Philidor position

R-318B (Philidor position)

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Philidor Position

Philidor position along sixth rank is also one of the most important positions in rook endgames. Every chess player should know this defending procedure by heart!
When Black is to move, he should know from the beginning that the game is always drawn except when the rook is in a very awkward position d5 or d8. In the examined position, Black to move can draw in two ways. This very simple defence along the sixth rank discovered French player and musician Andre Danican Philidor in the 18th century. Later M. Karstedt found that each move along b-file, allowing the rook to seize the squares behind the pawn, also leads to a draw. The losing area for black rook is illustrated in diagram below.

The point of the defending idea is that the rook does not allow the opponent’s king to place it in front of the pawn. Only when the pawn reaches the sixth rank, rook quickly transfers to the back in order to reject the mating threat with Kf6 where draw by repetition would disillusion White of play to win.


Philidor position
Philidor defence
Philidor position
M. Karstedt. Losing area for black rook


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GM Vlatko Kovacevic

Vlado Kovacevic is a chess grandmaster and an endgame expert. He very successfully competed on the national team. From 2000 – 2004, he acted as selector of the Croatian Men’s national team. He is also a well-known chess author.