Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...d6/3. d4

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Philidor Defence
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation(FEN)


Philidor Defence[edit]

Black has now to deal with the dxe5 threat, but he has to be very careful as there are many traps here!

3...Bg4 is not a good idea. After 4. dxe5 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 dxe5 6. Bc4, White has a strong initiative.
3...exd4 is strange as Black gives up the center he tried to strengthen, but remains playable.
3...Nc6 leaves Black in a little trouble after 4. Bb5.
3...Nd7, the Hanham Variation, is a path filled with traps after 4. Bc4, but may be playable if Black is careful enough.

Better variations include:

3...f5, the Philidor counter-Gambit which is quite risky but may lead to victory.
3...Nf6, the improved Hanham Variation is the main line.

Another option would be:

3...f6, countering Queen exchange and gaining center if dxe5

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4

Improved Hanham Variation ...
Hanham Variation ...
Philidor Counter-Gambit ...

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  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.