Few have been as dominant in two major areas of human activity as André Philidor ( 17261795) of France who was a leading opera composer as well as a dominant chess player who — 20 years ahead ahead of his time — played an essestial role in defining modern chess. Before Philidor, chess was often an exercise of brutal piece engagement. Pawns were regarded as foils for the mighty pieces, waiting to do their worst in the pursuit of the enemy king. But Philidor changed that, giving pawns a central role, e. g. with the aphorism: “pawns are the soul of chess.” Rather than a kind of debris that had to be swept away, before the real game began, they structured the chess battlefield. Pawns could either help or hinder the efficacy of the piece by being placed correctly. It is not an exaggeration to say that Philidor defined the nature of modern chess: a confrontation in which strategy — determined in large part by pawn position — supersedes tactics or mere attack.