Originally Posted by KyleJRM82
I just can't seem to get them right. Well, that's not entirely true. I win a decent amount of games against the French outside of the exchange. But they are usually from bad positions. 1. e4 e6 2. d4 is basically just a gambit for me. I will lose a central pawn at some point and I will try to get piece activity and kingside attack as compensation.
The exchange is just a spite move. You annoyed me by playing the French, but who is annoyed now?
Have you tried out: 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4
That leads to some very wacky and dynamic positions. And even though the positions are really crazy the amount of requisite theory is not huge - it's not like the botvinnik semi slav or spanish marshall gambit for instance.
As for when players try to avoid the sharp lines and play more stodgy stuff - the games of Kasparov are, as always, incredibly instructive. He has an incredible record against the French and the games are invariably very forceful and clear guides in how to attack!