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If as White you absolutely want to have the French pawn chain on the board, then you will choose the Advance Variation and right on move three put your e-pawn on e5. This is because 3.Nc3 and 3.Nd2 both allow 3...dxe4, which White does not have to fear but which leads to a totally different type of position. The early advance 3.e5 does do without the gain of tempo against a Nf6, but in return the pawn prevents the development of the knight to f6. And, as in the Tarrasch Variation, White now plans to support his pawn chain with c3 after ...c5. The early development of this system was undertaken by Louis Paulsen (1833–1891) and Aaron Nimzowitsch. In the late 20th century Evgeny Sveshnikov took up their ideas and became one of the pioneers of this opening. The fixing of the central structure on move three imposes a clear pattern on the game. In the duel of the pawn chains, the main agenda will concern plans and manoeuvres.
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Know the Terrain Vol. 4: The advance French structure
The structure arising in the French Advance can be found in a number of different openings (Queen’s Indian, Catalan, etc.), and in introducing you to this structure, IM Collins equips you with ideas that can be applied in a host of positions, helping you