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Alexander McDonnell vs Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais
London m4 ;HCL 18 (1834), 11, rd 57
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-30-04  Knight13: Why can't white Queen by taking 57. fxe5 ? Or is it draw by mistake?
Oct-01-04  PizzatheHut: <Knight13> If 57. fxe5, then 57...Kxe5 58. Kg4 Kf6 and because of the opposite colored bishops, White will never be able to break Black's blockade on the dark squares, so therefore it is a draw.
Dec-07-07  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.33.

McDonnell 6 mistakes:
12.Qd2 -0.48 (12.Na4 -0.14)
16.Qb3 -0.27 (16.c3 0.31)
30.Nxf7 1.73 (30.Nc4 3.21)
34.Qxd6+ 0.95 (34.Qe1 1.49)
52.Kg4 0.00 (52.Ba4 0.91)
54.Kg4 0.00 (54.g4 0.83)

De La Bourdonnais 5 mistakes:
12...g5 0.22 (12...a4 -0.48)
23...Rg7 0.42 (23...Ra8 -0.10)
24...Qg6 0.97 (24...Bb6 0.39)
25...Bc5 2.03 (25...Bb8 0.90)
39...Rb2 0.93 (39...Kc7 0.43)

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <nimh>
<54.Kg4 0.00 (54.g4 0.83)> Very interesting.

Does Rybka really see any winning chances for White here after 54. g4? Still looks close to a dead draw to me. Can you post a few moves of it's winning try so I can learn what I'm missing?

Also, if its eval is 0.00 after White's 52nd move but rises to 0.83 on 54. g4, it means Rybka thinks Black has dropped 0.83 worth of eval between those moves. What did Rybka recommend for Black's 52nd and 53rd moves?

Dec-07-07  nimh: You're right, the position after 54.g4 is a draw.

<What did Rybka recommend for Black's 52nd and 53rd moves?>

52...Bd4 (eval rises quickly after this black move)

Feb-24-08  wolfmaster: 5.Nxc6 is a small error because it strenfthens Black's center. But people playing 174 years ago did not know that!
Dec-27-10  Llawdogg: Wow! One of the earliest bishops of opposite colors end games. La Bourdonnais looked very comfortable pulling out the draw while down two pawns. He was better in the openings and better in the end games. All of McDonnell's chances were in the middle game tactics.

I also read that McDonnell was very nervous and totally stressed out all the time. He died young one year after this match. The match took a lot out of both of them.

Feb-04-12  Knight13: 32...Bxc4!! is the best move. La Bourdonnais understood the drawish nature of the Bishops of Opposite Color endgames even in 1834 and went for it (and finally hits the nail on the head on move 39)! 30. c4 was the right time to play it; Black would be positionally lost then.
Feb-04-12  Knight13: Correction: Black would be *completely* positionally lost then.
Mar-14-14  Morphized: That's the first open sicilian ever played according to the database!

I really don't get the idea behind Nxc6 on move 5. Isn't Nb5 the absolute main line of these kind of kalashnikov positions?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Morphized,

wolfmaster answered that one a few posts up.

"5.Nxc6 is a small error because it strengthens Black's center. But people playing 174 years ago did not know that."

Can't be too harsh on the lads, they were pathfinders for what we know now. Indeed in some publications the move 4...e5 is known as the La Bourdonnais Variation.

McDonnell seemed to know what he was doing, his next few moves were aimed at preventing Black from playing d5 and infact Black not play it all during the whole game.

What surprises me from that golden age is that McDonnell and even Morphy did not see the fun one could have with the Morra Gambit (2.d4 3.c3) v the Sicilian.

I've just checked here. Kieseritsky played one in 1846 and then as FSR also notes, (he too is surprised) not another was seen till 100 years later.

The Morra went all through the Romantic era without being discovered! Blackburne in 1868 (a good site this for this digging out this kind of stuff.) and the next one was in 1949!

Mar-15-14  DcGentle: The Morra Gambit is underestimated up to the present day. Wikipedia: <The Smith–Morra is uncommon in grandmaster games, but is popular at club level.> Read this as: It's good enough for amateurs.

Ha! -----> DcGentle chessforum

Refute this! :-)


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