chessgames.com
Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

  
Bonnerjee Mohishunder
Number of games in database: 449
Years covered: 1848 to 1860
Overall record: +127 -283 =39 (32.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Giuoco Piano (105) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Petrov (24) 
    C42 C43
 Philidor's Defense (23) 
    C41
 King's Indian Attack (22) 
    A08 A07
 Reti System (9) 
    A06 A04
 Ruy Lopez (6) 
    C64 C68 C65 C63
With the Black pieces:
 Petrov (58) 
    C42
 King's Indian (39) 
    E76 E77 E61 E90 E71
 Pirc (38) 
    B07 B09
 Evans Gambit (23) 
    C51 C52
 Philidor's Defense (14) 
    C41
 King's Gambit Accepted (9) 
    C37 C34
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Mohishunder vs Cochrane, 1851 1-0
   Mohishunder vs Cochrane, 1855 1-0

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Bonnerjee Mohishunder
Search Google for Bonnerjee Mohishunder


BONNERJEE MOHISHUNDER
(born 1800) India

[what is this?]
Bonnerjee Mohishunder (sometimes given as, e.g., Moheschunder Bannerjee or Mahesh Chandra Banerjee) was born around 1800 near Calcutta, India. Philip W Sergeant described him as having been as of 1848 <a Brahman in the Mofussil-up country, as we might say-who had never been beaten at chess!> Hundreds of his games survive through the writings of John Cochrane, who regularly played him between 1848 and 1860, during Cochrane's tenure at the Calcutta bar.

Mohishunder originally played traditional Indian chess, in which pawns did not have the option of moving two squares from the starting row and pawns would promote to the piece of the square reached. He probably learned Western rules after contact with Cochrane and other Europeans.

Cochrane is quoted in a letter written by a member of the Calcutta Chess Club, appearing in the Chess Player's Chronicle in 1850:

The only player here who has any chance whatever with Mr Cochrane, upon even terms, is a Brahmin of the name of Moheschunder Bonnerjee. Of this worthy, Mr Cochrane has himself remarked that he possesses as great a natural talent for chess as any player he ever met with, without one single exception.

Mohishunder favored defenses, unusual in the West, that involved fianchettoing his bishops. The Indian Defenses, such as the King's Indian and Queen's Indian, are named for Mohishunder and his countrymen. Both involve advancing pawns one square, as in Indian chess, rather than more traditional defenses like 1.e4 e5 and 1.d4 d5. Sergeant wrote in 1934 (algebraic notation substituted for Sergeant's descriptive notation),

The Indian Defences by g6 coupled with d6, or b6 coupled with e6, were largely taught to European players by the example of Mohishunder and other Indians, to whom the fianchetto developments were a natural legacy from their own game.

Among other innovations, Mohishunder played the first known Gruenfeld Defense in Cochrane vs Mohishunder, 1855, 67 years before it was "introduced" in Alekhine vs Gruenfeld, 1922.

Sources: Philip W. Sergeant, A Century of British Chess, David McKay, 1934, pp. 68-69; Wikipedia article: Moheschunder Bannerjee; http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...


 page 1 of 18; games 1-25 of 449  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-025 1848 CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
2. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 1-023 1849 CalcuttaC50 Giuoco Piano
3. Mohishunder vs Cochrane  0-137 1850 CalcuttaC41 Philidor Defense
4. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-029 1850 CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
5. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-040 1850 CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
6. Mohishunder vs Cochrane  0-116 1850 CalcuttaB30 Sicilian
7. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-031 1850 CalcuttaC21 Center Game
8. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 0-135 1850 Calcutta mC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
9. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-019 1850 CalcuttaB07 Pirc
10. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 0-120 1850 CalcuttaC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
11. Mohishunder vs Cochrane ½-½38 1850 CalcuttaA07 King's Indian Attack
12. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-023 1850 CalcuttaC44 King's Pawn Game
13. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-025 1850 CalcuttaB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
14. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 1-021 1850 CalcuttaC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
15. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-020 1850 CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
16. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-027 1850 Calcutta mC42 Petrov Defense
17. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-044 1850 CalcuttaC21 Center Game
18. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-052 1850 CalcuttaC45 Scotch Game
19. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 1-032 1850 CalcuttaB30 Sicilian
20. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 0-132 1850 CalcuttaC44 King's Pawn Game
21. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-034 1850 CalcuttaB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
22. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 1-029 1850 CalcuttaA07 King's Indian Attack
23. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-043 1850 CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
24. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-028 1850 Calcutta mC00 French Defense
25. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-018 1850 CalcuttaE61 King's Indian
 page 1 of 18; games 1-25 of 449  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Mohishunder wins | Mohishunder loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-16-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: On Cochrane vs Mohishunder, 1848

<SBC: Cecil de Vere (in The Field in the early 1870s) claimed that Bannerjee had been stronger than any European player at that time. In 1852, Cochrane beat Moheschunder Bannerjee +13-3=3.>

Is there anything else known about this player?

Dec-29-06  FHBradley: In the Chessbase database there are no less than 15 games played by John Cochrane and "Mahescandra" between 1851 and 1854, all of them featuring 1. d4 Nf6. I suppose this might be one of the reasons why we speak of a family of Indian openings. Another might be that this was a normal way of reacting to d4 among Indian chess players at that time?
Dec-29-06  FHBradley: Plus several hundred other games between the two gentlemen. I don't know whether Mohishunder Bannerjee and Mahescandra are one and the same person.

Oct-06-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Is Mahescandra the same player?
Oct-06-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: And is Moheschunder also the same player?

If this is so is his name Brahmin Moheshunder Bonnerjee ( or Bannerjee )?

And a note from the introduction to Ray Keene and George Botterill's book on the Modern Defence

"Moreover, there exist records of a game Cochrane - Moheshunder Bonnerjee, Calcuta 1847, which commenced: 1.P-K4 P-Q3 2.P-Q4 N-KB3 3.B-Q3 P-KN3, although this quickly transposed into a rudimentary form of the King's Indian Defence."

The mystery deepens!

May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: More on him:

<The following appeared on pages 68-69 of A Century of British Chess by P.W. Sergeant (London, 1934):

‘Cochrane had gone back to India, and in 1848 we hear of him, as president of the Calcutta Chess Club (in the foundation of which he was largely instrumental), still seeking for opponents out East capable of testing the skill which he had so worthily proved in the West. One was at last found. A member of the club in the autumn of 1848 heard of a Brahman in the Mofussil – up country, as we might say – who had never been beaten at chess. He found an opportunity of meeting him, played him, and lost. It was stated that the man, “Moheschunder Bonnerjee, a Brahmin”, of about 50, hardly knew the European rules of chess; yet his play was presumably under European rules.

Delighted with his find, the Calcutta member took him back with him, and passed him on to Cochrane as an opponent. Cochrane beat him, but was sufficiently impressed with his skill to have him engaged as “a paid attaché” of the Chess Club, where he improved wonderfully. In the [Chess Player’s Chronicle] for 1851 are published some games between Cochrane and Moheschunder; and “the Brahmin” figures as a player in various collections of games. The Indian Defences by P-KKt3 coupled with P-Q3, or P-QKt3 coupled with P-K3, were largely taught to European players by the example of Moheschunder and other Indians, to whom the fianchetto developments were a natural legacy from their own game. The fondness for them of the present Indian champion of British chess, Mir Sultan Khan, is well known. But they are now so widely popular that Dr S.G. Tartakower was able to declare, some years ago, that “today fianchettos are trumps”. A sequel hardly to have been anticipated from the discovery of Moheschunder in the Mofussil.’

Sergeant’s information was largely based on a letter from a member of the Calcutta Chess Club on pages 318-319 of the 1850 Chess Player’s Chronicle, which included the following:

‘The only player here who has any chance whatever with Mr Cochrane, upon even terms, is a Brahmin of the name of Moheschunder Bonnerjee. Of this worthy, Mr Cochrane has himself remarked that he possesses as great a natural talent for chess as any player he ever met with, without one single exception.’>

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/... (C. N. 5590)

<Benzol>

Edward Winter also mentions these different spellings (Mahescandra, Moheschunder and Mohishunder) seeking further information.

May-26-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Karpova> Thanks.

:)

Dec-06-09  JonathanJ: that is a lot of old games right now. <chessgames.com> where are they from?
Jan-08-12  gezafan: The term "Indian" in openings such as the Queen's Indian and the King's Indian comes from Indian chess in which the pawns can only move one square on their first move.

So when players open by moving their pawns one square they are playing opening moves that are common in Indian chess. Hence the term "Indian."

Examples are g6 in the King's Indian and b6 in the Queen's Indian.

Feb-29-12  Penguincw: The only player he played was Bonnerjee Mohishunder! 448 games!

Not even Kasparov-Karpov can match (currently trailing by 247 games)!

Apr-13-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  King Sacrificer: Only one page of kibitzing? I wish we had more information about this man. The story about Cochrane and Mohishunder is charming. Cochrane must have been very surprised when he saw the opening.
Jun-15-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: It is interesting how other chess-like games have influenced western chess. I think it was Alexander Morozevich who talked about how much he learned when training with Wang Yue, since the Chinese way of thinking about chess has been influenced so much by Chinese chess. I think I have the players right. My source may be Ian Rogers commentary, I'm not sure. There is so much chess on, it is hard to keep track.
Aug-01-12  BadKnight: Surprising that I never heard of this guy before. I accidentally stumbled into this page while I was digging deep into the Cochrane gambit.

Mahesh Chandra Banerjee is likely to be the right name of any person originated in Calcutta/Kolkata.

Banerjee is a common surname, it is the british adaptation of the native surname Bandyopadhyay [don't try to pronounce it unless you are a native speaker].

There are many other similar adaptations:
Bandyopadhyay = Banerjee
Chattopadhyay = Chatterjee
Mukhopadhyay = Mukherjee

etc.

Bonnerjee does not seem to be exactly right. Its most likely a mispronunciation from a non native speaker, or just a simple spelling mistake.

Middle name: Chandra/Chandur = Chandra sounds native, so i would pick Chandra. In some other Indian provinces it might be pronounced as Chander, but in Calcutta its always Chandra.

Mahesh is a common name, so no confusion there.

And by the way, Calcutta is british ataptation of the native term Kolkata.

Aug-01-12  BadKnight: One more thing, instead of Mahesh Chandra, Mohishundar could be the first name, but Mohisundar is quite different from Mahesh Chandra. A native speaker from calcutta would not confuse Mohisundar for Mahesh Chandra.
Sep-30-13  Conrad93: He played the first King's Indian and Nimzo Indian.

He contributed more to chess than most World Champions.

Oct-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <<BadKnight: ...Mahesh Chandra Banerjee is likely to be the right name of any person originated in Calcutta/Kolkata.

Banerjee is a common surname, it is the british adaptation of the native surname Bandyopadhyay [don't try to pronounce it unless you are a native speaker].

There are many other similar adaptations:
Bandyopadhyay = Banerjee
Chattopadhyay = Chatterjee
Mukhopadhyay = Mukherjee...

Bonnerjee does not seem to be exactly right. Its most likely a mispronunciation from a non native speaker, or just a simple spelling mistake.

Middle name: Chandra/Chandur = Chandra sounds native, so i would pick Chandra. Mahesh is a common name, so no confusion there.>

BadKnight: One more thing, instead of Mahesh Chandra, Mohishundar could be the first name, but Mohisundar is quite different from Mahesh Chandra. A native speaker from calcutta would not confuse Mohisundar for Mahesh Chandra.>

These two posts, from a native speaker (I assume!) and therefore an expert, are very enlightening.

His opinion is that
<Mahesh Chandra Banerjee> is most likely this player's name, but he adds that <Mohisundar Bannerjee> is also possible. Occam's razor would suggest the latter. After all, British Indians like Cochrane were not totally ignorant of Indian culture and we can assume that Cochrane was <close> to the Indian's real name.

Jun-05-14  Chessinfinite: < Cochrane were not totally ignorant of Indian culture and we can assume that Cochrane was <close> to the Indian's real name. >

Cochrane would not know anything about the origins of Indian names.

It looks like <Mahesh Chandra Bandopadhay> was the real name of the player. Rest all are derived from people who couldd not spell he real name.

Jun-05-14  NeoIndian: <Mahesh Chandra Bandopadhay> (Bandopadhyay)is correct. I confirm as a fellow Bengali. As for Indian systems in the days of old, as you probably know, pawns did not have the option of moving two squares from the starting row and pawns would promote to the piece of the square reached. Also Indian chess rules did not have castling, but an unchecked king could execute a knight's move once during a game. But at the start of the game, both players had the option of playing *two* legal moves, but not move the same pawn two squares. So can you guess the overwhelmingly popular way to open a game? g3 followed by Bg2! Less popular were any of the central pawn moves followed by bringing the Knights out. Games were slow and maneuvering, and conflicts arose only in the latter stages. Also, they did not like to keep their king in the centre, and so carried out a complicated series of moves (move the bishop, move the knight, move the rook, move the king) to bring the king to g1 or h1. Curiously, queenside castling was not known.

The most interesting thing is that these arcane rules are still followed in the remotest regions of my country, far away from the cities and towns, where internet and television are not so pervasive. I myself have played in this way in my childhood (that would be early 1990s); before learning the rules of modern chess.

Jun-05-14  NeoIndian: Amusingly, Mohishunder, or Mohisundar, as it will probably be spelled by a Bengali, is also a perfectly acceptable Bengali first name, and not just a distortion of another name. This may also have caused some confusion.
Jun-28-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Chessinfinite: <...a native speaker (I assume!) and therefore an expert, are very enlightening. His opinion is that <Mahesh Chandra Banerjee> is most likely this player's name, but he adds that <Mohisundar Bannerjee> is also possible. Cochrane was not totally ignorant of Indian culture and we can assume that he was <close> to the Indian's real name. >

Cochrane would not know anything about the origins of Indian names.>

I am surprised at that. Cochrane was a barrister who spent 45 years in India, so his total ignorance is baffling.

NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other users.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.


NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific player and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of Chessgames.com, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!


home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2014, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies