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Friday, July 18, 2008

Pawns - Their Importance - Part 1

500 years ago chess was different from today.

Pawns didn’t cost as much as they do today.
The best players started games with the gambits. Pawns were only a small price to:
Open a file or diagonal;
Create an immediate attack on an opponent’s king;

It was the Italian style of chess.All positions of the King’s Gambit were very popular Here’s a typical game of the Italian style:





You may see that white just offered pawn after pawn - without any clear compensation.
In many games a very nice attacking style dominated…..
Not only because of the good tactical and attacking strength of the players But as well because nobody knew how to defend! Everybody dreamt only about attack with sacrifices.

The best chess player of his day was Francois Andre Danican-Philidor, born in France on September 7, 1796.

The name Philidor was passed on through his grandfather from King Louis XIII, a tribute to this family of royal musicians.

During years of waiting to perform in the chapel of Versailles, the young Francois learned the moves of chess and became the best player in the chapel. Philidor supported himself by giving music lessons, arranging and copying music.

His spare time was spent at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris. There he learned from the strongest player in France, M. de Kermur, Sire de Legal. Legal had heard that old Italian masters could play without sight of the chessboard.

Philidor said he often did the same when he could not sleep at night. When he was in his prime, few opponents could challenge him without receiving odds or blindfolding him. Often he would play two or three blindfold games at the same time.

His published chess strategy stood for a hundred years without significant addition or modification. He preached the value of a strong pawn center, an understanding of the relative value of the pieces, and correct pawn formations. We still remember his motto, “pawns are the soul of chess.”

Philidor died in London, after being denied a passport to return to France for a demonstration match. The newspaper obituary read “On Monday last, Mr. Philidor, the celebrated chess player, made his last move, into the other world.” Nobody took Philidor’s theory seriously.

But Philidor played games as well - and made comments - according his theory.



Count Bruehl - Philidor,F
London, 1783





Philidor has taught the power of passed pawns.

The game was very typical for a style of Philidor. Already here we may learn lot of rules:

Bad and good pieces;
Space advantage;
Open files;
Pawns structure;
Importance of center

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