In my process of improvement I have decided to get a solid opening repertoire. The main problem in an opening repertoire is choosing what to play with Black against 1 e4. In the past, I alternated between the Latvian Gambit and the French. I have now given up on my once beloved Latvian , and play the French exclusively.
But playing the French can involve studying the Winawer. In my opinion, the Winawer is even more complicated than the Sicilian Najdorf. There are lines of tactical mayhem, and also lines of huge strategic depth that take a Botvinnik or a Smyslov to master. Emmanuel Berg recently produced two whole books on the Winawer. This gives you an idea of the depth of theory that has to be learned for just one variation in the French. There is also a defense to the Tarrasch to learn as well.
So I bought Nigel Davies opening videos on his training website. These cost 20 pounds for 21 hours of videos and are good value.
He recommends the Rubinstein Variation of the French Defense. This certainly seems easier to learn than the Winawer.
But isn’t the Rubinstein a little boring and passive? Let us look at some of the players who have recently played the Rubinstein – Anand, Bareev, Morozevich, Judith Polgar, etc.
Now Judith Polgar and Alexander Sergeyevich Morozevich don’t play openings they consider to be lifeless and dull. Anand and Bareev are not conservative players. They play to win.
I shall be following their example.