I was going to write about the King's Head rapidplay today but my brain hurts and I need to get a cup of tea before I head off to work so I'll delay my tournament report for a few days and return to a favourite theme of old - the French exchange.
In the past couple of installments of the series we looked at some examples taken from the games of that master of the French, Viktor Korchoi (winning quickly twice in TIFE IV, just failing to beat Tal in TIFE III). Today I want to examine an old game from Hastings where another of the most faithful Grand Master exponents of 1. ... e6, Wolfgang Uhlmann, gives a slow but sure tonking to notorious kiddie fiddler Brian Eley.
The East German's victory, very much in the style of the better known Gurevich-Short, was cited by Simon Webb in his excellent Chess for Tigers as an example of the ideal way for a stronger player to approach a game against a lower rated opponent. Win on technique and avoid getting sucked into unclear tactical slug fests was Webb's advice - and it's well worth remembering if you're put off playing the French because you fear the Exchange Variation.
OK, this game is not as flashy as either of the Korchnoi games or Nimzowitch's castling long hack from TIFE II. Some might even say this kind of game, just as much as the quick draws seen in TIFE I is exactly the sort of thing that leads to the Exchange Variation's reputation for dullness.
Still, to my eyes learning how to actually win those games that you have reasonable grounds to expect to end up victorious - and to do so without allowing a sniff of a chance of the result going the other way - is very interesting indeed.
If you disagree you probably won't want to bother playing through another example from Uhlmann, also taken from his book, "Winning with the French".