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The Advanced Chain
The French Defense Chains

Point Count Chess, NO.15A & NO.15B, p29-30
French Defense, Main Line

In this example, White gains the Advanced Chain at his K5 (e5), following the opening Pawn moves, which define the French Defence, Main Line (1.e2-e4 e7-e6 2.d2-d4 d7-d5).

How White makes use of his Advanced Chain at K5 (e5), is the subject of No.15C (Capitalizing an Advanced Chain).

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the two positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p29, NO.15A, after 4...Be7
  2. PCC, p29, NO.15B, after 6...Qxe7
  3. Result of the French Defense Chains.
  4. Summary of the French Defense Chains.
Additional analysis includes the:

The French Defense Chains
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p29, NO.15A, after 4...Be7

After: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - Page 29
After: 4...Be7

1. The French Defence (Main Line), Leads to White's
Advanced Chain at K5 (e5)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 1.e4 e6
The Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 1.e4 e6
After 1.e4 e6, Black's first move (1...e7-e6) is the French Defence.

At this stage, while still early on in the game, White's e-Pawn is already in position, within one step of becoming the vanguard Pawn, at the head of White's Advanced Chain at K5 (e5).
H&M-S say: "White ... can often form a central phalanx on the fourth, while Black can oppose only by a chain."

This is precisely what we see next, as the French Defence develops into the Main Line ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 2.d4 d5
The Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 2.d4 d5
After 2.d4 d5, the development of the two adverse d-Pawns (2.d2-d4 d7-d5) begins the Main Line, of the French Defence.

At this point, Black already has formed a Chain (f7,e6,d5), but its vanguard Pawn (d5) sits within its own territory, so isn't an Advanced Chain.

However, look at White's e4-Pawn. If it is expanded to e5, it will have encroached on enemy territory, and will then be in an Advanced position, at the vanguard of an Advanced Chain (d4,e5).
H&M-S speak of Black's predicament: "Black usually has no option but to try to maintain his single pawn on the fourth (d5), or to bring up a subcenter pawn. To play PxP (...d5xe4) would leave White with pawn on fourth v. pawn on third."

The following Minor Piece development, and the resulting exchanges, shows how Black attempts to maintain his single Pawn at his Q4 (d5), during which White gains the Advanced Chain at K5 (e5) ...

2. Minor Piece Development (dark-Bishops & one set of Knights)

After the initial development of the Center Pawns, prior to White gaining the Advanced Chain, there is a brief phase of further development, during which the two sides bring out their dark-Bishops, and one set of Knights (White's Queen Knight; Black's King Knight) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 3.Nc3 Nf6
The Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 3.Nc3 Nf6
After 3.Nc3 Nf6, White develops his Queen Knight (3.Nb1-c3), to add support for his attacked e4-Pawn, ready to complete the exchange of Pawns, should Black capture with his d5-Pawn.

Black develops his King Knight (3...Ng8-f6), clearing it from its back rank, and edging closer to Castling. It also co-attacks White's e4-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 4.Bg5 Be7
The Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 4.Bg5 Be7
After 4.Bg5 Be7, White develops his dark-Bishop (4.Bc1-g5), applying a Relative Pin to Black's Nf6, which has the virtual effect of canceling out the Knight's attack on White's e4-Pawn (owing to its need to defend its Qd8).

Black also develops his dark-Bishop (4...Be7). While not precisely breaking the Pin against Black's Nf6, it does pave the way for Black to move his Knight, and play for an even exchange (the two Bishops), no longer fearing the loss of his Queen, to White's Bg5.

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Position #2, My Analysis
PCC, p29, NO.15B, after 6...Qxe7

After: 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15B - Page 29
After: 6...Qxe7

3. White gains the Advanced Chain on K5 (e5)

In No.20 & No.21, we see the Advanced Chain developed on Q5 (d5). Here, in No.15B, White gains the Advanced Chain on his K5 (e5) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15B - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 5.e5
The Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 5.e5
After 5.e5, White gains the Advanced Chain, as he expands his e-Pawn into enemy territory (5.e4-e5).

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The Result of the French Defense Chains...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A and 15B - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 5.e5 Nfd7
(RESULT) PThe Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 5.e5 Nfd7
After 5.e5 Nfd7, in the process of White's creation of the Advanced Chain, with the second advance of his e-Pawn (5.e4-e5), White forces Black's Nf6 to flee from one of its favorite squares (5...Nf6-d7).

White's P-K5 (e5) is often strategically used to chase Black's King Knight away from the f6-square, as can be seen among the examples relating to the Advanced Pawn.

Anyway, the removal of Black's Nf6 conveniently clears the path for White to trade dark-Bishops ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A and 15B - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, After 6.Bxe7 Qxe7
(RESULT) PThe Advanced Chain,
The French Defence Chains,
After 6.Bxe7 Qxe7
After 6.Bxe7 Qxe7, White accepts the invitation to exchange dark-Bishops (6.Bg5xe7), and Black's Queen completes the trade (6...Qd8xe7).

It's probably because White's Advanced Chain sits on dark-squares (d4 & e5), that White deemed it necessary to trade dark-Bishops off the board.

Note: Black's own Chain is stuck on light-squares, with White still in possession of his light-Bishop (not sure if this is significant, but I felt worth pointing out).
How White makes use of his Advanced Chain at K5 (e5), is the subject of No.15C (Capitalizing an Advanced Chain).

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Summary of the French Defense Chains...

  1. The French Defence, Main Line (1.e2-e4 e7-e6 2.d2-d4 d7-d5), leads to White's Advanced Chain at K5 (e5).

  2. White gains the Advanced Chain at K5 (5.e2-e5), following the Minor Piece development (3.Nb1-c3 Ng8-f6), which results in White's Relative Bishop Pin (4.Bc1-g5), against Black's Nf6.

  3. The dark-Bishops are exchanged, as White's Advanced Pawn at K5 (e5) forces Black's Nf6 to flee (5...Nf6-d7), uncovering the path between the dark-Bishops and leading to their swap off the board (6.Bg5xe7 Qd8xe7).

  4. No.15C looks at how White might take advantage of and capitalize on his Advanced Chain.

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Alternative Moves to 5.e4-e5, if White doesn't choose
the Advanced Chain at K5 (e5)...

After 4...Bf8-e7, H&M-S reveal two alternative moves, for White, instead of playing 5.e4-e5, to form the Advanced Chain ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, (ALTERNATIVES) Instead of the Advanced Chain, After 4...Be7
(ALTERNATIVES) Instead of the Advanced Chain,
After 4...Be7
After 4...Be7, H&M-S say: "Since Black now threatens to win the king pawn, White must make a decision."

The two decisions they cover, as White's alternatives to 5.e4-e5, are shown below ...

White's Alternatives, Decision #1: (5.e4xd5)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, (ALTERNATIVE 1) Instead of the Advanced Chain, After 5.exd5
(ALTERNATIVE 1) Instead of the Advanced Chain,
After 5.exd5
After 5.exd5, H&M-S say: "The swap PxP (5.e4xd5 e6xd5) is safe but unenterprising, since it gives Black equality in the center at once."

White's Alternatives, Decision #2: (5.Bf1-d3)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 15A - The Advanced Chain, The French Defence Chains, (ALTERNATIVE 2) Instead of the Advanced Chain, After 5.Bd3
(ALTERNATIVE 2) Instead of the Advanced Chain,
After 5.Bd3
After 5.Bd3, H&M-S say: "The defense of the king pawn by B-Q3 (5.Bf1-e3) allows Black, by PxP (5...d5xe4), to force two minor-piece swaps, easing his game greatly."

One such example of the two Minor Piece swaps would be after 5.Bf1-d3 Nf6xe4 6.Nc3xe4 Be7xg5 7.Ne4xg5 Qd8xg5, where one set of Knights and the dark-Bishops are traded.

Alternatively, 6.Bd3xe4 (instead of 6.Nc3xe4, as in the above example) would leave White with the two Knights versus Black's Knight and light-Bishop.

So, it would seem the best alternative, while being a bit dull, would be to trade Pawns on d5 (5.e4xd5 e6xd5).

Of course, as White, if you're after a "sharper game" (as H&M-S refer to it), there's still the main option: creating the Advanced Chain, with 5.e4-e5, which takes us back to No.15B.


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PGN

[Event "PCC, p29-30 Diagram NO. 15A and 15B"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Horowitz"]
[Black "Mott-Smith"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "12"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 {PCC, p29 Diagram NO.15A} 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 {PCC, p29 Diagram NO.15B} *

End.

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