Friday, February 26, 2010

Philidor Defense

The Philidor Defense is characterized by the opening moves:

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6

It was named after the famous 18th century player François-André Danican Philidor, who advocated it as an alternative to the common 2...Nc6.  His original idea was to challenge White's center by the pawn thrust ...f7-f5. Today it is known as a solid, though passive, choice for Black.

Paris, 1937

The Two-Rook Sacrifice

Chess has an inexhaustible supply of sacrifices.  The double-Rook sacrifice always appear in new guises.

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, Nf6
4. dxe5, Nxe4
5. Bc4 ......

White threatens to win with Qd5.  The safest defense is 5......c6.

5. ...... Be6

Black selects a more venturesome line, which allows White to win a pawn in a very risky fashion.

6. Bxe6, fxe6
7. Qe2, d5
8. Qb5+, Nc6

There is more here than meets the eye, as in this pretty line of play: 9. Qxb7  Nb4, 10. Qb5+ c6,  11.  Qa4 Nc5!! winning White's Queen (for if 12. Qxb4 Nd3+).

9. Nd4 Qd7
10. Qxb7 ?   ......

White cannot bypass this inviting move, especially as he sees that an exchange of knights will leave him behind in development.

11. c3 ........

Black has three pieces under attack.

11. ....... Nxd4 !!

This leaves White with little choice, for after 12 cxb4, 0-0 Black has too many strong threats.

12. Qxa8+, Kf7
13. Qxh8, Qb5!!

White resigns. He has no defense against the threat of Qe2 mate.  White's greed led to disaster.

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