Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Philidor Weakness

This post is a collaboration with Mr Andrew Crosby.
Andrew is an expert in chess gambits, which he usually plays in his games with great success. He is a member of our virtual club and takes active part in our online tournaments and matches

François-Andre Danican Philidor was probably the best player in the world in the mid-1700s. He was a great piano player and composer like most of his family but he could make more money playing chess. The family adopted the name when his grandfather became the court musician to the emperor of France Louis XIII. The latter admired his playing style and compared him to a famous Italian musician Philidorio. Grandfather liked the name so much the French version was born.

Philidor advocated his opening as an alternative to the common Nc6 used by Black to defend the e-pawn. His original idea was to challenge white’s centre by the pawn thrust f7-f5. Philidor considered pawns to be the soul of chess.

This opening has become fairly popular in rapid, blitz and bullet chess probably to avoid alternative heavily analysed openings like the Sicilian and French Defences. However, the drawback to passive development is that sometimes you don’t have the resources to hold off a strong attack. That was the case in today’s game.

Nowadays the Philidor is regarded as a solid but passive choice and is seldom seen in the top-level play.

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