Since for some reason I don't like e5 as black -- which I should analyze at some point. Do I think it's too boring? Do I not like symmetrical positions? Are there chess psychologists? I suppose all chess players perform self-analysis. Anyway, since I don't like e5, and I usually don't play the Sicilian (even though I'm half Sicilian -- another topic for further investigation), I frequently play e6. This is telling me I should look at more responses to e4. Anyway, In the recent Seattle Extravaganza I happened to play an Exchange French twice, which if I don't like symmetrical positions is odd, but the two games were quite different so perhaps that lended the asymmetry I lean toward. The first was against Alex Kaelin.
At the critical moment of the bishop trap White had about eight minutes and I had 18 (in a G/45 d5), and then used another five minutes in the next three moves. Looking at the game now I think given some more time White could have a strong defense. Though I pushed a lot of pawns on the queenside they never amounted to much. If I hadn't trapped the bishop perhaps I could have attacked b3, but it would have required a lot of maneuvering. Luckily for me, though White had the potential for a kingside attack they didn't take advantage.
By the by, on the advice of a video I watched recently
(thanks to David Pruess), I'm trying analysis without engine help (I'm still looking at the opening tree with Mill Base). It definitely gets me to explore variations some more which seems like a good thing.
The second game was against Catherine Smith.
I think White had a clear advantage in the middle game, but by exchanging off their LSB much of the attack faded away. Then once I was able to exchange off a rook my bishop was better -- luckily my pawn was to queen on a dark square.
In both games I pushed queenside pawns, but without much gained. In the first case I didn't have a good pawn exchange, and in the second I exchanged most of them off for a dubious gain of activity. Perhaps the lesson here is to have a more clear objective than just hoping a storm of pawns will lead to some positional or tactical advantage...