Lasker used the Exchange Variation at St. Petersburg in 1914 to defeat Alekhine and Capablanca but after that it fell into obscurity because black found ways to equalize. Fischer infused new life into the variation in three games at the Havana Olympiad in 1966. Those wins catapulted the variation into a wave of popularity in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.White damages Black's Q-side pawn structure and will usually try to trade pieces to get into a favorable endgame where he can create a passed e-Pawn. For his part black generally tries to avoid piece exchanges and hopes to get some attacking chances with the help of his 2B’s.
Current statistics show White wins about 36.8 percent, Black wins about 26.7 percent and 36.5 percent of the games are drawn. My database, which contains nearly 6900 games with the Exchange Variation, shows it to yield results nearly identical to those percentages.
I have only faced the Exchange Variation five times in correspondence play and my record is +2 -2 =1, including one miserable loss when I tried 4…bxc6. I really don’t like facing it because it’s a tad too boring for my taste.
Here is my latest game against it.