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French Defence Powerbook 2021

For the French Powerbook top-quality material was used: 80,000 games from the Mega and from correspondence chess, plus 637,000 games from the playchess.com engine room. The statistics in the Winawer, particularly in the sharp line 7.Qg4 Qc7, are hardly appealing for Black, and they help to understand why the top players use this set-up only very rarely. In huge contrast to the Steinitz Variation 3.Nc3 Nf6. E.g. the line 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 which currently is the most popular continuation for both sides

Here 7...cxd4 is still the most popular move but there is a trend to play 7...Be7 and particularly 7...a6 – which is already the most often played move in the online database.

In the Steinitz Variation White has only a few promising alternatives but Black has a number of good options to deviate. For instance with 7...a6 8.Qd2 Be7 9.Be2 b5 10.0-0 0-0. The statistics in the Powerbook for this line are based on almost 24,000 games while the online database has less than a 1,000 games with this variation.

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