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Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais

Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1795–December 1840) was a French chess master, possibly the strongest player in the early 19th century.

Louis de La Bourdonnais
Louisdelabourdonnais.jpg
The only known likeness of La Bourdonnais.
Full nameLouis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais
CountryFrance
Born1795
France
Died1840 (aged 44–45)
World Champion1821–1835 1836-1840 (Unofficial)

Contents

Early lifeEdit

La Bourdonnais was born on the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean in 1795. He was the grandson of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais. He learned chess in 1814 and began to take the game seriously in 1818, regularly playing at the Café de la Régence.[1] He took lessons from Jacques François Mouret, his first teacher,[2] and within two years he became one of the best players of the Café.

La Bourdonnais was forced to earn his living as a professional chess player after squandering his fortune on ill-advised land deals.

Unofficial World Chess ChampionEdit

La Bourdonnais was considered to be the unofficial World Chess Champion (there was no official title at the time) from 1821—when he became able to beat his chess teacher Alexandre Deschapelles—until his death in 1840. The most famous match series, sometimes considered to be the world championship, was the series against Alexander McDonnell in 1834.

DeathEdit

He died penniless in London in December 1840,[3] having been forced to sell all of his possessions, including his clothes, to satisfy his creditors. George Walker arranged to have him buried just a stone's throw away from his old rival Alexander McDonnell in London's Kensal Green Cemetery.[4][5]

Notable gamesEdit

McDonnell vs. La Bourdonnais
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8
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
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Final position after 37...e2

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The Oxford Companion to Chess – David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld (1992) p. 56
  2. ^ La Palamède edited by St. Amaint (1847) p. 211
  3. ^ Crescendo of the Virtuoso: Spectacle, Skill, and Self-Promotion in Paris during the Age of Revolution. Paul Metzner, Berkeley: University of California Press, c1998 1998.
  4. ^ Philip W. Sergeant, A Century of British Chess, David McKay, 1934, p. 39.
  5. ^ Walker, George (1850). Chess and Chess-Players. London: C. J. Skeet.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit