Something Different vs. the French Defense: Part 1
Needless to say, I can't promise an opening variation that will do that. If I could, I'd be a published chess author! (Note: I didn't say truthfully promise.) What I can do is share an untrustworthy but lovable old cur of a variation. My results with it, primarily in blitz but against good opposition, have been very good, which is a testament to its dangerousness if not its soundness. In other words, it's worth trying, but caveat emptor - especially considering that the "buyer" hasn't paid anything at all!
1.e4 e6 2.c4
There it is, folks: impressed? Stay tuned, it gets better.
2...c5 is a legitimate way to bail out, and perhaps I'll discuss that move in a future post.
3.cxd5 exd5 4.Qb3
Now we have the real beginning point of the line - the ordinary 4.exd5 would transpose to a version of the Exchange French that's reasonably good for Black. Of course, this position is even better for Black, but non-standard play will be required.
Other moves are possible here too, but again, that's a story for another day.
Now it's starting to become clear what White is up to, but wait: much more fun is on the way!
5...Qe7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.d3!
7...exd3+ 8.Kf1! c6 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Re1
and Black can already start setting the pieces up for the next game.
To put it mildly, this isn't forced. But Black's moves are extremely natural, and I've won dozens, possibly hundreds of blitz games against masters and up along these very lines. Here are three quick examples:
DM-NN (2504), ICC 3 0, 1999
1.e4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 exd5 4.Qb3 dxe4 5.Bc4 Qe7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.d3 exd3+ 8.Kf1 Nbd7 9.Bg5 Nc5 10.Qa3 Qe5 11.Re1 Nfe4 12.Nf3 Qf5 13.Bxd3! Nxd3 14.Qa4+ Bd7 15.Rxe4+ 1-0
DM-NN (2236), ICC 3 0, 2000
1.e4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 exd5 4.Qb3 dxe4 5.Bc4 Qf6 6.Nc3 Qg6 7.Nge2 Bd6 8.d3 exd3 9.Nf4 Bxf4 10.Bxf4 d2+ 11.Kxd2! Nc6 12.Nd5 Kd8 13.Nxc7 Nf6 14.Rad1! Bg4 15.Qxb7 Rb8 16.Kc1+ Bxd1 17.Rxd1+ Ke7 18.Nd5+ Kf8 19.Bd6+ Kg8 20.Ne7+ 1-0
DM-NN (2402), ICC 1 0, 2000
1.e4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 exd5 4.Qb3 Nf6 (A different line, but the "traditional" motifs arise soon enough.) 5.Nc3 d4 6.e5 (N.B. 6.Bc4!! is an important improvement I've discovered since then.) dxc3 7.exf6 cxd2+ 8.Bxd2 gxf6?! 9.Nf3 Bd6 10.Bc4 Qe7+ 11.Kf1! Kf8 12.Re1 Qd7 13.Bh6+ Kg8 14.Bxf7+ Qxf7 15.Re8+ 1-0