01 June 2018

Alekhine-Chatard Attack

In the past, I have struggled against the Alekhine-Chatard Attack, which only seems to get deployed against me in blitz. I have neither faced it over the board, nor in correspondence play. Nor have I spent as much time studying the books than on other variations for White against the French Defense. Consequently, I rely on my instincts and often falter.

Last night, I faced it in a blitz game against a National Master. I won!

Anonymous NM (2075) -- Stripes,J (1922) [C14]
Live Chess Chess.com, 31.05.2018

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4

Black to move

Black has many choices here.

Accepting the gambit has been my usual response, but I have tried all or most of the main options. I have lost more than I have won. A year or so ago, while discussing this opening with a friend who has played the French longer than I have and is higher rated, he mentioned that Black can simply castle.

Viktor Moskalenko recommends castling in The Even More Flexible French (2015).

6...0–0 7.Bd3

According to Moskalenko, 7.Qg4 is the "most aggressive option" (339). According to PowerBook 2016, however, 7.Bd3 has a better scoring percentage for White.


7...c5 is the recommended move.



8...Nxf6 9.Nf3

Black to move


I have two prior games from this position. Both are losses.

9...c5 is the only move in PowerBook 2016.


10.Qe2 was played in those two prior games. One ended quickly: 10...Ng4 11.O-O-O Nb4 12.Bxh7+ Kxh7 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Ng5+ Kg8 15.Qh5 and missing 16...Bf5, I was mated two moves later.

10...Bd7 11.Qe2 Nb4

White to move

Perhaps Black has equalized. Both players have several options for the struggle. Having castled kingside, White's thematic pawn storm is less of a threat. My opponent quickly lost his way.

12.Bxf6?! Bxf6 13.Ne5? Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Qxh4

White to move

With a one pawn advantage and no problems, I went on to win.

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