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spurtus 21 ( +1 | -1 )
Philadors Defense 1. e4 e5
2. nf3 d6

I hear a lot of 'bad press' about this opening... ( too passive, too slow, locked in bishops etc... ) is it completely defunct or are any GMs still heralding its merits by still playing it?... and how do you rate this opening?

Thanks,
Spurtus.
bucklehead 264 ( +1 | -1 )
Not defunct, but good? I think much of the bad press about the Philidor is justified: it is slow, not particularly enterprising, and it's one of those openings where (if black doesn't tread very carefully) the loss of a pawn--or worse--is just around the corner. Nevertheless, as is the case with all openings, they are only bad if your opponent can beat them; and the Philidor has not been "refuted" in any way. It even finds its way into GM games on occasion--the PGN at the bottom is from just a few months back, a blitz game between Peter Leko and Peter Svidler.

There is an excellent link if you're interested: www.ex.ac.uk/~dregis/DR/Openings/lessphld.htm. These are meant to be handouts for "juniors," but I find them to be excellent. Maybe that says something about my abilities.

For my money, though, black's best line may be the Albin-Blackburne Gambit: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Bg4 4. dxe5 Nd7 (not 4. ... dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 6. Nxe5) 5. exd6 Bxd6 where black seems to have a lot of activity for the pawn. I keep meaning to start a MT with this theme; but somehow, juggling my game load while parenting two young kids seems to leave me with little time.

I had a pleasant experience against the Philidor once; I even wrote a pleasant little story about it. I present the game, as I recall it, here in PGN format for whatever value it's worth in evaluating the Philidor.

[Event "Friendly game at a bar"]
[Site "The Pub"]
[Date "1991"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Me"]
[Black "Some schmo trying to impress my hot friend"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Be7
{
My opponent had been playing pretty confidently until this point, but I quickly saw his error and decided to punish him for it. After all, he'd come to *my* bar and started flirting with *my* hot female friend.
}
4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8
{
These moves came very quickly. smack-smack-smack, well you all know the sound. Anyway, at this point, my opponent turned to my hot friend and said, "This isn't really how you play," trying to make it sound like he was some sort of suave, cerebral man. He didn't even see the upcoming pawn loss. I could have hit him with it, but decided that it was better to defeat him utterly.
}
6. Nxe5
{
And so on, unto victory. I never saw my opponent again.
}
1-0

===============
And now the Leko-Svidler game

[Event "Amber-rapid 13th"]
[Site "Monaco"]
[Date "2004.03.20"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Leko,Peter"]
[Black "Svidler,Peter"]
[Result "1/2"]
[Eco "C41"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Bf4 0-0 7.Qd2 d5 8.e5 Nh5
9.Nf3 Nxf4 10.Qxf4 c6 11.Bd3 Nd7 12.0-0 Nc5 13.Bf5 g5 14.Qg4 h5 15.Qh3 g4 16.Qxh5 Bxf5 17.Qxf5 gxf3 18.Qg4+ Kh7 19.Qh5+ Kg7 20.Qg4+ Kh6 21.Qh3+ Kg6 22.Qg4+ Bg5 23.h4 Rh8 24.hxg5 Rh5 25.Qxf3 Qxg5 26.Qf6+ Qxf6 27.exf6 Rah8 28.f3 Kxf6 29.Ne2 Ne6 30.Kf2 Rh2 31.Rad1 Rg8 32.Rg1 Ng5 33.Kf1 Re8 34.Nf4 Re5 35.Nd3 Rf5 36.Nf2 Rh4 1/2