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Two games of Francois-Andre Danican Philidor

by Boris Schipkov

Francois-Andre Danican Philidor (1726-1795), a famous French composer and chess player, lived in XVIII century in France, England, the Netherlands and Prussia. He was one of the founders of the French opera comique, wrote 30 operas: 27 operas comiques and 3 tragedies lyriques. Major operas of Francois-Andre Danican Philidor: "Blaise le savetier", "Le marechal ferrant", "Sancho Panca dans son isle", "Le sorcier", "Tom Jones", "Ernelinde Princess of Norway", "Le bon fils", "Themistocle". Also he created other classical music works: the cantata "Carmen Saeculare", ariettes and motets.
Francois-Andre Danican Philidor was the best chess player in the world in XVIII century, the unofficial World Champion from 1755, because he beat in matches other strongest grand masters Philipp Stamma of Syria in 1747 and Legall de Kermeur of France in 1755. Philidor was the first in the world who understood that the strategy in the chess game is based on the pawn structures.

Captain Smith - Philidor, Francois Andre Danican [C24]
London blindfold, London 1790

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4
The Bishop's Opening. The main idea of the opening is to play d2-d3 followed by f2-f4.
2...Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Bg5
If 4. f4 then 4...exf4 5. Bxf4 d5!.








   
4...h6
White must trade his bishop. Also 4...d5 is playable.
5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Nc3 b5!
Philidor seizes space on the queenside with a tempo.
7. Bb3








   
7...a5!
Again the strong pawn move. And we remember the famous phrase of Francois-Andre Danican Philidor: "The pawns are the soul of chess".
8. a3 Bc5 9. Nf3
9. Qf3 is somewhat better.
9...d6
Black has a small advantage.
10. Qd2 Be6
10...Bg4! looks good.
11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. O-O








   
12...g5!
Brilliant play! Now Philidor controls the centre and attacks on the kingside.
13. h3 Nd7
Developing his knight.
14. Nh2?!
With the idea of Ng4-e3. Possible is 14. Ne2!? Rg8! 15. d4 g4 16. hxg4 exd4 17. b4 Bb6 18. Nexd4 Rxg4 with a sharp fight.
14...h5!
Black stops the knight manoeuvre and gains a clear edge, planning to storm the citadel of the white king.
15. g3








   
15...Ke7 16. Kg2 d5
Or 16...Raf8!?.
17. f3 Nf8 18. Ne2 Ng6 19. c3
19. c4!? is interesting, trying to get counterplay in the centre.
19...Rag8 20. d4 Bb6








   
21. dxe5?
A mistake. Captain Smith could have tried 21. a4!?.
21...Qxe5
Here 21...Nxe5! is very good, and after 22. b3 a4 Black's knight goes to c4 and e3 with great effect. Philidor played blindfold and probably thought that he could easily attack the white king with his queen and bishop.
22. Nd4 Kd7 23. Rae1?!
23. exd5 is more precise.
23...h4?!
23...Bc7! at once is better.








   
24. Qf2?
Correct is 24. f4! gxf4 25. Ng4 with counterplay.
24...Bc7
Also possible is 24...hxg3 25. Qxg3 Nf4+ 26. Kh1 Rxh3, and Black wins.
25. Ne2?!
After 25. Ng4 Qxg3+ 26. Qxg3 Bxg3 27. exd5 exd5 28. Nf6+ Kc7 29. Re3 Rc8 Black has an advantage thanks to his extra pawn.
25...hxg3
Winning.
26. Qxg3 Qxg3+ 27. Nxg3 Nf4+ 28. Kh1 Rxh3 29. Rg1








   
29...Rxh2+!
A small combination.
30. Kxh2 Rh8+ 31. Nh5 Rxh5+ 32. Kg3 Nh3+ 33. Kg4
Or 33. Kg2 Nf4+ 34. Kg3 Rh3+ 35. Kg4 Rh4+ 36. Kg3 Nd3+ 37. e5 Nxe5, and Black wins.
33...Rh4+
Checkmate!
White resigned. 0-1

Von Bruehl, Hans Moritz - Philidor, Francois Andre Danican [C23]
London 1783

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4








   
2...c6
Also the Bishop's Opening. Black threatens ...d7-d5.
3. Qe2 d6
In the case of 3...Bc5 Hans Moritz Von Bruehl plans 4. Bxf7+ Kxf7 5. Qc4+ Ke8 (5...d5!) 6. Qxc5 d6 7. Qe3 with advantage, Von Bruehl - Cotter, London 1788.
4. c3 f5 5. d3 Nf6 6. exf5
7. Nf3!? deserves attention.
6...Bxf5 7. d4 e4 8. Bg5
8. f3 is more precise.
8...d5!
Philidor builds up a strong pawn centre.








   
9. Bb3 Bd6
Black obtains a small edge.
10. Nd2 Nbd7 11. h3
Or 11. f3 Qc7 12. fxe4 Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. O-O-O Bf4+ 15. Bxf4 Qxf4+ 16. Qd2 O-O with better chances to Black.
11...h6! 12. Be3 Qe7
Black has a harmonious position.
13. f4?!
13. c4 is more interesting.








   
13...h5?!
Black could open the game and get a huge advantage after 13...exf3! 14. Ngxf3 Nh5 15. Nf1 O-O 16. Bd2 Qf7 17. O-O-O Rae8 18. Qf2 Bh7 19. Be3 Ng3! 20. Nxg3 Rxe3.
14. c4 a6 15. cxd5 cxd5
Or 15...Nxd5!? 16. Bxd5 cxd5 17. Qf2 Nb6.
16. Qf2 O-O 17. Ne2 b5!
Bravo! Philidor seizes space on the queenside and intends ...Nb6-c4.








   
18. O-O Nb6 19. Ng3 g6
19...Bd7!? is possible.
20. Rac1
Or 20. Nxf5!? gxf5 21. Bd1.
20...Nc4 21. Nxf5 gxf5 22. Qg3+
Or 22. Nxc4 dxc4 23. Bd1.
22...Qg7
After 22...Kh8! 23. Bxc4 Rg8 24. Qf2 dxc4 Black has a clear edge and can attack.
23. Qxg7+ Kxg7 24. Bxc4








   
24...bxc4?!
Stronger is 24...dxc4! 25. Rf2 Nd5, and the powerful knight in the centre provides an advantage for Black.
25. g3?
25. b3! is better.
25...Rab8?!
25...Rac8! is correct, 26. h4 (26. b3? c3 27. Nb1 c2 28. Nd2 Ba3 or 26. Kf2?! h4 27. Rg1 Nh5 28. gxh4+ Kf7) 26...Ng4 and Black rules.
26. b3 Ba3 27. Rc2 cxb3 28. axb3?!
28. Nxb3 is better.
28...Rbc8
28...Rfc8!? deserves attention.
29. Rxc8
Or 29. Ra2!?.
29...Rxc8 30. Ra1








   
30...Bb4
After 30...Rc1+! 31. Rxc1 Bxc1 32. Nf1 Bb2 Black has a small edge in the endgame.
31. Rxa6 Rc3 32. Kf2 Rd3 33. Ra2 Bxd2
Possible is 33...Ne8!? 34. Ke2 Bxd2 35. Bxd2 Rxg3.
34. Rxd2 Rxb3 35. Rc2 h4 36. Rc7+ Kg6 37. gxh4 Nh5 38. Rd7
38. Rc6+!? is interesting.








   
38...Nxf4
Or 38...Rb2+!? 39. Kf1 Rh2 40. Rxd5 Rxh3.
39. Bxf4 Rf3+ 40. Kg2 Rxf4 41. Rxd5 Rf3
41...Rxh4 is playable.
42. Rd8 Rd3 43. d5 f4 44. d6 Rd2+ 45. Kf1 Kf7 46. h5








   
46...e3
Philidor has two nice connected passed pawns.
47. h6?
Correct is 47. Rd7+! Ke6 48. Rd8.
47...f3
And Black quickly wins, queening his pawn and checkmates.
White resigned. 0-1










Move
   

Smith - Philidor, Francois Andre Danican [C24]
London blindfold/London 1790

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Bg5 h6 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Nc3 b5 7. Bb3 a5 8. a3 Bc5 9. Nf3 d6 10. Qd2 Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. O-O g5 13. h3 Nd7 14. Nh2 h5 15. g3 Ke7 16. Kg2 d5 17. f3 Nf8 18. Ne2 Ng6 19. c3 Rag8 20. d4 Bb6 21. dxe5 Qxe5 22. Nd4 Kd7 23. Rae1 h4 24. Qf2 Bc7 25. Ne2 hxg3 26. Qxg3 Qxg3+ 27. Nxg3 Nf4+ 28. Kh1 Rxh3 29. Rg1 Rxh2+ 30. Kxh2 Rh8+ 31. Nh5 Rxh5+ 32. Kg3 Nh3+ 33. Kg4 Rh4+ 0-1











Move
   

Von Bruehl, Hans Moritz - Philidor, Francois Andre Danican [C23]
London 1783

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 c6 3. Qe2 d6 4. c3 f5 5. d3 Nf6 6. exf5 Bxf5 7. d4 e4 8. Bg5 d5 9. Bb3 Bd6 10. Nd2 Nbd7 11. h3 h6 12. Be3 Qe7 13. f4 h5 14. c4 a6 15. cxd5 cxd5 16. Qf2 O-O 17. Ne2 b5 18. O-O Nb6 19. Ng3 g6 20. Rac1 Nc4 21. Nxf5 gxf5 22. Qg3+ Qg7 23. Qxg7+ Kxg7 24. Bxc4 bxc4 25. g3 Rab8 26. b3 Ba3 27. Rc2 cxb3 28. axb3 Rbc8 29. Rxc8 Rxc8 30. Ra1 Bb4 31. Rxa6 Rc3 32. Kf2 Rd3 33. Ra2 Bxd2 34. Rxd2 Rxb3 35. Rc2 h4 36. Rc7+ Kg6 37. gxh4 Nh5 38. Rd7 Nxf4 39. Bxf4 Rf3+ 40. Kg2 Rxf4 41. Rxd5 Rf3 42. Rd8 Rd3 43. d5 f4 44. d6 Rd2+ 45. Kf1 Kf7 46. h5 e3 47. h6 f3 0-1


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