30 November 2014

McDonnell -- De La Bourdonnais 1834: Index

I am working my way through all of the available games of Alexander McDonnell (1798-1835). Most of these were part of his six matches with Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1795-1840). These matches were played at the Westminster Chess Club in London. William Greenwood Walker, club secretary, recorded the games and published them in A Selection of Games at Chess (London: 1836). Thanks to Walker, these matches became the first between chess masters for which we have a record of the moves.

The matches have come to be regarded as an unofficial World Championship and the beginning of modern chess history. Paul Morphy annotated some of the games for a chess column that he wrote for the New York Ledger in 1859-1860.

I annotated all 25 games of the first match without reference to engine analysis and with minimal reference to annotations by others. Now, I plan to work my way through the annotations of these games in Cary Utterberg, De la Bourdonnais versus McDonnell, 1835 (2005).

Utterberg offers a narrative of the historical milieu, a compendium of comments on the games by other chess writers, and his own analysis. Of particular interest, perhaps, is Utterberg's summation of the state of opening theory when the match took place. His analysis is deeper, more extensive, and better informed than mine.

This post offers links to my posts of the games in the matches between these two players..

McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais, First Match

Game 1: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1/2-1/2
Game 2: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1/2-1/2
Game 3: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1/2-1/2
"Three Fighting Draws"

Game 4: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
"McDonnell Blunders"

Game 5: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 1-0
"McDonnell Strikes Back"

Game 6: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 0-1
"McDonnell Takes the Lead"

Game 7: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"De La Bourdonnais Evens the Score"

Game 8: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
Game 9: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"Two Losses"

Game 10: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
"Small Errors"

Game 11: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"Losing Takes a Toll"

Game 12: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
"Weakened King"

Game 13: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 1/2-1/2
"Morning Coffee"

Game 14: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 1834"

Game 15: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
"That Pin of f7"

Game 16: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"Strong Knights"

Game 17: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
"Mating Attack"

Game 18: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"Attack and Counterattack"

Game 19: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 0-1
"After a Long Drought ..."

Game 20: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1

Game 21: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 0-1
"McDonnell's Cavalry"

Game 22: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"La Bourdonnais's Infantry"

Game 23: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 0-1
"Pawn Structure Chess"

Game 24: McDonnell -- La Bourdonnais 0-1
"An Opening Disaster"

Game 25: La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell 1-0
"A Powerful Pawn"

This post will be updated ...


  1. Wow, you did a sub-entry devoted to each one. Nice. I'm going to enjoy getting some additional thoughts on the games. Thanks a bunch, James.

    1. Working through these games in this manner was enjoyable and rewarding. Naturally, there are many errors in my analysis.