14 May 2017

Play as Philidor

As may be well-known, François-André Danican Philidor asserted, "pawns are the soul of chess." In Analysis of the Game of Chess (London, 1790), he developed this idea with a number of games showing pieces standing in the rear so as to support a group of pawns that decide the game. Yesterday, as I was beginning to come out of a blitz slump that lasted three days, I played a game of which Philidor would approve.

White to move

Stripes,J (1897) -- Internet Opponent (1842) [A43]
Live Chess Chess.com, 13.05.2017


26.Qh6 decides matters more quickly.

26...g6 27.h4 Qe6 28.Qg3

The computer likes 28.Qxe6, but the resulting rook ending is a crap shoot in blitz. Both players have chances as blunders are inevitable.

28...Kg7 29.h5 Rh8

White to move


30.d5 Qe4 31.Re5 Qd3 32.f4


30...f6 gives Black good chances to hold. Too often, I overlook these sorts of moves in blitz.


A good move, but not best. Even so, White's pawns are starting to roll per the prescriptions of Philidor.


31...Qf6 32.e4

32.f4 would have demonstrated understanding of Philidor, who preferred that three pawns march together whenever possible. 32...Rh6 33.f5 Rf8 34.d6.

32...Rh6 33.e5 Qf7 34.e6 Qe7

34...Qf6 35.f4 (35.Re5).

35.Qe5+ Qf6

White to move


36.f4 Rch8 37.Kf2 Rh4 38.Kg3


36...Kf7 forces White to struggle.


The pawns will decide.

37...Qxe5 38.Rxe5 Kf6

38...Reh8 makes a threat that I was cognizant of, although in blitz I overlook such things often enough. 39.f4 (39.e8Q Rh1#).

39.Re2 Rhh8

White to move


40.Rfe1 is stronger 40...Kf7 41.d7


40...a4 41.Rxb6 Kf7 42.Rb4 Rc8 43.Re1 Rce8 44.d7

41.d7 1–0

Black's two rooks must go away to eliminate White's two queens.

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