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Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais vs Alexander McDonnell
La Bourdonnais - McDonnell 1st Casual Match (1834), London ENG, rd 2
Scotch Game: Scotch Gambit (C44)  ·  1/2-1/2



Annotations by Paul Morphy.      [30 more games annotated by Morphy]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-21-04  sneaky pete: Morphy was obviously sick and tired of this game, not commenting on the double blunder at move 56. White should have played 56.Bxb7 securing the draw. After 56.Bxg4?? black wins easily with .. Nxg4 57.Kxg4 Ke5 etc
Mar-04-05  Abaduba: On the whole, I'm pretty impressed by Morphy's annotations. This sounds like it invites a "DUH! He's one of the greatest players in history", but his comments on Macdonnell's positional mistakes severely damage the theory that he was all tactics and attacks.
Nov-18-06  JIRKA KADLEC: 9...h5?!(9...Nf6)10.Rfe1(10.Nd4)14.Bxe5(14.Bb5)18...Ng- 6(18...Rh5)19.e6?!(19.Bb5)19...f5?!(19...f6)20Rad1?!(2- 0.Bb5)20...Nge5?(20...Nce5)21.Bd3?(21.Bb5!)21..Rh5?!(2- 1...Nxd3)22.Bc2?(22.Bb5)24.Rf1?!(24.Nb5)25.b4?(25.Ne2=- )26.Ne2(26.Kf2)28.Bb3?!(28.Ne4+)28...Kg5(28...g5!)32..- .Nh5?!(32...Kf6)41.a4?!(41.g3!)44.Kf3?(44.Ke1)44...Nd5- (44...Nf5 )45.Bc2?(45.Ba4)46.b5?(46.Ba4)46...Nxc3?(46- ...Ne3 )48...Nb5?(48...Nd5 )50.Bd3?(50.Bd1)50...Ne4?- (50...Kd4 )54...Nf2+?(54...Nd6;54...Nc5)56.Bxg4?? (5- 6.Bxb7=)56...Ke7??=(56...Nxg4 57.Kxg4 Ke5 )
Aug-22-07  sneaky pete: William Greenwood Walker's 1836 collection <A selection of games at chess, actually played in London, by the late Alexander M'Donnell, esq., the best English player, with his principal contemporaries> is available at

He gives the final moves of the game as
56. B. takes Q. Kt. P. 56. K. to his second
57. B. to Q. B. eighth 57. K. to Q. third
58. B. takes K. Kt. P. 58. K. to B. third
Drawn game

which translates as 56.Bxb7 Ke7 57.Bc8 Kd6 58.Bxg4 Kc6 1/2-1/2.

The version here, where 56.B takes QKtp is misread as 56.B takes KKtp (Bxg4), must stem from Bachmann.

Dec-09-07  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.33.

De La Bourdonnais 16 mistakes:
9.Nbd2 0.14 (9.Na3 0.54)
14.Bxe5 0.23 (14.Nf3 0.68)
19.e6 0.25 (19.Bb5 0.59)
21.Bd3 0.30 (21.Bb5 1.72)
22.Bc2 0.00 (22.Bb5 1.12)
24.Rf1 -1.01 (24.Ne2 0.24)
25.b4 -1.18 (25.Ne2 0.05)
28.Bb3 -2.67 (28.Ne4+ -1.13)
41.a4 -2.08 (41.g3 -1.34)
42.a5 -2.62 (42.g3 -1.76)
43.Bd1 -3.13 (43.g3 -2.27)
44.Kf3 -7.67 (44.Ke1 -3.10)
45.Bc2 -6.65 (45.Ba4 -4.48)
46.b5 -21.99 (46.Ba4 -6.61)
47.b6 -18.55 (47.a6 -10.95)
56.Bxg4 #18 (56.Bxb7 0.08)

McDonnell 14 mistakes:
9...h5 0.65 (9...Nf6 0.14)
15...Nge7 0.48 (15...Nf6 0.10)
18...Ng6 0.59 (18...Rh5 0.11)
20...Nge5 1.72 (20...Nce5 0.33)
21...Rh5 1.12 (21...Nxd3 0.30)
24...Ne7 0.05 (24...g6 -1.01)
28...Kg5 -1.04 (28...g5 -2.67)
40...Nxe7 -1.34 (40...g3+ -2.03)
44...Nd5 -4.48 (44...Nf5 -7.67)
46...Nxc3 -10.95 (46...Ne3 -21.99)
51...Kd5 -3.43 (51...Kf6 -10.61)
52...Ke5 0.00 (52...Kd4 -2.80)
54...Nf2+ 0.08 (54...Nd6 -5.17)
56...Ke7 0.08 (56...Nxg4 #17)

May-23-09  WhiteRook48: 57...Kd6 looks awkward, can't black win with 57...f3 and if 58 gxf3, then 58...g2?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <WhiteRook48>
57...f3 58. Bxb7, defending g2.
Feb-01-12  Knight13: <44...Nd5> Napoleon I once said that an army marches on its stomach. Guess why the knight decided to jump there instead of what Morphy suggested: f5. Besides, positional ideas weren't so prominent back in 1834, so 44...Nd5 ought to be excused in context.
Jun-24-14  dernier thylacine: Before meeting La Bourdonnais, Mac Donnell crushed all his british opponents, except Fraser one time, in the middle game already; so maybe here -it was only the secund game of their first match- he was absolutely not accustomed to play endgames, or simply very tired by the fierce resistance of La Bourdonnais?
Oct-08-14  dernier thylacine: About the annotations of Morphy: they show mostly an unbelievable accuracy; the variants he considers are almost always confirmed by the strongest computers, like the ones of Fischer; we cannot say the same about Alekhine for example: his analytical stuff is generally very good, instructive and impressive of course, but sometimes, more often than Morphy or Fischer anyway, he errs, fo instance in his book about the Tournament of New York 1924, maybe by negligence or superficiallity in work...

Morphy stopped to play and analyse competition chess games very early in his life, only because of a progressive loss of love for chess, due to a mental sickness which was breeding already in 1859, and unfortunately became more and more grave... So, he stopped to annotate the games of the La Bourdonnais vs Mc Donnell matches after the second one...

Oct-08-14  john barleycorn: <dernier thylacine: ...So, he stopped to annotate the games of the La Bourdonnais vs Mc Donnell matches after the second one...>

I am sure Morphy had studied all the games from the 1834 match in his youth. The annotations are from "The New York Ledger" where Morphy was responsible for the chess column for one year and where received a royal compensation of 3,000 $/year until he was fired because of his incredible laziness.

Oct-08-14  TheFocus: There is a book out about this match (es).

It will be unbought and unread by me.

These games are so boring.

Some annotations appear by <AJ Goldsby>. Another reason to avoid it.

Nov-27-14  Knight13: 48... Nd5, as suggested by Morphy, should've been an obvious move to someone like McDonnell. 48... Nb5 doesn't work because White's Bishop controls the f5 square and the b7 Pawn stands on a light square that the Bishop can access.
May-09-15  poorthylacine: Really, really, are you fair to write so, The Focus.... AJ Goldsby Maybe is not a GMI, however a good player loving chess; helping Utterberg to write this book, he deserves a big "thank you" for that; this was de fact the first world championship, and its a luck its recording was preserved; the games of course, you cannot compare with modern chess theory, but the tactical level is high, the battles are often fierce and very interesting, can you deny it? And if you think the book is not good enough, the the veritable question would be: WHY nobody else made a better one? But I maintain Utterberg made a very good work, sorry: so I could not agree with you, even I do absolutely not know AJ Goldsby in personal... I will just add that, yes, sure, I am just a poor little patzer, however I'm loving chess, and once by coïncidence I met Andreï Sokholov in Mulhouse (France) in a chess club; I was very surprised to see him; this strong Grand master is a very simple and kind man; he accepted to exchange ideas with me, even he did not know me of course, about the ancient chess masters, about the evolution of chess strategy in the past; we spoke about La Boudonnais, the pride of french chess fans; and I will just add that he did not share your opinion more than Morphy himself did, about the fact "these games are boring"; not at all... Why not to try being a little neutral, just a little, The Focus?...
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: 20...Nc6-e5 is more plausible, because not allowing 21.Bb5 (21...c6!), which would be grave here, after the alternative 20.. Nge5...
Aug-07-16  sneaky pete: The game score is wrong. 20... Q.Kt. to K. fourth (Nc6-e5) and 24... K.Kt. to K. second (Ng6-e7) was played, reported William Greenwood Walker in his 1836 collection (correction submitted).
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Not only in Greenwood Walker, but every source I could find has the Queen's Knight moving to King's Fourth (i.e. 20...Nce5):

<A Selection of Games at Chess, Lewis, London 1835, game 3, pp12-15>

<A Selection of Games at Chess, William Greenwood Walker, London 1836, game 2, p135-136 (ends 58...Kc6)>

<Le Palamède, v2 1837, game 2, pp195-197 (ends 58...Kc6)>

<Chess Player's Chronicle, 1841, game 18 (2), pp54-55 (ends 58...Kc6)>

<Chess Studies: Comprising One Thousand Games, George Walker, London 1844, game 2 (2), p1 (ends 58...Kc6)>

<New York Ledger, game 2, 1859.08.13 (ends 58...Kc6)>

<Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Levy & O'Connell, Oxford University Press 1981, p38-39 (cites La Stratégie 1874)>

It's also worth noting the oldest source (Lewis) goes until move 60.

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