Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bruehl - Philidor

Although there are no known examples of Philidor playing his own defense, the following game comes close. The only difference is that White does not develop his knight to f3. What makes this victory remarkable is that Philidor played it blindfold as part of a simultaneous exhibition!

John Bruehl - Francois Andre Philidor, London 5/8/1783

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Qe2 d6 4.c3 f5 5.d3 Nf6 6.exf5 Bxf5 7.d4 e4 8.Bg5 d5 9.Bb3 Bd6 10.Nd2 Nbd7

This position is similar to one that could arise from the Philidor Counter Gambit.

11.h3 h6 12.Be3 Qe7 13.f4 h5 14.c4 a6 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.Qf2 O-O 17.Ne2 b5 18.O-O Nb6 19.Ng3 g6 20.Rac1 Nc4

Both players have completed their development. Although the overall position is approximately equal, Black has an advantage in the center where White's dark-squared bishop is a "tall pawn" forced to blockade Black's passed e-pawn.

21.Nxf5 gxf5 22.Qg3+ Qg7 23.Qxg7+ Kxg7 24.Bxc4 bxc4 25.g3 Rab8 26.b3 Ba3 27.Rc2 cxb3 28.axb3 Rfc8 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Ra1 Bb4 31.Rxa6 Rc3 32.Kf2 Rd3 33.Ra2 Bxd2 34.Rxd2 Rxb3

Black's more active rook and better minor piece give him the better chances in this endgame.

35.Rc2 h4 36.Rc7+ Kg6 37.gxh4 Nh5 38.Rd7 Nxf4 39.Bxf4 Rf3+ 40.Kg2 Rxf4 41.Rxd5 Rf3 42.Rd8 Rd3 43.d5 f4

The connected passed pawns are difficult to stop.

44.d6 Rd2+ 45.Kf1 Kf7 46.h5 e3 47.h6?? f3, White resigns.

Bruehl missed 47.Rd7+ Kf6 48.Rd8 with a likely draw. Philidor "saw" everything!