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NN vs Francois Philidor
"Pawns Towards the Centre" (game of the day Mar-28-2010)
Analyse du jeu des Échecs (1749) (other), ?
Philidor Defense: Lopez Countergambit (C41)  ·  0-1



Annotations by Francois Philidor.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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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.

Feb-07-12  Knight13: So what exactly did White do wrong prior to move 20? Would 5. exf5 really make that big of a difference?
Feb-07-12  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?

Feb-07-12  Shams: Is the text to be preferred over 11...Be6 keeping the bishop?
Feb-07-12  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.

Feb-07-12  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.

Feb-08-12  Knight13: <Shams> Understood. Thanks, again! :)
Feb-20-12  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 21.Rf6? was a bit too optimistic as black could play 21...d3! 22.Bxd3 (22.Rxg6 dxe2 is apparently hopeless) 22...Bc5+ 23.Kh1 Qg4 (diagram)

click for larger view

White cannot avoid heavy loss of material.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Instructional game given by Philidor in <Analyse du jeu des Échecs>, 1750, pp26-33. Philidor does not identify either player.
Dec-04-15  Solomon2003: who knows the full form of nn
Dec-04-15  john barleycorn: <Solomon2003: who knows the full form of nn>

before I thought it stands for <nomen nescio> for <I don't know the name> but I learned from a kibitzer here that it actually stands for <Not Nakamura>.

Apr-11-16  juanhernandez: very instructional !!!
Oct-06-16  posoo: now DIS is a pag with unotations dat are EXOSTING to read. da old posoo's hed is SPINING.

Dis game is useles and i wod ike to hear som of filador's cumpositions.

Oct-23-17  schnarre: ...Instructional annotations by a classical master of the game!
Nov-27-17  krippp: The principle of development expressed after move <10.O-O> !!?

"Again, it being necessary to observe, as a general rule, that, as it is often dangerous to attack the adversary too soon, here likewise you must be reminded not to be too hasty in your attack, until your pawns are previously sustained by one another, AND ALSO BY YOUR PIECES, otherwise those premature attacks will be unsuccessful, as will be shown by a back-game on this play." -Philidor

Admittedly he isn't clear whether the attacking pawns/piecces should be supported by only some pieces, or by ALL of his pieces, but then again, it varies in practice also... I'm not familiar with Philidor's games but here he seems to complete his development well, with the exception of <16..h5>, which seems slightly paranoid; Morphy would've completed opening development with <16..O-O-O> and if <17.Rg3> then <17..Qe6>.

Great annotations and game anyway, I'm impressed.

Jan-06-20  Marcelo Bruno: Philidor played his own Defense.
Jan-06-20  Dionysius1: The term "back game" appears a few times in the annotations. What does it mean?
Jan-07-20  ndg2: Dionysius1: I guess it means 'analysis' or 'post mortem'.
Jan-07-20  Dionysius1: Makes sense, thanks
Feb-29-20  belmanoir: Dionysius1: I'm reading through Philidor's Analysis on, and he uses "back game" to mean that once he's taken you through the game, he shows you what you should have done if your opponent moved differently at a given point--i.e. the game branches at key moves, and he calls the secondary games "back games."
Mar-14-20  Dionysius1: Heh Belmanoir! Thanks for the research, and welcome to the site. Best wishes, Dion
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