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Morozevich French

Aleksandar Randjelovic

Tarrasch French: Morozevich Variation

Opening
The Purpose Behind 3...Be7

Here is a video presentation on the Morozevich Variation of the Tarrasch French (1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7). The goal is to explain why one might play this line as Black and what the unusual move 3...Be7 means. The video covers the most popular responses by White, such as 4. e5, 4. c3, 4. Bd3 and 4. Ngf3 (the main line).

The key idea behind playing 3...Be7 is to provoke 4. Ngf3, which then blocks the other knight (d2-knight) from reaching its intended destination of f3. This prevents White from achieving their ideal piece setup, giving Black a strong middlegame.

The analysis includes the following chapters and themes:

  • Key idea of the Morozevich Variation
  • White plays 4. e5
  • White plays 4. c3
  • White plays 4. Bd3
  • White plays 4. Ngf3
  • White's problem with the d4-pawn
  • Stunning g7-g5 idea
  • Is Morozevich variation good for beginners?

Among these themes, the discussion on Black's g7-g5 advance is probably the most intriguing. However, one key point about the g5 move was missed in the video: it is most effective when White has already played Rf1-e1:

https://lichess.org/study/KLeLdEXU/F8F6NtIM#19

... as this leaves the f3-knight without any square to retreat to. Thus, the g7-g5 move not only aims to win the d4-pawn but also to trap the f3-knight.

Overall, the line is sound and playable at the highest levels, but I would not recommend it for beginner and intermediate players. One needs a deep understanding of the French Defense to fully utilize the benefits and subtleties of this variation.

Here is the link to the video. If you like it, feel free to leave your comments below the video (on Youtube). Your support means a lot and motivates me to create more content like this.