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NN vs François André Philidor
"Pawns Towards the Centre" (game of the day Mar-28-10)
Analyse du jeu des Échecs (1749)  ·  Philidor Defense: Lopez Countergambit (C41)  ·  0-1
To move:
Last move:

Annotations by François André Philidor.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-28-10  Jamboree: The annotation for the last move, 32. ...Rd2, says, "Whatever else he had played [referring to 32. Rxe3], he could not prevent you from doubling your castles, without losing his bishop, or suffering you to make a queen with your pawn."

However, what if white had instead played 32. g3, and stopped the rook-doubling on the 7th rank that way? After 32. ... Rd2, then 33. Bb3, and sure, black is an exchange up and will probably win in the long run, but I can't see how Philidor's notation is true -- i.e. that black will either double on the seventh rank, OR win the bishop, OR queen the pawn -- unstoppably. How does black win immediately with any of those themes after 32. g3 ? I don't see it. If 32. ...Rd2, then 33. Bb3 e2, then just 34. Kf2 and the pawn seems stopped. Sure, black can rack up on the 7th, and has a winning endgame, but for the moment white holds material and doesn't get mated. Or am I missing something?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <20.Bc2?> is an unlucky place for the white Bishop due to some forking tactics with ...d3.

After <20.Rf5 Ne5 21.Nf3> the position still seems to be balanced.

click for larger view

Mar-28-10  newzild: Fascinating game and annotations. Thank you,

18...e4! is the star move, opening lines and creating an outpost for the knight. Reasonably obvious to anyone familiar with Nimzowitsch, but I'm amazed that Philidor was au fait with the concept.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: White gets a much easier game, IMO, after playing the mainline 3. d4 as in A Brkic vs V Iordachescu, 2010.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Now that was a real treat - ye olde annotationes, philidor pushing pawns forward as only he can and a refreshing escape from the puerile trolling on the puzzle of the day pages.

And then we get a gem like this: "You must make yourself master of the openings, to bring the castles into play, especially at the latter end of the game." Brilliant stuff, and way ahead of his time.

Mar-28-10  WhiteRook48: bad pun
Mar-28-10  Confuse: phildor explains his moves so clearly, one would imagine this game was composed; his understanding of basic positioning is really interesting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajile: Philidor Counter Gambit. Also known as Mestle's variation since he did much work on it.
Mar-28-10  zb2cr: Hi <Jamboree>,

You're correct that 32. g3 is a better move. I ran the position through <Crafty> and didn't find anything stronger than 32. ... Rd2; 33. Bb3, Rg5; 34. Rxe3, Rxc5; 35. Rc3, Rb5 with the threat of advancing the a-Pawn to drive away the White Bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Good annotation,though quaint. Black dominates this one.
Mar-29-10  sersunzo: This is a fictional game form Philidor's book "l'Analyse du jeu des Échecs"
Apr-06-10  akachan: Reading Philidor's remarks, and looking through old games by the likes of Cochrane, I find it amazing that even fairly recently chess books writers were making out that chess strategy only began to be understood by Morphy and then Steinitz. It seems that many things were already well known by the end of the 18th century, even if yet to be presented in a systematic form.
Feb-26-11  selfmate: I really like Philidor's annotations. Maybe it is just the second person form of address, but I feel like he does a better job (or at least makes a better attempt) of giving practical advise to his reader on how they should play than many modern GMs.
May-01-11  jbtigerwolf: I don't think the game is really over. Can someone please point out the win?
May-01-11  bronkenstein: <jbtigerwolf: I don't think the game is really over. Can someone please point out the win?>

When the attacked white bishop moves , black will take g2 pawn with check , and then several more pawns, even threatening mates in some variations while already having decisive material advantage . No point in playing on , therefore white resigned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: So what exactly did White do wrong prior to move 20? Would 5. exf5 really make that big of a difference?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Knight13> I'll offer a thought. One answer to your question is that White didn't stake enough of a claim to the center.

Just look at the position after Black's 8...Bd6:

click for larger view

White's game already stinks because Black can easily deal with White's only meaningful stab at the center, c2-c4. White's Knights are atrocious. If he drifts some more, White could be strategically lost in a few moves. How did this happen?

White didn't ask enough of his d- and e-pawns. He captured away from the center with exf5, but this is timid when combined with White's d2-d3. More typical and more effective is usually to capture away and then hit out with pawn to d4, in one go if possible.

Happily the only other game in the db in this line sees Anderssen handling the White pieces 129 years later, and he does what I just described. His opponent seems not to have been very strong, so White's play makes a strong first impression. Play through that game a few times.

Anderssen vs K Pitschel, 1878


<newzild><18...e4! is the star move, opening lines and creating an outpost for the knight. Reasonably obvious to anyone familiar with Nimzowitsch, but I'm amazed that Philidor was au fait with the concept.>

Is this the first known game with this canonical pawn sacrifice?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: Is the text to be preferred over 11...Be6 keeping the bishop?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Shams: More typical and more effective is usually to capture away and then hit out with pawn to d4, in one go if possible.> Are you implying that White's correct line of play would be 6. d4 e4 7. Qe2 Qe7 8. Nfd2 d5 9. Bb3 Nf6 10. c3 ? I like your lucid analysis and explanation, by the way!

<Shams: Is the text to be preferred over 11...Be6 keeping the bishop?> 11... Be6 12. f4 and if 12... e4 then 13. dxe4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 and White wins a pawn. So 12. f4 exf4 13. Qxe7+ Bxe7 14. Bxf4 and White has succeeded in cracking the center. My answer would be that, yes, the text is to be preferred over 11... Be6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Knight13> Thanks, I appreciate that. <Are you implying that White's correct line of play would be 6. d4...> Not at all, just that if <exf5/d4> is how White wants to treat the center, he should plan his entire opening around those pawn moves, more or less. Whether he plays them at moves 5/6 or 10/11 depends.

Note the prep moves that Anderssen makes and the ones he doesn't. Why was Anderssen apparently unwilling to abide ...Bf5-g4? He played 8.h3/9.exf5/10.d4. If you want to play 6.d4 in the above position without Anderssen's prepatory h2-h3, can you justify it? These are the questions I ask myself.

On 11...Be6 12.f4 0-0-0 was the move I intended:

click for larger view

Unless Black gets in trouble on the e-file he should be better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Shams> Understood. Thanks, again! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: I'd love to see Nimzo's take on this. A lot of the terminology wasn't really there before My System, though in some form Philidor considered some of the issues.
Feb-20-12  RookFile: I've play these Latvian systems every time if I knew white would play timidly with d3 and exf5.
Dec-11-12  Damonkeyboy: Why does he sound like a 18th century version of nimzowitsch? Im pretty sure I saw pawn chains and blockades explained right there.
Jan-08-14  Sebastian88: This is the third game in his book. He give 3 variations of this game. (The first variation is here: NN vs Philidor, 1790)
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