The Modernized Philidor Defense

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The Modernized Philidor Defense


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The Modernized Philidor Defense 

“Pawns are the soul of chess.” We have all heard this phrase more than once in our chess life and we owe it to the great French player François-André Danican, so-called Philidor, considered one of the best chess players of the 18th century.

It’s not surprising that with this way of thinking, he revolutionized chess, which until then was almost all about direct attacks on the king. With this, he also changed the way of understanding and playing openings, in which he introduced a new concept for the time – that the pawns should be ahead of the pieces.  Sergio Trigo Urquijo.

– ISBN 9789464201208

– 412 pages.

Solo quedan 1 disponibles (puede reservarse)

SKU: 9789464201208 Categorías: , , Etiquetas: ,


The Modernized Philidor Defense Bearing this in mind, the defense he created can be much

better  understood, in which all these rules  are fulfilled and the importance of the pawn structure is


At first, his idea was to play this opening in the order of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 and it was some time before

it was discovered that the move 3.d4 was the best response, and the one that gave Black the most

trouble. Attempts were made to make 3…Nf6 and 3…Nd7 work but it was concluded, after much

praxis, that Black could not equalize. However, the concept was clear and the defense did not fall into disuse.

From then onwards, this defense had been varying its move orders until it was finally realized that

the best way to play would be 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5.

The popularity of this opening has changed over the years but it has always lived in the background,

behind the more mainstream openings such as the Spanish, the Sicilian or the French, among others.

The Modernized Philidor Defense

However, with the quick development of the field of theory that we have had (and have nowadays)

thanks to engines, the main openings have become filled with an amount of theory that is virtually

impossible to remember. This means that more and more people are deciding to research and play

other openings which are often easier to understand, and the amount of lines required to study is

much less. In addition, on many occasions, these lines are the ones that really surprise our opponents.


Although the Philidor Defense may still be considered a secondary opening, many Grandmasters use

it with some regularity. My initial idea was to name them but there are so many that it is impossible.

To give a little list, this defense has been used by, among many others, Magnus Carlsen, Maxime

Vachier-Lagrave, Fabiano Caruana, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Teimour Radjabov and

Pavel Eljanov. They are just a small example among the ocean of Grandmasters who have played it.


To understand better, as I said before, and beyond knowing the specific moves, I think it is essential to recognize the pawn structures that are going to be formed.




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