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Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais
La Bourdonnais 
Number of games in database: 105
Years covered: 1821 to 1840

Overall record: +51 -28 =15 (62.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 11 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (20) 
    C51 C52
 Queen's Gambit Accepted (15) 
 King's Pawn Game (4) 
    C44 C20
 King's Gambit Accepted (4) 
    C37 C39 C38
 Giuoco Piano (4) 
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (19) 
    B21 B32 B30
 King's Gambit Accepted (11) 
    C33 C37 C38
 Evans Gambit (6) 
    C51 C52
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 0-1
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834 1-0
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834 1-0
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 0-1
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834 1-0
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834 1-0
   Jouy vs La Bourdonnais, 1838 0-1
   La Bourdonnais vs Jouantho, 1837 1-0
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 0-1
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 0-1

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   1 by gr2cae
   McDonnell vs. De La Bourdonnais by Gioachino Greco
   a-1749 by wina
   zumakal blunders archivadas6 by zumakal
   Blunder Check: Louis Charles De La Bourdonnais by nimh
   Selected 19th century games by atrifix
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell WCM no 4 1834 by ilcca

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais
Search Google for Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais

(born 1797, died Dec-13-1840, 43 years old) France

[what is this?]

Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais was born in Ile Bourbon on the French island of Reunion. He was sent to Paris where in 1814 he learnt to play chess but he only took up the game seriously in 1818. About 1820 Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles took on La Bourdonnais as his pupil and when he retired La Bourdonnais became not only the undisputed Champion of France but also the World's leading player. In 1834 La Bourdonnais met Irish master Alexander McDonnell in a series of six matches with La Bourdonnais winning (+45, =13, -27) overall. In 1838 he became ill with a stroke and then later with dropsy (old term for edema/oedema). He passed away in 1840.

Wikipedia article: Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais

Last updated: 2020-05-24 18:20:33

 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 106  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. La Bourdonnais vs Cochrane 0-1301821ParisC37 King's Gambit Accepted
2. La Bourdonnais vs A D'Arblay 1-0241830FranceC39 King's Gambit Accepted
3. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1431834London m4 ;HCL 18C51 Evans Gambit
4. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1371834London m4 ;HCL 18B32 Sicilian
5. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais ½-½301834London m4 ;HCL 18B32 Sicilian
6. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 1-0421834London m4 ;HCL 18C51 Evans Gambit
7. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 1-0211834London m4 ;HCL 18B32 Sicilian
8. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais ½-½561834London m4 ;HCL 18B32 Sicilian
9. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 1-0371834London m4 ;HCL 18C51 Evans Gambit
10. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell ½-½921834London m4 ;HCL 18C38 King's Gambit Accepted
11. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 1-0261834London m4 ;HCL 18C51 Evans Gambit
12. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell ½-½411834London m4 ;HCL 18C51 Evans Gambit
13. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 1-0361834London m3 ;HCL 18D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
14. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 0-1361834London m4 ;HCL 18D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
15. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell ½-½591834London m4 ;HCL 18C20 King's Pawn Game
16. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell ½-½931834London m4 ;HCL 18D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
17. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1531834London m4 ;MAINBC20 King's Pawn Game
18. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1421834London m3 ;HCL 18C33 King's Gambit Accepted
19. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 0-1301834London m3 ;HCL 18D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
20. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 1-0321834London m3 ;MAINBC38 King's Gambit Accepted
21. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 0-1471834London m3 ;HCL 18D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
22. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1591834London m3 ;HCL 18C38 King's Gambit Accepted
23. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell 1-0301834London m3 ;HCL 18D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
24. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 0-1391834London m3 ;HCL 18C37 King's Gambit Accepted
25. McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais 1-0491834London m3 ;HCL 18D40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 106  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | La Bourdonnais wins | La Bourdonnais loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-18-15  Oliveira: What a writer George Walker was! After reading such an earnest account, I couldn't help but shedding a tear and falling pensive of what a drama must be for a man to confront his own ever-nearing ending.

Thank you, <jnpope> for sharing this treasure with us.

Feb-18-15  Oliveira: Yet for an insensitive Staunton it was all but "lugubrious twaddle".
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Thanks indeed are due <jnpope> for this treasure trove of an account posted here.
Feb-18-15  jnpope: In the second to last paragraph it should be "the one taken from us at 43" (I dropped an N somewhere along the way).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <jnpope> I just read the letter from G. Walker to the Bell. What a treasure, thank you for posting it.

If L.B. was 43 at death, the birth year in the bio above must be wrong.

<His disease was ascites, accompanied by scrotal hernia. He had been tapped 21 times in Paris during the last year and a half.> Does this refer to bloodletting? Googling the meaning of "being tapped" was not helpful to me. I ran into some vulgar slang, actually.

Incidentally, notice how having the top floor in a building, at that time, was often an indicator of poverty (just like the fully broke, main characters of La Boheme rent an attic as well). Elevators didn't exist yet, at least safe ones, so that the top floor was the hardest to access. Elisha Otis came up with the safety mechanism for elevators in 1854. Today the opposite is true. The top floor in any tall building, especially in places like Paris or London, are for the well-to-do. Plus buildings are a lot taller too.

Feb-20-15  Oliveira: <Fusilli> <tap(2)>

tr. v. tapped, tap·ping, taps
4.(Medicine) To withdraw fluid from (a body cavity).

[The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company]

<tap in Medicine>

The removal of fluid from a body cavity.

v. tapped , tap·ping , taps
1.To withdraw fluid from a body cavity, as with a trocar and cannula, hollow needle, or catheter.

[The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company]

And there you have some suggestions of good online resources:

Feb-20-15  Oliveira: <Fusilli: Incidentally, notice how having the top floor in a building, at that time, was often an indicator of poverty (just like the fully broke, main characters of La Boheme rent an attic as well). Elevators didn't exist yet, at least safe ones, so that the top floor was the hardest to access>

Handy bit of information. Hence La Bourdonnais's lament: <well, nothing is above us now but heaven. I have come to a garret at last>. The poor wretch!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Oliveira> Awesome, thanks!

Here's a short clip on the invention of the safe elevator:

Elevators were not the only thing that made high rises possible. In the 19th century, buildings were at most four or five stories tall. Tall buildings required enormously thick lower walls, increasing costs. The solution came late in the 19th century and early in the 20th: the load-bearing steel skeleton, based on the same principles used to build balloon-frame houses. Edward Glaeser has a nice account of this and the birth of the skyscraper (and everything else concerning our modern cities, by the way) in this book:

... which I highly recommend!

Feb-20-15  Oliveira: Gracias <Fusilli>. It's amazing how apparenlty minor, simple inventions pave the way for unthought-of technological advancements
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Technological advancements giving way to more technological advancements. Who would have thought it?
Feb-20-15  Oliveira: <Fusilli: If L.B. was 43 at death, the birth year in the bio above must be wrong.> I suppose the confusion is probably due to an 1842 issue of Le Palamède that stated that La Bourdonnais died at age 45, and the obituary written by Saint Amant to the French newspapers, published two months after La Bourdonnais's death, where he gives 1795 as the master's birth year, "the very same year of Phillidor's death". The obituary was reproduced in the abovementioned issue of Le Palamède:

However, the year 1797 strike us as more likely, since his wife should have known better than anyone!

Sep-05-16  offramp: I'd love to have the middle name Mahé but I don't really feel entitled to it.
May-15-17  offramp: <offramp: I'd love to have the middle name Mahé but I don't really feel entitled to it.>

Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, it occurred to me! "Bourdonnais" tells you where his family originated!

There could only be one place, I reasoned. Was there a town in France called Bourdonne?

Fevershly I tapped the letters into my computer. the internet groaned and creaked. The printer chattered out its incredible message.


The mystery had been solved!

Bourdonné has one of the smallest entries I have ever seen on Wikipedia. DO NOT look it up - take my word for it, you will be wasting your time. I have already told you everything that Wikipedia has to say.

May-15-17  Poulsen: No doubt La Bourdonnais and his mathes against McDonnell are very important to chess. It was these matches, that prepared the ground for international tournaments and matches, thus transforming the gentlemans game into a true sport.

If there is anyone among the old master I would like to play he is the one!

May-15-17  morfishine: <offramp> You forgot to add that Bourdonne' is officially a commune with 1 official government building situated approximately 360 ft above sea level supporting a population of 477, who one would think would be left-leaning politically due to the 'commune' status, but are in fact, close to the breast, conservatives


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Era, December 6th 1840, p.10:

<FOR CHESS PLAYERS. - M. De la Bourdonnais, the first chess-player in Europe, is once more amongst us, playing daily in the Strand, a locale selected by the French hero as central, and as presenting a large arena for spectators. We regret to see the dreadful state of health under which De la Bourdonnais continues to suffer: dropsy and fever have changed his frame so much since his last visit to England, seven years back, we could hardly at first recognise him. De la Bourdonnais is to chess what Paganini was to the violin, a phenomenon, a wonder, a miracle of art. He will give, and can give, pawn and move to any other player in Europe; aye, even at the present moment, brought down as he is to the grave's verge by a complication of disease and suffering. He made his debut on Wednesday, playing a couple of games against one of our very finest players, yielding the odds to our countryman of pawn and move, and yet winning both games! Country players should hasten up to have a look at the great master, who is only here for two or three months, and whose health will not allow him to visit any provincial club. We hope arrangements will be made liberally to pay Monsieur for his time by British amateurs; one suggestion strikes us as good, that those who play with him should pay on losing, but should receive nothing on winning; his stake being half a crown. De la Bourdonnais challenges every player in England to come up now to the scratch and take pawn and move.>

Three days later, he was dead.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, March 13th 1842, p.4:

<CHESS AND MATE.— We have the pleasure to announce that on Wednesday last, at Bethnal Green Church, was married Madame de la Bourdonnais, the widow of the eminent chess professor, Louis Charles Mahe de la Bourdonnais to James Budge, Esq., the well known wealthy cloth merchant of Cromartin, near Truro in Cornwall. The happy pair after a dejeuner a la fourchette with a select circle of friends started the same day on a tour to the Westmoreland Lakes and Northern Counties. Thus, although England could not mate poor De la Bourdonnais, we have succeeded in mating his interesting widow.>

Jul-20-17  offramp: <MissScarlett> You never mention any of my important archeophenomenological research.
Jul-20-17  morfishine: <offramp> Of course, Dear Sir, you must realize that <MissScarlett> doesn't participate in any advanced research projects, mainly due his/her highest education level reached of 7th - 8th grade, depending...


Aug-12-17  KnightVBishop:


Rex mentions him

Sep-02-18  jnpope: I have just released a Chess Archaeology treatment of the 1834 Bourdonnais-McDonnell matches, including what is probably the first original research into these matches in over 150 years (at least since 1864 as far as I know).

Sep-03-18  offramp: <jnpope> I have had a quick look and it looks brilliant! There is clearly a lot of work there. Many thanks for the heads up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: A forgotten game at knight odds republished by Tim Harding: (without publication date, but he announced it today on Twitter).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

<Telemus: A forgotten game ...>

Mr. Harding was wrong - this knight odds played by Alexander McDonnell vs Wellington Pulling!


Jul-06-19  Chesgambit: Very strong chess player
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