Having Trouble Combating This Opening. Help?!


I'm really struggling with an opening my opponent uses and I've seen many, many times.  I've tried different analogies and movements with my pieces and/or pawns, but my opponent unfortunately still remains a piece ahead of me because of this opening.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Undecided


I'm not a classically trained player, but I like to get my knights out there early to prevent that from happeneing


2nd move for u Nc6 is most popular because; it develops,  defends the pawn and allows more freedom for ur pieces. 3rd move for u was a mistake, better is Nc6 or exd4. Play openings that allow more freedom to develop ur pieces and get active sooner while ur still learning about positional chess ok....Cool


There is nothing wrong with 3. exd4, as you will remain equal in material. Other options are 3. Nf63. Nd7, or just not playing the philidor!!


you could play 1.e4.e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 which is slighly better than 2...d6, but 2...d6 is perfectly playable.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 is better than 3...Bd7


I would also recommend staying away from Philidor's defense, which tends to put black in a passive role from the second move. Playing 2. . . . NC6 also protects the king pawn but without locking in the dark-squared bishop. This move generally leads to the Ruy Lopez or the Giocco Piano, both fun games.


Thats a big mistake i notice with beginners especially, they play moves like the Philidor opening when such an opening requires suprisingly skillfull playing to play it well as black.The reason is because its what we called closed openign which means ur pieces dont get much freedom to start with and have to be gradualy let out and the pawn play the biggest role and beginners no offense are crap at using there pawns especially in the opening stages of the game. Better to stick with more main stream openings when ur still getting the feel for the game and how best to use ur pieces...Cool


Thanks.  I'll use more Knight development rather than a presumptuous pawn move next time I see this.  Much appreciated!Laughing


I agree with what has been stated above.  Philidor is tough to play as black without some study.  It presents black with lmitations that can hamstring someone who is new to it.  My experience is that it delays development of your king-side bishop, and thus hinders your ability to castle kingside.  It also is passive enough that it encourages an early assault by white which magnifies the troubles.  My understanding is that it is a sound defense, but that it takes some study and finesse to use it effectively.  At the 1400-1500 range (on this site) I am happy to see my opponent choose this defense when I am white.



Although I don't play the Philidor myself because of its passivity I do think its a viable opening which beginners can score well with as long as they keep in mind its defensive nature and don't over extend themselves.

Capturing the d4 pawn in best in my opinion.  Remove the central pawn and continue to develop.  This may not be blacks THEORETICAL best, but its generally easy to play and not get into so much trouble.

After 4. Qxd4 Nc6  5.Bb5 Bd7  was played on many 19th century games and while it may be easy for a master to keep up an initiative its generally more difficut for mere mortals and black can often hold his own.

One word of caution for black: white often gets his most aggressive tries when the armies are castled on opposite wings.  Black can sometimes delay castling until he is aware of whites chosen home, following him to that side and avoiding any type of massive, easily played pawn storm.


3 Nc5 solves your problem.


It starts like a Philidor's defense, but 3 Nc6 or 3 Nf6 solves your problem of the pawn, yet I don't agree to the ideas of the Philidor defense, and would recommend playing the lines of the Ruy Lopez or four knights game with 2 Nc6  


At your level, Nf5 is probably best. 1.e4 followed by d4 is a sign of an agressive player, which under 1400 means recklessness. Observe:








This of course will never work with a decent opponent. The book continuation with 5.Qd5 that Gonnosuke provided should therefore be remebered


Play something more exciting like the Ruy Lopez or just accept the gambit.


Not to be negative here, but if he is having problems playing the Philidor how many little pitfalls do you think he might run into should he adopt the most rigorously studied opening in chess, the Ruy Lopez?

This opening has more theory than nearly all the sicilians combined and white has been playing his pet lines for centuries, and those lines are extremely theoretical. One slip and its off to the gallows. 

Remember that in the Philidor black choses d6 and decides where the fight takes place, whereas in the Ruy it is white who choses to play Bb5 indicating that it is HE who feels most comfortable with this line and probably has more pet variations memorized than he has teeth.

If you're a beginner I think the Philidor is easier to grab concepts.  The Ruy is a very advanced opening. 

Kingfisher wrote:

At your level, Nf5 is probably best. 1.e4 followed by d4 is a sign of an agressive player, which under 1400 means recklessness.

I beg to differ. The opening theory I learned advocated e4 and d4 if there isn't any particularly obvious drawback. As it is, 3. d4 is the main-line move in the Philidor.

I personally play 3. ...cxd4 then 4. ...Nf6, but if anyone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it.