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François André Philidor
Number of games in database: 52
Years covered: 1749 to 1795

Overall record: +17 -3 =4 (79.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 28 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (8) 
    C35 C38 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
   J Bruehl vs Philidor, 1783 0-1
   Andrew Smith vs Philidor, 1790 0-1
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   NN vs Philidor, 1749 0-1
   Philidor vs NN, 1790 1-0
   Philidor vs J Bruehl, 1789 1-0
   Sheldon vs Philidor, 1790 0-1

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Obds (Part 1) by Penguincw
   Philidor by rjuranek
   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
   lotussutra's favorite games by lotussutra
   equanimus' favorite games by equanimus

   NN vs Philidor, 1749

Search Sacrifice Explorer for François André Philidor
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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:

Last updated: 2017-09-07 00:36:28

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 52  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. NN vs Philidor 0-1321749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC41 Philidor Defense
2. Philidor vs NN 1-0401749UnknownC20 King's Pawn Game
3. Bernard / Carlier vs Philidor 1-0321780Miscellaneous Game000 Chess variants
4. Maseres vs Philidor 0-1581783Blindfold Simultaneous000 Chess variants
5. T Bowdler vs Philidor ½-½511783London blind simB20 Sicilian
6. J Bruehl vs Philidor 0-1471783Blindfold simulC23 Bishop's Opening
7. J Bruehl vs Philidor ½-½441787LondonC23 Bishop's Opening
8. J Bruehl vs Philidor 0-1441788London m/7C38 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Leycester vs Philidor 0-1351788Odds London000 Chess variants
10. Philidor vs J Bruehl 0-1201788London000 Chess variants
11. Leycester vs Philidor 0-1241788blind sim.000 Chess variants
12. Leycester vs Philidor 0-1291788Odds London000 Chess variants
13. Leycester vs Philidor ½-½791788London000 Chess variants
14. Philidor vs J Bruehl ½-½491788London000 Chess variants
15. Nowell vs Philidor 0-1601788London Blind Simul000 Chess variants
16. Philidor vs J Bruehl 1-0481788London000 Chess variants
17. Philidor vs J Wilson 1-0441789London000 Chess variants
18. Philidor vs Cotter 1-0221789London000 Chess variants
19. Philidor vs J Bruehl 0-1391789London000 Chess variants
20. Philidor vs J Bruehl 1-0281789London000 Chess variants
21. Philidor vs J Bruehl 1-0191789London000 Chess variants
22. Philidor vs NN 0-1401790UnknownC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
23. Andrew Smith vs Philidor 0-1331790LondonC24 Bishop's Opening
24. J Bruehl vs Philidor ½-½531790London Blind000 Chess variants
25. Philidor vs NN 1-0291790UnknownC30 King's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 52  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Philidor wins | Philidor loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 11 OF 11 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-23-15  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.
Apr-11-16  RookFile: I played over some of his games, and think he was stronger than Steinitz.
Sep-07-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Philidor, who once said, "I have a Pawn stuck to the sole of my shoe."
May-03-17  bobmeadley: Philidor's games in his 1749 first edition are considered by many to be unreal games. Or 'manufactured' for his book. There are only 9 and the Aleppo Gambit game looks like one between Philidor and Stamma. But this is my speculation. Does anyone have any proof either way?
May-03-17  Petrosianic: <bobmeadley>: <Does anyone have any proof either way?>

Of course not. You can't speculate blindly about something centuries later, and then expect to find proof of the speculation. If there were proof, the matter would have been settled long ago and the speculation would never have happened at all.

May-03-17  Sally Simpson: In 'Analyse du jeu des Échecs' 1749, Philidor <analysed> 9 openings.
May-27-17  bobmeadley: To Petrosianic. Von der Lasa stated in his Supplement in Allen that the 1749 games were manufactured and as we have no early Philidor games would it not be a good thing if those games were given a 21st century examination? There are many finds today in many fields that change views of the past surely?
Premium Chessgames Member
  mifralu: Rousseau -- Philidor (played in Paris at the Café Procope)

click for larger view

Jean-Jacques Rousseau announced mate in nine moves!

<1. fxg6+ Kh8 2. g7+ Kg8 3. gxf8=Q+ Kxf8 4. Qg7+ Ke8 5.Nxd6+ Rxd6 6. Qg8+ Kd7 7. Qxf7+ Kd8 8. Qc7+ Ke8 9. Qe7# 1-0>

Jul-26-17  zanzibar: Is it because he's French that he's fuppofed to be peft Chefs-player in the World?

C.N. 5095


Jul-26-17  zanzibar: <jnpope> it would be nice if you used forward-slashes in your FEN (from the game above)!


Jul-26-17  zanzibar: <jnpope>, ah, I see you noted the forward/backwards slash issue - still, adding an extra space is easier to undo.

(When, oh when, is <CG> going to get a verbatim mode).

As for chess programs which can play over such games - with weird castling - my Q-side/K-side program allows you to play it over by hand (not by reading in the PGN however).

I'm not sure how useful that is, but it does allow one to play over the game on a computer screen (sans engine at the moment).

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Happy birthday young man. All chess games played today begin with your opening imo.
Sep-07-17  The Kings Domain: The true father of modern Chess.
Jan-26-18  Kaspablanca: His name was Francois Andre Danican, Danican was his last name whereas Philidor was his nickname.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Kaspablanca: His name was Francois Andre Danican, Danican was his last name whereas Philidor was his nickname.>

Yes. It is from the French <Philo d'or> which means <lover of gold>. He really liked gold, apparently.

May-26-18  zanzibar: What's in a name? (golden put-ons or otherwise...)


You have, of course, heard of the great French chess-player, Philidor. He got his Italian name in a curious way. In the Chapel Royal at Versailles there was an orchestra of musicians that took part in the religious services. Among them was an Italian named Philidor. It happened that this man fell ill and died, and his place was supplied by a Frenchman named Danican. One morning the king, Louis XIV., on passing the orchestra on his way to his seat in the chapel, mistook Danican for Philidor, and nodding to him said, "I am glad to see you back in your place, Philidor!" Now it was a point of etiquette in the French court not to allow the king to make a mistake. When he was a child, he said one day, "Portez mon carrosse!" He ought to have said, "ma carrosse," since the word is of the feminine gender, but the polite French at once adopted the royal infant's change of gender, and the word remains to this day masculine. In like manner Danican became Philidor, and to this odd circumstance the great chess master is indebted for his name.

The ante-room to the Royal Chapel was occupied by the musicians in the intervals of the services, and being so near the sacred precinct they were not allowed to play games of chance, but chess was allowed. The boy Philidor frequently accompanied his father to the chapel, and was fond of watching the chess, and soon became himself a good player. One of the most skilful chess-players among the musicians was a man named Legalle, who frequently played with young Philidor. Now the only game of Legalle's that has been preserved is one in which he gives the odds of the Q R; ...


tBOP v13 N642 (May 2, 1891) 495/527 (17)

Of course this story of the origin is slightly at odds with CW, but has anybody traced the sourcing of the CW?

(I have, maybe will post it later to possibly compare notes)

I do like this story though.

May-26-18  zanzibar: Oh, and a word about the source:

<By Prof. Tomlinson, F.R.S.

[Professor Charles Tomliiison, F.R.S., who is now the oldest writer in chess living, for he was born in London on November 27, 1808, and among whose works his "Amusements in Chess" (London, 1845) is unsurpassed by any other book of the kind, has forwarded us the following capital short article.]>

Capital, indeed.

May-26-18  zanzibar: What's in a name (II)?

And lest you begin wondering what F.R.S. adds to a name...

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Philidor wrote music for Masonic rituals.

The first performance of his <Carmen Saeculare> was performed at Freemasons' Hall in London in 1779.

He was a member of the renowned Parisian Lodge <Les Neuf Soeurs>. This Lodge had an allied society for musicians, called the <Société Apollonienne.>

Apr-17-19  ChessHigherCat: Lots of good stuff about Philidor as a "coffee-shop player" in Diderot's "Le Neveu de Rameau". The last sentence will teach us all some valuable new information:

<If the weather is too cold or too rainy, I take refuge in the Regency Café. I like to watch the games of chess. The best chess players in the world are in Paris, and the best players in Paris are in the Regency Café. Here, in Rey's establishment, they battle it out--Legal the Profound, Philidor the Subtle, Mayot the Solid. One sees the most surprising moves and hears the stupidest remarks. For one can be an intelligent man and a great chess player, like Legal, but one can also be a great chess player and a fool, like Foubert and Mayot.>

French original:

English translation:

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: There is a nag running today named <Philidor>.

The odds are better at the racecourse so I am heading down to the Hipódromo Chile in the municipality of Independencia, in the Santiago Metropolitan Region of Chile.

The race is at 19:30 Greenwich Mean Time, 24/12/2020.

This wizened old geegee currently has odds of 9/2. I intend to do it as a double with <The Undertaker> winning Wrestlemania 2021.

Good luck to everyone who has a punt. I'll post the result here later.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The buck-toothed sack of gristle finished 5th out of 14. Race won by #13 Me Voy En Barco at 11/1. I tore up my virtual betting slip in disgust.
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