1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6 3.e4 d5 (diagram)
My opponent, a geniune French defense player, did not want to take any risk at all. I continued with the obvious 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 aftre which a drawish game occured.
But can the attacker avoid these French lines after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6 3.e4 d5. I guess there are some candidates : 4.Nc3 and 4.Be3, the last one resembling an Alapin gambit. Let's look at that one today and explore some possible lines.
4.Be3 dxe5 5.fxe4 (diagram - 5.Nc3 is not good as white has wasted one move compared to a regular Euwe defense, so only 5.fxe4 is avaliable )
Aftre black eating the e4 pawn 5...Nxe4, white plays 6.Nd2. Whiet can equalize and develop quickly if now 6...Nxd2 7.Qxd2 (=)
If black retreats the knight to f6, white also develops quickly and equalises 6...Nf6 7.Ngf3 (=)
Retreating to d6 is a different option 6...Nd6 7.Nf3 (=)
Protecting the knight on its outpost on e4 is no option as 6...f5 7.Nxe4 fxe4 8.Qh5+ as awfull, and 6...Qd5 7.Bc4 brings out the black queen unnecessarily.
So 4.Be3 dxe4 5.fxe4 Nxe4 is not to be feared, as white has a nice lead in development for the pawn.
Let's look at the most typical French move 4...c5 5.dxc5 (diagram)
This was the move that white was trying to prevent aftre all when playing 4.Be3, so it is no wonder white is ok here.
Developing quietly is the third option for black, eg 4...Be7. White can now obvioulsy return to the typical French Tarrasch-like lines aftre 5.e5 Nfd7 6.f4, but we wanted to avoid these boring lines. So why not 5.Nc3 here ? Pinning the knight would be a waste of time. Houdini gives me complete equaliyty here.
So it seems the 4.Be3 is playable and avoids the boring Tarrasch lines.
To be noted is that 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Be3 is called the Henneberger Variation of the French.
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