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I'm having trouble understanding the point of White's play in this variation (specifically 5.dxe5):

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Be7 4. d4 d6 5. dxe5!? dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Bxd8

Why does White want to trade queens early, instead of keeping the tension with a move like 5.h3? Also, why does this position have a comparatively high winrate for White (48% / 43% / 9% wins / draws / losses) according to the Lichess Masters db?

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  • 2
    "Endgame"? With 28 men on the board?
    – bof
    May 30 at 2:07
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White has a development advantage with an extra piece in the field and therefore should be able to capture some type of initiative despite the symmetrical pawn structure.

I suggest playing through some top games in the line to see how things play out.

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White's position looks pretty active. It's basically a zero-risk opening that offers many chances to play for a win. For example, White can continue with a quick Nc3 (speculating with Nd5 ideas that will give the d8 bishop a hard time to join the game again), Be3 and 0-0-0

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