The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Wildebeest Chess, our featured variant for May, 2023.

French Defence 3Nd2 (Book review)

One of the things one must do when wants to be a strong chess player is to study ones openings. There are many books for this purpose. One of these books in French Defence 3Nd2 by chess Grandmaster and former Soviet champion Lev Psakhis. In this book, the reader is guided in his study of the opening known as the Tarrach variation of the French Defence.

A chess game with the French defence starts as follows. White plays e2-e4, and black then answers e7-e6. White moves his queen pawn two squares: d2-d4, and black also moves his queen pawn two squares: d7-d5, see diagram.

There are several good moves that white now can play. This book looks at the variations for one of these, called the Tarrash variation, namely when white moves his knight from b1 to the square in front of the queen: 3Nb1-d2.

The book is the first of a series of three books. The second looks to the case when some rare moves are played, e.g., when white makes a different move at his second turn (e.g., 2 d3 instead of 2 d4), and the exchange variation (in which white takes the pawn on d5 and black takes it back). The third book in the series looks to the case when white moves his knight to c3 at the third turn.

In a systematic way, the book looks to about all the different variations that top chess players use for this opening. Chapters are called to the series of moves that start the variation studied in that chapter; text by the author helps to understand the reader what is going on.

From beginning to end, the book is packed full of information, analysis, and games where the variation has been played. It may be clear: this is not a book for the lazy chess player. It neither is a book for mediocre chess players. But good chess players, and those that want to work hard to become one, will find much information in the book.

In the case of your reviewer: I never played 1. ..., e6 after 1.e4, and I only once had an opponent that played e6 aginst me. So, the book seems not to be one for me. And then, my level of chess is below that of the main target audience of this work. In chapter 2, the author writes about the move 3. ...., Nc6:

... and secondly, in playing this move you can be one hundred per cent sure that your opponent will not have spent entire days and nights analysing it.

In my case, in any chessgame where I have a small enough chance of winning, I can be that sure of about any opening...

Overall, this is a well written book, filled with a large amount of systematically given information about the Tarrash information. It seems to me that if someone wants to study this variation of the French defence, then this is a perfect book for it.

The author of the book is a Grandmaster of chess, a former Soviet champion, now living in Israel. As the book cover tells us: He has been a lifelong adherent of the French Defence and serves as a trainer to world No 1 player Judit Polgar.

French Defence 3Nd2
Lev Psakhis
ISBN: 0-7134-8825-5
Sterling Publishing Co, New York / BT Batsford, London
288 pages

Purchase French Defence 3Nd2 from

Webpage made by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: December 21, 2003.