Understanding before Moving 120: Chess history in a nutshell (2)

by ChessBase
4/9/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 120th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues with his new series "Chess history in a nutshell". | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


François André Philidor was born in 1726 and showed exceptional musical talent. He composed his first piece of music at the age of eleven. His talent for chess was soon discovered. In Paris Philidor received chess lessons from M. Légal, who was soon surpassed by his pupil.

Philidor was soon regarded as one of the strongest players in France, especially when, in 1746, he won a match against the English master Sir Abraham Janssens, who was regarded as the strongest chess player in England. When Philidor beat Philipp Stamma 8.5-1.5 he was widely regarded as the best player in the world.

Philidor wrote his famous textbook "L'Analyze du jeu des échecs" in the Netherlands, and one of his principles became very famous: "Pawns are the soul of chess" Philidor said, claiming that the use of pawns is of crucial importance in chess.

Some of Philidor's endgame analyses are still valid and useful today, and one of the most important theoretical positions in rook endgames, "The Philidor Position", was named after him.

The forced win Philidor found in the infamous rook plus bishop against rook endgame is also very impressive.  Finally, we can admire his analytical skills in the endgame queen vs. rook which is by no means trivial.

The player with the queen has to win within 50 moves. Philidor studied a number of positions, of which the diagram position is one.

In this position it is White's move. But it would be nice if White could reach this position with Black to move.  Black would have to make a move with his rook, and would be forced to separate his rook from the king, which would give White the chance to give a couple of checks and to pick up the black rook.

How can White put Black into zugzwang in the diagram position?


Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, consequently how to keep your opponent permanently under press

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.