Thursday, May 31, 2007

White Wins KCC Consultation Game

White Team, led by Steve Stoyko
(seated) -- with a pen in the frame.

Over 20 players participated in The Kenilworth Chess Club's annual consultation game, played over two sessions with teams in different rooms led by master players, which ended in victory for the White team, led by club champion Steve Stoyko. I have posted the complete score online, with some notes on the critical moves of the second half. In an earlier post, I had more extensive notes on the opening stages of the game (see "Consultation Game - Part One").

The game is also discussed by The Chess Coroner, John Moldovan, who was appropriately on the Black team (to match his blog's background):

Black Team, led by Mark Kernighan (seated,
writing) -- with another pen in the frame!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

2007 KCC Championship Awards

Steve StoykoFM Steve Stoyko, Club Champion

Awards were distributed at our last meeting to the winners of the 2007 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship. As in 2006 and 2005, the title of Club Champion belongs to FM Steve Stoyko (above), who finished this year with 7.5/8 in the double-round-robin event (see crosstable). The under-1800 tournament was won by Justin Roach with 10.5/12 (see crosstable). Unrated player Joe Renna took under-1400 honors. (Time to try your luck in the World Open, Joe!) Trophies also went to Greg Tomkovich (2nd in the under-1800 tournament, on tie-break) and Harry Smith (2nd under-1400). Coverage of both events, with almost all of the games, can be found at The Chess Coroner blog. My favorite games from the event were Bliznikas-Stoyko and Stoyko-Kernighan, which are both rich in ideas if imperfectly played.

Justin Roach Justin Roach, Under-1800 Champion

Joe Renna

Joe Renna, Best Under-1400

Tourist in New York City

Me and The Statue of Liberty

My wife's cousin and her family visited us over the Memorial Day weekend. As part of their trip, I guided them to all of the typical New York City tourist destinations, including The Statue of Liberty (which I had never visited). Ever the "chess tourist," however, I also made sure we stopped in Bryant Park (an important addition to my "Chess Tourist in New York City" list). I also tried to visit Colliseum Books, only to find it had closed -- though they do have a location on Broadway near Columbia University. Now that my travels are over, I'll get back to chess blogging...

Chess in Bryant Park

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nimzovitch du Pion Roi

There is a useful new site on the Nimzovich (1.e4 Nc6) in French: Nimzovitch du Pion Roi. It may soon be time to update my 1....Nc6 Bibliography.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Consultation Game - Part One

John Moldovan has posted the unannotated score of the KCC's Consultation Game at The Chess Coroner blog. I have posted some deeper notes on the opening, complete with sample games in alternate lines, at our site. The game is set to conclude at our next meeting, Thursday, May 24, beginning shortly after 8:00 p.m.
It was interesting to discover how popular this line is (even Kramnick plays it often as White, and Shirov the Black side), and what a long pedigree it has. A good introduction to the history can be found in Adam Harvey's excellent book, Colle Plays the Colle System, which deeply annotates (using historical sources) several of Edgard Colle's games that reached our key position (see above), via Colle's famously favored move order 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 Bf5 4.c4 c6. Our game nearly duplicates a World Championship game: Lasker - Capablanca, World Championship 1921 (included in my notes)--only the Black team played Capablanca's interesting Queen move (...Qf6) a move earlier, which seems an important improvement. Perhaps we should have tried 12.d5 in response?
I suggest we take the position above as the starting point in our Thematic Tournament on May 31.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gambit Blog from the New York Times

Dylan Loeb McClain, who took over The New York Times's long-running chess column from GM Robert Byrne, has begun a blog for the Times called Gambit. He mentioned the blog in this Sunday's column, but it was not open for viewing until today. I look forward to his coverage of the U.S. Championship, which has until now only received mention from the USCF, Susan Polgar, and the Daily Dirt.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Basman-Sale Sicilian

Marc Lacrosse sent me a link to his new site devoted to the Basman-Sale Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5!?) I have always been a fan of opening analysis websites and this one is pretty good. It even offers some nice zipped PGN files of games with the line. All free, so you can't go wrong.

There was a book by Valeri Bronznik titled Sizilianisch für Mussiggänger (roughly translated as "Sicilian for the Idler," Kania 2004), which received a favorable review from John Watson (archived at the Wayback) and an article by Srdjan Sale himself titled "Breaking the Fritz Bind" in New in Chess Yearbook #73 (2004). So it is a currently interesting line, worth a look even if you only play these things from the White side....

PS (2015) -- An updated and translated version of Boznik's "Lazy Man's Sicilian" has recently been released by New in Chess.  Also at Amazon for cheap.


Sarah Beth Cohen has posted a very interesting article titled "The Romance of Chess--A Perspective on the Art of Odds-giving," which provides an impressive history of the practice of playing chess at material or time odds to compensate for disparities in strength. As she notes, the practice has been especially popular at chess clubs, where players of varied strength typically congregate:
The practice of odds-giving never entirely vanished and it's still practiced today at various clubs, especially in their handicap tournaments. Most handicap tournaments do not use material odds, but of the ones that specify that particular type of play, the Hobart International Chess Club of Tasmania serves as a fine example. This club was formed in 1994 by acquiring the equipment from the original Hobart Chess Club founded in 1887. They hosted blitz odds tournaments. Their method of applying odds is that the stronger player must offer 1 pawn's worth of material for each 100 pt. rating difference. Another such club is the Winchester Epiphany Chess Club of Winchester, Massachusetts. Their "Herbert Handicap Chess tournament," played at 20/10 has a very specific formula, listed on the link above, for who gets what odds.

The idea of "1 pawn's worth of material for each 100 pt. rating difference" seems a bit extreme to me, since I can hardly imagine getting two-pawn odds from even one of our strongest masters. A more reasonable rate might be a pawn per 300 points, since I have given piece odds with success to 1100 players and can almost imagine someone of Kasparov's (or Rybka's!) strength being able to spot me a piece. Likely a time-odds tournament would be even more attractive to higher-rated players.

What do people think of an odds tournament some day at the Kenilworth Chess Club?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Five-Minute Tournament Report

The five-minute tournament last night was fun but small. I have posted two of my more memorable and wild games online. Though a number of people came to the club and played blitz, only six actually participated in the tournament -- which made it possible for us to play a double round robin (playing both white and black against all opponents). NM Mark Kernighan (who won the blitz event at Westfield recently) came in clear first with 8.5, with newcomer Jose Lahoz (2300+) in second with 7. I took third, getting at least a point off of everyone except Mark, who only surrendered a single draw to me. It was a pleasure to see rising star Anna Matlin (now pushing 1800 and likely to be the next Irina Krush) not only return to the club but take clear fourth place in the very strong field. Perhaps she will play again in the Summer Tournament, which gets underway June 7.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Five-Minute Tournament at KCC Tonight

Our annual five-minute tournament, which has been delayed due to an overly-long club championship, will finally occur tonight. Entry is $5 with all money returned as prizes. Registration starts at 8:00 p.m. with the tournament to get underway by 8:30 p.m. We usually play a round robin. Visit our website for DIRECTIONS to the club.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The John G. White Chess Collection

Tim Harding's Kibitzer #132, out today at ChessCafe, discusses his recent visit to the amazing John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at the Cleveland Public Library. It really is the world's largest chess library collection and well worth visiting Cleveland to see (especially if your summer plans will take you anywhere in the vicinity).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Philidor Defense Bibliography

About every ten years, a new book comes along to revive interest in the ancient Philidor Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6). The current decade now has Christian Bauer's The Philidor Files, which is certainly the best most current book ever written on the opening and one which I expect to contribute much to making it both more popular for Black and also more deeply prepared by White! Bauer's biggest contribution is that he covers a transposition from a Pirc move order (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5! etc.) which not only makes the Philidor look more "modern" but actually allows the second player to reach the more traditional Hanham lines without being subjected to all sorts of tricks and traps. Bauer's coverage of the many transpositional possibilities and alternatives for both players is one of the most appealing elements of the book, but it also does a very good job on all of the main lines, including the Philidor Counter-Gambit (3.d4 f5!?), the Larsen Variation (3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6), the Antoshin Variation (3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7), and the Hanham (traditionally 3.d4 Nf6! 4.Nc3 Nbd7). If you play any of these from either side, you will want to get this book. And if you have not yet discovered the Philidor as Black, then Bauer's book will tell you what you're missing!

Why the Philidor?

That's a very old question, to which Philidor himself might have replied, "Because pawns are the soul of chess" and the seemingly passive 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 allows Black the option of striking at the center with a pawn by ...f5. Of course, today's players are not so persuaded by Philidor's ideas!

Bent Larsen famously answered, "Why Not the Philidor Defense?" In his pamphlet by that title, the Danish GM suggested that its chief advantage is that it avoids the Ruy Lopez, "which gives White a protracted initiative in the struggle for the center" (Larsen 5). Perhaps the better question, then, is "Why Play the Black Side of the Main Line Ruy Lopez?" But life is never a bowl of cherries for Black. As Philidor Counter-Gambit fanatic Jim West once wrote, "it seems foolhardy to play the Sicilian Defense when even Class C players know the first fifteen moves from memory" (West 3) -- so you might as well play Philidor's equally "foolhardy" 3.d4 f5!?instead!

Tony Kosten (1992) and Christian Bauer (2006) sum up the Philidor's attractions neatly with a few points (to which I've added my own):

  • The typical plans, tactics, and maneuvers associated with the various lines of the Philidor are relatively few and easy to learn, yet the opening also presents the second player with "hidden dynamism," flexibility, and a wealth of original ideas (Bauer 299).
  • Once you know a few traps to avoid, "it is a solid opening" (Bauer 5).
  • Because nobody takes the Philidor seriously: there is not a lot written on it; few White players have studied it closely; and there are rarely any red-hot, just-played, absolutely critical novelties to follow (though that seems to be changing in a few critical lines that have gotten attention of late).
  • Because White almost invariably answers 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 with 3.d4, "it is Black who chooses the battleground" (Kosten 7). Anyone who enjoys playing the Dragon or the Sveshnikov Sicilian but invariably has to face anti-Sicilian lines such as 2.c3, the Moscow or Rossolimo, and the Grand Prix will appreciate being able to count on your main preparation almost every time!
  • Black has a number of move-order tricks at his disposal that allow him to transpose to his favorite line against a number of White moves (as explored most fully by Bauer). You can even play the Philidor as a defense against 1.d4 (1...d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5!) so long as you also learn the King's Indian, Old Indian, or some other line to handle an early c4 by White.
Bauer's book has inspired me to take a closer look at the more recent scholarship on the Philidor, and this bibliography is the result. As always, I am sure I have neglected many items and welcome additions from readers.

I have seen several writers remark over the years that the opening variations most frequently discussed and published about online are rarely those most valued by the top players. So it is not surprising that you can find much more on the internet about the Philidor Counter-Gambit (3...f5!?) than practically all other variations combined. In fact, there is currently a vigorous online debate between super-bloggers Dennis Monokroussos (The Chess Mind) and Jim West (Jim West on Chess) regarding the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5!? 4.Nc3! which has been widely judged (since at least Paul Motwani's analysis) as the closest thing to a refutation. Of course, as West likes to point out, theory has long considered all the major White fourth moves a "refutation," though most writers have trouble finding a White edge after 4.Bc4!? exd4! Perhaps the least discussed "refutation" is the simple 4.exf4! which was recommended long ago by Evans and Smith as a very easy road to advantage (with very little theory to memorize) but hardly gets a mention by West and not much more from Bauer. It is very straight-forward stuff: 4.exf4! e4 5.Ng5 Nf6 (5...Bxf5 6.f3! Qe7!? 7.Nc3! Bauer) when the game Semen Dvoirys - James West, New York Open 2000, continued 6.f3! Qe7 7.Be2 exf3 8.Nxf3 Bxf5 9.O-O Qd7 10.d5 Be7 11.Nd4 Bg4 12.c4 Bxe2 13.Qxe2 O-O 14.Nc3 Na6 15.Bd2 Rfe8 16.Rf4 Bf8 17.Qf3 Qf7 18.Rf1 Qg6 19.Ne6 Be7 20.Ne4 h5 21.Bc3 Nxe4 22.Rxe4 Nc5 23.Nxc5 dxc5 24.Re6 Bf6 25.Bxf6 Rxe6 26.dxe6 Rf8 27.Qd5 c6 28.Qg5 Rxf6 29.Qxg6 Rxg6 30.e7 1-0 with a model of controlled positional play by White against this frequently tactical line. I recommend you look at the relatively few database games with this line, almost all of which have favored White (including the ones where White lost!)

Among IMs and GMs, the main discussions in the Philidor follow pretty much two paths: the open Antoshin Variation (3...exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7) and the closed Hanham or "Lion" Variation (which is best reached via 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 [2...Nd7!?] 3. Nc3 e5! 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O).

I have been having a lot of fun with the Antoshin lines on ICC, where I frequently get to trap my opponent's Bishop (after 6.Bc4 O-O 7.O-O a6 8.Be3?! b5 9.Bb3?? c5! etc.) or grab space in the center (after 6.Be3?! O-O 7.f3?! d5! etc.) The critical line, however, remains 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Bf4 O-O 7.Qd2 when Nisipeanu's daring 7...d5 8.Ndb5! (8.exd5?! Nxd5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10.Nb5 Re8! 11.Be2 Bb4!! 12.Qxb4 Nc6! 13.Qb3 [13.Qc3 Qxb5] 13...Qxg2 14.O-O-O Rxe2 gives you some sense of the dangers for White) 8...c6 9.Nc7 d4 leaves things quite unclear, though Bauer's original recommendation 10.Nxa8! looks like a good enough reason to avoid this whole discussion as Black and play it safe with 7...c6, 7...Nc6, or 7...a6.

The Hanham Variation, meanwhile, looks quite interesting for Black, who frequently develops behind a line of pawns on the 6th rank in Hedgehog fashion, ready to explode into action, as nicely illustrated in the game Hjartarson - Malaniuk, Tilburg 1993: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 c6 8. a4 Qc7 9. Ba2 b6 10. Nh4 exd4 11. Qxd4 (11....Nf5!? Bauer) 11....Nc5 12. b4 Ng4 13. Nf3 Bf6 14. Qd2 Nxa4 15. Bxf7+ Qxf7 16. Rxa4 Ne5 17. Nxe5 Bxe5 18. Nd1 Qh5 19. g3 Bh3 20. Ra3 Rf3 21. Qe2 Raf8 22. Rxa7 b5 23. c3 h6?! (23....Qg6! =+) 24. Be3 Bg4 25. Qd2 Kh7 26. Nb2 Qh3 27. Nd3 R8f6 28. Bd4 Qh5 29. Re7 Be6 30. Bxe5 (30.Re3! Bauer) 30....dxe5 31. h4 Qg4 32. Re3 Rxe3 33. Qxe3 Rf3 34. Qd2 Qxe4 35. Nc5?? (35.Rxe6!) 35...Qb1+ 36. Kh2 Bd5 0-1

Though I prefer the Antoshin lines, I have to admit that the Hanham likely offers Black more scope for creativity and innovation. What's nice is that you don't really have to choose, since Philidor theory is still manageable enough (compared to the Sicilian or French) that you can learn both without too much trouble. You gotta love it!

Books and Articles
In reverse chronology

Bauer, Christian. The Philidor Files: Detailed Coverage of a Dynamic Opening. Everyman 2006. If you can only afford to buy one item on this list, this is the one to get. A fit successor to Tony Kosten's work, this 300-page tome is organized in the superior theoretical text mode and offers coverage of all the main lines plus transpositions from the Pirc move order (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6), including White's less-played alternatives. He gives only brief coverage to 3....f5?! (his mark), which he considers practically refuted by 4.Nc3! -- prompting the debate between Monokroussos and West (see below), but the main lines are thoroughly treated. He does an especially admirable job on the Antoshin Variation, which I have looked at closely. It appears that as a player, though, Bauer prefers the more closed Hanham lines, as you can see from the game Yu Shaoteng - Bauer, France vs. China Match 2006, and those lines (and transpositional alternatives) receive the bulk of coverage. Though it offers a lot of great information, Philidor Files does not promise to be a complete analysis of the opening, so it would be good to compare other sources for additional ideas.

Seel, Christian. The Philidor: A Secret Weapon. Chessgate 2007.
I don't yet have this English translation and update of the German edition (see below).

_____. Geheimwaffe Philidor. Chessggate AG 2005.
I have often regretted purchasing German-language opening books, since they are increasingly being revised and improved upon when translated into English within a year or two. This is no exception! I assume that Seel's attractive little volume (132 pages in a sleek black jacket) on the currently popular Antoshin Variation is much better in English (see above), but I foolishly had to have the German edition the moment it came out. For anyone who plays the Antoshin, however, it is hard to resist and does offer some well-organized analytic coverage of all the key variations. The English translation has likely made some improvements, but Bauer's book is significantly more detailed on some critical lines following 6.Bf4 where he has made more substantial and original efforts than Seel has. I hope the English edition of Seel's book incorporates and elaborates some of Bauer's ideas.

Abeln, Michiel. "Running Risk in the Philidor." New in Chess Yearbook 78 (2006).

Bergmann, Martin. "Angreifen mit Philidor." Kaissiber 21 (October - December 2005): 40-42. Covers the "Lion" or Hanham Variation where Black sometimes develops a kingside attack with an ...h6 and ...g5 advance, as in Yates-Marco, The Hague 1921. In German.

Bücker, Stefan. "Eine historische Frage." Kaissiber 21 (October - December 2005): 43-45. Analysis of the Philidor "Sandsturm" ("Sandstorm") with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 d5?! which is best met by 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Qe2+! Be7 7.Nb5 Na6 8.N1c3 Qd8 (8...Qe6 9.Bf4 += Bauer) 9.Bg5! h6 (9...c6? 10.Rd1!) 10.Rd1 Bd7 11.Bh4! +=. In German.

Fogarasi, Tibor, with special contribution by Luke McShane. "Chaos or a Slight Edge?" New in Chess Yearbook 71 (2004): 148-154.
Covers the line 6.g3 in the Antoshin, when Black should play 6...d5!? with "chatoic" complications following 7.e5 Ng4! or "a slight edge" with McShane's 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Bd2.

Bangiev, Alexander. Philidor Defence: Chess Training (Die Philidor-Verteidigung) ChessBase 2002.
The CD contains 13,400 games, 300 annotated, 134 by the author. I always find such CDs helpful for collecting games, but frankly have not used this one extensively. In fact, though I have been looking at the Philidor quite a lot lately, I have found myself relying more on books than on this CD. Of course, my main interest has been the Antoshin lines, which may not be Bangiev's strength (he seems to prefer the closed lines, which illustrate better his "squares strategy"). Giving it a critical assessment, though, I have to say I'm not too impresed. The introductory text and notes are not extensive and most of the games seem easily available elsewhere (even from free databases). The CD received favorable mention from John Watson at TWIC, who notes that it is nice to see an opening with so few critical variations in this day of exploding theory! If you have to make a choice, though, I'd recommend the Bauer book instead.

van der Tak, A.C. "The Original Philidor." New in Chess Yearbook 63 (2002): 141-145.
Very good coverage for a brief overview, including one of the most favorable treatments of 4.exf5, citing Dvoiris - West, New York 2000 (see above).

Olthof, Rene. "The Importance of the Lion." New in Chess Yearbook 62 (2002).

Karolyi, Tibor. "Nisipeanu's Novelty (Antoshin Variation)." New in Chess Yearbook 61 (2001).

Flear, Glenn. "4...g6 Larsen's Variation." New in Chess Yearbook 55 (2000).

Pliester, Leon. "Philidor Defence: A New Look at 3...Bg4." New in Chess Yearbook 48 (1998).

Motwani, Paul. C.O.O.L. Chess Batsford/I.C.E. 1997, p.188.
It's amusing to cite the entire book, when it is really just the final paragraph of the book that offers anything related to the Philidor. But many point to Motwani's very brief analysis as the "refutation" of the Philidor Counter-Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5!? 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Neg5! h6 (6...e4 7.Ne5!) 7.Nf7!! "with a crushing attack for White." But Jim West's 6...exd4! 7.Nxd4 Qe7 is a big improvement, not mentioned by Bauer. Motwani also has good coverage of the Hanham from the White side in his book Chess under the Microscope.

West, James R. The Dynamic Philidor Counter-Gambit, Revised 2nd Edition. 1996.
New Jersey NM Jim West is the chief defender of the Philidor Counter Gambit, which he has played and published on for decades, and his book is full of examples of his successful play with the line against all classes of opponents. If you are interested in this line, then his second volume (which makes important improvements and corrections) is a must.

_____. The Philidor Countergambit. Chess Enterprises 1994.

Rodriguez, Amador. "The Quiet System with g3 (Antoshin Variation)." New in Chess Yearbook 34 (1994).

Hansen, Lars Bo. "The Philidor Defence, 3.Bc4." New in Chess Yearbook 33 (1994).

Shibut, Macon. Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory. Dover 1993/2004, pp. 161-170.
Those interested in Morphy's contribution to PCG theory will find this a nice addition to their libraries, not least because it has more Morphy games than any other book.

Kosten, Tony. Winning with the Philidor. Henry Holt 1992. Algebraic.
A truly excellent book that has stood up rather well, mostly because Kosten's annotations to the games include extensive original analysis and insight. Of course, as the title suggests, Kosten is unapologetically pro-Philidor, even finding Mestel's Variation (a.k.a. The Philidor Counter-Gambit) "completely usable" (32). If you can find a copy of this book, I recommend it highly, if only to imbibe Kosten's enthusiasm for Black! I'd say this was the best book on the Philidor until Bauer's came along and one of the only pre-Bauer books worth having on your shelf.

Barbero, Gerardo. "Philidor Defence: Avoiding the Main Lines?" New in Chess Yearbook 23 (1992): 77-82.
Covers 3.Bc4 for White, against which Antoshin players may prefer simply 3...Be7 4.d4 (what else?) 4....exd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 etc. I rather like to play 3...f5!? which seems the most playable of the PCG lines after 4.d4! exd4 while most players of 3.Bc4 will try to side-step that discussion with less-challenging moves such as 4.d3. The article also discusses 3...Nf6!? 4.Ng5 (4.d4 Nxe4!? 5.dxe5 c6! or simply 4...exd4 = Antoshin, but 4.d3 leads to some boring chess unless you try 4...c6!? - not discussed here) 4...d5 5.exd5 h6 with an interesting gambit line, nicely discussed by Tim McGrew online (see below).

Adelman, Charles. (1990) "Justifying the Philidor." Atlantic Chess News (January - February 1990): 8-10.
I always enjoy people's stories of learning to play an opening system. This article was the first that made me examine the Philidor from the Black perspective. According to Adelman, the chief appeal of the Philidor is that the theory does not change as rapidly as in other lines (especially the Sicilian) and the few published games hardly do justice to Black's real prospects (which means that your opponents will inevitably overestimate their chances). His description of his first experience looking at the lines matches my own: "The more ... I looked, the more ... I liked! The overly sharp forcing lines were few, easy to memorize and seemed to favor Black. It was solid enough to play against strong opponents while one could slowly outplay weaker ones." In general, Adelman favored the Improved Hanham lines following 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 but on occasion had to play the Antoshin, as in the game Glueck - Adelman, World Open 1989 which went 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Be7 (there is always 3....f5! for the adventurous) 4.d4 when he notes: "Although the transposition might seem harmless, Black pretty much is forced to exchange pawns here since 4...Nc6? loses to 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5...dxe5? 6.Qd5) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Qh5 while 4...Nf6? loses to 5.dxe5 dxe5 (5...Nxe4?? 6.Qd5) 6.Qxd8+ Bxd8 7.Nxe5 with a pawn plus in either case." The game continued 4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Bb3 (Hansson - Adelman, Iceland 1987 continued instead 7.O-O Nxe4 8.Nxe4 d5 9.Bd3 dxe4 10.Bxe4 when he notes he should have tried 10....Nd7 with equality) 7...Na6!? 8.O-O Nc5 9.Re1 Nxb3 10.axb3 Re8 11.Bf4 Bf8 12.Qd2 a6 13.f3 when he judges he should have tried 13...h6, though he eventually secured the draw.

Evans, Larry and Ken Smith. An Unbeatable White Repertoire after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3. Chess Digest 1988.
This has one of the most promising White repertoires against the Philidor Defense of any repertoire book I've seen. For the most part, though, I have left out White repertoire books from the list.

Harding, Tim. Philidor's Defense: A Re-Appraisal. Chess Digest, 1973/1984. In English Descriptive Notation.
A landmark text that almost made the Philidor a respectable equalizing alternative for Black. The second edition is much improved over the first, but Harding's judgments (often phrased with too much self-assurance) have been put into question by subsequent theory. For example, he writes of Antoshin's 3...exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 that "I regretfully conclude that the soundness of the variation is questionable," shortly after claiming that Larsen's 4...g6 "presents the best chance for Black of winning with the Philidor Defense" (52-53). This is practically the reverse of current theory. For example, Bauer sees the Antoshin as quite contested and undecided territory while writing that Larsen's "kingside fianchetto offers Black dynamic counterplay, but is quite difficult to handle and probably fundamentally suspicious" (Bauer 82).

Larsen, Bent. Why Not the Philidor Defense? Chess Digest 1971. English Descriptive Notation.
This small pamphlet (34 pages of single-column prose) did a lot to revive interest in the Philidor Defense, especially at the amateur level, and established the Larsen Variation with 3...exd4 and 4...g6 as a legitimate alternative to more traditional treatments. The book itself, however, is chiefly of interest to collectors or aficionados of Larsen's variation.

Philidor, Francois Danican. Analysis of the Game of Chess. 1790.
English translation of Philidor's work, available from Google.

Web Resources
Alphabetical by author

Acosta, Alejandro. Acosta-Gutierrez, Mendellin 1979
Annotated game featuring 4.Bc4 and poor play by Black.

Blue-Eyed Rook. Chess' [sic] Loveable Loser - The Philidor Defense.
A blogger's defense of this much-maligned opening.

Bücker, Stefan. The Albin-Blackburne Gambit
Excellent history and analysis of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4!? 4.dxe5 Nd7!? -- see also Tim McGrew's piece below.

Daverio, Franco. An Interesting Gambit in the Philidor Defense
From the defunct Thomas Stock website (preserved in the archives), suggests the idea 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Qxd4 Be7!?? 5.Qxg7 Bf6 6.Qg3 Ne7 followed by Rg8 with rapid development for the pawn. Worth a try on ICC.

Dempsey, Tony and Dave Regis. Exeter Chess Club: Lessons in Philidor's Defense.
A great introductory article for beginners covering all the basic lines.

Goeller, Michael. Anti-Antoshin
I analyze an ICC game of my own with my favorite anti-Antoshin line that arises out of the Urusov Gambit (see below also).

_____. Bishop's Opening - Calabrese Countergambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 f5
Discusses a number of transpositions to PCG lines with White Bc4.

_____. James West Plays the Philidor Counter-Gambit
Analyzes two games of James West's with his favorite opening line.

_____. NM James R. West
An interview with the Philidor Counter-Gambit author and blogger.

_____. The Urusov Gambit - Line E - 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 d6
Analyzes an important transposition from the Urusov Gambit to the Antoshin Variation of the Philidor Defense, which can also arise via 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4!? Nf6 etc. White temporarily offers a pawn in order to avoid ...Nxe4 followed by the ...d5 fork trick.

Goumas, Yiannis. Philidor's Defense From the Hellas Chess Club
Useful theory for club players, from 1996.

Hansen, Carsten. "Classic Choices." Checkpoint #94 at ChessCafe
Includes a positive review of Bauer's book with some games.

_____. "Summer Reading." Checkpoint #86 at ChessCafe
Includes a positive review of the German edition of Seel's book and a very interesting correspondence game by Hansen in the Antoshin Variation.

Lane, Gary. Opening Lanes #01
Presents Motwani's "refutation" of the Philidor's Counter Gambit.

McGrew, Tim. Not Exactly Opera Box
On 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4!? 4.dxe5 Nd7!? -- which is at least better than how the Count and the Duke played it.

_____. Going Fishing
On 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4!? Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 h6 6.Nf3 e4.

Monokroussos, Dennis. James West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit
The first in a series of posts debating Jim West (see below) regarding the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5!? 4.Nc3!

_____. James West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit: A Follow-up

_____. Part 3 on West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit

_____. Part 4 on West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit

_____. Part 5 on West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit: Another Go-Round, with an Assist from Marvin Barker

_____. Part 6 on West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit

_____. Part 7 on West and the Philidor Counter-Gambit
This one was published around the same time I put up the first version of this bibliography. The Chess Mind is out to win this debate!

Müller, Karsten. The Riddle of Bird vs. Morphy
Though this article does not discuss the opening stages of Morphy's famous Philidor Counter Gambit game, it does offer much interesting commentary on the famous concluding sacrificial combination.

Schneider, Attila. Philidor Defense, Part One

_____. Philidor Defense, Part Two
A pretty good two-part overview of most Philidor lines.

Tamburro, Pete. Philidor Lecture 3 Notes
Tamburro's "refutation" of the PCG as postted in his Openings for Amateurs forum (now password protected).

West, James. Book Review by Macon Shibut
A review of the first edition of Jim West's PCG book, with special attention to its discussion of Paul Morphy's games with the line.

_____. Bruns - Simonaitis, USATE 2005
Annotates a game where White's Queen gets trapped in the PCG in a line previously described in his book.

_____. Correction to First Edition
In response to my analysis of one of his games, in which I only had access to the first edition of West's book, the author responds with corrected analysis from the second edition.

_____. Excerpts from CJA Award Winner
Reprints most of an article on the PCG that won the CJA's award for Best Opening Analysis.

_____. Fierro - Zilbermintz
Features a game by the NJ Expert with the PCG against the WGM.

_____. Monokroussos Analyzes PCG
The first in a series of posts debating Dennis Monokroussos (see above) concerning the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5!? 4.Nc3!

_____. More Monokroussos vs. West DebateOffers some equalizing lines in response to specific analysis by his opponent.

_____. PCG Andrade - West
A deep analysis of one of the author's best games with the PCG which features an interesting opening, middlegame, and ending.

_____. PCG Debate Continues
The latest installment in the ongoing debate with Dennis Monokroussos.

_____. PCG Letter from Melchor

_____. PCG Letters

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 2005

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 2000

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 1999

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 1997

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 4.dxe5 and 6.h4

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 4.Bc4

_____. Philidor Counter Gambit 6.Neg5

_____. Shibut's Review of Second Edition
Reprints a review of West's second edition of the PCG book by the noted Paul Morphy scholar.

Web Sources with No Listed Author

Philidor Defense (C41) from
A good to learn any opening is to play through a bunch of games.

Philidor Defense from Wikipedia
Not bad basic coverage of the main lines and history.

Philidor Defense
From the archives -- a useful intro to club players.

Philidor's Defense from the Sudbury Chess Club
A java-viewable review of all main lines. It takes some getting used to the interface.

Pisarsky-Del Rosario, Kolty Chess Club Championship 2003
An interesting game in the 4.dxe5 line.

Filidorov Kontragambit
Analyzes the recommended line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5!? 4.Nc3! (though without Motwani's ideas) and includes some games in PGN.

Paul Morphy from the Felixstowe Chess Club
Analyzes some games by Morphy with the Philidor's Counter Gambit. You can also find annotated PGNs of these games elsewhere online.

Kobese-Van Tonder, South Africa 2002 match game
Annotated game featuring 4.Nc3 against the Philidor Counter Gambit.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Chess Goes to School

"Chess Goes to School" by Ann Hulbert at is one of the most provocative recent pieces devoted to scholastic chess and anticipates some of the points I've been developing in my own long-delayed review of Michael Weinreb's excellent book, The Kings of New York. Check it out and let me know what you think... (Hat tip to Brad Rosen of 64 Square Jungle who alerted me to the piece by email.)

BTW: readers may have noticed that the gap between posts has grown to almost a week of late. That is because of typical end-of-the-semester busy-ness and because I have been struggling for a few weeks with what I now think must be a case of sinusitis (let's hope my doctor agrees and gives me a magic cure!) But I have several things in the works, including the review of The Kings of New York (against the back-drop of "No Child Left Behind"), a long bibliography devoted to the Philidor Defense, and a few analytic projects I'd rather not divulge (especially since some might not pan out). I hope to get the Philidor stuff up by the end of the week.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Club Calendar Updated

The Kenilworth Chess Club Calendar has been updated. Highlights include the following:

May 10 - FIVE MINUTE TOURNAMENT. $5 Entry fee. All money returned as prizes. This one is for real! Additional funds to sweeten the pot! Light refreshments.

May 17 - CONSULTATION GAME - Day One. Last year's Consultation Game was such a hit that we are bringing it back early. Two teams meeting in separate rooms take each other on in a game at 5 minutes per move. Teams vote on their choice of move, but team captains make the final call.

May 24 - CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY NIGHT and CONSULTATION GAME - Day Two. The consultation game concludes. Awards presentation for the club championship.

May 31 - THEMATIC TOURNAMENT - theme to be announced at least one week in advance (see The Kenilworthian or The Chess Coroner for details). Four rounds at Game-15. Entry fee $5 -- all money returned as prizes. Starts promptly at 8:30 pm with rounds ASAP thereafter. Last year's tournament (see details here and here) was enjoyed by six participants.

June 7 - Start of Summer Tournament. Please submit your entry and pay your entry fee by this date. Here are the tentative rules of the tournament: