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Of course, I try to make the position as asymmetrical as possible, but still.....very boring.
This is why I changed defenses. I went from the french defense which I used to love...to the scandinavian gambit, icelandic gambit, or the bronstein variation of the main line.
Am a long time French player. The biggest downside is dealing with boredom in the exchange variation. Then there are players who exchange on move four instead of move three, when I can't use my normal anti-exchange schemes.
Here is the answer given by another member in a similar topic:
"After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd, all the pieces and 14 pawns are on the board. If that's not enough for you to get a fighting game, maybe you should take up checkers."
I will add that amateurs call drawish everything they don't understand.
Anyone who has done serious study knows very well that French exchange is actually a very interesting line and the one who knows what he is doing will win easier than in other lines.The reason is that very few know how to create counterplay in French exchange.As a general rule they will just watch you improve your position without knowing what to do.
As white I played the exchange french for a win for a while. That most french players don't like it was a fun bonus
I had good results too. 4.Nc3 and 4.c4 both can lead to good positions if the opponent falls asleep thinking they can play anything in the exchange. About half the time I got big kingside attacks.
I definitely had preparation though. I had a collection of model games for ideas, and many lines preped to move 10. I felt like a lot of my opponents just expected the exchange french to play itself.
The exchange french and slav are a bit boring and drawish...
but +1 to this comment. I was making this mistake recently myself and after a few minutes of debating the line I had to admit I only thought so because I didn't understand it.
It doesn't have to be symmetrical, of course. It's black who decides whether to play symmetrically or not. For example:
As a rule of thumb, whenever playing the Exchange French as black, I generally castle the opposite side of white. Keeps the game aggressive rather than quiet.
Dumb comment. That's like saying the Slav exchange or the Petrov isn't drawish either because of the amount of pieces still on the board. The problem is the pawn structure, there is a reason these variations have such ridiculously high drawing %. The common retort is that at sub-GM level drawishness doesn't matter, which may be slightly true. But if that's the case, why not just play 1.a4, or any other garbage opening. The fact is that openings matter, at all levels.
Openings don't matter that much at all levels. At lower levels someone blunders and the opening becomes irrelevant. That being said, learning opening ideas is probably fine.
Anyway NM Jim West wrote a nice article on the exchange here: http://jimwestonchess.blogspot.com/2007/01/french-defense-exchange-variation.html
I went through the first game with an engine and it looks as if neither player could've really done much else in the game. There was even an interesting pawn sac White could play but it wouldn't change much. But I only skimmed through the game and maybe there's more to it. Still it's easy to see why it's an interesting choice. You won't be outbooked, or fooled by some random move order trick although White actually has quite a few of his own. If you lose it's because you just got outplayed. And there's little else to say about it. I mean if you're playing things like the sicilian or the Ruy Lopez there are all kinds of ways to just lose and not even know why lol.
GM Simon Williams called French defense one of the most exciting defenses against 1e4 and he said about French exchange that "with all pieces on the board and one pawn missing there is really no reason to consider the position drawish".
So obviously either he or you have no idea what you are talking about.
Yep, lets ignore the overwhelming statistical evidence that shows openings that force symmetrical pawn structures are in fact drawish. Makes total sense.
Many people say the slav exchange variation is boring because of the symmetrical position. But it's not that easy. I like to play the following variation:
There are some subtleties in this position and white has a small but annoying advantage. If you are familiar with those type of positions then you will be successful especially at my level of play.
Also Kramnik won a nice game against Aronian at the Olympiad. And Najer also played an interesting game against Rapport in the still ongoing World Cup.
I like to play the Exchange Variation against the french. A stronger player will try to win and castle queenside which is a huge risk because whites king position has basically no weakness. So just because it's a symmetrical position that doesn't mean that it's not possible to win. Of course if both people play carefully it should be a draw but ok I'm not a GM and my opponents neither.
Statistics are a valuable tool but they don't always tell all the truth.
French exchange has been used extensively from the players of the former Soviet Union the last century to reach a draw endgame fast s preagreed draws weren't allowed in Soviet Union the last century.Famous is a draw Petrosian with Geller did the last round of the semi finals of the Soviet championship.Petrosian played 1.e4 and Geller answered for first time in his life with 1...e6.Petrosian played exchange variation and almost all pieces were exchanged in just a few moves.Note , both players had qualified already.Note also that none of the 2 players had more than 30 minutes thinking when the game ended(the game lasted less than an hour).
Here is another game where similar things happen.
Note that both players played exactly the same moves.
Did they do that because the line is drawish or because they wanted to do that?
Take out the preagreed draws and you will realise that French exchange has less draws than Najdorf.
Psakhis seems to agree with this.Here is what he says in his book:
"Exchange variation has a pacifist reputation though by no means deserves it.True the variation can be a big help when it comes to enacting grandmaster draws , but if you are in the mood for a complex uncompromising struggle , the e-file can be utilised not for wholesale exchanges of major pieces but for penetrating into the opponent's camp."
So one more grandmaster that has played and studied French defense considers that French exchange doesn't deserve the reputation of drawish .He evens call it complex and uncompromising.
That is the problem when it comes to appreciating French defense.
You need both an uncompromising and unconventional mind.
Things are never what they look like.
Keres - "Despite the rather simple nature of the position, in the exchange variation neither side can take the liberty of aimlessly developing his pieces, in the expectation that a draw is inevitable."
I like to play the Exchange Variation against the french. A stronger player will try to win and castle queenside which is a huge risk because whites king position has basically no weakness.
Ah, young grashopper. There's always a weakness. :P
As a former french defence player, i scored almost 100% against it with black!
It is not at all drawish, if u study it...
One more famous game with French exchange.
It is the last round of Manila Interzonal and Gurevich needs a draw to qualify while Short needs a win.Short chooses to play French defense(surprising decision if the exchange varaition is indeed drawish) and Gurevich played exchange variation hoping for a comfortable draw.Can you guess what happened?
In French exchange even a minimal advantage can lead to win.One of the reasons for the drawish reputation in lower levels is total lack of endgame technique.
Good endgame knoweledge is absolutely necessary to appreciate French defense.Without it you can never get past the myth of "bad bishop" and understand why the light squared bishop might be Black's best piece.
If you want an exciting game, unbalance the position, take a few chances! Don't whine about the opening. Both White and Black can play the exchange variation for a win, if they want to. It's true that some openings produce more draws than others at the GM level, but why would that matter at any other level? I'll tell you one thing, if you ever find yourself with White against a rally strong player, and you play the exchange French, you will find out in a hurry how Black can unbalance the position!
The exchange of a single pair of pawns doesn't make the game drawish.
Is it drawish? At the GM Level, yes! Otherwise, No!
I am actually in the process of writing a 7-part article on the French, and right smack dab in the middle of doing the one on the King's Indian Attack as we speak. Will probably be out sometime next week.
That said, I released the one on the Exchange Variation back on September 1st. Check it out. It will show you how to win against amateurs in the Exchange French, and if you draw a GM, quite frankly, you should be ecstatic!
There's even an exercise at the end having you annotate an Exchange French game where Black wins in 34 moves!