22 August 2014

Failure in the French

Looking through my database, I found this abysmal failure in the classical French. I had begun the process of switching from the Sicilian to the French two or three years before this game, which was played in an online USCF rated tournament.

Bennett,Thomas G (1868) -- Stripes,James (1565) [C11]
GCS 10 5 USCF Quick #2 GCS, 19.01.2006

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3

Black to move


On Sunday, I played 7...cxd4. 7...a6 is slightly more popular than 7...cxd4.

8.a3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxb2??

White to move

A stupid, game losing blunder.

9...Bc5 was the correct move. I have played 9...Nxd4 is a few blitz games, usually exchanging quickly into a hopeless endgame where I have a bad bishop against a strong knight.

10.Na4 Bb4+ 11.Kf2 1–0


  1. This is a very well-known trap, should be known virtually blindfold. I noticed this trap once between two club players back in CA. One should just know this opening trap in their sleep, as it saves time OTB and is good to setup as White since it gives Black something to "worry" about OTB. But in any case, now you know. :-) Actually, this game is 8 years old so I figure you are bringing this up for your students to learn from (?!) ;-)

    1. I think that I started to play the French in about 2003, but I still played the Sicilian in many games for the first couple of years. I played a lot of Burns and Rubinsteins in those first few years.