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No Winawer, Classical, or MacCutcheon Variations this month! I'll concentrate instead upon the Advance and Tarrasch Variations.

Download PGN of November '10 French games

Advance Variation

Several of the characteristic Advance Variations appear in Haba - Ponkratov, Plovdiv 2010:

Here Black has at least four plausible moves, and each juncture involves complicated choices. As the game goes, play goes back and forth and White prevails.

A more traditional approach with Be2 is seen in Palkovich - Bosman, Plovdiv 2010.

Black plays the standard manoeuvre 10...0-0 11 h5 Nh8 with the idea ...f6 and ...Nf7. This time, White fails to guard his centre sufficiently and falls into a lost position.

For fun, we get to see a 2400+ player using the Milner-Barry Gambit against an opponent rated 600 points below him! His new move is 11 Qf3!?:

It doesn't say much for the gambit that White stood very poorly, and was extremely lucky to get through, in Perez Mitjans- Merino Araguas, Madrid 2010.

Tarrasch Variation

Franck Steenbekkers asks about the 3...h6 variation of the Tarrasch, and how Black can improve in his game T Burg - Franck Steenbekkers, hmc intern 2010, stemming from this position:

I've analysed that game, with 8 Bxd7+, as well as giving a partial survey of the whole line by using the game Lakos - Rudolf, Szombathely 2010, which continued 8 Qe2+.

We haven't seen that much of 3...c5 4 exd5 exd5 5 Ngf3 Nc6 6 Bb5, which often leads to this position:

This was once a main line of the 3...c5 Tarrasch, and it still has a solid reputation. Kudrin - Yang, Arlington 2010, illustrates many of the basic ideas, and is also a fascinating battle.

The variation 3...c5 4 exd5 Qxd5 was seen in Movsesian - Shirov, Plovdiv 2010. White chooses a slow and safe line with 11 b3:

But Shirov typically goes for the initiative and poses enough problems to throw White on the defensive.

Hecht-Reefschläger Variation

What has become one of the main lines of this 3 Nc3 Nc6 variation arose in Nakamura - Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Cap d'Agde 2010:

Black has done reasonably well here, and could have gotten full-fledged play in this game, but the line has to be handled carefully and Black's first mistake essentially cost him the game.

Till next month, John

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