The French Defense: A Tactical Battle

Kumar Gaurav
The French Defense: A Tactical Battle




In the world of chess, there are countless opening theories, each with its own unique style and strategy. Some openings are known for their aggressive nature, while others are more calm and positional. For positional players, the French Defense is a popular choice. This opening allows black to slowly develop their pieces and prepare for a well-timed attack on the white king. However, there have been players who have successfully defeated the French defense in less than 25 moves. In this blog, we will analyze a match between Magnus Carlsen and Ivan Salgado, where Carlsen defeated his opponent in just 20 moves. I Recommend watching the entire video of this chess game analysis. But if you just want the gist of it then keep reading.




The Opening Moves

The game began with 1.e4 e6, the standard moves for the French Defense. White usually continues with 2.d4, but Carlsen opted for a different approach and played 2.b3. This move is not as commonly seen but still falls within the realm of theory. Black responded with 2...d5, and Carlsen developed his bishop to b2. After Black's Nf6, e5, Nfd7 Magnus chose to strengthen his position by playing 4.f4. This move further solidifies the pawn on e5 and prepares for future attacks.


Magnus Carlsen destroys French defense

A Strategic Exchange

After a few moves of openings and attaining respective positions for the desired middle game, the below position came up.


17.. Bxg5

Black captures the knight on g5, expecting Nxg5 but magnus captured the bishop with pawn, making an excellent outpost for his knight and after black's long castle, he planted his knight on f6, attacking the queen.


A Resignation

Magnus saved his queen by playing 19.. Qd6 but after Magnus played 20. Re1. Ivan saw that the e6 pawn was pinned and d8 square is safely guarded by the f6 knight. There was no good way to save this pawn. And if the black desperately guards that pawn by giving up the exchange, the white queen was infiltrating by capturing the pawn on h7. Ivan was in dire position and he resigned



The game between Magnus Carlsen and Iman Salgado showcased the power of strategic planning and tactical execution in the French Defense. Carlsen's choice of the uncommon move 2.b3 allowed for a different kind of game, catching his opponent off guard. By carefully planning his moves and capitalizing on his opponent's weaknesses, Carlsen was able to secure a commanding position and ultimately emerge victorious. If you're interested in learning more about successful strategies against the French Defense, I recommend checking out the collection of French defense games I have created. By studying these games, you can add more weapons to your repertoire and improve your overall gameplay. I hope you enjoyed this analysis and that it has provided you with valuable insights into the world of chess. If you have any suggestions for future videos, please let me know. I am always looking to improve and create a better experience for you. Goodbye for now and have a great day!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the French Defense good in chess?

Yes! It is one of the most solid opening choices and is very popular among positional players. Magnus himself have played french defense in past and had good results.

What is the weakness of French Defense?

French defense Is not very friendly with his queen's bishop or light square bishop. Usually, white tries to take benefit of this weakness by not allowing black to develop it's queen's bishop to good square. Caro-kann on the other hand offers similar solid structure but with developed light square bishop.

Tags :

  • Chess game analysis
    chess openings
    Magnus Carlsen
    French Defense

About Author

Kumar Gaurav

Kumar Gaurav

A Software developer by profession and Chess player by passion. I write chess content regularly as part of my hobby and is very much invested in it. If you have any sugession for me, please contact

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Comments (3)

Jeff Lowery (


Thank you for the thoughtful article.

Jeff Lowery (


Thank you for the thoughtful article.



for you assumption that 256 would be enough to count moves I'd like you to have a look at this game: