Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ben Franklin and Andre Philidor Chess

Francois Andre Danican Philidor was a French music performer and composer. Philidor also played chess at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris, where Paul Morphy would play 100 years later. There Philidor played the visiting American Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

Both men wrote books on chess. Philidor published "l'Analyse du jeu des Echecs" in 1749. The most famous Philidor quote is translated into English on wikipedia:

Philidor: "play the pawns well; they are the soul of chess: it is they which uniquely determine the attack and the defence, and on their good or bad arrangement depends entirely the winning or losing of the game."

Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay "The Morals of Chess" where he compares chess to life. Ben Franklin was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 1999.

Franklin, Philidor and George Washington were contemporaries, who were born and died in that order. All were alive during the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Philidor died in London on August 31, 1795, two years after Franklin and four years before Washington. Below I draw a chess game in the Philidor Defence vs a high rated opponent. We repeat moves in a mostly blocked position.

Sawyer (2411) - CraftyWiz (3108), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 17.06.2004 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.h3 a6 10.Re1 Ne5 11.Nxe5!? dxe5 12.Be3 Be6 13.Qxd8 Rfxd8 14.Rad1 b5 15.b3 b4 [15...c4=] 16.Na4 Nd7 [16...Nxe4 17.Bf3+/=] 17.Rd2 Kf8 18.Red1 Ke8 19.Kf1 g6 20.Nb2 Nf6 21.Rxd8+ Rxd8 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8 23.f3 Bc8 24.Bc4 Ke8 25.Nd3 Nd7 26.g4 h5 27.Ke2 hxg4 28.hxg4 Bb7 29.Kf2 Bd6 30.Ke2 [30.g5+/=] 30...f6 [30...Be7=] 31.Bf2 Ke7 32.Be3 Ke8 33.Bf2 [33.g5!?+/=] 33...Ke7 34.Be3 Ke8 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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