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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess? (Read 6782 times)
nestor
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #17 - 09/07/20 at 07:07:24
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Dubov has annotated his win against Carlsen in this Philidor from this year's Lindores Abbey event, in New in Chess 2020/5. I won't quote his comments on the opening at length, but he concludes "...it is trickier for White than we used to think."

The line must be playable if Leela et al haven't refuted it by now. Evidently you have to be comfortable with your somewhat cramped position and confident in your ability to spot the counterpunching opportunities when they arise.
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #16 - 09/06/20 at 22:18:59
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Well, you are not wrong, but it's also a question of style. I do not at all mind the position after 5...Be7. Other openings I like for black are 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 (or 3...Nf6 4.O-O d6), 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6, and 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6. I play these quite a bit, but not all the time, because there are more active defenses for black which I also like very much. Perhaps you can understand my preferences better when I explain my absolute favorite positions as black. Against 1.e4 it's 1...e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5. Against 1.d4 it's 1...d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5. If everybody would exchange, I might play only the French and Slav! So to me, 5...Be7 feels like a normal opening rather than a serious white advantage. By the way, as white against the Philidor I have a huge plus score. After all, white is objectively better, and black has to be careful.
  
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Glenn Snow
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #15 - 09/06/20 at 16:04:42
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 09/06/20 at 06:39:09:
It's debatable if black is seriously worse after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7. Sielecki has 3...exd4 as the only correct third move for black, and he groups the Hanham with the Pirc, e.g. 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7. The Improved Hanham move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 is no longer acceptable since the assessment of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qd5 Nc5 6.Bg5 Qd7 7.exd6 Bxd6 changed from = to +/-. I'm not sure when that happened exactly. The first book I saw with this +/- assessment was Kaufman (2004) The Chess Advantage in Black and White, but it seems to have been common knowledge before that.

I notice black players also avoid the same wide-open pawn structure in Petroff's Defense: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.exd6 Nxd6. Old theory had this as =, but these days everybody plays 3...Nxe4.


After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4; 3...exd4 might be the best move but when I tried to make this my main defense to 1.e4 I kept finding advantages for White.  There were a lot of tricky lines but if White knew what he was doing then there seemed to be more than one way to get an advantage (against ...Be7).  I remember our very own TalJechin looking at this but also giving up on that.  I'd like to be wrong about this.
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #14 - 09/06/20 at 12:16:44
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 09/06/20 at 06:39:09:
I'm not sure when that happened exactly.

We can narrow this down a bit. GM Pachman in Moderne Schachtheorie I, 1980, assessed 4.dxee5 Nxe5 5.Qd5 as equal, referring to Byrne-Petrosjan, Interzonale Biel 1976. I did a small database research; up to 1980 this variation scored only 53% for White (36 games). From 1981 until 1990 White scored 69 % (39 games). However White's first win with 10.Nb5 (the improvement on GM Byrne's play stems from 1994. Ao my guess is around 1995.
  

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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #13 - 09/06/20 at 08:25:09
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I would have thought that 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.de Nxe4 5.Qd5 and 2...Nf6 3.d4 ed 4. e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 have been considered += since the 1990s -- see e.g. ECO and Yusupov's C43 monograph from that decade.
« Last Edit: 09/06/20 at 14:35:03 by kylemeister »  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #12 - 09/06/20 at 06:39:09
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It's debatable if black is seriously worse after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7. Sielecki has 3...exd4 as the only correct third move for black, and he groups the Hanham with the Pirc, e.g. 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7. The Improved Hanham move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 is no longer acceptable since the assessment of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qd5 Nc5 6.Bg5 Qd7 7.exd6 Bxd6 changed from = to +/-. I'm not sure when that happened exactly. The first book I saw with this +/- assessment was Kaufman (2004) The Chess Advantage in Black and White, but it seems to have been common knowledge before that.

I notice black players also avoid the same wide-open pawn structure in Petroff's Defense: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.exd6 Nxd6. Old theory had this as =, but these days everybody plays 3...Nxe4.
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #11 - 09/06/20 at 05:45:49
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Glenn Snow wrote on 09/06/20 at 05:03:06:
I had thought that ...

GM Khalifman (Squeezing 1.e4 e5) thinks the same. I quote:

"It is worth mentioning that lately, for quite objective reasons, the move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 hqs gone out of fashion at almost all levels. Instead, the move order 1.e4 d6 has become the norm for the contemporary treatment of the Philidor Defense. In this regard it is not quite clear whether this opening should be classified as belonging to the Open or to the Semi-Open games."

"The move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 has definite drawbacks only if Black intends to hold the centre, in the manner of the classical interpretation of the Philidor Defense."

For the book this is important due to the move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6.
  

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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #10 - 09/06/20 at 05:03:06
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I had thought that 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 or 3...Nbd7 and then e5 was considered the correct way to reach the classical Philidor positions.  I had also thought all of the other Philidor variations were worse for Black.  Is this incorrect?
  
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cathexis
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #9 - 09/05/20 at 21:14:23
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Again, thanks!

One final comment:

Quote:
or best of all 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 avoiding any nonsense, and only afterwards 3.Nf3.


You won't find it anywhere in Sielecki's 1.e4 e5 book. Not even to disparage it. Guess he doesn't like the Vienna Game. Mostly, I had to smile since it was proof of "Newbie-ness" in that I never even noticed its absence.  Roll Eyes Ouch!
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #8 - 09/05/20 at 18:31:36
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cathexis wrote on 09/05/20 at 13:29:04:
Would you feel that the Philidor is a tough nut for White to crack?

Yes and no. The statistics for Philidor's Defense are highly favorable to white. That's because, move for move, Philidor's Defense has more traps for black than any other opening. But if black knows enough to avoid these traps, the Philidor starts to look pretty respectable. So from white's point of view, it's nice. You learn a little theory and in particular the traps, and you either get a quick win, or you play a middlegame where you start with a safe edge. If you lose after that, it's not an opening problem.

I think 6.g3 is a good choice, both in terms of playing for an advantage, and for adhering to the Keep It Simple idea. You can't always avoid a sharp position, because play often sharpens all by itself as one of the players is gaining an advantage. But when studying openings you need to be aware of when it can become sharper. Mostly you want to avoid playing a sharp opening where you are out of your book but the opponent is still in theirs, but as a learner this still might happen sometimes. Just stay consistent with your openings and eventually the shoe will be on the other foot.
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #7 - 09/05/20 at 13:29:04
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Quote:
You picked a strange Philidor thread.


Agreed. I just randomly fell across it last night and it seemed kinda quirky, which is why I asked.

Even as a Novice, 6.g3 caught my eye and left me wondering why? But then I saw that MCO (pg. 133) gave 6.Bf4(s) and the (s) includes 6.g3 as a "reasonable move." Also, Sielecki seemed to say it was more in keeping with "KIS." So I said OK provisionally. But I am very much just getting my feet wet here. The book's title does say, "...for White." And that has been my initial bias. But it raised my eyebrows that in 2 places Sielecki seems to throw some shade on his own claims ? Specifically, in remarks to 6.g3, "It is surprisingly difficult to prove something against  5...Be7." And for 6...d5, "the theoretically most challenging,...move." Would you feel that the Philidor is a tough nut for White to crack?

And by the way, I really appreciate your taking the time to make such a detailed reply (even a bibliography!) - thanks!

Andrew
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #6 - 09/05/20 at 04:21:36
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You picked a strange Philidor thread. There are much better ones. The only line really discussed so far in this one is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5. But you are far more likely to see 3...exd4 or 3...Nd7.

  • 3...f5 - Ironically, MCO-14's recommendation of 4.exf5 e4 5.Ng5 is far simpler than Sielecki's choice of 4.Bc4"!" (sic). Larsen gave 4.exf5 e4 5.Ng5 Bxf5 6.Nc3 d5 7.f3 "This is the most simple. It's all so simple that it's difficult to find an improvement for black." Despite Sielecki's "!", I always thought of 4.Bc4 as the least clear of white's refutations, and Sielecki doesn't give enough information about it if black knows some theory: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 exd4 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.O-O (Sielecki stops here saying Re1 etc. "should win") 6...Nc6 7.Re1 f4. There's quite a bit of theory on this, e.g. in Kosten and West. I haven't checked this line, but the point is white might be getting "outbooked".
  • 3...Nd7 - MCO-14 is not correct that "some of the sting of the aggressive 7 Ng5 has been removed". Sielecki can be relied on: 4.Bc4 c6 5.O-O Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Ng5 Bxg5 8.Qh5 Qe7. Every move for  both white and black since 3...Nd7 could legitimately be awarded an "!". MCO-14, with 5.Nc3 instead of 5.O-O, gives 9.Bxg5. Sielecki says it's wrong, and offers the improvement 9.Qxg5.
  • 3...exd4 - Larsen's Variation. Sielecki gives a great line, but it's very sharp and unless white (a) knows exactly how to proceed, and (b) is not afraid to sacrifice a piece with Nd4-f5, then black has great practical chances. And Sielecki is not much help, because he basically doesn't cover black's most aggressive setup: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6 (Sielecki gives 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3, completely omitting 6.Bg5) 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qd2 O-O 8.O-O-O Re8 9.f3 Nc6 (Sielecki gives only 9...a6 10.g4 b5, or earlier 8...Nc6 9.f3 Nxd4) 10.g4 (10.h4 is probably even stronger. MCO-14 then gives 10...Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Be6 += V.Chernov - Negulescu, Rumania 1995.) 10...Ne5 11.Be2 a6 12.h4 b5 as given by Larsen. Kosten and Bauer also covered lines like this with some dense theory. Black's idea might be refuted or close enough to it, but you won't find out how in Sielecki.
  • 3...exd4 - Antoshin's Variation. Sielecki's choice of 6.g3 is much sharper than he lets on, if black chooses 6...d5. For example, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 (MCO-14 gives 6.Bf4 which is maybe stronger but less simple) 6...d5 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bg2 c6 9.Bf4 (Sielecki: "I don't see a good reply for black now") 9...Qb6 (This is in Seel's book. Sielecki gives only 9...g5 10.e6 Nxf2 etc.) 10.O-O (Seel gives 10.Na4 Qa5 11.Nc3 Qb6 =. 10.O-O is from Stockfish.) 10...g5 (10...Qxb2 11.Na4 Qa3 12.c3 is risky as heck for black, but is black lost? Hard to say.) 11.e6 gxf4 (Black's point is that the wN/d4 is loose) 12. Na4 Qc7 13. Qxg4 Qe5. White is better here, but not by as much as after Sielecki's 9...g5, and it's still messy. Also in black's sedate line 6...O-O (instead of 6...d5) 7.Bg2 Re8 8.O-O Bf8 9.h3 c6 10.g4!?. If you look in Zude/Hickl they give 10.g4 in the chapter overview, but it's missing from the actual analysis. One line they give is 10.Bf4 Nbd7 11.Qd2 Ne5 from Vachier-Lagrave - Rapport, Biel 2015. Sielecki's 10.g4 nicely sidesteps this setup because of 10...Nbd7? 11.g5. Although I really don't like his 10.g4 d5 for black. 10...d5 only makes sense if black is desperate. Maybe worth a try is 10...Na6 11.Bf4 Nc5 12.Re1 Qb6. I would bet this 6...O-O line is not as unpleasant for black as Sielecki states.


If it were me coming up with a simple white repertoire based on the Scotch Four Knights, I would advocate 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4, or better 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Qxd4, or best of all 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 avoiding any nonsense, and only afterwards 3.Nf3.

Larsen (1971) Why Not The Philidor Defense?, pages 5, 29
Kosten (1992) Winning with the Philidor, pages 29, 63-64
West (1994) The Philidor Countergambit, pages 28-30
de Firmian (1999) MCO-14, pages 128-130
Bauer (2006) The Philidor Files, pages 76-81
Seel (2007) The Philidor: A Secret Weapon, page 96
Zude/Hickl (2017) Play 1...d6 Against Everything, pages 31, 41-42
Sielecki (2018) Keep It Simple 1.e4, pages 16-23
  
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Re: C41: Philidor Defence: the best defence in chess?
Reply #5 - 09/05/20 at 00:37:13
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Greetings,

I just started my first try at an opening book: Sielecki's KIS 1e4.
I've just finished my first run through and note-taking of chap. Two which is basically the Philidor. I saw this old thread and wanted to ask any if some of the lines discussed here as promising are still deemed to be so. I recognize Mr. Sielecki's approach for the "KIS Principal" might be different, but I'd still like to know any current thoughts on this older thread.

TIA,
Andrew
  
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Re: Philidor's Defence... the best defence in chess?
Reply #4 - 03/03/11 at 11:30:27
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Gambit wrote on 03/02/11 at 17:07:59:
MCO-14? Are you kidding? MCO-15 is already out. That said, I play the dashing Philidor Counter-Gambit (aka West Counter-Gambit) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 f5!
which leads to very complicated positions. The beauty of it is that White cannot chicken out here.


I am agree with Lev, of course!  Wink
  
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Re: Philidor's Defence... the best defence in chess?
Reply #3 - 03/02/11 at 20:27:21
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White can chicken out with 2.f4 or 2.d4 exd4 3.c3.
  

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