D) Philidor's 2....d6

D1) 3.Nf3 D2) 3.f4

Position after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 d6

The move 2....d6 was often preferred in Philidor's time, and it can lead to familiar lines of the Philidor Defense, especially if White plays 3.Nf3. Though I cover 3.Nf3 here, I actually recommend 3.f4! because it more actively battles for control over the center and is more in keeping with the spirit of the fighting Bishop's Opening.

Philidor claimed that whoever was first to venture the f-pawn break (by f4 as White or f5 as Black) would secure a space advantage. It has taken about 200 years for us to rediscover the correctness of that view -- and one reason White might think twice about 3.Nf3 is that it allows Black one of the better lines of the Philidor Countergambit with 3....f5!

A) 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 . . .
B) 2....Nc6
C) 2....f5
D) 2....d6
E) 2....Bc5
Links & Acknowledgments
Bishop's Opening PGN File

D1) 3.Nf3 f5! (3....Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 h6 6.Nf3 e4 7.Qe2 Be7 8.Ne5 Bf5 9.Nc3 +=; 3....Nc6 4.c3 Bg4 5.d4 Qf6 6.Be3 Bxf3 7.gxf3 Nge7 8.Bb5 +=; 3....Be7 4.O-O Nf6 5.d3 O-O 6.c3 +=; 3....Be6 4.Bxe6 fxe6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nf6! 7.Qd3! [7.Nc3 Qd7 8.O-O e5 9.Nde2 Be7 = Pachman] 7....Qc8 8.Bg5 Be7 9.O-O +=)

D1a) 4.d4 exd4! (4....fxe4 5.Nxe5!) 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.O-O f4! 7.Bxf4 Qf6 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qh4 Nc6 10.Nd2 Bd7 11.Ndf3 O-O-O 12.Ne6 Qxh4 13.Nxh4 Bxe6 14.Bxe6+ Kb8 15.Bg5 Be7 16.Bxh6 Bxh4 17.g3 Bf6 = 18.a3 d3! 19.c3 Rhe8 20.Bd5 Ne5 21.Bf4 c6 22.Bb3 g5 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Bc4 Rxe4 25.Bxd3 Re7 26.Rae1 Rde8 27.Rxe7 Rxe7 28.f4 gxf4 29.Rxf4 Bg5 1/2-1/2 Reyna Glez-Perez, Correspondence 1994.

D1b) 4.d3

D1b1) 4....Nc6?!

D1b1a) 5.O-O Nf6 6.Ng5 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nc3 Nce7 9.Qf3 c6 10.Nce4 fxe4 11.Qf7+ Kd7 12.Qe6+ Kc7 13.Qxe5+ Qd6 14.Qxd6+ Kxd6 15.Nf7+ Ke6 16.Nxh8 exd3 17.cxd3 Kf6 18.b4 Be6 19.Re1 Bg8 20.Bb2+ Kg5 21.Re5+ Kh6 22.Bc1+ g5 23.Rxg5 1-0 Morphy--Rousseau, New Orleans 1849.

D1b1b) 5.a3!? Nf6 6.Nc3 h6 7.Nh4!? g5 8.Nxf5 Bxf5 9.exf5 Nd4 10.Ne4 g4 11.h3 Qe7 12.c3 Nxf5 13.hxg4 Nxe4 14.dxe4 Nh4 15.g3 Ng6 16.g5 O-O-O 17.Qg4+ Kb8 18.gxh6 +- Ochoa De Echaguen--Barrenechea, Seville 1994.

D1b2) 4....Nf6!? 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.c3 Nc6 8.b4 Be7 9.Nbd2 Be6 10.Qb3 Nd8 11.h3 O-O 12.O-O-O?! a5 13.b5 a4 14.Bxe6 Nxe6 =+ from a game of Kosten's

D1b3) 4....c6! 5.O-O f4! 6.d4 Qf6 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Nc3 Bg4 with the idea of Nd7 and O-O-O = West.

D2) 3.f4! exf4 (3....Nf6 4.d3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.O-O Bg4 7.c3 or 7.h3 +=, or 4.Nc3 c6 5.Nf3 Be7 += Schumaker-Mentz, Landes-Einzelmeister, 1992; 3....Nc6!? 4.Nf3 f5!?)

White's best plan is to attack in the center with 3.f4. Black should take the gambit pawn, otherwise White will have a space advantage and central pressure at no cost. Of course, White could play 3.d3 followed by f4 at some later point, but it is best to strike directly at Black's strong point in the center.

D2a) 4.Nf3 (Though this move protects against 4....Qh4+, the Knight is subject to attack by g5-g4. In some situations, White's best may be to sacrifice the Knight for open lines and development.) 4....g5 5.d4 Bg7 6.O-O h6 7.c3 Qe7 8.h4!? (8.e5 dxe5 9.Nxe5 Bxe5 10.Re1 f6 11.b3 Nd7 12.Qh5+ Kd8 13.Ba3 Qg7 14.Nd2 Ne7 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Rad1 Bg4 17.Nf3+ Kc8 18.Nxe5 Bxh5 19.Be6+ Kb8 20.Nd7+ Kc8 21.Nf8+ Kb8 22.Rd8+ Nc8 23.Rxc8# 1-0 Aguileva--Carlsson, Correspondence 1949) 8....g4 9.Bxf4 gxf3 10.Qxf3 Be6 11.Nd2 Bxc4 12.Nxc4 Nd7 13.Bxd6 cxd6 14.Nxd6+ Kd8 15.e5 f6 16.Nxb7+ Kc7 17.Na5 Rb8 18.Qc6+ Kd8 19.Nb7+ Rxb7 20.Qxb7 ± Nb6 21.Qb8+ Nc8 22.Rae1 Qc7 23.Qb3 Nb6 24.Re3 Nc4 25.Rg3 h5 26.Rxg7 Qxg7 27.Qxc4 Rh6 28.Qd5+ Kc7 29.Qd6+ Kb7 30.e6 1-0 Thomas--Johnson, Correspondence 1902.

D2b) 4.Nc3 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Be6 (5....c6 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.d4 g5 8.h4 Bh6 9.Nxg5 Qxd1+ 10.Nxd1 Bxg5 11.hxg5 Be6 12.Bd3 Ne7 13.Bxf4 Kd7 14.Ne3 Na6 15.c4 Ng6 16.g3 Nb4 17.Ke2 Nxd3 18.Kxd3 Ke7 19.Rh6 Rad8 20.Rah1 Nf8 21.Nf5+ Bxf5 22.exf5 d5 23.g6 dxc4+ 24.Kxc4 fxg6 25.Bg5+ 1-0 Zindel--Jagstaidt, Genf 1992) 6.Qe2 c6 7.Nf3 Qe7 8.d4 Bxc4 9.Qxc4 g5 10.e5 d5 11.Qd3 Na6 12.Ne2 Nb4 13.Qd1 O-O-O 14.c3 Na6 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2 h5 17.Nxf4 Qxh4 18.Kg1 Nh6 19.Nf1 Qe7 20.Nxh5 Rg8 21.Nfg3 Rg6 22.Nf4 Rg5 23.Be3 Nc7 24.Qd2 Rg8 25.Nfe2 f6 26.exf6 Qxf6 27.Bxh6 ± Bd6 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Bf4 Rde8 30.Rh6 Bxf4 31.Qxf4 Qe7 32.Rf6 Ne6 33.Qe5 Ng5 34.Qxe7 Rxe7 35.Rf8+ Rxf8 36.Rxf8+ 1-0 Fischer--Evans, New York US Ch. 1963.

D2c) 4.d4! Qh4+ 5.Kf1
Black's Queen is exposed on this square while White's King is now out of the way. Overall, the situation favors White.

D2c1) 5....Bg4 6.Nf3 Qh6 (6....Qf6 7.e5 Qh6 8.g3 Qh3+ 9.Kf2 fxg3+ 10.hxg3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qd7 12.Qxb7 Qc6 13.Bb5 Greco) 7.g3 Qh3+ 8.Kf2 fxg3+ 9.hxg3 Bxf3 10.Bxf7+ Kd8 11.Qxf3 Qd7 12.Rxh7! Rxh7 13.Bxg8 Rh2+ 14.Kg1 Rxc2 15.Qxf8+ Qe8 16.Bg5+ Kd7 17.Be6+ Qxe6 18.Qd8+ Kc6 19.d5+ Qxd5 20.exd5+ Kxd5 21.Nc3+ Ke5 22.Qe8+ Kd4 23.Qe4+ Kc5 24.Be3# 1-0 Greco--NN, 1620.

D2c2) 5....Qf6 6.Nc3 c6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.Qe2 b5 9.Bb3 a5 10.d5 b4 11.dxc6 bxc3 12.cxd7+ Bxd7 13.e5 dxe5 14.Nxe5 f3 15.Qe4 O-O-O 16.Nxd7 Rxd7 17.Qa8+ Kc7 18.Qxa5+ Kb8 19.Qb5+ Kc8 20.Bg5 Qg6 21.Ba4 fxg2+ 22.Kxg2 Qe4+ 23.Kf2 Qd4+ 24.Kf3 Qd5+ 25.Qxd5 Rxd5 26.Bc1 Bb4 27.bxc3 Bxc3 28.Rb1 Nf6 29.Rb3 Bd4 30.Bf4 Be5 31.c4 Ra5 32.Bxe5 Rxe5 33.Rhb1 Kc7 34.Rb7+ Kd6 35.Rxf7 Rf5+ 36.Kg2 Ra8 37.Rb6+ Kc5 38.Rb5+ Kxc4 39.Rxf5 Rxa4 40.Rf4+ 1-0 Nehlert--Mueller, Baden Baden 1988.

D2c3) 5....Nf6 6.Nf3

D2c3a) 6....Qg4 7.Nc3 Be7 8.e5 Nh5 9.Nd5 Bd8 10.exd6 cxd6 11.Qe2+ Kf8 12.b3 Nc6 13.Ba3 Qg6 14.Re1 Bd7 15.Ne5 Nxe5 16.Qxe5 h6 17.Bd3 Kg8 18.Bxg6 dxe5 19.Bxh5 exd4 20.Ne7+ Kh7 21.Bxf7 Rf8 22.Bd5 Bb5+ 23.Kf2 Bb6 24.Be4+ g6 25.Nxg6 Rf6 26.Ne5+ 1-0 Zuckerman--Miagmarsuren, Polanica Zdroj 1972.

D2c3b) 6....Bg4 7.Nc3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nc6 9.Bb5!? a6 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.e5 Nd5 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Qxd5 Rd8 14.e6 fxe6 15.Qxe6+ Be7 16.Qd5 f3 17.gxf3 Qh3+ 18.Kf2 Bh4+ 19.Ke3 Rf8 20.Qe4+ Kf7 21.Kd3 Kg8 22.Bf4 Rde8 23.Qd5+ Kh8 24.Bg3 Bd8 25.Rae1 Rxe1 26.Rxe1 Qg2 27.Qf7 Qxf3+ 28.Qxf3 Rxf3+ 29.Ke4 Rf8 30.Kd5 Bf6 31.c3 Kg8 32.Kc6 Bd8 33.Kd7 Kf7 34.Rf1+ Bf6 35.Kxc7 Ke6 36.Kc6 Rc8+ 37.Kb7 Rc4 38.Rf3 a5 39.b3 1-0 Clissie--Smith, Sussex 1989.

D2c3c) 6....Qh5 7.Nc3 Be7 8.e5 dxe5 9.dxe5 Ng4 10.Nd5 Bd8 11.Nxf4 Qf5 12.Bd3 Qd7 13.h3 Nh6 14.Qe1 O-O 15.Nh5 Nf5 16.Bd2 Nc6 17.Bc3 Be7 18.Qe4 Qe6 19.g4 Qh6 20.gxf5 Qxh5 21.Qg4 Qxg4 22.hxg4 Bb4 23.Kf2 Bxc3 24.bxc3 Re8 25.Rae1 a5 26.Kg3 a4 27.a3 Ra5 28.Kf4 Rc5 29.Rh4 h6 30.c4 Bd7 31.Rh2 Na5 32.g5 hxg5+ 33.Nxg5 Bc6 34.Re3 f6 35.exf6 gxf6 36.Ne6 Kf7 37.Rh7+ Kg8 38.Rg7+ 1-0 Sorensen--Ochsner, DEN 1996.

D2c4) 5....Nc6 5. d4 d6 6.Nf3 Qh6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.e5 dxe5 9.dxe5 Nh5 10.Nd5 Bd7 11.Nxc7+ Kd8 12.Nxa8 Ng3+ 13.Ke1 Nxh1 14.Bxf7 Kc8 15.Qd5 Nb4 16.Qc4+ Qc6 17.Nd4 Qxc4 18.Bxc4 Bc5 19.a3 Nc6 20.Nf3 Re8 21.Bxf4 g5 22.Nxg5 Nxe5 23.Be2 Ng6 24.Nc7 Rxe2+ 25.Kxe2 Nxf4+ 26.Kf3 Bd6 27.Rxh1 h5 28.g3 Bc6+ 29.Ne4 Nh3 30.Nb5 Ng5+ 31.Ke3 Bc5+ 32.Nxc5 Bxh1 33.Nxa7+ Kc7 34.h4 Nf7 35.Ne6+ Kd6 36.Nf4 Ke5 37.Nxh5 Kf5 38.Nf4 Kg4 39.Ne2 Nd6 40.b3 1-0 Westerinen--Moen, Gausdal 1985.

D2c5) 5....g5

D2c5a) 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.h4 Bg4 9.Kf2 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 h6 11.hxg5 Qxh1 12.gxf6 Qh4+ 13.Kg1 Qe1+ 14.Bf1 Qg3 15.Qh5 f3 16.Nd5 Na6 17.Bc4 Qg6 18.Qxf3 O-O-O 19.Bxa6 bxa6 20.Qc3 Rd7 21.Qc6 1-0 Anderssen--Mohr, Amsterdam 1861.

D2c5b) 6.g3 Bh3+ 7.Kf2 Qh6 8.Nxh3 Qxh3 9.Qf3 Bg7 10.c3 Ne7 11.gxf4 Qxf3+ 12.Kxf3 gxf4 13.Bxf4 O-O 14.Nd2 Kh8 15.Raf1 f5 16.Be6 Nbc6 17.exf5 Nxf5 18.Kg4 Nh6+ 19.Kh3 Ne7 20.Ne4 Ng6 21.Bg5 Rae8 22.d5 Nf7 23.Be3 Nd8 24.Rxf8+ Nxf8 25.Bf5 Re5 26.Rf1 Rxd5 27.Bxa7 Ra5 28. Bb8 Nfe6 29.a3 Ra8 30.Bxc7 Nxc7 31.Nxd6 Ra6 32.Rd1 Be5 33.Nc4 Rh6+ 34.Kg2 Bf6 35.Rd7 Nce6 36.Nd6 Rh5 37.Bxe6 Nxe6 38.Rxb7 Nf4+ 39.Kf3 Nd5 40.a4 Rxh2 41.a5 Rh3+ 42.Ke4 Ne7 43.Nf5 Nxf5 44.Kxf5 Bxc3 45.bxc3 Rf3+ 46.Ke5 Re3+ 47.Kd5 Rd3+ 48.Kc4 Rd6 49.Kb5 Rd5+ 50.Kb4 Rd6 51.c4 Rd1 52.a6 Ra1 53.a7 1-0 Westerinen--Bokan, Moscow 1989.


Contact: Michael Goeller,
Last modified: April 15, 2003
Copyright © 2002 All Rights Reserved