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Philidor defence?


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #1

    blackjokercz

    Hi,

    I'm looking for some good defence for black, which would avoid ruy lopez, scotch,... etc. so I found philidor defence and started learning it. But I'm little confused about this opening, because of this: 1)Hanham var.

    This is typical Hanham variation its famous and popular, but after Bxf7+ it doesn't seem good, is it? Is Kg6 right move?  I read that main line is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Qe2 c6 8.a4 Qc7 9.h3 but why white shouldn't play Bxf7+?

    2)Philidor Counter-Gambit

    This doens't look good for black. Or am I wrong?
    3)Exchange var...

    At least this doesn't look so bad, but white have very active position and an advantage in space... So is philidor defence good to play? And which variation should I choose and play? And what are correct moves after Bf7+ in hanham var.? Or what opening for black should I choose instead of Philidor? Thanks for answers and helping me.


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #2

    Conzipe

    If you want to learn more about the philidor defense I suggest checking out the following group: The philidor defense
    I especially recommend checking out the "pirc vs philidor" thread, I think that will give you a pretty good general overview of the opening.

    There are basically two ways to play the philidor, in a more solid way or in a more aggressive way and the largest problem with the standard move-order 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 is that black isn't really able to setup a solid philidor effectively because of tactical reasons. The main problem being this variation:

    However the standard move-order is very good if you want to play one of the "philidor sicilians" which I like to call them where black quickly takes whites pawn on d4. And like you pointed out the formation where black fianchettoes hes bishop is not very good for black. However a variation which is totally playable for black is the following:

    If you want to learn more about this I suggest checking out the following article by GM Joel Benjamin: http://main.uschess.org/content/view/10115/341/

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #3

    blackjokercz

    Thank you, so is better go to Philidor into another move order like: 

    and Bxf7+ can be probably avoid by h6, but why it usually not played by GM? What is bad for white on Bxf7+?

    The group has great articles, especially "Philidor vs d4" idea got me.

    btw: Is there any another trap except Legal's and the Bxf7+ problem?

     

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #4

    blackjokercz

    get_lost: thanks nice trap

    I go through some material about Philidor defence and found some another lines which doesn't look so good for black:

    So I'm still confused about this opening. I know that there is just a little group of players (may be nobody my level), who can play this lines, but still... 
  • 5 years ago · Quote · #5

    Conzipe

    The endgame after 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8 Kxd8 is very fine for black, the key being to play moves which does not weaken your position, however the only drawback is that you get position which is very hard to win.

    I actually prefer to play 3... Nbd7 before playing e5 to avoid this endgame with the only drawback that white can try to play 4. f4 (and some other moves which aren't especially challenging) but I think black will get a very good game against that move which makes 3...Nbd7 very playable.

    An example:

     

     Playing 6. Bxf7+?! is not good for white because blacks counter-play is basically to strong however there is one super-aggressive line white has which might be playable.
     
  • 5 years ago · Quote · #6

    DrSpudnik

    blackjokercz wrote:

    Thank you, so is better go to Philidor into another move order like: 

    and Bxf7+ can be probably avoid by h6, but why it usually not played by GM? What is bad for white on Bxf7+?

    The group has great articles, especially "Philidor vs d4" idea got me.

    btw: Is there any another trap except Legal's and the Bxf7+ problem?

     

     


     The position in the diagram that went with this had a Q exchange and Black just took Kxd8. There is then the question in the box under the diagram asking "is this position good for Black?" Are you kidding? White just plays Nxe5 and Black can't recapture because of the threat of Nxf7+ forking K/R. This is disastrous...as is the Philidor's in general. There is nothing wrong with playing the Black side of the Lopez or Scotch. At least then you are in the game and fighting for the initiative instead of hiding behind a flimsy pawn wall with no development and poor space.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #7

    Elubas

    The philidor is a bit overly defensive, though sometimes I like to have a nice cozy position as black, with all my pieces touching each other on the second and first ranks!

    White both has many tactical tries and positional ideas, simply using the space, and I think black is making his life much more difficult than it needs to be by allowing white to take the center and blocking in his pieces (...d6). He has to be careful sometimes just to get his solid setup (in the hanham for example black has to take some precautions against bishop sacs and dxe5 followed by Ng5, stuff like this). I think you'd be better off just playing ...Nc6(or of course the petroff, ...Nf6 if you want solid), even if you're concerned about theory, because ironically it's the philidor where you have to study before hand to make sure you don't fall into a trap. I would instead look for a ...Nc6 line with less theory if that's what I was worried about. But... it's playable.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #8

    blackjokercz

    Thanks for your replies. I'm still not decided if its good or not, because of very strong players play it and play it with success. At least I learn how to play againts it Wink. So what opening do you recommend to me?

    Something may be more active and attacking. The idea of avoid ruy lopez, scotch and others is just get some familiar position (no surprises, something what I can force to play in every game for black and get familiar with it and go through some theory).

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #9

    Estragon

    The Philidor is playable, but requires a level of precision for Black that is difficult for most players to maintain.  There are many more standard defenses with 2 ...Nc6 which offer Black good play.

    Most players would benefit from a solid grounding in the main lines before tackling a specialty defense like the Philidor.  I'm not talking about memorizing variations, just playing them and learning by experience, the best teacher anyway.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #10

    DrSpudnik

    My own experience playing the Philidor's is a tale of woe and a warning to those who think they'll just play 1...e5 and then duck out of opening complications. Many years ago, I got this pamphlet by Bent Larsen called "Why Not the Philidor's?" I studied it intensely and then in the next tournament I played in, I sprung it on a 2300 player in round 1. He choked the life out of my position, not by trying to refute the setup head on, but by shutting down my efforts to break against the center and giving my pieces no good squares. I had a lifeless position that finally gave up the ghost around move 30 or so. Afterwards, he went over the game with me and showed that while you can play the Philidor's, you probably should not. Cramped and lifeless are the key words. What good is a chess game where you don't get to at least throw a punch at your opponent once in a while?

    And I know that someone will post the standard objection: "well, GM So-and-so played it and won a game..." but I am not a GM, nor will the circumstances of that game play out every time you play it. I have ever since been grateful to Chris Chase, who showed me that this opening is a lame and tedious effort to evade theory and to learn as little about chess as is possible and yet keep playing it.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #11

    PeskyGnat

    Did someone say Philidor?

    It looks like most everything from the original post was covered, I'll just add a few of my opinions, being a die-hard Philidor player of late.

    1) Hanham with 6. Bxf7 - Taking the R at the end of this line is tough to play due to the Qg6->Qg2 idea, there are a few lines that Black can almost force upon White to get into an endgame with a slight initiative..or Black can keep pieces on the board and play the unclear position.   I play a master at our local club and he plays this, but does not recapture Nxa8, but 0-0 instead.  after Rb8 the position seems unclear to me, but Black has lots of play, White needs to extricate the Knight, Black needs to fix his Kingside.

    2) Philidor counter gambit - I played this a few times and found most White players don't know the best lines against it, so it could be a good practical weapon, until someone studies it against you and blows you off the board with best play :P though as mentioned, Jim West does fine with this.

    3) Exchange - this is the usual follow up from 1...e5 to avoid bad setups.  The line with ..g6 is Larsen's line, and it is labelled as experiencing 'tough times' according to Bauer.  The alternative Be7 is the Antoshin and is considered more solid.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #12

    trigs

    if you want to avoid the ruy and scotch as black, then play the scandinavian (1. e4 d5).

    personally, i play the scotch a lot, and i love it when i come up against the philidor. but throwing out the scandinavian takes all the wind out of the scotch player's sails.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #13

    grantchamp

    The defense is considered solid but I don't believe it. e4 e5 Nf3 d6 d4 Bg4 is horrible for black. Including the lines that you posted, the phillidor is actually a very sharp line.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #14

    Insane_Chess

    It seems to me like the Philidor needs a better defensive move than 3...Nf6, as this move doesn't really defend against either dxe5 or the future Bc4.

    3...Nc6 is logical, but after 4. d5 Ne7, Black is still cramped and unable to effectively target the e4 pawn.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #15

    Elubas

    DrSpudnik wrote:

    My own experience playing the Philidor's is a tale of woe and a warning to those who think they'll just play 1...e5 and then duck out of opening complications. Many years ago, I got this pamphlet by Bent Larsen called "Why Not the Philidor's?" I studied it intensely and then in the next tournament I played in, I sprung it on a 2300 player in round 1. He choked the life out of my position, not by trying to refute the setup head on, but by shutting down my efforts to break against the center and giving my pieces no good squares. I had a lifeless position that finally gave up the ghost around move 30 or so. Afterwards, he went over the game with me and showed that while you can play the Philidor's, you probably should not. Cramped and lifeless are the key words. What good is a chess game where you don't get to at least throw a punch at your opponent once in a while?

    And I know that someone will post the standard objection: "well, GM So-and-so played it and won a game..." but I am not a GM, nor will the circumstances of that game play out every time you play it. I have ever since been grateful to Chris Chase, who showed me that this opening is a lame and tedious effort to evade theory and to learn as little about chess as is possible and yet keep playing it.


    As I've said I don't think the philidor is ideal, but you can't judge an opening only based on your own, limited, experience. Black will not get a completely lifeless, hopeless position if he plays right, though he is likely to come out worse and with a defensive position. It's not particularly easy to handle the black side of this, but some players can play that stuff very well.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #16

    tigerbaitlsu

    Thing is you should not have to be a GM to play an opening that does not offer a significant advantage. I mean, truly what does the Philidor offer? A strong center? No. A lead in development? No. All it gives you is a hard time. And that is the bottom line. Use the pirc, french, or car kann to get an advantage.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #17

    drybasin

    I think the Philidor is okay, but only if you go through the d6, Nf6, and e5 move order.  White has ways to get an advantage in each of the main lines of the 1...e5, 2...d6 Philidor.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #18

    Sqod

    tigerbaitlsu wrote:

    I mean, truly what does the Philidor offer?

    Per Reuben Fine, it gives you a very "solid" position. However, considering that all those classic games where Black got mated very quickly (Morphy's opera house game, Legal's Mate, etc.) were in openings similar to Philidor's Defense, I'd say it's a somewhat risky defense that could go sour very quickly if Black doesn't play it correctly--the same as others noted above.

    ----------

    (p. 35)
          Philidor's Defence:
    1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6

    This is the strong point defence
    reduced to its essentials. It has the
    outstanding merit of that type of
    game--solidity--and it has its
    outstanding demerit--lack of
    mobility.
       Black must be on his guard
    against a number of traps, all
    based on the weakness of f7 and
    his cramped king position. On the
    normal course 3 d4 Bg4? e.g.,
    leads to the loss of a pawn after 4
    dxe5 Bxf3 5 Qxf3 dxe5 6 Bc4
    Nf6 7 Qb3 etc. Likewise on 3 d4
    Nd7 4 Bc4 Be7 5 dxe5 dxe5 6
    Qd5 is immediately disastrous.
       But the defender can avoid all
    the traps and secure a tenable
    though passive position with 3 d4
    Nd7 4 Bc4 c6 5 Nc3 Be7 6
    O-O Ngf6 7 a4 O-O 8 Qe2 h6 9
    Bb3 Qc7 10 h3 Kh7 11 Be3
    g6 12 Rad1.
       The two prophylactic moves 7
    a4 and 10 h3 have to be stressed
    because they illustrate the all-
    important principle that by
    depriving the enemy of counter-
    play, a cramped but sound pos-
    ition such as Black's here has all
    the life taken out of it and is
    reduced to pure passivity.
       Black may follow one of two
    lines to get some counterplay: after
    due preparation ... exd4 and
    pressure on the White e-pawn, or
    manoeuvre his N to f4. White can
    proceed by opening some lines
    (especially from f4) and securing
    an attack. All told, such positions
    offer the defender little promise
    against a person equipped with
    modern technique.
       One of the chief merits of the
    defence is that it is rather difficult
    for White to form a good plan
    right after the opening in view of
    Black's lack of obvious weak-
    nesses. One worthwhile idea is the
    fianchetto of the QB, in order
    to hammer away at the d-pawn.
    Another, as mentioned, is playing
    f4 early.
       The abandonment of the centre
    with 3 ... exd4 is sometimes seen,
    but nevertheless bad, since Black
    gets nothing in return. White can
    recapture with either N or Q
    and secures an ideal development.
       Finally, it should be noted that
    (p. 36)
    if White does not harass the Black
    centre with 3 d4, the second player
    can secure good counter-chances
    with the natural 3 ... f5. On 3 d4,
    however, 3 ... f5? is shown to be
    premature by 4 Nc3! Nf6 5 dxe5
    Nxe4 6 Nxe4 fxe4 7 Ng5 d5 8
    e6 Bc5 9 Nxe4!

    Fine, Reuben. 1989. The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, Algebraic Edition. New York: Random House, Inc.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #20

    Fiveofswords

    the philidor is perfectly sound. Lots of the critical positions look worse for black than they really are. I wouldnt recommend it for beginners because you really do need to udnerstand some subtle things to play the black side well and you are in fact walking a thin line sometimes where if you dont play the right way you are just crushed. Also you needto have good enough calculation to see that the various attacking ideas white may have are actually NOT as good as they look at first. For example in your first example with the hanham Bxf7+ is really a mistake. After Kg8 sure white can go take your rook but what happens after that? white gets in some serious trouble. But you need to see that sort of stuff before you allow it and its not trivial calculation.

    Anyway the philidor has potential as an underused opening with lots of room for new ideas. I used to play it myself quite a lot. I personally dont like it becuase it doesnt suit my style...often if white doesnt try to kill you somehow you end up not really udnerstanding how to make progress as black theres jsut lots of piece shuffling.


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