Bishop Follying: French Defense

Bishop Follying French Defense
French Defense
Diagram 1
{2. … d5}
The purpose of Bishop Follying is sometimes misunderstood since it harbours concepts such as dual-coloured Bishops and hidden ulterior strategies. To the untrained eye, it may be difficult to perceive how Follying a Bishop may be more useful than Follying a Knight.

Yet as I am about to show you, this post studies a well known Opening which is actually tailored by design to embrace the Bishop Folly with open arms.

I trust this article will explain and clarify to you, why the practise of Follying is indeed the next evolution of Chess.

The French Defense is often considered to be a successful opening, but due to its infamous light square Bishop being unable to enter the game for some time, it receives a similar amount of criticism.

Yet in this post I am going to comprehensively demonstrate how Bishop Follying revolutionizes the French Defense unto a newfound superiority.

Let’s look at the primary establishing moves.

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5

In the French Defense, Black fights for control of the center right off the bat by creating a very solid e6-d5 pawn chain.

White will either attempt to destroy Black’s Pawn chain or continue to create a space advantage in the center by advancing Pawn to e5, whilst Black, who has a solidly defensive pawn structure, will attempt to unleash continual intimidation upon White’s own weaker Pawn chain.

White’s root Pawn on d5 is further from its home court and thus the chain has a weak base. Black’s root Pawn however is on f7 and concretely defended by the home base inventory.

In this post we will be looking at the popular Tarrasch Variation, which follows on with 3.Nd2.

Let us now continue play in accordance with these principles… but with a couple of new lines.

The double Bishop Folly.

3. Nd2 Nf6

Black lures White’s pawn away from his own chain onto e5 by threatening its capture with his Knight. White, desiring to claim spacious real estate and gain a tempo, obliges.

4. e5 Nfd7
5. Bd3 c5

Black now begins an offensive on the root of White’s Pawn chain.

6. c3 Nc6(B)

Bishop Follying French Defense
French Defense
Diagram 2
{6. … Nc6(B)}
Black’s Bishop Folly here releases it from its former prison and also increases even more the pressure onto White’s Pawn chain.

White is forced to defend his root d4 Pawn and does so, both by extending and reinforcing the chain, next playing 7. Ne2.

7. Ne2 cxd4
8. cxd4 f6

Mother of pearls… Black’s Follied Bishop now creates a paradox for White. The usual line is to capture with 9. exf6, but this would allow Black’s Bishop a direct line out into the game through a hole blasted into White’s Pawn chain!

Yet White must capture the f6 Pawn to weaken Black’s Kingside and at least open up his defenses somehow.

Is this the end to White’s Classical repertoire? Or will Black’s Kingside prove to harbour a weakness?

9. exf6 Nxf6
10. Nf3 0-0(B)

Ah… oh, lala.

Bishop Follying French Defense
French Defense
Diagram 3
{10. … 0-0(B)}
In one clean move, Black invents a magic wand and uses it to open another dimension.

This is no sleepy Frenchman relaxing with Baguette, Brie and Wine… no, this guy’s been around, he’s seen the world.

This guy is “La Classe”!

If you were late to the euphoria, what Black has done here over the course of ten moves, is completely transpose the French Defense from a closed Opening, through a semi-closed Opening… into a dynamic Opening.

Black claims ownership of not only the center, with a very robust Pawn chain, but amazingly also the majority of diagonals, with time travelling Bishops seemingly on every square, a focussed Queen only ready to launch… and even very, very hot files, with a Rook solidly placed on f8.

Where this game goes from here… is up to God.


The French Defense is quite an adaptable Opening even Classically, yet here is a real gem of a thesis to usher in a new dawning of Chess strategy.

Looking back at the game, White has a combo tuned into h7, this being Ng5, Qc2 and hoping for perhaps Bxh7. Yet likewise Black has a combo prepared in defense, that being a disruption with Ne4, Bg6 coupled with Ne7 and/or perhaps his Pawn to h6.

Furthermore, whence Black’s Queen and dark squared Bishop begin to prey, the Rook on f8 will fire very heavily down the open file.

So, here is a more charismatic animal compared to the slow reclusive creature we have been brought up to admire.

The French Defense, whilst criticized in part, is actually fairly flexible and allows good variety in the strategies and lines you play. This means it can be difficult for your opponents to decipher your plan.

When we establish The Law Of The Folly within the French Defense, effective immediately all negative criticisms are thrown straight out the window and replaced with uncountable new threads of positive discussion.

Black is no longer restricted to a solely closed defense, in fact the French Defense is now arguably an occupation.

Thank you for reading.

Chess Follying © Simon Jepps

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