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Since when was the Philidor called the lion?

  • #21
    oldplodder wrote:

    I was very excited about this opening and I bought the van rekom/janson book.

    The problem is that often good moves for white seem to be overlooked and white can steer the game into positions that are uncomfortable for black.   I wish it was not so but I can find good defenses for black    Here is the main line for the lions den version e2-e4,d7-d6,d2-d4,Ng8-f6, Nb1-c3,Nb8-b7,f2-f4,e7-e5,dxe5,dxe5,fxe5,Nxe5,Qxd8,Kxd8,B-g5    black has lost the right to castle but white has an isolated e pawn and 1 less piece developed.      the book moved for black is c7-c6          but what if white plays   BxNf6   giving black doubled isolated pawns on a half open f file. ??? - very uncomfortable to play as black?     :                                                                                             Similar situation with the lions yawn where the main line leads to an opportunity for white to play BxNf6 cuasing black to get doubled isolated pawns .  This does not look acceptable for black ? 


  • #22

    I kept running into this guy who played it in 3/0 blitz.

    So at least in 3/0, here's something that's worked for me against it. Nothing you couldn't come up with by using an engine yourself, but just thought I'd post it here.


  • #23

    Thanks, sammy

  • #24

    Oh, and if black ever goes for the pawn structure you see after 11...c5 I've won tons of games just going Nd2-c4 and other knight to b5, Ba4 and if there are still no tactics, importantly you have the pawn break b4, and with so many active pieces crammed in the black queenside, opening lines for the rooks and the other bishop is overwhelming.

    (of course it's possible to lose any game, no matter how good the position, but objectively, it's just really nice for white)

    The guy I kept having trouble with didn't move his queenside pawns at all, and I didn't know how to open lines.

  • #25


    You mention "the pawn break b4."  Do you, therefore, find Black meeting a4 with a5 important in many lines?

  • #26
    GWTR wrote:


    You mention "the pawn break b4."  Do you, therefore, find Black meeting a4 with a5 important in many lines?

    7...a5 is a pawn move in the opening, so in general is not preferable. As white if I saw this move I'd be interested in opening lines with dxe in the near future. That said, 7...a5 is not terrible or anything, but I doubt many lion players would play it.



    The pawn break b4 I'm talking about with the pawn structure (below) in general, not only this opening. Specifically this

    Where importantly the c4 square doesn't have a pawn, meaning white can put a knight there.

    I include the 2 black knights, because this structure is particularly annoying for them. They both need to be repositioned (the d7 knight in particular is unhappy being blocked by its own pawns).

    In this structure, ...a5 would almost certainly be a concession, permanently giving up the b5 square and you're not stopping b4 in any case (it could be played as a sac, or just c3 then b4). When your opponent has big ideas on your flank, the usual antidoe is counterpunching in the center (or on the other side). In this structure black wants to play f5.


    Ok, to answer your question, at first glance I don't like 7...a5 because it's a pawn move in the opening, and development moves are preferred. White's a4 isn't only for a5-a6, white is stopping b5 to secure the positions of his bishop (and to lesser extent the c3 knight).

    9.h3 is a bit suspect, but I wont get into the pros and cons of it.

    But 7...a5 is just stopping white from playing a5. It's not terrible, but since white is very much ahead in development the move I'm going to be very focused on is exd (open lines favor the side better developed). So you might ask, why not play 7.dxe?


    So finally to answer your question, what about 7...a5

    The answer hopefully makes much more sense after the above example. My general idea would be to continue development so that black commits his bishop and queen (something like Be7 and Qc7) and then I'll play dxe. If I play dxe right away, the f8 bishop hasn't moved yet and has options like c5 and b4.

    And after that? I don't know. If my decisions are efficient I should keep an edge. 7...a5 isn't terrible, it's just not preferable because it's a pawn move in the opening. Black could certainly consider playing this way... although I assume the typical lion player would be more focused on the kingside, and regard the move a5 as unnatural.

  • #27

    Shirov's gambit with 5.g4 is pretty fun for White. A bit of theory to whet the appetite:


  • #28
    Firethorn15 wrote:

    Shirov's gambit with 5.g4 is pretty fun for White. A bit of theory to whet the appetite:


    13.Rxg6 in the first game is a fun move, but I'd expect myself to find it.

    12.Na4 (and the attack that follows) in the 2nd game is also fun, but completely beyond me.


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