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London Chess Club vs Paris Chess Club
"I saw Paris, I saw France" (game of the day Dec-26-2010)
Correspondence game (1834) (correspondence), London ENG - Paris FRA, Feb-??
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have done a youtube video on this game:

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Why didn't white play 11. Nxc6 ? Black is busted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: If 11.Nxc6, 11...Qb6 12.Nd4 (12.O-O bxc6 13.Bd3 d4) Bg4 13.Nf3 d4 .
Dec-26-10  Elsinore: I saw <chessgames> underpants
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I think we have just discovered a parallel universe.

As <Xeroxx> has pointed out, this game is in the database twice. There's this one, and then there's this one: London Chess Club vs Paris, 1836

In the other Paris vs London, the date is given as 1836 (not 1834) and white resigns after 27. Kf8. But other than that, they look to be exactly the same game.

Perhaps 1834 was the year they started the game and 1836 was when they finished it?

And it is always possible that London did resign after 27. Kf8 and that the finish we have is analysis that was added after the game.

But now, has a little problem. They could merge the two games or delete one, but then what would they do about all the kibitzing? If you simply merged all the kibitzing into one game then it wouldn't make much sense. And if you deleted one set of kibitzing we would be playing the censor, which doesn't like to do. So maybe CG has no choice except to allow the two parallel games to co-exist - they have each acquired a separate "life". Weird Star Trek type stuff, n'est ce pas?

BTW, I remember reading somewhere that the French defence came about as a reaction to all those swashbuckling attacks that white seems to get in 1. e4 e5 games. In many of those games, something nasty and tactical happened on f7, particularly when white plays Bc4-f7 in conjunction with 0-0 and f4.

So the French defence blocks the c4-f7 diagonal by arranging a line of pawns along f7-e6-d5.

I have no idea if this is true (and sadly can't remember where I read it), but it's an interesting theory...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Paris was up a rook so London had to resign.
Dec-26-10  Chessmensch: A Tale of Two Cities. Paris Chess Club cheated--Madame Defarge knitted the Fritz moves. (Yes, I know it's an anachronism--book was written in 1859.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Sastre: If 11.Nxc6, 11...Qb6> 12. Nxa7.

If 12...Bxe3, 12...Rxa7, or 12...Qxa7, then 13. Bxe8. If, say, 12...Re7, then 13. O-O Rxa7 14. Bxc5 Qxc5 15. Qd3 Ra5 16. c4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Chess in essentially its current form has been played since ca. 1500. Does anyone seriously doubt that 1. e4 e6 occurred thousands of times --perhaps millions -- prior to 1836?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <al wazir: <Sastre: If 11.Nxc6, 11...Qb6> 12. Nxa7> 12...Bg4 .
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Sastre>: That's rather convincing. Thanks.
Dec-26-10  weisyschwarz: "Can't see London,
Can't see France,
'Til we see
Your underpants."


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <al wazir: Chess in essentially its current form has been played since ca. 1500. Does anyone seriously doubt that 1. e4 e6 occurred thousands of times --perhaps millions -- prior to 1836?>

You can say the same thing about just about any opening. But we have got to call openings something, and so a name tends to stick at some point. It may not relate to the very first time that the opening was played, but it could be the first time that the opening was noticed by serious players or was played at the highest level with any success.

Here we have a high profile game between two of the most pre-eminent capital cities at the time. And the French team wheel out an opening that may have been played before by patzers but which wasn't taken seriously by anyone else. That fount of all knowledge Wikipedia says that one of the French players came up with idea of 1...e6:

"The French Defence is named after a match played by correspondence between the cities of London and Paris in 1834 (although earlier examples of games with the opening do exist). It was Chamouillet, one of the players of the Paris team, who convinced the others to adopt this defense"

And what is more, the Parisian team wins quite handily with their "new" opening.

I'd say that is reason enough to name a chess opening. We should be grateful for small "merci"s. If fate had been unkind, we might now be calling it the Chamouillet defence, and imagine how hard that would be to spell!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: There is a PGN file of historic correspondence games at, which includes the two "London-Paris" games. These include some notes, apparently by Jan van Reek:

"Cercle de Philidor of Paris had sent a challenge to London in 1822 but no match occurred. A new challenge was made on 29 i 1834. The Westminster Chess Club accepted and each side entered 50 pounds. London mailed the first move in February 1834. The Channel could be crossed by a steamboat. Paris' team met at 48, Rue Neuve Vivienne and had to answer in a fortnight. Pierre de Saint Amant led the Frenchmen."

<1.e4 e6>

"The name French Defence was given after Paris had won this game. Actually, the first move had been applied in Antwerp - Amsterdam 1827-9 (in which Black won), but the name Dutch Defence was used for another opening later."

This file gives the 27-move version, by the way.

The notes for the other game in the match (Paris vs London, 1834) indicate that it ended in October, 1836, which confirms <Once>'s speculation about the differing dates.

As for the other version of the game (which was also used as a GOTD!), I'm more of a database purist myself and would rather see just one version. What might work would be to take the posts from the deleted version and put them at the beginning of the kibitzing of the remaining version, perhaps indicating that they are from a deleted version of the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Once>: I don't object to the name; as you say, we have to call it something. (Though the importance of that can be overstated. As the Gnat said to Alice, do they answer to their names?) But I doubt your conjecture that serious players had never thought seriously about the opening before 1836.
Dec-26-10  theodor: allez, gaules!<;
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: I remember reading a beginner's chess book (I think it was by I.A.Horowitz) in which the French defense was described as "King's pawn sneaks one". An apt description.
Dec-27-10  kevin86: A great finish by black! White's pawns can be stopped.
Jan-27-11  David2009:

click for larger view

5...c5! has just been played. A quick trawl of the data base reveals 6 dxc5 Bxc5 7 0-0 is White's best chance of making something out of nothing, since if 6 0-0 then 6...c4! gives Black good play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: The black ♔ is going to approach the white ♙s and black is going to be winning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Once> We may be thankful that Dame Fate did not bestow Mr Chamouillet's name upon 1.e4 e6.
Aug-20-13  SBC: I know the more important members of the Cercle des Panoramas. Does anyone happen to know, or know where to find, the members of the Westminster Club on Bedford street in 1834 who might have participated in the correspondence match?
Aug-20-13  whiteshark: <SBC: I know the more important members of the Cercle des Panoramas. Does anyone happen to know, or know where to find, the members of the Westminster Club on Bedford street in 1834 who might have participated in the correspondence match?>

UltraCorr database refers to <"The Write Move"> by Tim Harding. Hopefully you'll hit paydirt there.

Aug-21-13  SBC:

Thanks. I'm not sure "The Write Move" has what I'm looking for, but Tim Harding is definitely the go-to guy on early UK chess. You also made me think of the Streatham and Brixton C.C. which has marvelous historical resources.

Oct-26-20  MelvinDoucet: This game was featured in the first volume of Le Palamède in 1836 and was annotated by none other than Monsieur de La Bourdonnais. The following is my translation of his annotations. Note thay the London CC had the black pieces and played first so I had to reverse colors in the translation.

6.♕e2+: <This move by white is a mistake. This check brings out a black piece and places the queen in front of the king, an often precarious position.>

8.♗e3: <By playing this move white wishes to defend the pawn which took the gambit of the queen,> [sic; perhaps referring to the fact that the c5 pawn was threatening white's queen pawn] <which is a risky defense. Better would have been to castle and let go of the pawn.>

9.♗b5: <This is a poor move which only helps to free the opponent's game.>

10.♘d4: <By bringing their knight to this square, white thinks they shall win a pawn or force black into a defensive move; they are again mistaken as the following moves shall demonstrate.>

11.♗xc6: <Had white taken the knight with their knight, black ought not to have recaptured but bring their queen to her knight's third square;> [i.e. b6] <with this move they would have regained their pawn with an excellent position.>

12.c3: <White cannot take the pawn with their knight, for if they did, black would win a piece by playing their queen to her knight's third square.>

14.♕d3: <Here it can be seen how precarious the queen's placement in front of her king was. With this move, white, in bringing their queen to her third square, plays quite poorly once again; it would have been better to bring her to her second square.>

23.♖xa7: <By taking this pawn and giving up their knight, white ends with a serious mistake a game which was played quite poorly from the onset. Had they wished to continue a game they ought to lose inexorably, then they had to retain this knight; by losing it, it is hard to believe they thought they could lead their pawns to promotion; fifteen days went by between each move of this game yet it takes no more than fifteen minutes to realize that black shall stop the white pawns in their tracks, emerging with an extra rook. § Besides, if every correspondence game were to be played this way, then this mode of playing ought to be abandoned for this game certainly is no exemplar and cannot help the game forward in spite of the fact it was played over the course of two years.>

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