6 Best Chess Books and Courses about French Defense

French Defense is no doubt one of the greatest chess openings against 1.e4. Many people play french defense including Anish Giri, Harikrishna, Blubaum, etc. The main plan of the french defense is to play very solid and find something in the closed position. 

In this article, we will see 6 books and courses about french defense which are recommended for white as well as black. These are some of the recommendations by top grandmasters. I would highly recommend purchasing only 1 course or book at a time and studying it fully. 

The only critical opening for black is the French Exchange variation. This is completely drawish and black cannot convert any advantage over there. 

An interesting fact about french defense is it is played mostly by German players. Most of the german players play french defense as their main repertoire. 

Let’s see the pros and cons of playing french defense

Pros of playing French Defense

  1. It is very easy to prepare
  2. Safe opening to play. 
  3. Very hard to claim an advantage from the white side
  4. This opening is played by even World Champions

Cons of playing French Defense

  • Exchange variation is very hard to play for black as white gets an easy position
  • Easy for white to prepare against you
  • No novelties in compared to Sicilian Defense

Now let’s see some of the greatest resources to prepare against the french defense.

Opening Repertoire- The French Defense by Cyrus Lakdawala

Recommended for Black

Suitable for Beginner and Intermediate

This book is best for beginner players who don’t know anything about French Defense. Cyrus explained basic opening principles by covering major opening ideas. 

In this book, he analyzed the games of top chess players and explained them. Although this is not the greatest way to prepare for opening but definitely a fun way to prepare. You have to work on this opening after Reading this book. You can purchase this book from amazon.

Cyrus Lakdawala is a very famous chess author who has written numerous amount of chess books. He also wrote a book about How to beat Magnus Carlsen. 

Aggressive Repertoire against the French Defense by GM Ruslan Ponomariov

Recommended for White 

Suitable for Everyone

Best chess opening repertoire ever for white. If you want to select one book or course, then you should choose this. This repertoire is divided into 2 parts. 

In the first part author covered Rubenstein and Classical variation. In the 2nd part, he covered winawer and all other openings. This repertoire is available in PGN file format and can be purchased on modern chess. 

GM Ruslan Ponomariov was a world champion and very strong chess player from Ukraine. 

The product is also very cheap and only costs approx. $20 for both databases after using coupon code nikhil45

You can purchase this course from the modern chess website

How to Beat the French Defense

Recommended for White 

Suitable for Club players, Advance players

This book is published by Everyman chess. The author advocates playing Tarrasch’s variation against French Defense. Tarrasch variation starts with 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2!. White players play Tarrasch to avoid a winawer opening. Usually white gets a much better position in Tarrasch opening if black is unsure about preparation. 

All the variations mentioned are very easy to remember. This book is best for below 2000 chess players. 

Buy this book on Amazon

Top Choice Repertoire: Play the French Defense

Recommended for Black 

Suitable for Advance players

This is a recent video course published by GM Rustam Kasimzhanov. Rustam is a former world chess champion and playing French for many years. In his repertoire, he suggested Nf6 variation aka classical variation in French Defense. This is an alternative to Winawer Opening.

This video course is divided into 2 parts. Overall this course is suitable for advanced level chess players and not suitable for beginners. Also, this is a little expensive compared to all the other above-mentioned courses and books. 

Lifetime Repertoire by GM Anish Giri

Recommended for Black 

Suitable for Advance players

This is no doubt the best chess course to learn French Defense. The only drawback of this course is the price. This course costs $159. In this course, Anish covered everything for every chess player. There is not a single opening that he missed. 

This course also won an award for the course of the year. 

If you want to become a pro-level French player by only watching videos then this course is for you! But honestly, I think, the price is very high and not suitable for hobby or club-level chess players. Also, practically watching and remembering everything is also very difficult and not a cup of cake for everyone. That’s why I recommend this course only to active and advanced chess players. 

This is the reason why this course is not on the top of my list!

This repertoire is available on the chessable website.

Tactics Multiplier – The French Defense by Mihail Marin

Recommended for Both Sides

Suitable for Beginner, Intermediate players

GM Mihail Marin is a very experienced Grandmaster from Romania. He created and contributed to hundreds of chess books and courses. 

In this course, he explained typical tactical and strategic patterns for both sides. Usually, when you finish your preparation, it is also very important to understand how tactics work and how you should plan for the position. This can also be gained by playing experience. But every time you cannot play many chess tournaments and also sometimes you need to maintain an accuracy level to achieve success.

I recommend this course once you finish any book or opening course. This course is also useful for those who only want to know about the french defense. 

This course is originally produced by ichess.net but you can purchase it from the Modern Chess website at less than half price. (Use code nikhil45 to get flat 45% off on all courses on Modern Chess)

Conclusion

Before start preparing, think about which lines you want to prepare. For e.g. some people like winawer french and some likes classical french. After deciding, purchase any book or course and start preparing. 

For beginners and intermediate chess players, I would highly recommend them Opening Repertoire The French Defense by Cyrus Lakdawala and 80/20 multiplier. 

For advanced chess players, you can go with Anish Giri’s course which is by far the best for professional players. 

From the white side, go for Aggressive Repertoire against the French Defense by GM Ruslan Ponomariov.