Alterman on the Philidor Defence

6/25/2004 – In the 18th century chess was dominated by the Italians. Players would gladly give a pawn for a single tempo, relying on pure tactical strength to win the game. At that time a mild-mannered musical composer revolutionized chess. GM Boris Alterman looks at an opening line named after Francois-Andre Danican Philidor. Visit his Sunday night lecture and simultaneous exhibition.

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Boris Alterman writes:

Today we will have a look at the Philidor Defence. But before we start, I'd like to say a few words about Francois-Andre Danican Philidor. Although Philidor was the greatest chess player of his time, his formal occupation was that of a musician. In the 18th century Philidor was a pretty famous composer.

At that time the Italian (attacking) style dominated. Giving a pawn or piece for just one tempo was the usual method of playing a chess game. Many encounters were decided this way, not only because of the good tactical and attacking strength of the players, but also because nobody knew how to defend! Everybody dreamed only about an attack with sacrifices:

And here came Philidor, who took the "Italian style" and made some deep analysis. Francois-Andre Philidor realized that pawns play the most important role in the game of chess. Pawns help control the center; they storm bastions of your enemy. Pawn structure points you towards what plan to choose from the many opportunities you have. The well known motto of Philidor "Pawns are the soul of chess" is clearly an immortal one!

Philidor published chess strategy book was translated to the most important European languages (including to Russian) and for a hundred years was considered the most important chess book, without significant addition or modification

Since Philidor preached the value of a strong pawn center, an understanding of the relative value of the pieces, and of the correct pawn formations, it is clear that the way he solved problems in the opening showed his way of chess understanding. The Philidor Defence characterized the main principle of the Philidor's strategy – attack the center with your pawns. The Philidor Defence is still not so rare guest in recent GM games. For example, GM's Dreev and Bacrot use this opening line regularly

GM Boris Alterman's Radio ChessBase lectures begin at 21:00h CEST (European Central time = server time, which translates to 17:00h GMT, 3:00 p.m. New York, 05:00 a.m. Sydney (on Monday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of the page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

GM Boris Alterman is 34, and lives in Israel. He was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, where he started playing chess at the age of 7. His career highlights include earning the IM title in 1991 and the GM title in 1992.He is the winner of the following Open and GM tournaments: Haifa 1993; Bad Homburg 1996; Rishon LeZion 1996; Beijing 1995 and 1997; Munchen 1992. His hobbies include computers and swimming, his favourite food is Chinese, he speaks fluent Russian, Hebrew and English.

Boris has worked for and against Garry Kasparov. In 1999 he assisted the world champion in his spectacular Microsoft match Kasparov vs The World, and was also part of the team that built up the web portal Kasparov Chess. In 2003, on the other hand, he was part of the Deep Junior team that gave Kasparov a run for his money in the New York match.

Boris Alterman will hold his lectures on Sundays at 21:00h Server time and a simultaneous exhibition on Mondays at 21:00h server time (in the "Simultaneous Exhibitions" room).

Here are the world-wide starting times for Alterman's lectures.
The simuls are at the same times one day later.
Abu Dhabi Sun 23:00   Halifax * Sun 16:00   New Orleans * Sun 14:00
Addis Ababa Sun 22:00 Hanoi Mon 02:00 New York * Sun 15:00
Adelaide Mon 04:30 Harare Sun 21:00 Odesa * Sun 22:00
Aden Sun 22:00 Havana * Sun 15:00 Oslo * Sun 21:00
Aklavik * Sun 13:00 Helsinki * Sun 22:00 Ottawa * Sun 15:00
Algiers Sun 20:00 Hong Kong Mon 03:00 Paris * Sun 21:00
Amman * Sun 22:00 Honolulu Sun 09:00 Perth Mon 03:00
Amsterdam * Sun 21:00 Houston * Sun 14:00 Philadelphia * Sun 15:00
Anadyr * Mon 08:00 Indianapolis Sun 14:00 Phoenix Sun 12:00
Anchorage * Sun 11:00 Islamabad Mon 00:00 Prague * Sun 21:00
Ankara * Sun 22:00 Istanbul * Sun 22:00 Rangoon Mon 01:30
Antananarivo Sun 22:00 Jakarta Mon 02:00 Reykjavik Sun 19:00
Asuncion Sun 15:00 Jerusalem * Sun 22:00 Rio de Janeiro Sun 16:00
Athens * Sun 22:00 Johannesburg Sun 21:00 Riyadh Sun 22:00
Atlanta * Sun 15:00 Kabul Sun 23:30 Rome * Sun 21:00
Baghdad * Sun 23:00 Kamchatka * Mon 08:00 San Francisco * Sun 12:00
Bangkok Mon 02:00 Karachi Mon 00:00 San Juan Sun 15:00
Barcelona * Sun 21:00 Kathmandu Mon 00:45 San Salvador Sun 13:00
Beijing Mon 03:00 Khartoum Sun 22:00 Santiago Sun 15:00
Beirut * Sun 22:00 Kingston Sun 14:00 Santo Domingo Sun 15:00
Belgrade * Sun 21:00 Kiritimati Mon 09:00 Sao Paulo Sun 16:00
Berlin * Sun 21:00 Kolkata Mon 00:30 Seattle * Sun 12:00
Bogota Sun 14:00 Kuala Lumpur Mon 03:00 Seoul Mon 04:00
Boston * Sun 15:00 Kuwait City Sun 22:00 Shanghai Mon 03:00
Brasilia Sun 16:00 Kyiv * Sun 22:00 Singapore Mon 03:00
Brisbane Mon 05:00 La Paz Sun 15:00 Sofia * Sun 22:00
Brussels * Sun 21:00 Lagos Sun 20:00 St. John's * Sun 16:30
Bucharest * Sun 22:00 Lahore Mon 00:00 St. Paul * Sun 14:00
Budapest * Sun 21:00 Lima Sun 14:00 Stockholm * Sun 21:00
Buenos Aires Sun 16:00 Lisbon * Sun 20:00 Suva Mon 07:00
Cairo Sun 21:00 London * Sun 20:00 Sydney Mon 05:00
Canberra Mon 05:00 Los Angeles * Sun 12:00 Taipei Mon 03:00
Cape Town Sun 21:00 Madrid * Sun 21:00 Tallinn * Sun 22:00
Caracas Sun 15:00 Managua Sun 13:00 Tashkent Mon 00:00
Casablanca Sun 19:00 Manila Mon 03:00 Tegucigalpa Sun 13:00
Chatham Island Mon 07:45 Melbourne Mon 05:00 Tehran * Sun 23:30
Chicago * Sun 14:00 Mexico City * Sun 14:00 Tokyo Mon 04:00
Copenhagen * Sun 21:00 Minneapolis * Sun 14:00 Toronto * Sun 15:00
Darwin Mon 04:30 Minsk * Sun 22:00 Vancouver * Sun 12:00
Denver * Sun 13:00 Montevideo Sun 16:00 Vienna * Sun 21:00
Detroit * Sun 15:00 Montgomery * Sun 14:00 Vladivostok * Mon 06:00
Dhaka Mon 01:00 Montreal * Sun 15:00 Warsaw * Sun 21:00
Dublin * Sun 20:00 Moscow * Sun 23:00 Washington DC * Sun 15:00
Edmonton * Sun 13:00 Mumbai Mon 00:30 Wellington Mon 07:00
Frankfurt * Sun 21:00 Nairobi Sun 22:00 Winnipeg * Sun 14:00
Geneva * Sun 21:00 Nassau * Sun 15:00 Zagreb * Sun 21:00
Guatemala Sun 13:00 New Delhi Mon 00:30 Zürich * Sun 21:00

* indicates that the place is currently observing daylight saving time (DST)

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