Though slightly underestimated, Philidor Defense is a highly dynamic opening that gives Black reasonable counterplay. In recent years, the Philidor fans have usually opted for the move order starting with 1…. d6, 2… Nf6 and 3… e5 (instead of the old 1… e5 followed by 2… d6), thus avoiding some rather unpleasant lines. In our Line 295 users can find most of the Philidor lines, apart from 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O, which is covered in Line 296.
The Exchange Variation 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 doesn’t give Black much to worry about, while the Shirov Gambit 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. g4 leads to sharp positions, where it’s necessary to know the lines very precisely. The main variation in this line is the modern 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O Nb6!?, which can be used as a surprise weapon, though if White plays the most critical lines, the middlegame should be more comfortable for him.
[Diagram: White to Move] White has only a bishop for the queen, and there is only one way to secure a draw. Can you see it?
Click here to see the line in our viewer…