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Jean-Jacques Rousseau vs David Hume
Casual (1765), Unknown
Uncommon King's Pawn Opening (B00)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
May-31-05  InspiredByMorphy: 2. ...Nd7 may be playable, but 4. ...c5 cannot be recommended. A developing move like 4. ...Nf6 was better.
May-31-05  Ziggurat: So ... is this supposed to be a game between the two philosophers? Looks fabricated (double rook sacrifice, smothered mate) even though Hume's extremely patzerish play makes it a bit more "realistic" than other fakes.
Jun-09-05  Jaymthetactician: They played the Pirc back then? How is this?!
Nov-07-05  bishopawn: Gee, I have played this bad and my games can never get in here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  BishopBerkeley: Interesting piece in the Boston Globe on the feud between the two geniuses Hume and Rousseau:

Hume's magnificent "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" may be read here:

And Rousseau's justly famous "Confessions" may be read here:

From the Confessions:

"I have studied mankind and know my heart; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature has acted rightly or wrongly in destroying the mold in which she cast me, can only be decided after I have been read..."

And Hume's famous "solution" to the seemingly insoluble skepticism into which he had reasoned himself (from "Sceptical Solution of these Doubts" ):

"Custom, then, is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation..."

But alas, philosophy would not let Hume off his self-fashioned hook so easily! (Many believe this job was left for Immanuel Kant, though many others believe that even "the sage of Königsberg" was unable to fully overcome Hume's skepticism.)

(: ♗ Bishop Berkeley ♗ :)

Jun-08-06  aragorn69: If this game is genuine, White is certainly not Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a patzer who confessed having "reached the limit of his powers in a single day" (H.J.M. Murray).

See C.N.4401 at:

Dec-16-06  Rubenus: The position after white's seventh move is almost the same as the well-known opening trap in the Philidor: e4 e5 Nf3 d6 d4 Nd7 Bc4 Be7 dxe5 dxe5?? Qd5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: In his death throes, Black snaps up two Rooks, like the Immortal Anderssen-Kieseritzky game 86 years later.

To <Aragorn>'s remark, I would add that if this game is genuine, then it is the only score I have ever seen of a Rousseau win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: At move 13, any knight move except Nh8+ forces mate. But apparently 13.Nh6+ was the most natural.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: If Black is the famous thinker, a good title for the game would be "The Philosopher, Stoned."

I simply can't resist a bad pun.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Confessions

<Toutes les fois qu’avec le livre de <Philidor> ou celui de <Slamma> j’ai voulu m’exercer à étudier des parties, la même chose m’est arrivée; et après m’être épuisé de fatigue, je me suis trouvé plus faible qu’auparavant. Du reste, que j’aie abandonné <les échecs>, ou qu’en en jouant je me sois <remis> en haleine, je n’ai jamais avancé d’un cran depuis cette première séance, et je me suis toujours retrouvé au même point où j’étais en la finissant.>>

Aug-08-07  pawnofdoom: White's down 2 rooks and a queen for a knight in the final position, but checkmates. THis is a fantastic game that came out of a strange opening. Definitely great for a game of the day
Oct-09-07  wolfmaster: <An Englishman> How about, Hume-iliating?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Although I am highly skeptical of the authenticity of this game, taking note of the concluding combination, I suppose the possiblity must be entertained that J. J. Rousseau took some lessons around this time from his countryman, Philidor.
Jan-28-08  wolfmaster: Sorry, that was a bad pun:)
May-03-08  Whitehat1963: David Hume could out-consume Schopenhauer and Hegel ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: I'm in doubt concerning his human chess understanding.
Jun-28-09  Granny O Doul: Pretty obvious fake. The constructor was not skilled enough to fabricate a two-rook sac plus smothered mate without such weak play on the loser's part that the concluding combination was irrelevant. Also unlikely that White, after his impeccable opening play, would allow the murk of 10...Nxe5 11.Qxe5 Bf6 12.Qxc5 Qxb2 when he had the incredibly simple and strong 10. 0-0-0 available.
Jul-24-09  just a kid: Definitely fabricated.
Feb-12-10  siegbert: i know a lot of the napoleon games are fakes. is this too a FAKE????Its an enjoyable finish anyhow.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: If this game is spurious, as I think it probably is, then the first double Rook sacrifice game remains T Bowdler vs H Conway, 1788.

Best for Black would have been 4...c6, in order to prevent White's Queen from reaching d5, although 4...Ngf6 would also serve this purpose. That alone is enough to mark 4...c5 as a blunder.

Jun-28-16  Conrad93: I don't think this is fabricated. Rousseau spend many years studying and practicing at the game, and the tactics he displayed are those of an above average player. Nothing stupendous.
Jun-28-16  Conrad93: < Pretty obvious fake. The constructor was not skilled enough to fabricate a two-rook sac plus smothered mate without such weak play on the loser's part that the concluding combination was irrelevant. Also unlikely that White, after his impeccable opening play, would allow the murk of 10...Nxe5 11.Qxe5 Bf6 12.Qxc5 Qxb2 when he had the incredibly simple and strong 10. 0-0-0 available.>

The two rook sacrifice isn't as impressive as it seems if you understand the concept of a double check and smothered mate.

He only had to calculate 10 moves ahead, which for someone of Rousseau's strength isn't that unlikely.

It also must be remembered that this was the Romantic Age. If players had a chance to sacrifice a piece for some compensation, they would usually take the risk. The positive results are what we see.

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