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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: 8075
Years covered: 1620 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 29.2%
   Black wins 30.2%
   Draws 40.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Normunds Miezis  102 games
Blackburne  43 games
Inna Gaponenko  34 games
Evgeny Gleizerov  61 games
Wolfgang Uhlmann  46 games
Ivan Farago  45 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Spielmann vs R Wahle, 1926
Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881
Greco vs NN, 1620
Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927
N Mannheimer vs Nimzowitsch, 1930
W Winter vs Alekhine, 1936
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 page 1 of 323; games 1-25 of 8,075 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Greco vs NN 1-0121620Miscellaneous gameC01 French, Exchange
2. London vs Paris 0-1271834Correspondence gameC01 French, Exchange
3. London vs Paris 0-1301834Correspondence gameC01 French, Exchange
4. Szen vs H H Boncourt 0-1321836MatchC01 French, Exchange
5. von der Lasa vs K Schorn 1-0361838BerlinC01 French, Exchange
6. W Hanstein vs C Jaenisch 1-0251842Berlin m1C01 French, Exchange
7. W Hanstein vs C Jaenisch  1-0391842Berlin m1C01 French, Exchange
8. von der Lasa vs C Jaenisch 1-0411842?C01 French, Exchange
9. Staunton vs Saint-Amant 0-1301843Staunton - Saint-AmantC01 French, Exchange
10. C Stanley vs J Schulten  0-1451845Stanley - Schulten m(3)C01 French, Exchange
11. E Rousseau vs C Stanley 0-1661845Rousseau - StanleyC01 French, Exchange
12. E Rousseau vs C Stanley ½-½581845Rousseau - StanleyC01 French, Exchange
13. Harrwitz vs NN  1-0381846Casual gameC01 French, Exchange
14. J Schulten vs C Stanley  1-0361846Stanley - Schulten m(3)C01 French, Exchange
15. J Schulten vs C Stanley 0-1531846Stanley - Schulten m(3)C01 French, Exchange
16. J Schulten vs C Stanley  ½-½331846Stanley - Schulten m(3)C01 French, Exchange
17. Harrwitz vs H Buckle 0-1581847Casual gameC01 French, Exchange
18. Horwitz vs H Buckle  0-1281848Casual gameC01 French, Exchange
19. Anderssen vs Harrwitz 0-1551848Anderssen - HarrwitzC01 French, Exchange
20. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle ½-½571848MatchC01 French, Exchange
21. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle 1-0581848MatchC01 French, Exchange
22. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle  ½-½391848MatchC01 French, Exchange
23. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle 1-0401848MatchC01 French, Exchange
24. Bird vs G W Medley 0-1241849London m2C01 French, Exchange
25. J R Medley vs W J Tuckett  1-0331849Ries' Divan TournamentC01 French, Exchange
 page 1 of 323; games 1-25 of 8,075 
  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>
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 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  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.
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  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day :
French, Exchange
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.♘c3 ♘f6 5.♗g5
Mar-06-11  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

French, Exchange
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.♘c3 ♘f6 5.♗g5

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  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  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

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: If 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bb5 there are no games in CG's database where ... Bd7 is played and no games where white play 6. Bxc6 to double up black's pawns.

Anyone have insights as to why? Is there a trap in that line?

May-03-15  Nerwal: <Anyone have insights as to why? Is there a trap in that line?> I guess not really a trap but it's important to set priorities right, and in openings development is often more important than dogma about structure. With 4. ♘f3 ♘c6 5. ♗b5 ♗d7 White is developing his kingside while Black is developing his queenside pieces. But Black isn't anywhere near castling queenside because there is no good square for the queen. So when White after 6. 0-0 starts playing in the center with moves like c4 and ♖e1+, Black will experience difficulties holding the position because the king still stands on the open e file and castling short is several moves away. After 5. ♗b5 ♗d6 6. ♗xc6+ bxc6 7. 0-0 it's a complete different story : Black's development is good, he can castle short quickly after ♘e7, he has the two bishops and they are very active, White isn't ready to attack the doubled pawns yet and Black can liquidate anyway by playing c5 at any time. That's why White usually tries to break the structure in a more effective manner by playing 6. c4 first.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Nerwal> thank you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: French players may want to experiment with the Lastrank Gambit: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 c5.

I've played it against the exchange French in bullet games with decent results . I doubt it's sound but it's interesting and fun (sometimes). In some variations black wants to trade queens even though he's a pawn down.

If anyone wants to experiment with the Lastrank Gambit I'd be interested in your results and impressions.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: lol the diagram does not reflect the line 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5
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