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.


Anonymous said...

Man, how long does it take you to write up such a post? Anyway, Rybka suggests 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 c5!

Grandpatzer said...

NM Alex Betaneli has used the Philidor almost exclusively. I think it's a great choice for the improving player, with one downside being that you won't come across as many expert games playing "your" opening.

Anonymous said...

Kaissiber 27 has 3 pages on the PCG. Maurits Wind recommends 4.exf5 as best. Its mainly a critique of Bauer's book on the Philidor.

I've promised Dennis Monokroussos a detailed sumary of the article.

Unknown said...

That's an incredible piece of work and research - I am very impressed. I've just come across the Hanham lines as white on the ICC in a few recent games, and black is doing ok in these. Not an easy system to combat, especially if you fail to play a4 like I did.

Frendo said...

Good work! Maybe I missed it, but if not there's also Bücker's series of articles in "Chesscafe" column "Over the Horizons".

Unknown said...

There is a typo error in the Philidor Gambit. Make a correction.
Several times 4.exf4 is written ir should be 4.exf5
Make a correction.
It seems that some players never learn the proper notation.

Julius Fuster



DeanBetts said...

I have read somewhere that Philidor himself seldom played the defense named after him.