Does white always have a very strong central attack against black in Philidor defence?

I need some resource suggestions on Philidor defence theory.

  • I've edited you title to be a little clearer - it sounded like you were asking about a specific link in the Philidor called the 'Central Attack' (which might not exist), so I reworded things slightly.
    – DTR
    Aug 27, 2015 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


The most popular (and arguably the most precise) move order for black to play the Philidor defence is 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5. Alternative move orders are, for example, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 or 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 followed by 4....e5.

According to the Game Database of ChessTempo, the most popular continuation is 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0-0 0-0. However, 3.f3, 4.dxe5, 4.Nge2 and 5.g4 are also interesting alternatives for white.

There are a couple of repertoire books on the Philidor, for instance by GM Bauer (2007) and IM Barksy (2010). If you are interested in the Philidor from white's perspective, the book by GM Negi (2014) can be recommended.

      [FEN ""]
      [StartPly "1"]

      1.e4 d6 (1...e5 2.Nf3 d6) 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 (3.f3) e5 (3...Nbd7) 4.Nf3 (4.dxe5)(4.Nge2) Nbd7 5.Bc4 (5.g4) Be7 6.O-O O-O

  • Would be nice to add some example setups/common lines/typical themes etc. to make it a full answer (see first part of the question) instead of mere book recommendations. Aug 27, 2015 at 16:14
  • I agree, I added a couple of common lines.
    – Maxwell86
    Aug 27, 2015 at 20:17

A big question :-) There are variations that are better for black or a GM would never play it. There is for example the Hanman Variation (ECO C41t) that has potential for black.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O

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