Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"My 59 Memorable Philidor Counter Gambits"

At a recent seance, I posed this question to the ghost of Philidor, "Is it really true that you never played your own defense?"

The astonishing reply: not only had Philidor played the PCG but before his death he penned a book, as yet unknown in modern chess literature, bearing the title My 59 Memorable Philidor Counter Gambits. The one remaining copy was being kept in a safe place by a man in Paris known only as Henri.

As the seance drew to a close, Philidor's ghost uttered these ominous words, "You were much more than Jonathan, mon ami," leaving me to ponder the meaning of this cryptic message. Could "Jonathan" be GM Jonathan Mestel who played the PCG a few times in the 1970's? Was Philidor trying to tell me that I am now the leading practitioner of his opening?

While these questions swirled in my mind, I followed Philidor's instructions by sending an e-mail to Henri, telling him to ship the book in a crate to the seller, a Haitian woman in Quebec City. This rare edition will become the prized possession of the first person to bid 1 million euros. Philidor's ghost will not accept checks drawn on French banks.

Happy April Fools' Day!