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George Atwood vs François André Philidor
London (1794)
Sicilian Defense: McDonnell Attack (B21)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-05-04  Knight13: Okay. White lost. Black born a queen. Nice game.
Dec-03-04  Jaymthegenius: Hey! the d5 break wasnt invented until the 1980's! and why did Philidor play the sicilian back then when theory wasnt even around? The most talented chessplayer in history, the great Richard Reti, would surly defeat anyone from pre-1920!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The Sicilian goes back to Polerio in 1590(?)
Dec-03-04  Milo: It seems to me that white is dead lost after 37...h4 (and thus phillidor began a brilliant forcing combination with 32...b5!!)

Here's what I'm looking at:
38.c4 bxc4 39.a4 h3 40.Kf2 e4 41.a5 e3+ 42.Kxe3 h2 43.a6 h1=Q 44.a7 Qh8 and wins.

Just counting it, white takes 5 tempi to queen, plus Kf2 and Kxe3 makes seven tempi. Black takes five (...e4, ...e3, ...h3 and two moves to queen from the third rank.) Am I missing any improvements?

Dec-03-04  Milo: I guess white could actually move his knight to a different square on move 33... does black still win?
Dec-03-04  Ziggurat: I think black should still win, although it's not as forcing. I'll address the two alternative knight moves in two different posts.

If 33. Nb6, the knight gets too far away from the scene of battle. After

33... Rh2+
34 Kd1 Rxd2+
35 Kxd2 Bd8
36 Nc8 h4

Black should win roughly in the same manner as in the actual game, but there is at least one pitfall:


37 Ke2 h3
38 Kf1 e4
39 fxe4 fxe4
40 Na7 e3
41 Nxb5

and if black now carelessly plays 41 - h2 42 Kg2 e2, white will pick up his e2 pawn with a knight check on d4. Instead black should play

41 - Bb6

which wins.

Dec-03-04  Ziggurat: Now on to the last alternative, Na5. A sample variation could be:

33. Na5 Rh2+
34. Kd1 Rxd2+
35. Kxd2 h4
36. Ke2 Bg5

The point of black's last move is to cut the knight off from the action.

37. Nb3 Kd5

Otherwise white can play 38. Nc5+ and get the knight back into play via d3.

38. Kf2 Kc4

Now white is in a losing position. 39. Na5+ Kd3 and white hasn't made any progress while black has infiltrated with his king and must win. And if 39. Na1 Kd3, white's knight looks pitiful in the corner. As soon as it goes to b3, black's king can go to c2 and gobble up white's queenside pawns.

Mar-10-06  blingice: What's with Atwood fleeing from the lone pawn at the end?
Mar-10-06  you vs yourself: <blingice> If you had 39.Kg2 in mind: It's a win anyway. Either the pawn on h-file or e-file will queen. Can't defend 'em both, when they're only 3 squares away from being promoted.

My only guess to your question is that it might be his way of ending the game quickly.

Jan-26-08  pathfinderviii: looks like a dutch defense to me?
Feb-01-08  wolfmaster: <JayM> Reti was the greatest player of all time? He was not even a world champion!
Mar-12-09  dwavechess: 23/40 concur with Rybka 3 at 3 min. per move for Philidor
Mar-12-09  dwavechess: not much!, but times goes on ...
Jul-25-09  just a kid: Hard to see where White went wrong.
Jul-27-10  howlwolf: just a kid, white went wrong when he played Bxa7. Black's exchange of his white squared bishop for the white Knight followed by g5! earned him the peramanent initiative.
Mar-22-12  LoveThatJoker: Analysis with Stockfish of a truly modern game by Philidor - moves in <> denote the actual game score:

<1. e4 c5 2. f4 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 d5 5. e5 f5>

[Stockfish says that 5...f5 is rated at (-0.08); 5...Bd7 6. Be2 Nh6 7. Na3 Be7 8. O-O Qb6 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Nc3 f6 11. exf6 Bxf6(-0.35); 5...Nh6 6. g3 Be7 7. Bh3 O-O 8. O-O Bd7 9. d4 Rc8 (9...Qb6 10. Rf2 Rac8 11. Be3 cxd4 12. cxd4 Na5 13. Nc3 Nc4 14. Bc1 Qa5 15. Qd3 Rc7 16. a3 Rfc8 17. Rc2 Qa6 -0.56) 10. Be3 cxd4 11. cxd4 Na5 12. Qe2 Nc4 13. Nc3 Qa5 14. Rfc1 Nxe3 15. Qxe3 Bb4(-0.08)]

<6. d4>

[6. Na3 Be7 7. Be2 Nh6 (-0.12); 6. Be2 Nh6 7. O-O Be7 8. d4 O-O (-0.08)]

<6... Nh6 7. a3 Nf7 8. Be3 Qb6 9. Qd2 Bd7 10. Qf2 c4 11. Bxc4 dxc4 12. d5 Qc7 13. dxc6 Bxc6 14. Bxa7 Bxf3 15. gxf3 g5 16. Be3>

[16. Bb6 Qc6 17. O-O (17. Nd2 gxf4 18. Bd4 Rg8 19. O-O-O Rxa3 20. bxa3 Bxa3+ 21. Kb1 Qb5+ 22. Nb3 cxb3 23. Qd2 Qd5 24. Rhf1 b5 25. Rf2 Qc4 26. Rg2 Rg6 27. h4 Rg3 28. Rf2 Kf8 29. h5 Rh3 30. h6 b4 31. cxb4 Bxb4 32. Qxf4 Rxh6 -0.24; 17. Bd4 gxf4 18. Nd2 Rg8 19. O-O-O Rxa3 20. bxa3 Bxa3+ 21. Kb1 Qb5+ 22. Nb3 cxb3 23. Qd2 Qd5 24. Rhf1 b5 25. Rf2 Qc4 26. Rg2 Rg6 27. h4 Rg3 28. Rf2 Kf8 29. h5 Rh3 30. Rff1 Rxh5 31. Qxf4 b4 32. Qd2 Rg5 33. f4 Rg6 -0.36) 17...gxf4 18. Bd4 Bg7 19. Qe2 Rg8 20. Kh1 O-O-O 21. Nd2 Bxe5 22. Nxc4 Bc7 23. Ne5 Nxe5 24. Bxe5 Bxe5 25. Qxe5 Rd3 26. Qe2 Re3 27. Qf2 Rd8 28. Rae1 Rdd3 (-0.92)]

<16...gxf4 17. Bxf4 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 Qxe5+ 19. Qe2 Qxe2+ 20. Kxe2 h5 21. Nd2 Rc8 22. Rhg1 Kf7 23. Rg2 Be7 24. Rag1 Bf6 25. Nf1 e5! 26. Ne3 Ke6 27. Rd1 Rhg8 28. Rxg8 Rxg8 29. Nxc4 Rg2+ 30. Kd3 Rxh2! 31. Rd2 Rh3 32. Ke2 b5 33. Ne3>

[33. Nb6 Rh2+ 34. Kd3 Rxd2+ 35. Kxd2 Bd8 36. Nc8 h4 37. Ke2 h3 38. Kf1 e4 39. fxe4 fxe4 40. Na7 e3 41. Nxb5 (41. Nc6 Bb6 42. Nb4 e2+ 43. Kxe2 h2 44. Kd2 h1=Q ) 41... e2+ 42. Kxe2 h2 43. Nd4+ Kd5 44. Kd2 h1=Q ]

<33...Rh2+ 34. Ke1 Rxd2 35. Kxd2 Bg5 36. Ke2 Bxe3 37. Kxe3 h4 38. Kf2 e4 39. Kg2 e3 40. Kh3 e2> 0-1

This game, and the the consistent/error-free moves played by him here, are a demonstration of both Philidor being centuries ahead of his time and possibly the first true Modern Chess Master.


PS. GOTD - The First "Practical Chess" Masterpiece.

Jul-18-16  juanhernandez: at the center !!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Instead of 30.Kd3, perhaps better is 30.Kf1. After 30...Rxh2 31.Rd6+ Ke7 32.Rb6 Bh4 33.Kg1 (or 33.Rxb7+ Kf6 34.Rb6+ Kg5 35.Nxe5 and it looks like White can draw) 33...Re2 34.Rxb7+ Kf6 35.a4 or 35.Rd7 and White looks OK and perhaps a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Ziggurat>,
Thank you for your analysis of White's options after 32....b5.

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