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Chess

Philidor Position, or 3rd Rank Defense
Sister of the Lucena position, the Philidor position is named for its finder/creator, François Philidor, who analyzed the position in 1777. It is possible to transform the Philidor into the Lucena position. (It happened to my game before) Although there are three Philidor positions, the main one is most famous and will be the emphasis of this node. In essence, the idea behind the position is that the player with less material wants to draw. If done correctly in the theoretical positions, it is a guaranteed draw. The three Philidor positions are: Kings with: Rook and pawn versus Rook, Queen versus Rook, Rook and Bishop versus Rook. Rook and pawn end games are the most frequented endings between chess masters. The novice player might ask, “Why aren’t there more Queen and pawn end games?” The answer is relatively simple. Each side has only one Queen, but both have two Rooks. This along with the fact that Rooks are almost always the last non-King piece to enter the battlefield. They clean up the mess after there are holes in pawn structures allowing them access to the fight. Queens are often exchanged in the middle game. Pawns are left over because it is not important to capture every single pawn to win the game, ignoring certain pawns is favorable sometimes.

Rook and pawn versus Rook

    Stipulations:
  • the defending king (White in this diagram) is on the queening square of the pawn (or adjacent to it). The pawn can be on any file.
  • the opposing pawn has not yet reached the defender's third rank (its sixth rank).
  • the opposing king is beyond the defender's third rank.
  • the defender's rook is on the third rank, keeping the opposing king off that rank.
  • Basic stipulations from the Wikipedia guidelines
                                 Diagram 1
                             Philidor (Draw)
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 8
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 7
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 6
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 5
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |Bp |BK |   |   | 4
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |WR |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 3
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |BR | 2
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |WK |   |   |   | 1
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                      A    B   C   D   E   F   G   H

To get a draw one of a few possibilities can occur. Black trades off Rooks, resulting in a drawn King versus King and single pawn position. Black would be unable to get his King correctly into position in front of his pawn resulting with the black pawn on e2, white King on e1, and the black King on either d3 or f3 with black to move. Thus the only move for black would be to move to e3 to save the pawn resulting in stale mate. Otherwise black moves away from his pawn and white captures it resulting in a draw because neither players can checkmate the other.

The second possibility is draw by repetition, by playing through the position reaching a point where white will continuously check black from behind until repetition or agreement of draw. White must be perfect in play, presenting his moves only when black makes his attempt at winning. In Diagram One, its important that white does not move his rook behind the King until the very move black moves his pawn up.
1. ... Rb2
2. Rc3 Ra2
3. Rb3 e3
“Black plans to move Kf3, then if he is unopposed, checkmate with the rook or advance the pawn. (A passive defense does not work.)” 4. Rb8!
“Since now Black's king can not move to e3, it is safe to move the rook away to the far end of the board (the defender's seventh or eighth rank).” 4. ... Kf3
5. Rf8+ Ke4
6. Re8+
“The black king can not hide from the checks without giving up the pawn; nor can he approach the rook:”
6. ... Kf4
7. Rf8+ Ke5
8. Re8+
“To sum up the defense: the defender should keep his king in front of the opposing pawn and keep his rook on the third rank until the pawn advances to that rank, then go to the far end of the board (the seventh or eighth rank) and check the king from behind.” (Position play and analysis from wikipedia) An alternative strategy would have been to keep the defender’s Rook on the same side of the aggressor’s King, which makes the pawn unable to block a check.

The third possibility is draw by mutual agreement. After a few moves black realizes he cannot make any ground and offers a draw or accepts one white has offered. Also, it is important to note that humans make mistakes, black or white could still lose the game based on a mistake of losing their Rook, or white could passively place his Rook on the 1st rank to his doom. Maybe they left it hanging, or maybe white does not play his position flawlessly, allowing black to finally queen his pawn.

Queen versus Rook (White wins)

                                 Diagram 2
                               Queen vs Rook
                                 White Wins
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |BK |   |   |   |   |   |   | 8
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |BR |   |   |   |   |   |   | 7
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |WK |   |   |   |   |   | 6
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |WQ |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 5
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 4
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 3
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 2
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 1
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                      A    B   C   D   E   F   G   H

Black to move results in a black losing his rook due to a fork, with eventual K+Q vs. K checkmate.
1. ... Rb1
2. Qd8+ Ka7
3. Qd4+ Ka8
4. Qh8+ Ka7
5. Qh7+

White to move is a key example of triangulation. He wants the same position with black to move, so he moves:
1. Qe5+ Ka8
2. Qa1+ Kb8
3. Qa5

Rook and Bishop versus Rook (White Wins)

This position is easily reached (but it takes a long time to get to). The idea is to get the Kings directly across from each other and to have the Bishop impeding any possible checks from the opponent’s Rook. This allows for a back row checkmate as if the opponent’s Rook didn’t exist. Instead of presenting a possible line to reach this position (thousands of lines) presented is the end diagram right before checkmate. Checkmate in one move unless Black throws away his Rook... if it is his move.

                                Diagram 3
                          Bishop and Rook vs Rook
                                White Wins
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |BK |   |   |   | 8
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |WR |   | 7
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |WK |   |   |   | 6
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |WB |   |   |   | 5
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 4
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 3
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |BR |   |   |   |   | 2
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 1
                     +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                      A    B   C   D   E   F   G   H

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