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François André Philidor
Number of games in database: 51
Years covered: 1749 to 1795

Overall record: +17 -3 =4 (79.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 27 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (8) 
    C38 C35 C33
With the Black pieces:
 Bishop's Opening (5) 
    C23 C24
 Sicilian (4) 
    B20 B21
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Philidor vs NN, 1749 1-0
   Andrew Smith vs Philidor, 1790 0-1
   J Bruehl vs Philidor, 1783 0-1
   NN vs Philidor, 1749 0-1
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   Philidor vs J Bruehl, 1789 1-0
   H Conway vs Philidor, 1790 0-1
   Maseres vs Philidor, 1783 0-1

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Philidor by Runemaster
   a-1749 by wina
   1 by gr2cae
   early games by wwall
   Chess Prehistory by Joe Stanley
   Blunder check: Francois Andre Philidor by nimh
   equanimus' favorite games by equanimus
   lotussutra's favorite games by lotussutra

   NN vs Philidor, 1749

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(born Sep-07-1726, died Aug-31-1795, 68 years old) France

[what is this?]
François-André Danican Philidor was born on September 7th, 1726, in Dreux France. He was both a chess and musical prodigy--his first musical composition was played before King Louis XV when he was only 11 years old. He was taught chess by Kermur Sire De Legal, who initially gave him rook odds, until the young Philidor became too strong for his teacher.

In 1744 Philidor played two chess games blindfolded simultaneously in public in Paris, a feat never before known to have been accomplished. In 1749 his "Analysis of Chess" was published in London, the first chess book to explain the openings, the middlegame, and the general strategy of chess. The book claimed that Les pions sont l'ame du jeu, a phrase that became widely known as 'the pawns are the soul of chess', a maxim known to chessplayers ever since.

His name is associated with the endgame commonly called the Philidor position, which is among the most important fundamental endgame positions.(1) Philidor's name is also associated with a fundamental chess tactic commonly known as Philidor's Legacy, a smothered mating pattern involving a queen and knight. However this is only a traditional name, as the tactic first appeared in print by a book by Luis Ramirez de Lucena.

He passed away in London, England in 1795.

(1) 100 Endgames You Must Know, Jesus Maria De La Villa Garcia, New in Chess.

Wikipedia article: François-André Danican Philidor; List of Operas by Philidor: Wikipedia article: List of operas by Philidor; YouTube recording of Philidor's Sancho Pança (1762) / Opéra-bouffon in one act / Opera LaFayette:

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 51  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. NN vs Philidor 0-132 1749 Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC41 Philidor Defense
2. Philidor vs NN 1-040 1749 UnknownC23 Bishop's Opening
3. Bernard / Carlier vs Philidor 1-032 1780 Miscellaneous Game000 Chess variants
4. Maseres vs Philidor 0-158 1783 Blindfold Simultaneous000 Chess variants
5. J Bruehl vs Philidor 0-147 1783 Blindfold simulC23 Bishop's Opening
6. T Bowdler vs Philidor ½-½51 1783 London blind simB20 Sicilian
7. J Bruehl vs Philidor ½-½44 1787 LondonC23 Bishop's Opening
8. J Bruehl vs Philidor 0-144 1788 London m/7C38 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Leycester vs Philidor 0-135 1788 Odds London000 Chess variants
10. Philidor vs J Bruehl 0-120 1788 London000 Chess variants
11. Leycester vs Philidor 0-124 1788 blind sim.000 Chess variants
12. Leycester vs Philidor 0-129 1788 Odds London000 Chess variants
13. Leycester vs Philidor ½-½79 1788 London000 Chess variants
14. Philidor vs J Bruehl ½-½49 1788 London000 Chess variants
15. Nowell vs Philidor 0-160 1788 London Blind Simul000 Chess variants
16. Philidor vs J Bruehl 1-048 1788 London000 Chess variants
17. Philidor vs J Wilson 1-044 1789 London000 Chess variants
18. Philidor vs Cotter 1-022 1789 London000 Chess variants
19. Philidor vs J Bruehl 0-139 1789 London000 Chess variants
20. Philidor vs J Bruehl 1-028 1789 London000 Chess variants
21. Philidor vs J Bruehl 1-019 1789 London000 Chess variants
22. Philidor vs NN 0-144 1790 UnknownC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
23. Philidor vs NN 1-030 1790 UnknownC38 King's Gambit Accepted
24. J Bruehl vs Philidor ½-½53 1790 London Blind000 Chess variants
25. Sheldon vs Philidor 0-131 1790 LondonC23 Bishop's Opening
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 51  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Philidor wins | Philidor loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <ketchuplover> <Happy birthday and RIP or vice-versa.> Apparently neither :-)


(born Sep-07-1726, died Aug-31-1795) France

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Today is the day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Conrad> Finally something to agree with! Indeed Philidor was ridiculously ahead of his time. The first deep thinker of the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. To one of the best players who ever lived.
Jan-23-14  Karpova: A question:

In his article on Philidor's Blindfold play on pages 202-206 of the July-August 1912 'Wiener Schachzeitung', Krejcik annotates these three games from a blindfold Simul:

J Bruehl vs Philidor, 1783
T Bowdler vs Philidor, 1783
Maseres vs Philidor, 1783

The games are introduced (p. 203) by a quote from the <London News-Papers vom 8. Mai 1785> and the first sentence reads <Gestern hat Philidor im Schach-Klub in der St. Jamesstreet [...].> which says that Philidor gave a 3-player blindfold Simul yesterday, i. e. May 7, 1785.

Now, the three games here are all dated 1783, only the one against Maseres more detailed as May 8, 1783. has May 9, 1783, but without a source.

Von Mauvillon ('Anweisung zur Erlernung des Schach-Spiels, mit besonderer Rücksicht auf diejenigen, denen das Spiel durchaus unbekannt ist', 1827) has May 8, 1785: has 1783, but the date May 8 appears questionable (perhaps Philidor drawing Brühl, beating Jennings and Erskine) and May 26 as the Brühl-Bowdler-Mazieres(Maseres) display according to the 'Whitehall Evening Post'.

<SBC> got a two-game blindfold Simul on May 8, 1783, against Brühl and Bowdler (and possibly Atwood): giving the very Brühl game.

So my question: Is 1783 or 1785 correct and what about the exact date? Is it May 8 only because of a newspaper of that day? I wouldn't be surprised if 1785 was a typo or Krejcik followed an incorrect, earlier source, but want to bring up this issue. In my opinion, it seems as if these games were played in May 1783. But the day may not be that clear.

Jan-23-14  thomastonk: <Karpova> I've the "Whitehall Evening Post" of May 27 - 29 (!?), 1783 before me. The text is:

"Monday, at the Chess Club in St.James's street, Mr. Philidor performed one of those wonderful exhibitions for which he is so much celebrated. He played at the same time three different games without seeing either of the tables. His opponents were Compte Bruhl and Dr. Browdler (the two best players in London) and Mr. Mazieres. He defeated Compte Bruhl in an hour and twenty minutes, and Mr. Mazieres in two hours. Dr. Browdler reduced his game to a drawn battle in an hour and three quarters. [...]"

(I've left out the text that you can find in the kibitzer issue.) There are no game scores.

The same article appeared in the "Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser" (London) on May 28, 1783.

Jan-23-14  Karpova: <thomastonk>

Thank you very much! As the 'Whitehall Evening Post' you quoted refers to Monday, it establishes the date of the 3-player blindfold Simul as May 26, 1783 - as this is the date of Monday of that week according to

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If he were brought forward to the present day he'd need just a couple of minutes to catch up on theory then he'd be straight in settling the hash of these parvenus Carlsen, Aronian and their kith. LOL!
Jun-07-14  Conrad93: How is the first name pronounced?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Frankis.

French for frankencense.

Jun-07-14  Conrad93: Damn. I've been pronouncing it as Franco...

Oh, well. Lesson learned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. chess master François André Philidor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is well-known that chess and music go well together, and many are those who have achieved unusual proficiency in both> - Tartakower.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Does anyone know of any chess database program that can correctly play through games at rook odds where the player castles toward the missing rook, such as in the following game? Note: slashes reversed in the FEN for posting.

[Event "<Ra1,Pc7>"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Philidor"]
[Black "Atwood"]
[Result "0-1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "rnbqkbnr\pp1ppppp\8\8\8\8\PPPPPPPP\1NBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

[PlyCount "94"]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d6 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.d3 exf4 7.Bxf4 Qb6 8.Bxf7+ Ke7 9.Bb3 Na5 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Qe2 Kd8 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Be7 14.0-0-0 Rhf8 15.Be3 Qc7 16.Ba4 Nd7 17.Qe2 a6 18.b4 Nc6 19.Kb2 Bf6 20.d4 Kc8 21.Bc2 b5 22.a4 Qb7 23.Bd3 Kc7 24.Ra1 Rb8 25.Kc2 bxa4 26.Bxa6 Nxb4+ 27.cxb4 Qxb4 28.Rb1 Qa3 29.Qc4+ Kd8 30.Rxb8+ Nxb8 31.Qc8+ Ke7 32.Qc7+ Nd7 33.Bb5 Rd8 34.Bf2 Bg5 35.Qc3 Qxc3+ 36.Kxc3 Bxd2+ 37.Kxd2 Ra8 38.Bh4+ Ke8 39.Kc2 h6 40.Be1 Ke7 41.e5 d5 42.Bb4+ Ke6 43.Kb2 Nxe5 44.dxe5 Rb8 45.Ka3 Rxb5 46.Kxa4 Rxb4+ 47.Kxb4 Kxe5 «Chess Studies: Comprising One Thousand Games, 1844, p51» 0-1

Even though they start out with the correct position, both ChessBase and the Arena software I have will create a rook out of thin air after White castles.

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: The complete opera "Tom Jones" sung in English and performed in 1995 at the Stockholm theatre that was reopened in 1766 (!) after a fire seriously damaged it three years before ... In three acts, respectively

This work can be appreciated as a piece of theatre with music in the elegant style of Philidor, who wants to compare with the original French text, can find video trailers of the Lausanne performance (already in this century) here ...

... and a pair of excerpts staged last year in Montpellier here

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A pawn, when separated from his fellows, will seldom or never make a fortune> - Francois-Andre Danican Philidor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is always advantageous to exchange your king's bishop pawn for the king's pawn, since this leads to the seizure of the centre and, in addition, to the opening of a file for the rook>. - Francois-Andre Danican Philidor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <If a poor musician had come upon him ... The extreme kindheartedness and absence of Philidor knew no resistance to the appeal for charity, and precluded all discrimination of means. He gave whatever he could lay his hands on - coat, hat, shoes ...> (on Philidor) - George Allen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Uh, I thought <CG> only used ascii-characters in the player names, right?!

Guess not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Philidor once said: "Pawns are the soul of chess."

He also said: "Fish eyes are the windows to the sole."

Premium Chessgames Member

Composer, master, securities fraudster?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Affiliates of Philidor involved in the case have names like Isolani and Lucena, some of which are accused of concealing their relationship to Philidor. This is where a little chess erudition would come in handy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: He belongs in the world chess hall of fame imo. Should have been the first member too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I played over some of his games, and think he was stronger than Steinitz.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Philidor, who once said, "I have a Pawn stuck to the sole of my shoe."
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