Philidor counter gambit literature?



Does anybody have any links to literature for the philidor counter gambit? 

I tried finding a James West pdf online but it's impossible to download anything for free. Strange, considering I got many chess book pdfs without problems. 


Can anybody recommend a site with free accessible literature on the philidor counter gambit, or at least give me the names of other authors that  cover this topic? Thanks


try downloading it for free on


I don't know any litterature (from black's point of view) on it because it is just crap.

At least, u can find some refutations in some books for white (few cover it though!).

Personnally, i prefer this one because simple and so effective :





Thanks a lot for all the comments.

@ IM Poucin :  I dare not to argue with you about whether the philidor counter Gambit is good enough or not because I'm way below your level :-D 

But I have actually heard in a video by James West that the opening has such a low reputation because  theoreticians since Wilhelm Steinitz have published a lot of negative comments about it. But allegedly people like Morphy have won with it ( allegedly Steinitz tried to discredit  the philidor counter Gambit  for the main reason that he was envious of Morphy) and  some modern  grandmasters actually also said that  its positions after the opening are rather unclear and not necessarily too advantageous for white.

James West also says that in the philidor counter Gambit you don't count material , you count tempos ( white seems to be doing too many moves with its King's Knight).

I don't know any details, for that I would have to read James West's book, and for that I need to find it first.

@ kingella  thanks a lot for the tip, I will try it.


The main reason for me to get interested in this opening (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that I'm a low level player who is just choosing his first openings to learn,  and after looking at some statistics I found out that a vast majority of white players in the open game plays the King's Knight to f 3 on their second move. So I assume, if my opponents on the same level as me study any openings, they will probably start with openings beginning with 2...Nf3. 

For this reason, if I'm going to invest time into learning one opening, I guess I can reap the most benefit from learning a surprising defence to one of the most common moves. the philidor counter Gambit might not be a sound opening on the highest level, but I will never get to that level anyway, so I think at my current level it is the One opening That can benefit me most.


Sorry, it should be 2... Nc6


i don't know this James West, maybe the Wild Wild West hero? evil.png

Playing bad openings (this one is really really bad, almost lost at move 3!) is not good if u want to improve.

If u want to play f5, play Latvian gambit.

It is also bad but not as bad as this Philidor Counter gambit.

If u want to play "economical", then i suggest u to play the french.


This is james West :-D


a lecture by this West, almost 45 min with a meaningless game (all this time for that??)...

Really bad lecturer/teacher (sorry for him but mostly for the students listening him). This guy is rated about 1950, u shouldn't trust him on an obscure line...


GM Negi decorates 3...f5 with a question mark (rightly, of course) and dismisses the line briefly with 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Neg5 h6 (6...e4 7.Ne5) 7.Nf7! Kxf7 8.Ne5+ winning.


I guess 5...Nf6 is a better move (at least it does not lose by force), but only an idiot would like to play this as Black.


I think that the Jaenisch 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 is probably better than both the Latvian gambit and the Philidor CG.  GM Ivan Sokolov has a book called Ruy Lopez Revisited which explores the Jaenisch.


Jim's chess channel (YouTube), Blitz chess postmortem #31: Philidor counter-gambit.  He reviews a game he played and talks about how to play against that defense.

mickynj έγραψε:

"I tried finding a James West pdf online but it's impossible to download anything for free. Strange, considering I got many chess book pdfs without problems."

James West devoted a lot of time and effort to writing his little book, why should you feel entitled to take his work for free? Why don't you pay for what you take? You can get the book from Amazon for next to nothing.


It's always a great idea spending money to buy useless things.

Jim West in person has said in a recent YouTube video that he gave up on the gambit because of 4.Bc4.


Apparently there are many ways to kill a corpse.

mickynj έγραψε:

pfren, I certainly wasn't suggesting that the OP should play the gambit! But I do think that chess writers should get paid for their work instead of having it illegally downloaded.

I agree on that of course. But how much is worth an old book on an opening which is labelled as refuted by the book author?


I unsound won't recommend it.


Interesting that he himself considers it refuted. Nevertheless, it would be very useful to me. For a grandmaster, 4.Bc4 might be a reason to abandon the opening because best play would lead to a position where white is favoured, which in turn would lead to a win for white at grandmaster level. But most players in the world are not grandmasters, and their opponents will not know how to get an advantage after 4.Bc4, or how to use that advantage to actually win in the end. Most players don't make perfect moves all the time; most players make mistakes. so for most players the opening can be a good surprise weapon against King's Knight openings with an unclear end.


I wonder why u focus on 4.Bc4 when we said there are several ways to refute this opening...

And don't think only GM know or are able to play it at the board : i have some pupils rated 1300 who would be able to do it.


I would rather go for 4.Nc3, as Negi suggests, because these lines are also useful against the Latvian gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5? 3.Nc3, which is perfectly good for a large white advantage. 3...d6 4.d4 is a direct transposition.


I was studying this Bc4 and Black is much worse.  But even when the Computer says +1.6 in some lines had Black has good drawing chances when I went few moves further and white has to precise to keep the edge or it vanishes pretty quickly. Very unsound against a prepared opponent, But It will give good practical results below master level ( at club level /coffee house chess ).