to pay such a high price (as a book) for those DVDs. Some are really bad quality and made in "one go". The time and preparation is a minimum. Sometimes I just feel cheated.
(Sorry, this is out of topic but I couldn't resist.)
  

What kind of proof is that?
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #18 - 10/18/09 at 12:56:30
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saubhikr wrote on 10/18/09 at 12:03:57:
My two cents on any GM Davies work is this

If someone writes a book every alternate week, it is clear how much research work and time that was spent on it. It just can not be good. I liked Davies a lot and have been following his games for over 5 yrs now (my repertoire is very close to his). However, I wish he would have reduced the number of books/dvds and traded quality for quantity


Is this comment really fair? Or even accurate?

Certainly he has produced a plethora of DVD's recently. But the number of books he was written does not seem excessive to me. It is not difficult for a GM to produce a large number of DVD's in a short time period.

It is hard to complain about a DVD not being deeply researched. I have a large collection by many authors and and yet to come across any that are deeply researched. By their nature, they cannot be. They are quick fixes, they simply cannot be compared to books in terms of material content. However, the mode of delivery - akin to having a grandmaster giving  you a personal lecture in your own living room - is what sets them apart.
  

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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #17 - 10/18/09 at 12:03:57
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My two cents on any GM Davies work is this

If someone writes a book every alternate week, it is clear how much research work and time that was spent on it. It just can not be good. I liked Davies a lot and have been following his games for over 5 yrs now (my repertoire is very close to his). However, I wish he would have reduced the number of books/dvds and traded quality for quantity
  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #16 - 10/11/09 at 13:22:43
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I play only against the French as White, but picked up Chess Explained The French, by Eingorn and Bogdanov, recently and am quite enjoying it.  Also, I have noticed a new DVD by GM Davies on 1.d4 e6,2. e4 d5 3.Nc3/d2 Be7. Davies promotes it as a line that could be used against 1.d4 or 1. e4 and thus very handy for those with little time to study new ideas or theory. I like it because it gives me the opportunity to play the Classical Dutch without worrying about facing all those anti-Dutch lines.

Comments from experienced French players would be appreciated.
  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #15 - 10/08/09 at 08:03:47
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If you are just starting out and want to learn the French you can hardly go wrong with these two:

Watson - Play the French, 1st Edition
Uhlmann - Winning with the French

If these books dont get you enthusiastic and give you some inspiration for the French then nothing will. Later you can do all the boring stuff like keeping up to date with current theory etc.
  
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #14 - 10/07/09 at 22:20:15
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Willempie wrote on 08/07/09 at 22:27:53:
Blunderer wrote on 08/07/09 at 09:46:26:
Much better is to go through the likes of Uhlmann's book, perhaps Moskalenko, Mastering the French, and also Watson's Understanding the opening Vol 1.  I also think that Zielger does a good job of explaining the French ideas.


Agreed, though I havent got the mastering book so cant judge on that and found the Watson book useless for the purpose of the title. Uhlmann's book is a must, even if you dont play any of his lines.


Back from a holiday in The Netherlands I now earn Psakhis (on 3...Bb4), Moskalenko and Uhlmann. To me the three books seem to complement each other excellently. If they help to improve my results with the French is an entirely different matter.
  

The book had the effect good books usually have: it made the stupids more stupid, the intelligent more intelligent and the other thousands of readers remained unchanged.
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Re: what is the best book to use to learn the french?
Reply #13 - 10/07/09 at 17:58:34
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endali wrote on 08/06/09 at 10:28:15:
hello,

i'd like to ask the players with experience in the french, what's the best book to start learning to play it as black? there are so many books on the french, it's difficult to select one.

i'd prefer to play 3...Nf6 lines against tarrasch and 3.Nc3, but many books suggest the winawer, which seems too crazy for me, and variations with early ...dxe4, which doesn't seem like much fun.
is there a good book that focuses on 3...Nf6 lines?


If you ask me, I have read many books on the French but I am too a lazybone to read books; I prefer a good instruction on DVD. I think, the best ones on the market are Ziegler's and Susan Polgar's DVD trilogy, especially, Susan's product, as it covers the whole French and gives a very good insight into it. (thumb up!)

  
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