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French, Exchange (C01)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 exd5 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Bg5

Number of games in database: 3490
Years covered: 1836 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 30.1%
   Black wins 30.5%
   Draws 39.4%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Normunds Miezis  71 games
Jacques Mieses  30 games
Varlam Vepkhvishvili  24 games
Geza Maroczy  29 games
Blackburne  28 games
Simon Kim Williams  26 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Spielmann vs R Wahle, 1926
Nimzowitsch vs G Fluess, 1906
Waitzkin vs A Friedman, 1993
Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927
N Mannheimer vs Nimzowitsch, 1930
S Tatai vs Korchnoi, 1978
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 page 1 of 140; games 1-25 of 3,490  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. London Chess Club vs Paris 0-127 1836 corrC01 French, Exchange
2. Szen vs H H Boncourt  0-132 1836 Paris mC01 French, Exchange
3. London vs Paris 0-130 1836 UnknownC01 French, Exchange
4. Von Der Lasa vs K Schorn 1-036 1838 BerlinC01 French, Exchange
5. Hanstein vs Jaenisch  1-039 1842 Berlin m1C01 French, Exchange
6. Hanstein vs Jaenisch 1-025 1842 Berlin m1C01 French, Exchange
7. E Rousseau vs C Stanley  0-166 1845 New Orleans m ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
8. E Rousseau vs C Stanley ½-½58 1845 New Orleans m ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
9. Anderssen vs Harrwitz 0-155 1848 Anderssen - HarrwitzC01 French, Exchange
10. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle  ½-½39 1848 Paris mC01 French, Exchange
11. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle  1-058 1848 Paris mC01 French, Exchange
12. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle  1-040 1848 Paris mC01 French, Exchange
13. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle  ½-½57 1848 Paris mC01 French, Exchange
14. Harrwitz vs Horwitz 1-033 1849 Brighton m ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
15. Harrwitz vs Horwitz 0-136 1849 Brighton m ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
16. G Medley vs Bird 1-053 1849 London ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
17. J R Medley vs J Finch 1-069 1849 London ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
18. J R Medley vs W J Tuckett  1-033 1849 London ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
19. H Buckle vs J R Medley  1-053 1849 London ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
20. J R Medley vs G Medley 0-138 1849 London ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
21. H Kennedy vs E Lowe 0-154 1849 London m ;HCL 34C01 French, Exchange
22. Bird vs G Medley 0-124 1849 London m2C01 French, Exchange
23. Nijmegen vs Wijk bij Duurstede  1-069 1850 correspondenceC01 French, Exchange
24. S Newham vs Szen 0-143 1851 LondonC01 French, Exchange
25. Loewenthal vs E Williams 0-144 1851 LondonC01 French, Exchange
 page 1 of 140; games 1-25 of 3,490  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-20-09  chessman95: thanks <gangstaman>
Feb-21-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <AnalyzeThis> If black plays 0-0-0 his rooks can get to the g and h files easily. White's queen rook usually goes to b1 where it isn't helping the h pawn much. Anyway I always felt if my opponent wants to spend tempi pushing a pawn instead of developing pieces I'm all for it.
Feb-21-09  nescio: ganstaman: <<chessman95: Another annoying reply that I have run into is 2.c4, which makes you hesitate to play 2...d5. Does anyone know how to play this line?> I always play as black 1. e4 e6 2. c4 c5.>

I do think it often leads to equal positions if you know what you are doing and are careful not to end up in an utterly passive position after White's d3. A scary example is this recent game where my opponent occupied d4, but didn't realize the danger to his king until it was too late: http://gameknot.com/chess.pl?bd=105...

<However, I think you have to be ready to play the black side of the Maroczy bind after something like 1. e4 e6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3 [Nc6, d6, etc] 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4>

Yes, but theoretically that isn't terribly dangerous either. There are many examples which indicate that the positions after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 or 5...a6 6.Nc3 d6 are quite equal and offer chances to both sides. I prefer ...Bb4, but that should be a matter of taste.

Mar-17-09  FiveofSwords: you know, the exchange is not really equal yet. if you look at the position, you will see its completely symetrical, and there are some open lines and diagonals. Now whose turn is it to move? If white has an advantage on the 1st move, then he must have an advantage here...in fact, slightly more because opening the position assists the person with an edge in development, theoretically. I usually play the tarrasch but ill play the exchange now and then.
Mar-18-09  chessman95: <FiveofSwords> It is true that in a symetrical position white has a slight advantage, but most theorists consider this opening to be equal because black can easily 'unsymetrize' the game and come out with a tactic that gains the tempo back. One tempo in that position is just not enough.

Also, this variation may be perfectly playable as you say, but it is not popular partly because of other better options for white. The reason is that white 'lets' black get a symetrical position out of a position where white has a space advantage, instead of trying to use that space to get a better position.

Mar-20-09  FiveofSwords: better? i dont know, the character is different. im really not impressed with whites space advantage in the french, unless black does something stupid. But against the tarasch for example black could play c5 immediately and ok its time to liquidate the center already. So these pawns in the center are not something my experience has taught me to take very seriously in this particular position, unless black is one of those retard french players who like to waste a lot of moves (why do some people do that?). I just move the pawns to get them out of my way I dont have any great plans for them. And of course, as everyone knows, they can become pretty weak. I know the french well enough to not let my center actually get weak but it drastically reduces your options in how to develop, and usually you are going to wind up in a near equal central situation anyway like 10-13 moves later. So why not just accept that black may know how to deal with your center, give him the central equality immediately, but then test how good he is with piece play, rather than pawn play? Its a practical decision based on what you know of your opponent imo.
Mar-20-09  chessman95: <FiveofSwords> First of all, theoretically everthing you said is completely wrong. Of course this is not what matters, it's practical analysis that helps the most. You're entire case was based on practical assumtions that black will eventually get the space back. The problem is that I can't argue against you using theoretical statements, which without a doubt would favor me. I do however have an interesting link here to a page which states that after 3.Nf3 white wins about 40% of the time and loses only 25%, while in the exchange black is more likely to win. (Opening Explorer) For this and no other reason, I have to say that you're statements were false and indeed in real play white does in fact hold on to its space advantage and this gives it a large advantage.
Mar-20-09  FiveofSwords: look, no offense, you obviously are not a great player and have a lot to learn about the game. the fact that you seem to refuse to beleive this makes it really not worth the trouble for me to try to show you some of the more subtle ideas of chess.
Mar-21-09  chessman95: <you obviously are not a great player>

Besides the fact that you're being extremely arrogant, really, who is great at chess? Chess as played by humans is basically a struggle to get as near as we can to optimal play, while keeping in mind the human qualities that enter our play.

And I don't in any way 'deny' that I'm not a 'great' player... I don't know anyone on cg.com who would (except maybe you from that last comment you made). Unless you're a GM or have a crazy amount of experience and knowledge that I don't have, then there's no reason for you to have to <show me some of the more subtle ideas of chess.>

Beleive me, we all have lots to learn about chess. If you take a few hours next week to study the Exchange French then you will 'learn' that it's really not as good as the other variations.

Mar-21-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: <FiveofSwords> Since you are telling other people that they are obviously not great players, why not tell us your rating so we can get an idea of how strong you are. Because based on your views on certain openings, particulalry the english, I wouldn't guess that you are a particularly great player yourself.
Mar-23-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: On whether White can achieve good results with the Exchange Variation of the French Defense:

In club level play at least, you'll find that *Black* actually achieves a solid plus score in the Exchange French. That sounds paradoxical, but I think it is explained by the fact that a higher-rated player tends to avoid this variation against a lower-rated opponent, thinking something more unbalanced has to be played to avoid a drawish position.

In contrast, a lower-rated player sometimes plays the line against a higher-rated opponent to keep the position even, often hoping for a draw to pick up some rating points. But then, being the weaker player, the lower-rated player often gets outplayed anyway.

Mar-24-09  chessman95: <FiveofSwords> Since you seem to not be responding, and maybe need a bit of humbleness, why don't you silently watch this game and contemplate what it really means to be <good> at chess.

Anderssen vs Dufresne, 1852

Aug-12-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Opening of the Day <French, Exchange <1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5>>


click for larger view

Opening Explorer

Aug-12-09  drukenknight: I am seeing this quite frequently and it seems the best way for black is to create a slav or semi slav (terms dont mean much as the e pawn is gone) formation with Q/B on c7/e6 there are some fun sacrifices involving the N on g4 to clear the way for the R on the h file. Got into one other day in blitz and the game deteriorated as amused spectators started to call out the moves! became more an analysis than a game.
Aug-12-09  drukenknight: Here is a nice example of what I am talking about above. If you like to play this you should study the piece placement and their interactions.

1. e4 e6
2. Bc4 d5
3. exd5 exd5
4. Bb3 Be6
5. Nf3 Nf6
6. h3 Bd6
7. O-O c6
8. d3 Nbd7
9. Re1 O-O
10. Nh2 Qc7
11. Nf3 h5 (the pawn usually goes here to hit the N but sort of wasted here)

12. Nd4

After 12 Nd4 Get ready for fireworks, this is a typical sort of set up:


click for larger view

12 Bh2+
13. Kh1 c5
14. Nb5 Qb8
15. g3 Bxg3
16. fxg3 Bxh3
17. Qe2 Qxg3
18. Rg1 Qh4
19. Qh2 Ng4and 0-1

After 19...Ng4 what went wrong?


click for larger view

Mar-06-11  Wyatt Gwyon: Every single time I've faced the exchange French while playing black I've felt that I had a psychological advantage. Invariably it's a lower ranked opponent on the other side of the board. White concedes, no way around it.
Mar-06-11  Penguincw: Opening of the Day :
French, Exchange
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5
Mar-06-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  SatelliteDan: I like 3 exd
Aug-29-11  rusich: chessman95, you are wrong with statistics about french exchange, mainly because you didn't look further in opening explorer where white gets a solid plus paying early c4.
Mar-23-12  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

French, Exchange
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5


click for larger view

Feb-16-13  Tigranny: I hate it when I play the French hoping to go into the Winawer but then I face the dull Exchange.
Jul-17-13  Tigranny: Another annoying move I run into other than the Exchange is 2.Nf3(?). No idea why White plays that move, just to transpose to the Exchange. Any thoughts?
Jul-17-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Tigranny>< I hate it when I play the French hoping to go into the Winawer but then I face the dull Exchange.>

In my experience, when White goes into the Exchange, it is usually because they are uncomfortable facing any French.

I feel that the advantage lies with Black in the Exchange. White really has to take chances to get an advantage. Usually this works in Black's favor.

I had a lot of draws in the French Exchange, a few wins, and no losses.

Jul-17-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  kdogphs: I agree with Tigranny and TheFocus... If someone plays 2) Nf3 usually I respond 2)...c5 going for a Kan or Taimanov Sicilian. Then they usually play the insipid 3) Bc4 though... I have done away with playing the French because of the Exchange and the Advance. The Pirc is a nice alternative to the French I've found.
Oct-11-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

French, Exchange
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bg5


click for larger view

Opening Explorer

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