I currently play the Advance against the French, using Collins' old book in conjunction with Sveshnikov's old work and some own analysis.
I'm not too unhappy with the line, but I'd still like to try and have a look at 3.Nc3 once more as well.
I got Negi's book on the Caro/French/Philidor, but it has the usual GM Rep issue for me that the lack of prose and general explanations of what which move is for just makes handling varying moveorders and slight changes in structure too tough to handle, as I will just never remember every single concrete move in every line..
I'm quite happy with what he recommends against the Winawer, and could actually follow that rather well, as the lines are pretty concrete and "just learning moves" works out well there; but in the Steinitz that's a different story.
I feel like I still lack a good bit of understanding how to handle those structures, and that "just learning moves" simply doesn't cut it.. the moment I exit my memorized lines, I pretty much never come up with what the book recommends at the given point (unlike eg in the Advance, where I can forget a line and then still happen to play book moves for a good while).
Therefore, a "lower level" resource on the Steinitz would be really nice to have, that cares less about delivering cutting edge theory (I already have access to that, so I dont need it), and more about providing general explanations of what White is even trying to achieve etc - similar to those Collins/Sveshnikov books on the Advance that I got, and which are super nice to work with.
My problem is, Google hasn't really spit out much of anything. Standard 1.e4 Repertoire books almost always recommend some copout against the French (Exchange with or without c4, KIA), and more specialized books that I found (such as the recent book by Shaw) all appear to be on the Tarrasch, which I'm just not really a fan of.
Does something exist that helps me understand what is going on in these positions?
I'd also be fine with some kind of book on the French for Black that details what White is doing, after all my White repertoire already exists .. I just need to find a way to remember it / be able to play still when I don't
I don't know if there is lots of prose on this stuff in PTF or somewhere.
Similarly, DVDs would of course also be fine - again, I don't know much about eg Chessbase products, I mostly check out c24 (which has a video series by Trent for White vs the French, but that too covers the Tarrasch).
Alternatively, some help on how to work with those GM Rep books as a player below their target range, and how to understand the positions on your own without proper explanations might work I suppose.. my current state is that I tried opening the book multiple times, and spent a good bunch of time working with it, but pretty much the moment I close it I feel like I retained nothing
Thanks for all help!
P.S. My FIDE is ~2000, if that helps narrow it down some in some fashion or another (ie with 'beginner' I mean to the system, not to chess)