The Advance French Position (6.a3 c4)

I had been playing the advance variation against the French Defense lately (blitz only), and became curious about the 6.a3 line where Black plays c4 immediately. (see positions below).

When I did a search through the Chess King database I found that Sveshnikov seemed to attract this position more than others, so here are a few of his games, with notes from the Hiarcs chess engine.

I also found other interesting games where top players tried different methods, and certainly there is no end of different White play.

The take away for me from entering into this position is that you must be ready for either a game full of middle game strategy focused on Black trying to capitalize on White’s weak b3 square, or black fending off a kingside attack with clever maneuvering of White’s knights to aid in both strategic defense and tactical play, or surviving that be prepared to play a rook and pawn endgame. In some strategies Black castles long but white still attacks with pawns on the kingside(!) in order to gain either a passed pawn or create weaknesses on f6. In all cases here I tried to find games where White survived, but I could just as easily found games where Black dominated play, or drew. Its likely the position is theoretically balanced, but in the following games sheer talent in the White player showed their worth.

The games have accompanying engine notes (Deep Hiarcs 14 WCSC)

Ed Rosenthal

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About Edward Rosenthal

Ed is a freelance web designer who enjoys playing chess. He won Rochester NY the year before Mikhail Tal won over Mikhail Botvinnik - (Look it up). He formerly worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in the consulting and business programming departments and spent several years freelancing as Oracle and Informix Database Admin. His interests include reading & writing Poetry, Dog rescue with his wife Pam, WordPress, among other things. Visit him at