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adamastor 29 ( +1 | -1 )
french defense when is it sound to play f4 to support the e5 pawn in the French Advance variation?? i've seen a few games with f4 and i was wondering if that is really a good move, cramping the dark squares diagonals?? any ideas?? if there are any French defense addicts please report... thanks

schnarre 24 ( +1 | -1 )
f4 is fine vs the French! John Lutes' book on the McCutcheon variant of the French gives some ananlysis (the footnotes in his books frequently have a lot of info & are well-researched). I've not essayed f4 frequently, as I prefer to wait & see how the middlegame progresses. Try it out & see.
adamastor 37 ( +1 | -1 )
unknown variation "The McCutcheon variation of the French Defense (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 )"... this is what i got over that variant... correct me if im wrong but what does this has to do with the f4 pawn thrust?? my direct question was after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6... whites fifth move normally is 5.Nf3 blocking the f-pawn and the knight usually takes a lot of time to move from the f3 square so should i play f4 before Nf3? thanks...
soikins 128 ( +1 | -1 )
my two cents I'm a french player so I'll say my opinion about the 5. f4 move in Nimzowitsch variation of the French defence.

Imho it's not a good move, far from the best for sure. Of course, nowdays you can play chess in different ways, even 1. g4, but objectively such moves ar not good.

First of all, 5. f4?! means that white won't be able to play d4 easely (or not at all). Secondly, it gives black easy development, because black doesn't have to deal with any problems. White doesn't threaten anything, in fact white will have to lose another tempo with Kh1 somewhere in the opening, thus black will be fine with a knight on f5 and rook dominating on the c vertical (thought it will remain closed if white will not play d4, but I don't see any other way for white to fight for advantage, other than attack in the center). That's just geneal opinion, for examples you might want to look at some classical games:
Cohrane - Staunton, London, 1841
McDonnell - Morphy, NewOrleans, 1850

You could take a look here:
It's a chapter from GM E. Sveshnikov's new book on 3. e5 French. It's in russian, but you will understand the figurine notation.

soikins 36 ( +1 | -1 )
sorry My mistake in the previous post, there should be not "play" d4 but "hold to" d4. With that, I mean that white plays dxc5 somehere, thus recognizing his inability to hold the pawn on d4. One tempo (or even tw, if you take into account the Kh1 move that will be necessary later) is very important in the fight for the d4 square. See the games I refered you to.
adamastor 44 ( +1 | -1 )
it was nimzo exactly... i saw that f4 move with him and nimzo also says thats a good move... I fully understand the picture u gave me and that was what i just wanted to know... the tempo given to black is bad for white in the middlegame but wont that inflict some advantage in the long term entering the endgame for white??? white has a good strong e5, covered by d4 and f4 neutralizing the later f6 black move??? d4 is always going to be attacked...
bogg 74 ( +1 | -1 )
adamastor Are you certain that Nimzo recommends 5.f4? I have just about everything written by/on him in English and can't find a single example where he suggests or plays 5. f4. After 5. f4 Qb6 6. Nf3 Black already seems better to me. White's dark squared Bishop is at least as bad as Black's light squared Bishop and White is going to be saddled with a weak d4 pawn after an eventual cd: by Black. Additionally, Black's control of the White squares gives him an excellent post for his KN at f5. A possible variation from my DB is: 6. ... Nh6 7. Bd3 cd: 8. cd: Bd7 9. Bc2 Nb4 when Black must be better. There are, of course, alternatives to this line of play, which seems to be White's most popular after having played 5. f4, but it at least demonstrates some of White's problems.

CT (Bogg)
nottop 44 ( +1 | -1 )
French Tarrasch In the French Tarrasch after-
3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 the most popular move is 5.f4. However most highly rated players prefer 5.Bd3. If you don't enjoy playing against f4, then the French isn't for you. f4 gives black all the targets he wants - this should be a pleasure to the French player - like playing against the advance variation. These should be the easy ones - it's the more restrained white players that are harder to deal with.
schnarre 32 ( +1 | -1 )
5. Bd3 brings out a piece to a square that makes it active (many games I've seen Black lose vs the Tarrasch White has had a Bishop on d3 at some point); 5. f4 is a space grabbing move, & fits in well for the Tarrasch. With the Advance, I would delay f4 until later (my 5th move in the given line would be Bb5).
nottop 113 ( +1 | -1 )
hello schnarre I agree with you about some things - but I respectfully disagree with you about one poiint.
I agree that Bd3 is a good move. I always play Bd3 against the French Tarrasch. As black, when I play the French, my opponents play the Tarrasch almost 90% of the games. So I've been there many times (both sides).
I disagree that f4 fits in well. It does take space but it sets too many weaknesses - too many targets.
Did you see H. Berliner's book? He talks about controllling the key squares - fascinating book for correspondence players - and he talks a lot about grabbing space (when there is nothing more to the point). But he's usually talking about grabbing space on the queenside (with both players castling short). f4 only takes space on the kingside in front of your pawns - it gives black all kinds of way to challenge - and it weakens the diagonal in fron of the king.
It can surely work - white wins more games than he loses. But I think a more restrained approach is preferable for white. I would surely not have given up the French if white always played f4.

adamastor 66 ( +1 | -1 )
nimzo... the book where i saw that recommendation was in "My System"... in those annotated games in the end there is one (not sure) where he talks about f4... i believe he also said this is the only way to defend the e5 from f6... about the concessions this move inflicts in whites position, i must agree on whats being said here... it weakens white kingside in favour of some space.... im surprised to see nimzo talking about the advantages of a move that 1) at first glance doesnt seems sound 2)'i've never seen anyone playing it 3) only he understands apparently... thanks for everything.. and feel free to expose other doubts... peace
bogg 12 ( +1 | -1 )
adamastor I still can't find it! I replaced my 30 year old descriptive copy with the new algebraic one a few years ago. Did something change?

CTC (Bogg)
schnarre 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks for the reference nottop! Feel free to disagree if you feel it's appropriate (that's what forums like this are for); unlike most players, I don't care for the french at all (I've had better results with, of all things, Damiano's Defense) & I welcome it as White.