Originally posted by !~TONY~!
How do you plan to win games playing one of the most boring variations in all of chess? You gave up the accelerated Dragon to play the Burn!? I didn't think it was possible to downgrade from the AD, but clearly, I didn't think it through long enough.
I'm pretty sure Bd6 like I played is a better move. It is much more active and allows for better play down the e-file as I showed against Qc1 and Bd2. In fact, Be7 is hardly ever played in the Nd7 variation of the Burn. Strong players consider it too passive and the fact that it really leads to no plan makes it even worse.
As for the Burn variation being boring, it depends on how you play it. For example, if Black plays Be7 and gxf6 instead of Nd7, the game becomes very dynamic/wild and often with opposite side castling. However, I'm not convinced that this is sound after analyzing a lot. Still, Morozevich plays it sometimes and I don't think it is actually bad. Now, of course, my move was Nd7 and I admit that this minimizes imbalances and tends to go towards a draw barring any significant errors from both sides. However, it isn't necessarily boring. c5, e5, and the b6 fianchetto give Black some imbalances to work with and it is still the better player's game. If White choses to castle queenside, the game can also become quite interesting. (especially if Black plays a5) Thus, I don't think your view of this opening is completely accurate. Nonetheless, I see your point and if there was an equally sound response to Nc3 that gave a more dynamic and imbalanced game, I would take it without hesitation. Unfortunately, I haven't found any other response that gives Black such a good game. This time, the highest ELO players are right, as are the engines and statistics. dxe4 is the best way to handle Bg5 if you care about the ultimate truth of the position. Almost every opening has some drawish lines and given that I'm playing Black, that's not so bad. White should be the one disappointed.
I also think that the Burn gives Black much better play than the Accelerated Dragon when in a Maroczy bind. In the Burn, there aren't many imbalances, but Black has counterplay, as does White. In the Accelerated Dragon, White has an extremely solid setup with ideal piece placement and all the choices. Black on the other hand is stuck for counterplay and can only shift his pieces aimlessly despite the large imbalances. Playing for a6->b5 works sometimes, but not if White is careful and anticipates this idea. I've played the White side of the bind and the Black side (not to mention dozens of hours of analysis); it is not pleasant for Black. I often easily traded queens after Nd5 and with a little more massaging got a superior endgame to win without trouble or risk. This doesn't happen in the Burn and Black does quite well. Just a minor inaccuracy like Qc1 can open the game to his advantage.
The French variations I've selected are not the sharpest (Winnawer PPV), but I think they are the soundest and most solid. They are variations that I would trust completely. think White has no tangible advantage even with best play in my variaitons (Nf6 vs Nc3, c5 vs Nd2, c5 vs e5, Bd6 in the French exchange). Some may seem drawish, but I would rather have a drawish opening with decent play than an unbalanced unsound one. My ideal opening is still in the air, but I want complete reliability and solidity while still with good winning chances. Both the French and the Najdorf (possiblye5 and other Sicilians too) offer that. Now follows the meticulous process of finding my most suitable defense.
BTW: I beat a 2000 player in Blitz with the Burn and I'm rated only about 1700. It easily leads to a Black advantage if White overestimates his chances. The same is true in the Caro-Kann which is boring only so long as White knows all of Black's counterplay levers.