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MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63 Match

George Henry Mackenzie6.5/10(+6 -3 =1)[games]
George Alcock MacDonnell3.5/10(+3 -6 =1)[games] Chess Event Description
MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63

This was the second of two matches played between these two players within a year, and was played during December 1862 and January 1863.

"A match of four games, with a time limit of twenty-four moves an hour, has been arranged to come off between Mr. Macdonnell and Mr. Mackenzie. These gentlemen are old antagonists in the Royal game, and the friends of the latter are now hopeful of success, since he so ably proved his powers by carrying off first prize in the recent Handicap Tourney; but it must be remembered that the President of the Dublin Chess Club did not enter into that contest, and we are confident that Mr. Macdonnell, in this match, will maintain his own position with his able adversary." (1) "The President" being Mr. Macdonnell. (2) Mackenzie had lost the first match in the summer of 1862. The exact score of that match is not clear. The Illustrated London News quotes a letter from MacDonnell giving his combined result against Mackenzie (after the second match) as +10 -10 =4, in which case Mackenzie's score for the first match was +4 -7 =3.

Mackenzie gained his revenge by defeating MacDonnell by +6 -3 =1. The Illustrated London News of 20 December 1862, p. 654 states this match took place at the Grand Cigar Divan in London (now known as Simpson's in the Strand). At the time, the establishment was also known as "'(Samuel) Ries's Grand Cigar Divan', Strand, opposite Exeter Hall." (3)


"At the Cigar Divan a spirited contest is now pending. The players are Mr Macdonnell and Captain Mackenzie, the conditions being that the winner of the first six games shall be declared victor. Present score: - Mr Macdonnell, I; Capt. Mackenzie, I; Drawn, 0." (4)

The match

When this match was played, it represented a high-level encounter indeed. The players were of similar strength and in their prime, Mackenzie being 25 years old and his opponent 32. They were both in a group of elite players whose strength at the time was just under that of the leading masters: Paulsen, Anderssen, Kolisch, Steinitz. Chessmetrics has MacDonnell as 6th and Mackenzie as 13th in the world at the time. Mackenzie's rated strength, however, was to increase significantly with regular tournament practice as a professional player in the USA, whilst MacDonnell, who was a priest, did not match his erstwhile opponent's improvement.

It was a strongly fought match, and featured interesting new ideas. MacDonnell's defence in games 8 and 10 prefigured Chigorin and the Hyper-Moderns. MacDonnell led 3-2 after 5 games, but then could make only one draw in the remaining. Of the two players, he made the most egregious blunders, but also played more inventively in defence.

Mackenzie 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 6.5 MacDonnell 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3.5

The chronology of the match as given in The Era is:

14th December 1862: MacDonnell 1, Mackenzie 1, draws 0.
21st December 1862: MacDonnell 3, Mackenzie 3, draws 0.
4th January 1863: MacDonnell 3, Mackenzie 5, draws 1.

And the Nottinghamshire Guardian provides the conclusion:

16 January 1863: MacDonnell 3, Mackenzie 6, draws 1.

"The chess match at the Grand Cigar Divan, London, between the Rev. Mr. Macdonnell (formerly of Nottingham) and Mr. Mackenzie, has terminated in favour of the latter. The score at the finish was as follows: Mackenzie, 6; Macdonnell, 3; drawn, 1." (5)


(1) Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 20 December 1862, p. 4.
(2) See Dublin Daily Express, Friday 27 June 1862, p. 3.
(3) See Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday 20 September 1861, p. 6.
(4) According to The Era, Sunday 14 December 1862, p. 5.
(5) Nottinghamshire Guardian, Friday 16 January 1863, p. 5.

Original collection and text: Game Collection: MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63 (1862) by User: Chessical. Missing information: No exact date available for any game. Month/year uncertain for games 8-9.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. G MacDonnell vs Mackenzie ½-½371862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63A10 English
2. Mackenzie vs G MacDonnell 1-0481862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63A00 Uncommon Opening
3. G MacDonnell vs Mackenzie 1-0491862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C50 Giuoco Piano
4. G MacDonnell vs Mackenzie 0-1271862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C01 French, Exchange
5. Mackenzie vs G MacDonnell 1-0471862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C41 Philidor Defense
6. G MacDonnell vs Mackenzie 1-0471862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C50 Giuoco Piano
7. Mackenzie vs G MacDonnell 0-1641862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C41 Philidor Defense
8. G MacDonnell vs Mackenzie 0-1281862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C42 Petrov Defense
9. Mackenzie vs G MacDonnell 1-0471862MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63C41 Philidor Defense
10. Mackenzie vs G MacDonnell 1-0361863MacDonnell - Mackenzie 1862/63A00 Uncommon Opening
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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