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Francois Philidor

Number of games in database: 54
Years covered: 1749 to 1990
Overall record: +16 -3 =4 (78.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 31 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
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   A Smith vs Philidor, 1790 0-1
   Philidor vs NN, 1749 1-0
   J Bruehl vs Philidor, 1783 0-1
   Philidor vs NN, 1749 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1990 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1749 1-0
   Philidor vs NN, 1749 1-0
   NN vs Philidor, 1749 0-1
   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 Runemaster
   Philidor by rjuranek
   Philidor by Okavango
   a-1749 by wina
   1 by gr2cae
   early games by wwall
   1 Chess Prehistory by Littlejohn
   Chess Prehistory by Okavango
   Chess Prehistory by Joe Stanley

   NN vs Philidor, 1749

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Francois Philidor
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(born Sep-07-1726, died Aug-31-1795, 68 years old) France

[what is this?]

Francois-Andre Danican was born on September 7th, 1726, in Dreux France. His grandfather was a Hautboy-player at the Court of Lewis XIII. An Italian Musician named Philidor, was admired at that Court for his performance on the same instrument; and after his departure the King gave Mr. Danican the Sobriquet or nick-name of Philidor, which has still remained in the family. His father, and several of his brothers, belonged to the band of Lewis XIV. and Lewis XV.(1)

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.

Three different important endgame positions are known as the Philidor position.(2) One of them, illustrating a defensive technique in the rook and pawn versus rook ending, is among the most fundamental endgame positions.(3) Philidor's analysis of the Philidor position in the rook and bishop versus rook ending, demonstrating a complicated and difficult win for the superior side, is perhaps the most profound analysis of an endgame up until that time.

Philidor's name is also associated with a standard 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.

Philidor died in London, England in 1795.

(1) Chess, "Anecdotes of Mr. Philidor Communicated by Himself", Twiss, London 1787, p149
(2) Wikipedia article: Philidor position
(3) 100 Endgames You Must Know, Jesus Maria de la Villa Garcia, New in Chess.

Wikipedia article: Francois-Andre Danican Philidor; List of Operas by Philidor: Wikipedia article: List of operas by Philidor; YouTube recording of Philidor's Sancho Panza (1762) / Opera-bouffon in one act / Opera LaFayette:

Last updated: 2023-01-04 19:42:45

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 54  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. NN vs Philidor 0-1321749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC41 Philidor Defense
2. Philidor vs NN 1-0291749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC30 King's Gambit Declined
3. Philidor vs NN ½-½241749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
4. Philidor vs NN 1-0521749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC33 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Philidor vs NN 1-0231749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Philidor vs NN 1-0221749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
7. Philidor vs NN 0-1441749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. Philidor vs NN 0-1401749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
9. Philidor vs NN 1-0231749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC32 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
10. NN vs Philidor 0-1281749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC41 Philidor Defense
11. Philidor vs NN 1-0161749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC38 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Philidor vs NN 1-0401749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC20 King's Pawn Game
13. Bernard / Carlier vs Philidor 1-0321780Consultation Game000 Chess variants
14. Maseres vs Philidor 0-1581783Philidor Blind Simul 3b, London000 Chess variants
15. T Bowdler vs Philidor ½-½511783Philidor Blind Simul 3b, LondonB20 Sicilian
16. J Bruehl vs Philidor 0-1471783Philidor Blind Simul 3b, LondonC23 Bishop's Opening
17. Philidor vs J Bruehl ½-½491787Casual game, rook odds for pawn and move000 Chess variants
18. J Bruehl vs Philidor ½-½441787Philidor Blindfold simul, 2b LondonC23 Bishop's Opening
19. Leycester vs Philidor 0-1291788Casual game, knight odds000 Chess variants
20. Leycester vs Philidor 1-0491788Casual game, knight odds000 Chess variants
21. Leycester vs Philidor ½-½791788Casual game, knight odds000 Chess variants
22. De Beaurevoir vs Philidor  0-1371788Casual game, odds of pawn and two moves000 Chess variants
23. De Beaurevoir vs Philidor  0-1561788Casual game, odds of pawn and two moves000 Chess variants
24. Philidor vs J Bruehl 0-1201788Casual game, rook odds for pawn and move000 Chess variants
25. Leycester vs Philidor 0-1351788Odds London000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 54  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 12 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Jun-16-21  Judah: <<offramp>: Yes. It is from the French <Philo d'or> which means <lover of gold>. He really liked gold, apparently.>

Actually, as <von Krolock> pointed out earlier in these pages*: a) the etymon you suggest would be not French, but a chimera of Greek and French, which would cast considerable doubt on the suggestion even if nothing positive were known of the provenance of the name <Philidor> and b) in fact, it appears to derive from the Italian surname <Filidoro>/<Filidori>, meaning <cloth [lit. threads] of gold>.

*François André Philidor (kibitz #59) and François André Philidor (kibitz #44)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gottschalk: [Event "18th century"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1780.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "NN"]
[Black "Philidor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C20"]
[PlyCount "56"]

1. e4 e5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d3 f5 5. f4 e4 6. d4 Qf7 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Nd2 Nd5 9. Bc4 c6 10. Qb3 Be6 11. Bxd5 cxd5 12. Ne2 Bd6 13. O-O h6 14. Qc2 g5 15. g3 g4 16. b3 Nc6 17. c4 O-O-O 18. cxd5 Bxd5 19. Nc4 h5 20. Nxd6+ Rxd6 21. Bf2 h4 22. b4 Rdh6 23. b5 e3 24. Be1 hxg3 25. Bxg3 Rxh2 26. Bxh2 Rxh2 27. Kxh2 Qh5+ 28. Kg1 Qh1# 0-1

old pgn section

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Thanks, it's here now:

NN vs Philidor, 1780

Jul-22-21  Z truth 000000101: Ugh.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Gottschalk: <Stonehenge>
it looks like i have no luck! Good try, thanks.
Jul-26-21  Z truth 000000001: <Gottschalk> - sorry, but I'm indirectly responsible for your submission being bounced.

I suppose it's due to the valid criticism I made about both its sourcing and historical accuracy (specifically the date, but also its representation as an actual game vs an analysis).

Even at my sharpest, believe it or not, I'm trying to be constructive.

I think the game should be included in the <CG> db, with proper notes and attributes.

For the record, here's essentially my original comment from the now deleted gamepage...

* * * * *


Sourcing: is almost as good as sending one generically to, maybe even worse.

[I also noted the date is almost certainly wrong]

(Another ugh. When one space won't do. <CG> alert - collapsing space in front of links. Ah, the wonders of auto-magic.) >

* * * * *

I'll try to return tonight with what I think are the primary sources from Philidor himself. And maybe a comment or two about process.

Of course, as I was unable to find the secondary source on the French Heritage cite - I'd like to ask <Gottschalk> for the working link he used to grab the game, if one is still possible.

* * * * *

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