|The French Defence is an opening in chess. It is characterised by the opening moves 1. e4 e6 (see algebraic notation) and in the vast majority of cases this is followed up with 2. d4 d5, giving the following position:|
The defence has a reputation for solidity and resilience, though it can result in a somewhat cramped game for Black in the early stages. Black often gains counter-attacking possibilities on the queen-side while White tends to concentrate on the king-side.
The defence is named after a match played by correspondence between the cities of London and Paris in 1834 (although earlier examples of games with the opening do exist). It has since become one of the most popular defences to 1. e4. Players including Viktor Korchnoi, Wolfgang Uhlmann and Nigel Short have been particularly fond of it. More recently, the defence has featured strongly in the opening repertoire of Evgeny Bareev and Teimour Radjabov (who used it to defeat Garry Kasparov in early 2003, thus becoming the first player who was born since Kasparov took the world championship in 1985 to beat him).