The French is a bit paradoxical. One would assume that the rather principled Advance Variation would be good for white, since it keeps the e-pawn alive and gains space on top of it, but practice has shown that this is not the case. On the other hand, one would also assume that the Rubinstein should be a complete solution which is not the case either.

Since I do not believe in the practical drawing chances of the Exchange Variation, I was looking for sharp and forced lines and in the French those seem to appear all over the place. This brings me to the main problem for black in this opening: White chooses the variation and black is forced to play one of the few lines that don’t lose by force. In such a sense, the Ruy Lopez or the Sicilian both offer a broader scope of viable systems for black to choose from and to keep white guessing.

Nevertheless, from a white standpoint as a Drawmeister in the French we don’t have to bother with all of this and go straight to the recommendations. First we have to deal with the Rubinstein though, which can obviously arise after both 3. Nc3 and 3. Nd2:

Play it safe!