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It appears @ 17:02 that White can play 11.Nxd4 as an alternative since after the tactical refutation suggested with 11...Ne5 12. Nxe6 Nxd3 White is equal but no more after 13. Qxd3 fxe 14. Bxg7 Rg8 15. Bxh6
Amazing series! I'm using it a lot in my preparation! Correct me please if I'm wrond (haven't watched them all yet) but could you make a video on after Bb4 white exchanges on d5? Thanks!
As a beginning chess player who has fallen in love with the game, and someone who is looking to master the French Defense, I’ve watched each of WGM Tatev Abrahamian’s 3 videos at least 7 times in their entirety, and pausing more than a hundred times throughout to take notes, before writing this review. (I see that days ago, she has just posted #4 in this series. Terrific! These comments are made only for the first three videos.)
In covering the multitude of sidelines of the Winawer Variation of the French, Tatev does a very thorough and admirable job. It is clear that she loves this variation, and goes into great detail to show the viewer the large array of permutations the Winawer can take. I greatly appreciated this level of detail and thoroughness, as Tatev places at high value understanding the ideas behind the positions. I found that in studying these videos, I was much more likely to understand the position with her guidance, because she took the time to explain what the central philosophy was behind the structures. For this, I am most appreciative, and can recommend these videos without qualification.
Having said this, I also want to offer WGM Abrahamian some constructive criticism on the videos themselves, as no comprehensive review is complete without at least some suggestions that would, in this reviewer’s opinion, make them even better. First, as a non-native English speaker, Tatev’s pronunciation of ‘B’ ‘D’ and ‘E’ is often confounded and at times extremely difficult to follow. Perhaps no one has ever told her this, so I am saying it to her now for future instructional videos, which will only be better if she is able to clear up this part of her English.
Second, and more wide ranging, I found that Tatev’s organization oftentimes lacking, and sometimes quite poor, making them, at times, rather confusing to follow. It didn’t have to be this way. It is clear to this viewer, that she’s not always sure what she’s going to be discussing and how deeply, and at times ‘wings it’ not taking care to organize and build on what she’s talking about. To take just two examples, in Part II, she tells us that she is not going to cover Qg4, the mainline, but rather two sidelines of the Winawer: 5. Bd2 and 7. h4. After a few minutes, she precisely does what she says she’s not going to do, and between 4:30-6:20 (in the only time she covers the main line in superficial detail) discusses 5. Qg4 and the “Poisoned Pawn” variation. (Viewers may be surprised to know that all three of these videos are exclusively devoted to the sidelines of the Winawer Variation, and only in this two-minute segment, buried in part II, does Tatev cover the main line. Perhaps this is a way to be professionally mum, but to me it was a shocking absence, considering how these videos are labeled. If I’m missing something here, please correct me.) A second, somewhat embarassing example comes from Part III, where Tatev tells her viewers that Black’s c8 Knight always needs to be on c6, and should take care to return to this square even in the event that she successfully exchanges her light squared bishop on a6. Then perhaps 10 minutes later in the same video, she shows a position where that same Knight must not go to c6, but rather to c7 in order to offer support for a weak e6 pawn. Viewers can tell from these examples, that she hasn’t clearly organized and prepared her videos sufficiently, and as a result, I found they actually could be improved significantly.
Some very specific examples of ways the videos could have been better, but weren’t.
In Video #1:
@ 21:30 she says of 4. Qd3 “I know it’s not much of a line here, but it’s just a game.” = Unhelpful analysis
@ 24:30 she says of 4. Bd3, “We are going to play in the center, because we can.”
= Unhelpful analysis.
In Video #2:
@ opening minutes: are much better placed at the beginning of the first video, as it’s a crucial orientation to the French. = poor organization.
Covering a specific variation, her recommendation is for us to “play normal chess”.. = lazy presentation.. what does that possibly mean for someone trying to learn the French?
@ 19:40. There could be much more on the e5/Ne7 line which seems very rich in possibilities, seems to answer Roman’s video on the French, and is the line she most often plays. It’s interesting to note that this is a buried gem, and anyone who is interested in the French should take careful note of this sideline, as it’s the one Tatev herself often plays. = missed opportunity?
In Video #3:
@ 14:20, she says, “Just put your pieces on the squares designated for them” as if we know which squares are designated for which pieces. = Lazy presentation.
@27:50, in discussing the closing of the center by Black with …c4, we are told, “We are going to play c4 when it’s convenient for us, not when it’s convenient for our opponents.” I have no idea what this might entail, and unfortunately, Tatev doesn’t offer any ideas of when it might not be ‘convenient’ for us to close the center.
@ 28:00, after finishing with 7.Nf3, she returns to it to show other main options, but this subject had seemingly been left behind many minutes ago. = Poor organization.
Overall constructive comments:
· I Would have appreciated if Tatev told us the actual move number as she’s going through the variations.
· I am interested in learning more about when Black would want to play f6, and under what conditions he would want to wait, or avoid it. She tells us ‘sometimes it’s a matter of taste, sometimes it a matter of timing” Sure, I don’t doubt it. But unpacking this mystical statement would have been helpful.
· The video is named ‘Completely French’ is a misnomer, unfortunately. These videos are almost exclusively devoted to the sidelines of the Winawer Variation of the French Defense, which comes about after 1. e4 e6 2, d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bd4
· I thoroughly recommend Susan Polgar’s videos on the French. Not as deep on the Winawer, but more comprehensive… and extremely well organized.
I am extremely thankful for Tatev and Chess.com for having this video, as it offers me a very accessible way to start to study the French Defense. One question: Tatev, are you making any other videos, like the Tarrasch variation? I am sure, I’m not the only one who would be excited to see her next installments.
Overall, I am both deeply grateful for and excited about learning from these videos (yes, it is ongoing) and was frustrated and at times dismayed at their more-than-rare sloppiness and disorganization, without which would have made them unqualifiedly excellent learning tools.
Stars: 4 of 5
Great Series! Very informative and comprehensive. What about Nd2 instead of Nc3?
I really like your term "chronic weakness" Maybe it's real obvious, but I've been looking for a term to describe what I'm looking for in chess positions, and that's the best one I've heard that's very general but descriptive.
Completely engaging. I had to pause the video a lot; my mind in a little spongy compared to your fast logic. I remember winning a game once with the French Defense; Many people just dismiss it as almost non-chess; or just some kind of fearful blockading, and they can be surprised.
This series is just getting better that ever. Thank you WGM Tatev Abrahamyan !!
But it's great!
At 3:19 where's the Black's light squared bishop?
I was checking the line at the end of the tape that runs
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. h4 Nbc6 8. h5 Qa5 9. Bd2 cxd4 10. cxd4 Qa4 11. Nf3 Nxd4 12. Bd3 h6
According to SF 2.3.1 x64, 13. Kf1 is not the best move that white should try here. Better would be Bb4 or Rb1. But when I rechecked using a differerent engine it seems that the evaluation given by SF was hyperbolic. SF seem to think that instead of 11.Nf3 white should play 11.c3 if he wants any kind of an advantage.
13...Ng4 is losing matters because of 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg8 16.Rxf8+ etc. Use an engine to check yourself (it is complicated)
Better was 13...Nxe5
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Bd2 Nh6 6. Nb5 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 O-O 8. f4 a6 9. Nd6 cxd4 10. Nf3 f6 11. Bd3 Nc6 12. O-O fxe5 13. fxe5 Rxf3 14. Rxf3 Nxe5 15. Rg3
Right move here is Neg4 not Nhg4
Otherwise 16. Qf4 is winning.
I am a fan of this series already. Hope it lasts long and goes into great detail as far as the arising middle games are concerned.
any chance you'll show old main lines? (instead of Ne7) i'd like to know why they're less fashionable
A very nice and detailed analysis on all important variations.
The line you gave (around 14:00) for 5.Bd2 Nh6,..., 13..Ng4 seems dubious since white has 14.Bxh7. I could not find any games with this line.
BTW, I entered all variations into a PGN. If chess.com/Tatev give permission, I can post the pgn.
Great video! I learned a lot. Are you Shakira?
Thanks Miss Tatev.... very helpful
von WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
In Part 2, WGM Abrahamyan makes her way back onto the "roads most traveled" in the Winawer French when she reviews 4.e5 from white. However, the main topic of this video lectures is still sidetracked by sidelines, as she refuses to leave no stone unturned! 5.Qg4, 5.Bd2 and 7.h4 (after 5.a3) are all discussed here today!
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WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
Women's Grandmaster Tatev Abrahamyan is one of the youngest top-rated women chess players in the United States. She's competed in multiple U.S. Women's Championships, with her best result coming in 2005 - tying for first place only to lose out in the playoff. Born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1988 - Tatev came to the U.S. as a young girl, and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually joining the U.S. Women's Olympic Team. An expert in the French Defense, Tatev's Debut Video Series reveals many of her personal repertoire secrets.
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