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Alexander McDonnell vs NN
"Dude, Where's My Rook?" (game of the day Jul-13-2014)
Casual (1830) (unorthodox), London
Chess variants (000)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-09-04  clocked: Black falls prey to yet another one move check. Actually there is a whole sequence of questionable moves. 13...Be7? 14.Bg5? 14...Rg8? 15.Qh5? 16...Ke6?
Sep-10-04  sneaky pete: Good game.
Oct-05-04  Knight13: I really liked 9. Bxf7+! Good game.
Jun-27-05  ath: The game is listed as spurious in sneaky pete's list, but nothing seems to be said about its origin? Or did I just miss something?

This game does not belong to the McDonnell-Labourdonnais series, though it's widely cited as such.

It can be found in Walker's Chess Studies (game 202) as a McDonnell - R*ll****n (probably Rolliston). It's also an odds game: McDonnell plays without QR, and so move 17 should really be Rfe1+.

In British Chess Magazine 1950 p. 291, Diggle enlarges a bit on the history of the score, as well as makes a reasonable guess as to who was hidden behind the pseudonym 'R*ll****n'. He also says that an English author in the 1880s confused Rolliston and Labourdonnais (! it takes some effort to do that) as well as returned McDonnell's rook 'as though the great master really needed it!' as Diggle puts it.

I'm submitting a correction as well -- let's see what happens.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks for clarification, <ath>. I think the game was even included in Tartakower and Du Mont's 500 Master Games collection as one of the McDonnell-Labourdonnais encounters.
Jun-27-05  sneaky pete: <ath> Thank you for digging up that information. I had no clue where this game came from, just couldn't believe it was authentic. Not only because it's not one of the 85 known games (it could be a recent rediscovery), but mainly because BOTH players made such horrible tactical blunders,as pointed out by <clocked>. If MacDonnell was indeed white, he may have been drunk and he certainly had no high opinion of his opponent's skill.
Jun-27-05  korger: <Actually there is a whole sequence of questionable moves. 13...Be7? 14.Bg5? 14...Rg8? 15.Qh5? 16...Ke6?>

The only questionable move from this sequence is 16. ... Ke6? (16. ... Kf8 could probably have held the game). Nothing wrong with the rest in your list--remember, this is the Muzio gambit in genuine coffeehouse style, so use must bestow some flexibility :)

Of course, there's also 17. ... Kxd6? Though Black's game was beyond repair after that infamous 16. move, walking into a mate in one is still suicidal. 17. ... Ne4 could have held out much longer, though losing the queen in the process, defeat would have been inevitable.

Jun-28-05  sneaky pete: <korger> <clocked> is right on every count and even mild giving the offending moves only one ? each:

<13... Be7?> he could have played .. d5 or .. Qg4

<14.Bg5? .. > 14.Be5 .. regains one of the sacrificed pieces while keeping the initiative; if now 14... Ke8 15.Nxf6+ Kd8 16.Ng4 Qg8 17.Nh6 .. and if 14... Qg6 15.Nxf6 Bxf6 16.Qb3+ ..

<14... Rg8?> 14... Ke8 offers the defender good chances; 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nxf6+ Kd8 or 15.Nxf6+ Kd8 (with 16... Rf8)

<15.Qh5+? ..> 15.Nxf6 .. first is winning (15... Bxf6 16.Qh5+ ..; 15... Qxg5 16.Nxh7+ ..)

<16... Ke6?> 16... Kf8 is unclear (17.Bh6+ Rg7 18.Qxg6 hxg6 19.Nxc8 Bd8 20.Nd6 ..)

This is not the Muzio but the MacDonnell Gambit where white should play 6.Qxf3 .. as he did in the 3 authentic games against La Bourdonnais. In these lines where a full piece is gambitted, the slightest slip CAN make the diference between win and loss. Of course, in a coffeehouse game where the consumptions are not restricted to coffee, it doesn't always turn out that way.

Sep-18-05  atrifix: <sneaky pete> 13... d5 14. Nxf6 wins, e.g. 14... Qxf6 15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Bd6! . 13... Qg4 should also lose after 14. Qc3 Be7 15. Bg5 Qxe4 16. Rxf6+ Ke8 (or 16... Kg8 17. Bh6!) 17. Re1.

Apparently the only way for Black to save this game was with 13... Bc5+ 14. Nxc5 Re8, although Black's position remains difficult. My guess is that 6... c6 is not good and that 6... d5 is much better. After White's mistake 14. Bg5? then 14... Ke8! would have offered good chances to defend, but it seems that Black's position on the 13th move is very difficult.

Oct-31-05  sneaky pete: <atrifix> You're right, black should have played 6... d5 to begin with and his position after 13.Ne4 .. is critical. Still, after the best move 13... d5 and if 14.Nxf6 Qxf6 15.Qh5+ Qg6! black is okay (16.Bd6+ Bf5 17.Rxf5+ Ke6 18.Qxg6+ hxg6 19.Rxf8 Nd7).

All previous analyses is really irrelevant, because MacDonnell played this game giving odds of Ra1, so white was lost from the beginning until black's final blunder 16... Ke6?

As <ath> has unearthed, black of course isn't De La Bourdonnais but good old NN, see the duplicate MacDonnell vs NN, 1830.

Oct-31-05  sneaky pete: 17.Rfe1+ .. should be 17.Re1+ .. since MacDonnell had given queen's rook odds (so there is no ambiguity). Similarly 17.Rae1+ .. should be 17.Re1+ .. in the duplicate game MacDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834.
Sep-29-07  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.25.

McDonnell 3 mistakes:
13.Ne4 -7.99 (13.Be5 -6.26)
14.Bg5 -7.29 (14.Be5 -3.44)
15.Qh5+ -7.05 (15.Nxf6 -0.35)

NN 4 mistakes:
13...Be7 -3.44 (13...d5 -7.99)
14...Rg8 -0.35 (14...Ke8 -7.29)
16...Ke6 0.40 (16...Kf8 -8.07)
17...Kxd6 #1 (17...Ne4 0.49)

Jan-19-09  WhiteRook48: the art of king hunting.
Feb-10-09  WhiteRook48: nice king hunt- anyway
Mar-19-09  WhiteRook48: McDonnell= Anderssen
Jul-13-14  Mating Net: To compensate White for the "missing" Rook, NN graciously agreed not to move any of his Queen side pieces.
Jul-13-14  morfishine: An Amuzing game
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: For the Black player receiving rook odds, going into the Muzio is a stupid choice. Play a solid defense like 3...d5 and challenge White to show compensation for his rook.
Jul-13-14  MuzioFan: 5.Nc3 surprised me - white is down a rook and about to sacrifice two pieces, and he decides to hand black an extra move to improve his defence. I myself sometimes play 5.O-O or 5.d4, but I don't recall seeing this idea before.
Jul-13-14  Garech: All hail McDonnell!

The first ever Irish world champion ;0)


Jul-13-14  TheTamale: This game goes to show that it is impossible NOT to checkmate NN.
Jul-13-14  psmith: <atrifix> <sneaky pete> In the line 13... d5 14. Nxf6 wins, e.g. 14... Qxf6 15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Bd6! given by <atrifix> doesn't Black just play 16... Qxf1+ 17. Kxf1 Bxd6 with overwhelming material plus?
Jul-14-14  sneaky pete: <psmith> See my kibitz dated October 31, 2005. <atrifix> and I had studied another game, now deleted, with the same moves but without QR odds. Then of course in the line mentioned after 16... Qxf1+ 17.Rxf1 Bxd6 18.Qf7# would end the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White gives up 3 pieces and then breezes to victory. Reminds me of a certain horse from 1973...
Jul-29-20  schnarre: ...Very entertaining miniature!
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