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The French Defense meets 1.e4 with 1...e6, preparing to counter the e4 pawn with 2...d5. Black blocks in their light-squared bishop, but gains a solid pawn chain and counter-attacking possibilities.

The French Defense is named after a 1834 correspondence game between the cities of London and Paris, in which the French defense was utilized.


  • Sound structure
  • Sharp counterattacking possibilities
  • Original type of game


  • Black has a space disadvantage
  • Light-squared bishop is locked in
  • Can become passive

Famous Practitioners: Viktor Korchnoi, Aron Nimzowitsch

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