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Saint Amant 
Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant
Number of games in database: 69
Years covered: 1836 to 1858
Overall record: +32 -25 =11 (55.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      1 exhibition game, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Gambit Declined (6) 
    D30 D37 D35
 Giuoco Piano (5) 
    C53 C50
 Sicilian (5) 
    B21 B40 B20
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (10) 
    B20 B44 B21 B30 B22
 French Defense (6) 
    C00 C01
 French (5) 
 King's Pawn Game (5) 
    C20 C40
 English, 1 c4 c5 (4) 
    A34 A35
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Saint Amant vs Staunton, 1843 1-0
   Saint Amant vs Staunton, 1843 1-0
   Staunton vs Saint Amant, 1843 1/2-1/2
   Saint Amant vs J Schulten, 1842 1-0
   J Schulten vs Saint Amant, 1842 0-1
   H H Boncourt vs Saint Amant, 1837 0-1
   Falkbeer vs Saint Amant, 1858 0-1
   Staunton vs Saint Amant, 1843 0-1
   Staunton vs Saint Amant, 1843 0-1
   Saint Amant vs Staunton, 1843 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Staunton - Saint Amant (1843)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   1 by gr2cae
   Blunderchecked games I by nimh

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant
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(born Sep-12-1800, died Oct-29-1872, 72 years old) France

[what is this?]
Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant was a regular player at the Café de la Régence and studied under Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles and Schlumberger. He was the editor of the chess periodical Le Palamède. He lead the Paris team in their +2 victory over the Westminster club in 1836 and whilst visiting England in 1843 he lost a casual match to John Cochrane (+4, =1, -6) but beat Howard Staunton (+3, =1, -2). Later in November of that year a more formal match took place, Staunton-Saint Amant (1843). Saint-Amant lost (+6, =4, -11) thus ending 100 years of French supremacy. He later played in Birmingham 1858 losing to Ernst Falkbeer (+1, =0, -2). He retired to Algeria in 1861.

Wikipedia article: Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 69  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. G Walker vs Saint Amant 0-132 1836 London m1C20 King's Pawn Game
2. Saint Amant vs W Fraser  1-026 1836 London mA02 Bird's Opening
3. Saint Amant vs G Walker 1-036 1836 London m1A03 Bird's Opening
4. G Walker vs Saint Amant 0-144 1836 London m1C00 French Defense
5. G Walker vs Saint Amant 1-030 1836 London m1A84 Dutch
6. G Walker vs Saint Amant  0-143 1836 London m1A85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
7. H H Boncourt vs Saint Amant 0-139 1837 ParisC50 Giuoco Piano
8. Kieseritzky vs Saint Amant 0-136 1839 ParisC00 French Defense
9. Saint Amant vs Kieseritzky 0-135 1839 ParisC53 Giuoco Piano
10. G Walker vs Saint Amant  0-141 1842 Great BritainC50 Giuoco Piano
11. E Rousseau vs Saint Amant  0-135 1842 ParisB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
12. Saint Amant vs Cochrane 0-123 1842 London m3C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
13. J Schulten vs Saint Amant 0-120 1842 ParisB22 Sicilian, Alapin
14. Saint Amant vs E Rousseau  0-145 1842 ParisC44 King's Pawn Game
15. Cochrane vs Saint Amant 0-114 1842 London m3B06 Robatsch
16. Saint Amant vs J Schulten 1-030 1842 ParisC50 Giuoco Piano
17. Cochrane vs Saint Amant  ½-½34 1842 London m3B20 Sicilian
18. Saint Amant vs Staunton 1-034 1843 Staunton - Saint AmantD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Saint Amant vs G Perigal  1-047 1843 Great BritainC50 Giuoco Piano
20. Staunton vs Saint Amant 1-052 1843 Staunton - Saint AmantB44 Sicilian
21. Saint Amant vs Staunton 0-133 1843 Staunton - Saint AmantD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Saint Amant vs Staunton ½-½54 1843 Staunton - Saint AmantD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Captain Evans vs Saint Amant ½-½63 1843 LondonC21 Center Game
24. Kieseritzky vs Saint Amant  ½-½50 1843 ParisA00 Uncommon Opening
25. Staunton vs Saint Amant ½-½89 1843 Staunton - Saint AmantC24 Bishop's Opening
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 69  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Saint Amant wins | Saint Amant loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-13-06  korger: <Caissanist: Really? It certainly seems clear that St. Amant was the strongest player in France in the early 1840s,>

This only goes on to show how much and how rapidly the quality of chess deteriorated in France after the demise of Labourdonnais. As early as 1842 even the chess circle of Pest-Buda wiped the Paris team off the board twice in a spectacular way (a sadly overlooked fact nowadays).

<and Staunton the strongest in Britain> He was always careful to avoid those who could have beaten him.

<You mentioned von der Lasa--are you saying that the standard of play in Germany at that time was already clearly higher than than that of France and Britain?> That is difficult to judge after this many years, but I would say there's a good chance of that. Think about the excellent rise of the Berliner Pleiades group in the 1840's--Bledow and the likes invented a professional approach towards chess for the first time in history, whereas France and England still remained in the coffehouse era.

Apr-14-06  whatthefat: What the lipid is going on here? Until now, this page had been kibitzed upon by 10 people, 4 of which were: <Knight13>
I'm getting very suspicious!
Sep-12-06  BIDMONFA: Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant


Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I think it's a bit rash to state that the greatest players of the pre-Steinitz era could not compete with today's players, or would only become "moderately strong masters." True, the state of opening and ending theory in 1840 was pretty dismal, and if you put St. Amant, Staunton, von der Lasa and Philidor in a time machine and brought them to the year 2006, they would get clobbered, but that's only because they were centuries behind us in terms of chess knowledge. Back then, 1.d4 was almost terra incognita, and God forbid they should face 1.Nf3!

However, if someone was born today with their talent, and grew up with modern teaching and theory, I have no doubt they would rank among the strongest players in the world. Granted, it's true they would have a lot more competition: China, India, Russia and the United States were hardly chess powerhouses in 1840.

It's rather like saying that W. G. Grace wasn't a very good cricket player simply because he competed during the earliest days of the sport. Even Brian Lara would dismiss that notion as absurd. For the benefit of the Americans in the audience, a similar analogy would be to state that 19th Century lineman Pudge Heffelfinger could not play in the NFL today because he only weighed 195 pounds.

Sep-12-06  Poulsen: Another part of the problem is, that it is almost impossible for us to evaluate the true strenght of players before the great tournamentlife really picked up speed in 1860'es.

Only a small portion of the games actually played were written downed, and games on an international level were very rare.

I tend to agree with <korger> on the matter of relative strenght between players from different nations at the time.

I think, that f.x. the german players in the late 1830'es and beyond are somehow overlooked by us in comparision with Staunton and St. Amant - and that especially Staunton - although undoubtly being a strong chessplayer at that time - never was put to a test, that could confirm that. His fame came IMO from his mouth - not his results.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: What exactly makes an "official" world champion? Is it recognition by a governing body? Then we may not have had an "official" world champion before Botvinnik.

Is it the general consensus of the chess world? Then Morphy was surely an "official" world champion. It's very significant that Steinitz and Zukertort didn't play their world championship match until after Morphy died.

Steinitz certainly publicized his claims to the world championship as much as Staunton. The difference was that Steinit's claims were clearly supported by results, and accepted by the chess world as a whole.

Aug-14-07  Akuni: <Korger: Before Morphy, maybe Philidor> I think that Philidor was the most dominant player in the history of chess, not counting the stories of invinceble Arabic Shatranj players like Al-Adli and As-Suli. Morphy was vincible, but in the 18th century the only was to play a level game with Philidor was with odds. It is true however, that Morphy had stronger opposition, just like GMs of today are less dominant due to their stronger opposition.

<In my opinion the only person in history who ever demonstrated undoubtedly superior performance over anyone else who counted> What about Bobby Fischer or Steinitz or Kasparov or Capablanca or Alekhine or Karpov. Sure they were never, and could never, be as dominant as the players of yore. But that's no reason to belittle their accomplishments. But the all crushed their opposition mercilessly util they grew old, or someone newer and better came along. Fischer and Steinitz won 20 and 25 games in a row, Fischer against some of the storngest opposition available. Not even Morphy oculd say he did that, though perhaps Philidor could.

Sep-12-08  just a kid: Happy 208th birthday st.amant!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Jeremy Spinrad on page 3 of his August 2007 edition of "New Stories about Old Chessplayers" titled <Obituaries>:

Spinrad cites the obituary from the "New York Times", December 19, 1872:

<The late tragical death of Fournier de Saint Amant brings back many interesting recollections. Once famous as the greatest chess-player of the world, and for years held to be champion of France, M. St. Amant lived to be nearly seventy-three, and to die from being thrown from his carriage.>

Apr-11-09  Fanacas: Pity there are not many games from saint ammant i would have loved to see some games between him and anderssen. (btw i now thar saint ammant played 2 games against morphy one constulation game and one him alone vs morphy (he lost) i saw it in a book about morphy's chess games.)
May-23-09  WhiteRook48: why shouldn't they face 1. Nf3!
May-23-09  Dredge Rivers: <WhiteRook48> Because it sucks, maybe?
Aug-11-09  Fanacas: He was morphy's second against his match with anderssen.
Jun-02-10  myschkin: . . .

"Der Schachkampf in Paris" (Zürich 1844)

".. Die Schachpartien, welche hier der Oeffentlichkeit übergeben werden, wurden in den beiden letzten Monaten des verflossenen Jahres zwischen den Herren Staunton und Saint-Amand im Locale des Pariser Schach-Clubs um einen Einlaß von zweihundert L.sterl gespielt, indem festgesetzt worden war, daß derjenige, welcher zuerst eilf Partieen gewinnen würde, als Sieger angesehen werden sollte. .."

Das durchschnittliches Jahreseinkommen eines Fleischers lag derzeit bei etwa 50 Pfund Sterling.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: <What exactly makes an "official" world champion? Is it recognition by a governing body? Then we may not have had an "official" world champion before Botvinnik.

Is it the general consensus of the chess world? Then Morphy was surely an "official" world champion. It's very significant that Steinitz and Zukertort didn't play their world championship match until after Morphy died.

Steinitz certainly publicized his claims to the world championship as much as Staunton. The difference was that Steinit's claims were clearly supported by results, and accepted by the chess world as a whole.>

I agree. Who gets to decide which entity gives out the 'official' title? FIDE or PCA? Or can I set up my own championship, and declare the official Breunor world champion?

For example, was Kasimdzhanov of 'official' world champion because he was recognized by FIDE? How about Ponomariov? They were clearly the FIDE world champions, by definition, but most people didn't 'recognize' them as the 'real' world champion.

Reuben Fine discussed the topic. There was no FIDE in the early 19th century, but many of these matches were generally 'recognized' as a determination of the best player in the world. Whether that means that the winner is the 'World champion' is essentially semantic.

Boxing is a sport that as been hounded by 3 organizations that all call themselves 'official' (all three appear to be pretty corrupt), to the point that pretty much nobody cares about these 'official' designations for boxing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: I'm no fan of wikipedia but they seem to have nailed this question and most published sources agree with

If one views the title as part of a legacy, then there have been 15 World Champions through Anand and a few FIDE champions who are not seriously considered World Champions by the world at large. Kasparov held the title as undisputed best player in the world for 15 years, and then Kramnik took the title followed by Anand.

Generally,chess follows the rule that to be the champ you must defeat the champ, assuming the champion is alive. The exception is Fischer who quit (though some refuse to accept that).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Hi Eric!

I actually think that Wikipedia agrees with my point, if we look at the reference article (and I think you and I are pretty much in agreement):

I think in both cases, the idea is that a 'World champion' isn't occurring because some 'official' body declares it - but the world champion is determined somewhat by 'common sense'.

So, clearly, nobody was going to define the FIDE champions as the world champions until they defeated Kasparov because:

As Eric said, there was a logical view that you had to beat the champion to be the champion; because Kasparov was still considered the best player in the world (and I think he was the highest rated); and because he had been the champion and the best player in the world for a very long time, possibly the greatest player ever and certainly on the short list.

So pretty much every chess player I knew considered him the 'real' champion until he lost to Kramnik.

Interestingly, Kramnik was consdered the 'real' worlkd champion, but not forever - by the time of the Topalov match, my take was that about a lot of chess world really considered Topalov the 'real' champion - because Kramnik hadn't shown clear superiority to the other top players (Anand, Topalov) and some people felt that Topalov's accomplishments were greater. Obviously, it was useless to appeal to a 'legal' argument of the champion at this time, which is my main point. Chess players determine who is considered the 'real' champion, and what is a champion match.

The term 'world champion' had been around since the mid 1840's, and I think Fine's argument that the earlier matches were de facto world championship matches to most chess players is logical although it isn't universal.

Best wishes,


May-26-12  e4 resigns: Is it just me, or does this guy look like Elvis?
Sep-12-12  Llawdogg: Happy Birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Updated link to the article cited by <SBC> above: .
Sep-12-13  brankat: Happy Birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Saint Amant.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. chess master Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: .

<Fortune est ainsi qu'une louve

Qui, sans choix, s'abandonne au plus laid qu'elle trouve>

* * * * *


<Le Palamède: revue mensuelle des échecs, Volume 8 (1845 p30-31)>

...comes this attempt at a tranlation:

<Already, in our own time, the editor of <Palamède>, Mr. Saint-Amant, once an equal to Mr. Boncourt, has since made further progress to be proclaimed by Mr. Deschappelles in the <Chess Circle>, after the death of Labourdonnais. the strongest player in Europe.

Indeed, he has but one setback, a setback that probably would have been a triumph if the fight had been extended, a setback that is cancelled out by a hundred victories.

He is always ready to meet the challenge that any player, French or foreign, would like to make to him, and he will keep the scepter until a more powerful genius has, like him, defeated the great players of Europe and defeated him, so as to prove a real superiority. Without talking about his talent, I tell you, my friend, I do not know any French player who has as much moral energy as him, and who has, with equal force, enough to give them the advantage in a serious long struggle with him.>

and to undo the damage, here is the original:

<Déjà, à cette époque, allait marcher l'égal de Boncourt le Director actuel du <Palamède>, M. Saint-Amant, qui, depuis, fit encore assez de progrès pour étre, après la mort de Labourdonnais, proclamé par M. Deschappelles, en plein <Cercle des Echecs>, le plus fort joueur de l'Europe. En effet, à un seul revers essuyé par lui, revers qui probablement eût été un triomphe si le combat eût pu se prolonger, il peut opposer cent victoires. Il est toujours prèt à répondre aux défis que tout joueur, français ou étranger, voudrait lui adresser, et il gardera le sceptre jusqu'à ce qu'un génie plus puissant ait, comme lui, vainçu les grands joueurs de l'Europe, et l'ait vaincu lui-même, de manière à prouver une réelle supériorité. San parler de son talent, je vous dirai, mon ami, que je ne connais pas de joueur français qui ait autant d'énergie morale que lui, ce qui, à force égale, suffirait pour lui donner l'avantage dans des luttes longues et sérieuses.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <Phony Benoni: <What exactly makes an "official" world champion? Is it recognition by a governing body? Then we may not have had an "official" world champion before Botvinnik.>>

Yes, it is currently by recognition through FIDE. Botvinnik would be the first champion that FIDE awarded the title to (once that body had obtained the rights to manage the title after Alekhine's death) however as an officiating body they recognized the current title holder since their inception in 1924. In the late 1970s/early 1980s FIDE was on a history kick and retroactively recognized some prior champions (based on some research published in the 1970s) dating back to Steinitz's victory over Zukertort in 1886. However, we did have World Champions prior to 1886. FIDE's recognition might change someday with the ongoing research currently being done by historians currently researching this topic.

For historical analysis I have the history of the chess World Champions broken down into the following categories:

Informal/Unofficial: Luis Ramirez de Lucena (1490s) to Saint-Amant (1843)

Formal/Unofficial: Staunton (1843) to Zukertort (1886)

Formal/Official/Pre-FIDE: Steinitz (1886) to Alekhine (1946)*

Formal/Official/FIDE: Botvinnik (1948) to Carlsen (2015)

*one could argue that after Alekhine's death the title reverted to Euwe who lost it in the 1948 FIDE tournament.

I've been working on tracing the title through the Staunton (1843) to Zukertort (1886) period, i.e. my Formal/Unofficial period. During this period is seems as if the title was at stake anytime the current holder was involved in a tournament or match. The contemporary reports and older histories are very interesting to read through. As near as I can follow, the history of the title "transer" though this period follows a basic lineal tradition:

1843 Match Staunton [Paris 1843; defeats St. Amant]

1851 Tourn Anderssen [London 1851; beats Staunton]

1857 Tourn Lowenthal [Manchester, Aug 1857; beats Anderssen]

1858 Match Morphy [London 1858; beats Lowenthal]

1861 Retir Morphy [Retires. Title reverts to Lowenthal]

1862 Tourn Anderssen [London 1862; beats Lowenthal]

1866 Match Steinitz [London 1866; beats Anderssen]

1867 Tourn Kolisch [Paris 1867; beats Steinitz]

1867 Retir Kolisch [Retires. Title reverts to Steinitz]

1870 Tourn Anderssen [Baden-Baden 1870; beats Steinitz]

1871 Match Zukertort [Berlin 1871; beats Anderssen]

1872 Tourn Steinitz [London 1872; beats Zukertort]

1878 Tourn Zukertort [Paris 1878; beats Steinitz]

1881 Tourn Blackburne [Berlin 1881; beats Zukertort]

1882 Tourn Steinitz [Vienna 1882; beats Blackburne]

1883 Tourn Zukertort [London 1883; beats Steinitz]

The weakest claim would appear to be that of Lowenthal who would have been champion for only a few months prior to the rise of Morphy. I don't know how serious one should consider Lowenthal since his victory was in what we would basically consider a mini-Swiss these days, but it does fit into the strictest lineal "rules." The Kolisch and Blackburne claims are also interesting and were primarily noticed by G. A. Macdonnell in his history of the world championship (but they also fit nicely within the lineal mold).

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