Philidor Set

The famous French player of the 18th century gave the idea to a famous English manufacturer to create a game at his label to ride the wave of his great notoriety, as it had been the case for Staunton. But this 19th century creation was a commercial flop and very few of these sets are known of.

François-André Danican Philidor (1726-95) was a musician, composer, and chess player, was loved by the English for his chess and by the French for his music. He first visited London in 1747 and impressed everyone with his chess ability, beating easily the leading English players. He also visited Berlin and Potsdam, were he gave a display of blindfold chess in the presence of Prussia’s King, Frederick the Great, known to be a chess enthusiast. Over many years Philidor successfully composed comic opera for the Parisian Opéra Comique. He also composed for the grand opera and ballet. His ‘Ernelinda, Princess of Norway’ so delighted Kind Louis XV that he awarded Philidor a pension from the king’s privy purse of 25 Louis d’or. For about twenty years, Philidor was invited to be the resident’s chess master at Parsloe’s, an exclusive gentlemen’s club formed in 1774, where, between the months of February and May, he would leave his family in Paris to attend Parsloe’s in London.  (source: Williams G., (2000) “Master Pieces”). 

F-A. D. Philidor is seen by many to be the first author to have laid out the principles of the game in an intelligible manner. In his L’Analyse du Jeu des Echecs  (1748), he stressed that “Pawns: they are the soul of this game, they alone form the attack and defense”.