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Playing the French by Jacob Aagaard and Nikolaos Ntirlis


Digital Version Available from Forward Chess (read more)

The French Defence is one of the most solid and strategically rich responses to 1.e4. Many opening lines have been analysed to death by computer, but the French is relatively resistant to this growing trend, as the characteristic blocked pawn centre leads to situations where a player with superior understanding can overcome an opponent whose expertise lies in computer-assisted preparation.

Acclaimed authors Ntirlis and Aagaard present a complete repertoire for Black based on 3.Nc3 Nf6 and 3.Nd2 c5. With many new discoveries and detailed explanations of positional and strategic motifs, this book is essential reading for those playing this complex opening with either colour.

Nikolaos Ntirlis is a computer specialist and supplier of opening ideas for many grandmasters.

GM Jacob Aagaard is the only chess author to have won all the major Book of the Year awards.

ISBN: 978-1-907982-36-1 - 464 pages - Published 27 November 2013


"I have played the French in all of my chess life, but the whole world saw how clueless I was when I tried to use the specialised McCutcheon variation in a few games in Gibraltar. This made the book Playing the French far more interesting to me.

Obviously I should have read the book before I played the variation. But doing it the other way round was not without educational benefits! It gave me the chance to think a bit more freely about the opening and not allow myself to be under the control of the authorities. Or more relevantly; it made me far more receptive to what was in the book! I think I will play the variation very differently next time round!"

GM Simen Agdestein

"...an excellent source of inspiration for any French players out there."

GM Matthew Sadler, New in Chess

"Quality Chess has again been able to come up with another highly-recommendable book, with plenty of originality."

GM Glenn Flear, New in Chess Yearbook

"I gave up the French long time ago but now, after having worked with the books by Aagard, Ntilis and Berg, I am seriously considering visiting my old-forgotten friend...

[A book] of high quality by the very publisher who sets the standard nowadays regarding chess literature."

Lukas Wedrychowski (full review)

"This complete monograph by Aagaard & Ntirlis recommends the Classical variation with 3...Nf6 in response to 3.Nc3... An advantage is that the structures are not as crazy as in the Winawer Variation and are somewhat easier to play. Players whose French repertoire includes this are well-served by this book."

André Schulz, ChessBase (full review in German)

"Playing the French is a high quality repertoire book for the player who has reached a skill level beyond the rudiments. It combines the search for the best lines for Black with the aim of improving the reader's understanding."

Uwe Bekemann, “Fernschachpost

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