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Friday, December 28, 2012

Philidor Defense (7), a dynamic defense

A complex endgame is below today’s game. Take the FEN and paste it into your favorite engine and try to repeat the win. It only took a couple of tries to win today’s endgame, mainly because I wanted to find a reasonably efficient method. My opponent was Shredder set at full strength.

Today’s game is an online tournament game. I was able to make the standard opening moves despite White’s variation from the normal Philidor setup, so no improvements or supplements are necessary for my opening repertoire notes. In the middle game, I was able to open a file and gain control of it. My advanced Knight posting was unchallenged. Being up on material, I traded some back to open White’s King protection.

The variations and move symbols are Critter’s (1.6 32-bit), diagnosed with ‘Scid vs PC’ at 20 seconds per ply. The verbal comments are my thoughts during the game and my interpretations of the analysis provided by Critter. The score chart is at the bottom of this entry.

Chernev said “The best openings to play are those you are most at home in.” Thus, I am relegating the BDG to secondary status for white and bringing back Philidor’s Defense for black. The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is too complex for me and does not seem to have a common theme, other than tactical opportunities. The Philidor/Old Indian has worked well for me in the past and is a solid, almost universal defense.

FEN "8/4k3/8/1p2Pp2/p7/P1K1P3/1P6/8 w - -"


  1. about: White - Ralph
    2012.11.22, Round: 2

    I always had the feeling that Philidor is not a good defence, the Bishop at f8, the pieces develop slow, but maybe i am wrong

    ( Typo : 7... Nc5 not d4 but e4 )

    i think the biggest "error" in your game was 19...Bxg4

    With Lead in material you should:
    1) pay attention for your king
    2) centralise pieces
    3) exchange pieces and not exchange pawns
    4) simplify and stay away from tactics!!!!! (might be wrong )

    And if you have less material
    1) attack the opponents king
    2) exchange pawns and not pieces (without pawns the chances for a drwaw in the endgame are higher)
    3) make the game complicated ( and hope for a blunder of the opponent)

    Following this strategy black should have played 18... Bc5 to exchange bishops, b6 does nothing

    I think its important in chess to have many pairs (Situation, recepie how to handle it (Strategy)) stored. The work of an chessplayer is 1. recognise situation (=Board/Tactical/Strategical Vision/Awareness) and 2. Looking which recepie and how to apply. This is imo true in all positions especially in tactics. For example you are pinned and that beomes dangerous? so you have to look for "unpinning" recepies ( which might be: remove the pinning piece, give check with the pinned piece...)

  2. Typo is now corrected to e4.

    I did not look at 19...Bxg4, but will take a closer look ... especially with the strategy guidelines outlined in your comment.

    Thank you for your input. May Caissa be kind to y'all.

  3. "The Philidor/Old Indian has worked well for me in the past and is a solid, almost universal defense."

    I have recently become a fan and user of the Old Indian. I guess I need to have a closer look at the Philidor.

  4. Good to see both the Philidor and Old Indian getting a mention. Neither are exactly high-profile openings.

    I have also played both for the past year or so, since they fit together well, and when combined make a consistent and reliable defence against both e4 and d4. ( Actually, I played the Philidor for a few years, and added the Old Indian later :)

    Knowing both even means that when d4 is played it sometimes transposes to a Philidor, and one isn't caught out !

    I'd agree that a3 isn't a brilliant move, but nor is it a bad one. I often see it, since White intends to play Ba2 if the Bishop is attacked. If you 'forget about' teh Bishop on a2, then you may be caught with a timely Bxf7 check, which, if you've already played b4, axb, bxa, can be a bit nasty. Happened once to me, but I just about got away with it !

    Instead of 11.Bc1 , White could try Bxc5. After 11.Bxc5 Bb3/Ba2 and White's position isn't that terminal. As many say, White is able to make more mistakes in the opening than Black !

    Not sure what sort of game database you have with SCID, but I was surprised to find, when I checked in my bases, that the position after 8...c6 has turned up in "professional" chess a few times, .

    Naturally, none of them continued with 9. Bg5. ( b4, attacking the knight is most common, but the "normal" Philidor continuation of Re1 is also there.)

    Here's a link ( http://chesstempo.com/gamedb/game/3018300 ) to a game played in 2010, by a 2324-rated player. I guess he was trying not to lose against his higher-rated opponent, buy choosing a solid White setup. A draw was probably a good result for him !

    I'll drop by again sometime. Keep up the blog !

  5. I have developed a taste for the Philidor the other way around. I started playing the Old Indian a long time ago (for a chronic Opening Phobic, that is!) and I have been enjoying the "solidness". Vladimir Barsky in "The Modern Philidor Defence" suggests 1. e4 d6 as a vehicle towards a Philidor/Old Indian Set-up which seems to work well. BTW, I like the Opening books from Chess Start Publishing (using the three steps approach) very much.

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