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This book continues the coverage of the French Defence that was begun by Pedersen in The Main Line French: 3 Nc3. It is essential reading for all those who play the French, and for those who meet it with the popular and flexible Tarrasch Variation.
The Tarrasch Variation provides a stern test for the French Defence, and has always been a favourite of strategically minded players, such as Michael Adams and Anatoly Karpov. By putting his knight on d2, White seeks to give his opponent little scope for counterplay, and in many of the traditional lines ends up with a slight positional advantage that can prove extremely difficult to neutralize. This has led to Black developing various sharper approaches, which complicate the play considerably at the cost of greater risk. Notable among these lines are systems with 3...Nf6 where Black sacrifices material to gain the initiative, and the modern main line 3...c5 4 exd5 Qxd5, where Black keeps his pawn-structure healthy at the cost of some tempi. To get the most out of these lines as either colour, thorough up-to-date knowledge is essential, and this book supplies it in abundance.