7 Top players in French Defense

The French defense has a rich history. The French Defence is named after a match played by correspondence between the cities of London and Paris in 1834[1] (although earlier examples of games with the opening do exist). It was Chamouilley, one of the players of the Paris team, who persuaded the others to adopt this defense. There are 3 main variations against french defense i.e. Tarrash, Advance, exchange variation. We will see a detailed analysis of these variations in an upcoming blog. Here are the top players in french defense.

Viktor Korchnoi 

Victor Korchnoi was a very strong Russian grandmaster. Unfortunately, he cannot become a world champion. You can find more detail about Viktor in this article. Viktor majorly played french defense in his career. You can say he started French Defense fashion. He has beaten many strong such as Gashimov, Vallejo pons, John Nunn, Nigel Short.

Pentala Harikrishna 

Pentala Harikrishna is an Indian super grandmaster and currently in the top 30 in the world ranking. Currently, he is staying in the Czech republic. Although French is not his main weapon but he is playing regularly and given some beautiful games. He has beaten many players such as Caruana, Mamedov, Evan Saric.

Nikita Vitiugov 

Nikita is a Russian grandmaster. He won many big events such as the Grenke chess classic 2018, Prague chess festival 2019. The French defense is a trademark of Nikita Vitiugov. He’s played it constantly over the last 2 decades, against all kinds of opponents. And in fact, he has also written two books on the French Defense! Both of them are published with Chess Stars.

Emmanuel Berg 

Emmanuel Berg is a Swedish grandmaster. As a youngster, he made solid progress and was consequently selected to represent his country in the various age categories of the European Youth and World Youth Championships. He won various games in french defense against top players. Following is his best game


Alexander Morozevich 

Alexander is a Russian chess grandmaster. Morozevich is a two-time World Championship candidate (2005, 2007), a two-time Russian champion, and has represented Russia in seven Chess Olympiads, winning numerous team and board medals. Morozevich is known for his aggressive and unorthodox playing style. He is also a top player who plays french defense. He won games in french defense with many top players such as Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Karjakin Sergey.

Vaganian Rafael 

Veteran grandmaster Rafael Vaganian is an Armenian chess player. He is currently 68 years old and he is still an active player and played almost all top players such as Mikhail Tal to Vishy Anand. He played 478 games out of 575 games with french defense. (As per mega 2020 database)

Surya Shekhar Ganguly

Surya Shekhar Ganguly is an Indian well known, Grandmaster. His current rating is 2635. He plays French frequently. He has won 40 individual gold, 21 individual silver, and 6 individual bronze medals in National as well as international tournaments. In addition, in team competitions, he has won 12 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals. He has beaten many players in french defense such as Ponomariov, Naiditch, Volotkin. Surya also run his youtube channel, click here to watch his videos with Vishy Anand, Wesley So, Aronian Levon

Bonus Player

CRG Krishna 

Krishna is an international master from India. I have included him on this list for a special reason. Against E4 Krishna played only french for all his life. Currently, in the mega database 2020, he has 113 games against e4, in which he played 110 games with french. With this example, I want to say that you can get to this level by sticking to a single variation. You just have to update your knowledge about that variation every time.


Some Best Games In french Defense