The French is a sound and resilient defence, which also provides abundant opportunities for counterplay. As a result it has been favoured by such great fighting players as Lasker, Botvinnik and Korchnoi. Current adherents include Short, Shirov, Morozevich and Khalifman. By playing 3 Nc3, White confronts the French head-on. The upshot is often a ferocious battle as Black tries to destroy or damage White's central pawn phalanx. Some of the variations, such as the notorious Winawer Poisoned Pawn, are among the sharpest in opening theory. However, both sides have quieter, more positional, options at their disposal, so there is truly something for everyone in the Main Line French. This book, the first of two volumes by Pedersen on the French, covers all lines after 3 Nc3, including the Winawer (Nimzowitsch), Classical (including the Steinitz), MacCutcheon and Guimard Variations. There is also a full discussion of 3...dxe4, a move that has found favour among those seeking to avoid theory.

Steffen Pedersen is a young international master from Denmark. He scored a grandmaster norm when he was 16, and played in several World and European junior championships. In 1998 he was joint winner of the Hampstead Grandmaster tournament, and achieved another grandmaster norm at the Aars get2net Cup in 1999. He has written several highly regarded opening books, with subjects including the Dutch Defence, Sicilian Scheveningen, Benko Gambit and the Semi-Slav. Other Gambit titles: Test Your Chess, The Botvinnik Semi-Slav, The Meran System, The French: Tarrasch Variation, French: Advance and Other Lines, The Gambit Guide to the Bogo-Indian, The Gambit Guide to the Benko Gambit.

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"I have now looked at various books written by Pedersen and I have found them particularly useful to learn the plans of an opening as he takes the time and space to explain the plans and strategies in understandable terms. Highly recommended." - Paul Dunn, AUSTRALIAN CHESS FORUM

"The amount of home analyis Pedersen has put into this book is impressive" - Danny Gormally, WEEKEND CHESS