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Kermur Sire De Legal
De Legal 
Number of games in database: 1
Years covered: 1750

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(born Sep-04-1702, died 1792, 89 years old) France

[what is this?]
François Antoine de Legall de Kermeur, born in Versailles, was a leading chess player of the 18th Century. He is regarded as the first professional chess player. He would play chess for wagers at the famous Cafe de la Régence, often giving odds (pawn and move, knight, rook, etc.) to weaker opposition. He was considered the strongest player in France until he was defeated by his pupil, François André Philidor. (1)

His name is associated with a famous opening tactic, known as Legal's Mate, exemplified in De Legal vs Saint Brie, 1750.

(1) Wikipedia article: Legall de Kermeur

 page 1 of 1; one game  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. De Legal vs Saint Brie 1-071750ParisC41 Philidor Defense

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-22-04  capanegra: De Kermur, Sire de Legal (1710-1792): strong French player, considered the champion of the Café de la Regénce, till he was beaten by Philidor, who was his pupil.
Dec-24-08  zzzzzzzzzzzz: wow. he only has one game in the database, but he's so famous.
Feb-28-09  WhiteRook48: a perfectly Legal mate
Apr-10-09  Dredge Rivers: His games are so much fun, they shouldn't be Legal!
Mar-14-11  BlueRose: Was his opponent a big cheese in the world of the time?
Mar-27-11  Morphischer: Kermur De Frog
Oct-09-11  Karpova: C.N. 7152

Correspondent Joseph Dillon Ford provides interesting information on Legal's father:

<The marquis was not born into the aristocracy but began life as René-François Le Gal, the son of a wealthy Breton. He distinguished himself in the War of the Spanish Succession and as a result of his military prowess won the grateful admiration of Louis XIV.>

Attention is drawn to the article ‘Legal: L’épopée d’un bourgeois breton sous Louis XIV’ by René de Laigue in the 'Bulletin archéologique de l’Association bretonne', 1899.

Sep-15-13  Abdel Irada: I suppose that at 87, Legal was old enough to be excused an appointment with the National Razor; else "the grateful admiration of Louis XIV" might have proved fatal in or around 1789.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He would only need a few hours to catch up on theory then he would be world chess champion again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: <Abdel Irada> I thought The Terror didn't start until 1792 anyway. Maybe the old man's head was chopped off.
Jun-11-14  Stonehenge: Philidor - Legall, according to

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Bg4 4. Nc3 h6 5. Nxe5 Bxd1 6. Bxf7+ Ke7 7. Nd5#

Apr-29-16  Christoforus Polacco: The first professional chess player was probably Greco.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: You can find his fiefdom if you put Kermeur 22140 into Google maps. It looks vanishingly small.
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