This is the Exchange Variation of the French Defence. Up until the mid-19th century this was regarded as the main line of the French Defence. The Exchange Variation is a dull, drawish, and static opening, prompting Wilhelm Steinitz to write, "I have never in my life played the French Defense, which is among the dullest of openings." It was only around the 1860s and 1870s that the variations arising after 3.Nc3, 3.Nd2, and 3.e5 became popular.
The Exchange Variation leads to a symmetrical pawn structure. Both sides often develop symmetrically, while giving no room for imbalance in the game, which is why the opening is so drawish. Players who want a draw only will often employ the Exchange Variation.
|1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5|
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- Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.