A FEW years back there was a well-publicised conversation between Vassily Ivanchuk and Nigel Short, where the Ukrainian asked Short why Garry Kasparov quit the game. The Englishman gave a typically long and verbose reply which boiled down to the fact Kasparov could not see any more challenges.
After carefully listening, Ivanchuk, who above all always thinks in chessic terms, then asked innocently: "But if he thought there were no more challenges left for him then why doesn't he take up the French Defence?"
Indeed, the French Defence is a whole different world, and this question turned out to be prophetic, for we are now experiencing a French revolution. Aside from many new advocates taking up the French, there was a plethora of new books published on beating the French, winning with the French, sacrifices you can use against the French, not to mention a multitude of opening repertoire-based books on the French – but most importantly, a number of these books also covered obscure and relatively unchartered sidelines that led to complicated positions.
Short himself and Russia's Alexander Morozevich led the way. One of the key games in Morozevich's successful comeback win of the Russian Higher League (a qualifier for the full Russian Championship at the end of the year) saw our hero cunningly luring his younger opponent astray in a complicated French.
A Timofeev – A Morozevich
Russian Higher League, (8)
French Defence, Tarrasch
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 c5 4 exd5 Qxd5 5 dxc5 Qxc5 6 Ne4 Qb4+ 7 Nc3 Nf6 8 Bd3 Nbd7 9 a3 Qd6 10 Nf3 Nc5 11 Bb5+ Bd7 12 Qe2 a6 13 Bc4 Qc7 14 0–0 Bd6 15 b4 Rc8! 16 Bb2 Na4 17 Bxe6 Nxc3 18 Bxd7+ Kxd7 19 Qd3 Rhe8 20 Ng5 Qc4 21 Qf5+ Kc7 22 Bxc3 Qxc3 23 Nxf7 Qc4 24 Nxd6 Kxd6 25 Qg5 Qg4 26 Qa5 Ke7 27 Rad1 Kf7 28 Qb6 Re7 29 b5 axb5 30 Qxb5 Qc4 31 Qb3 Qxb3 32 cxb3 Rc3 33 Rb1 b5 34 a4 b4 35 Rb2 Ne4 36 Rd1 Rec7 37 Kf1 Rc1 38 Ke1 Rxd1+ 39 Kxd1 Rc3 40 a5 Rc5 41 Ke2 Ke6 42 Ke3 Nc3 43 Kd4 Rxa5 and Black wins.