It's not news that the success and failure of particular chess openings varies widely according to the pool of players competing - I'm sure the King's Gambit is still ripping up junior tournaments, but I don't expect to see one in Linares this year. There, however, yesterday did see Morozevich draw as black against Leko (scroll down) in the French Defence - also a somewhat rare visitor to the top level, and indeed Moro looked far worse out of the opening. Yet on correspondence site Red Hot Pawn, the consensus seems to be everyone's pretty much afraid of the French, and not only that, but also that the Classical, Kasparov-endorsed 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 offers too many chances to the black player for white to even consider.
Well, as far as I can tell, things have been very different to this in the London League this year - I've seen Streatham & Brixton Chess Club players do nothing but beat the French whenever it's been played against them. So here are two such games, from our match earlier in the season versus Drunken Knights. Both are exciting clashes, tackling the French head-on.
Finally, via a Smith-Morra, Robin also faced a typical French pawn structure in our recent match versus Kings Head, albeit with a pair of knights exchanged. It ended up another fine, sacrificial win for white, attacking through the extra space on the kingside.
What was it Fischer said about 1.e4 again?
(Note. In the first game, black resigned after 49. Be6. I'm not sure why the programme is adding in a bit of extra nonsense.)