Philidor Defence

Philidor Defence


Theme Song Background Music:

To help with the sorrow. 

The Fighting Philidor

Why do we call it the Fighting Philidor?

Well we will answer this question later. Wink

Lets start at the beginning!

What is the Philidor Defence?

The Philidor Defence is a line played as black against 1.e4 (King Pawn Opening).

Take a journey with me into the Philidor Defence.

The starting position of the Philidor Defence begins at move 2.

ECO code C41 Philidor Defence General

The below position is the original way of getting into the Philidor.


The reason I said "original way" is because when the line was first created the above move order was the move order the creator of the line used.

In modern day 2015, people have began using other move orders to get into the Philidor.

One move order of choice in 2015 is using the Pirc move order. I will not talk about why they do this other move order in this article.

What I will say is they do it for a specifc variation.

The variation they do it for is the Philidor, Hanham Variation.

In future articles when we go over the Hanham Variation. We can touch on it.

In this article I plan on talking about the creator of the line and one of his most famous quotes.

The creator of the Philidor Defence is named:

François-André Danican Philidor

One of Andre Philidor's most famous quotes is the below quote:

"Pawns are the soul of chess"

If you heard of the quote before; however, didn't know who said it well than booom now you know.


Lets talk about the starting position.

Move 1.e4 -  White claims the center directly by occupying it with a pawn. A very nice central thrust!



Move 1...e5 -  Black choices to play Classically.

The move 1...e5 gives black the chance to get a equal share of center space. 

Black does not want to be over run with 2 center pawns.

The move 1...e5 helps fight control over the d4 square which makes it hard for white to get 2 center pawns.

2 center pawns control alot of squares + space.

2 center pawns are powerful, hence the reason behind the move 1...e5!

Move 2.Nf3 -  White plays the knight to f3 to develop a piece and to hit blacks undefended e5 pawn.

It makes perfect logical sense.

White is developing and hitting a undefended pawn at the same time.

What can be wrong with that?

Absolutely nothing!

Good chess!


Black is now at a turning point!

White has set forth a center agrument!

White is attacking the e5 pawn.

How should black respond?

For that is the question.

Well as it turns out chess players through out history have decided to respond in with 2 different idea's!


Idea One = To ignore the threat on the e5 pawn and set up a counter threat on the e4 pawn

Now the way black achieves this idea is by playing either 2...f5, 2...d5, or 2...Nf6 which says if you attack my undefended e5 pawn I will counter attack your undefended e4 pawn!

2...f5 = The Latvian Gambit

2...d5 = The Elephant Gambit

2...Nf6 = The Petrov Defence or Russian Game

The lines highlighted in red are not that solid or sound!

The lines highlighted in green are solid and sound!

If you are curious about those lines seek another article! Laughing


Idea Two = To defend the e5 pawn.

Now the way black achieves this idea is by playing 2...f6, 2...Qe7, 2...d6 or 2...Nc6 which defend the e5 pawn.

2...f6 = Damiano Defense 

2...Qe7 = Gunderam Defense

2...d6 = Philidor Defence

2...Nc6 = King's Knight Opening/Normal Variation

The lines highlighted in red are not that solid or sound!

The lines highlighted in yellow are solid!

The lines highlighted in green are solid and sound!


If you are curious about the lines other than 2...d6 seek another article! Laughing


I will admit the Philidor Defence has lost some of its appeal in high level chess.

Some high level's believe it is not as sound as it use to be.

The Philidor remains very solid; however, white has found some continuations which are said to be challenging.

Now you know why we call it the Fighting Philidor.

Philidor players around the world are fighting to restore the reputation of the Philidor!

If chess players around the world cared about the Philidor Defence as much as they do about lines such as the Kings Gambit or the Sicilian Dragon.

The Philidor Defence would of regained its glory long ago.

It is a crying shame lady's and gentlemen

Move 2...d6 -  Defending the e5 pawn.


François-André Danican Philidor

"Pawns are the soul of chess"

Nothing demonstrates Philidor's quote better than seeing the d6 pawn defend its buddy the e5 pawn.

As always Thank you very much for reading. Hope you enjoyed yourself.


Have a Happy Day