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  la Bourdonnais - MacDonnell 

 This is a simple, plain-old text-score page ...  so if you want to follow this  game - you will definitely need a chess set.  (First posted, August; 2002.) 

  Louis Charles de LaBourdonnais (2700) - Alexander MacDonnell (2650)  
Match, ENG. vs FRA;  
Westminister C.C. / London (1.4), 1834.  


A sharp attacking game, which highlights La Bourdonnais's immense, 
  attacking skill. In his day, few could match his this player's flair. 


1.e4 e52.Nf3 Nc63.Bc4!?,   
"The Italian Game,"  which was the  'norm'  at that time.

     [  More usual would be: 3.Bb5,  in modern master play.
         This is  - of course -  The Ruy Lopez.  ]

This is the "Giuoco Piano." 

     [  The move, 3...Nf6;  is  "The Two Knight's Defense."  ]

This is very thematic, White prepares d2-d4, gaining a tempo
off the Bishop on c5.

     [  The move 4.b4leads to the Evan's Gambit.

         White can also play:  4.Nc3 which is ...  "The Giuoco Pianissimo."  ]

This is OK, and adheres to basic principles. 
 (But it is a little slow.)

     [  The modern line here is:
         4...Nf6!5.d4!,  {Diagram?} The most vigorous move.
           (Soltis recommends:  5.d3!?,  with a slow build-up.)  
         5...exd4; 6.cxd4 Bb4+; 7.Nc3 Nxe4; 8.0-0 Bxc3; 9.d5!, 
         {Analysis Diagram?}  (The Moller Attack.) 
          White has good play and excellent compensation for the pawn. 
          (But to be fair, I must tell you modern theory frowns on this line
           for White!)  ]

5.d4 exd46.cxd4 Bb6;   
 Probably the most solid move.

     [ 6...Bb4+!? ].  

This is energetic, but also a little impetuous.
(Blocks the KB.)

      [  Better was: 7.Nc3!, ("+/=")  with a small edge for White.  ]

7...Ne58.Nxe5 dxe59.Nc3 Nf610.Bg5!? 0-0!?;   
Black castles to safety. He could have also  'questioned'  the Bishop.

     [  I would have preferred:  10...h6!?, "="  ]

White now works over f6.
11.Qf3 Qd612.Bxf6 Qxf613.Qxf6 gxf614.g4! Kg7; "~"   
Black prepares a defence of his King. Right now the doubled-pawn
looks uncomfortable ... but NOT fatal for Black. {An unclear position?}
(A couple of strong, chess {PC} programs consider this position
 to be dead equal.) ("=") 

  The position in the game, after Black plays his 14th move, ...Kg7!?  (ts_labmac_1-1.gif, 14KB)

 (The above diagram is the actual game position, after Black's 14th move.)  


     [  A mistake is:  14...Bxg4??;  15.Rg1, "+/-"  and White wins the Bishop on g4.  ]

15.Ne2 Rh8!?;   
This is preparing to open the h-file, but this might aid White.

     [ 15...Rg8!? ]

16.Rg1 Kf817.Rg2!?,   
White prepares to castle on the Queen-side.

     [ 17.a4!? ]

17...Ke718.0-0-0 h5!?;  (hmmm)  
Black opens the h-file for his R.

     [  Black could have also played: 18...Bd7; 19.Nc3!? Bd4;
         20.Nb5!? Bxb5!;  21.Bxb5 a6, "="    
         with a completely safe position for the second player here.  ]

19.g5!?,  (Maybe - '?!')    
White barrels in and open the g-file ... but I don't think this is correct.
(This move was praised by many, but turns out to be inaccurate!)

     [  Probably better was: 
        19.gxh5 Rxh5; 20.Nc3 Kf8; 21.Rdg1 Rh8; 22.h4!? f5!;
        23.Rh1 fxe4; 24.Nxe4 Bf525.f3, ("=")  {Analysis Diagram?}
        with a position that is roughly balanced.  
        (I prefer Black's position here - the two Bishops.)  ]

Black  'ducks'  (avoids the key line)  ...  but did he really have to?  ('?!')

     [  Much better was:
        19...fxg5!20.Rxg5,  {Diagram?}  This is virtually forced. 
          (20.Nc3!?, {Diagram?} This is not the best. 
           Now 20...Bh3!; ("/+")  {Analysis Diagram?} with a position that 
            clearly favors the second player here.)
       20...Bxf221.Rg7 Be3+22.Kb1 Kf823.Rg3 Bh6; 
       24.Rf1 Rh725.Bb3 Bd726.Bd1 h4; ("=/+") {Diag?}
        Black is very surely a little bit better here, in this position.  ]

20.Nc3 Bc5!?;   
This move looks to be a little antsy and nervous. Is Black ever
going to develop his (Q-side) pieces?

(Black is preventing White from playing the advance, d5-d6.
  Perhaps MacDonnell felt this was forced?)

     [  Black could play: 20...Rd8!?;  or even try: 20...Bd7!?; {D?} 
         with a playable game in either case.  ]

21.g6 Bd6!?;   
Black secures his d6-square.

     [  Seemingly better was:  21...fxg6; (!)  22.Rxg6 f4; "~"  with unclear play.  ].

22.gxf7 Kxf723.f4!?,   
This is overly exuberant to me, White could simply play Rdg1,
with a small but secure advantage. (Maybe - '?!')

   (I remember one writer giving this move a  DOUBLE-EXCLAM. 
    But modern, computer analysis shows that to be incorrect.) 

     [  Clearly a little better was: 23.Rdg1! "+/="  ]

This is now forced.

This looks good ... but is probably (also) highly speculative.

     [ 24.e5!? ].

And this is perhaps overly cautious.   (Maybe - '?!')  
  (And this move is probably the cause of all of Black's {later} troubles.)   

     [  Much  (MUCH!!)  better was: 24...f3!25.Rd2,  {Diagram?}  
        This is forced. 
          (Much worse is 25.Rg7+? Kf8;  26.h4 Be5;  27.R7g6 fxe4;  
             28.Nxe4 Bf5;  29.R6g5 Bf4+;  ("-/+")  {Diagram?} 
             Black is winning.)
        25...Kf6!;  ("/+")  and Black is clearly better here.  ]

White seeks increased piece activity.

     [ After the continuation: 25.Rf1 fxe4;  26.Nxe4 Bh3; ("/+")  {Diagram?}
        Black is clearly better. ]

This is now just interesting ...  and possibly not the most accurate.

     [  Probably best was: 25...Bc5;  26.R1g5 fxe4;  27.d6!; "~
       ("compensation")  White has very good piece play. ]

26.exf5 Be5!?;   
This looks good, but maybe the move, ...Bxh2; was better. ('?!')

     [  An improvement was the line: 26...Bxh2!;  27.Rf1 Bf4+; ("=/+")
         and Black is just a little better.  ]

27.d6 cxd6?(Maybe - '??')   {Diagram?} 
And after a long series of slight inaccuracies, Black finally makes ...
"The Losing Move."

     [  Black had to play: 27...Bf4+28.Kd1,   
        This is forced.  ( 28.Kb1?? Bxf5+; ("-/+") )  
        28...Bxd629.Rg8+ Rxg830.Rxg8+ Ke731.Nd5+ Kd7;  32.f6,  ("+/=")   
which looks very scary for him, but is NOT 100% forcibly lost.  ]

28.Rg8+ Rxg829.Rxg8+ Ke730.Nd5+ Kd7(?);   
Black could resign here.

     [  White has the upper hand after:
         30...Kf7; 31.Nb6+ d5; 32.Bxd5+ Kf6; 33.Nxa8, "+/-"
          with an easily won game.
          (But at least Black avoids mate.)  ]

31.Bb5#.  (Mate.)   1 - 0 
A nice game by White ...  but far from being perfectly played by
either party.  But it is still an instructive attack by the first player. 

But it is still a great game to study. It also shows that these two players 
were vastly ahead of their times in many respects. 

(I also wanted to correct the many times I had seen this game very 
 poorly annotated in print!) 


(The Primary) Source for the game score:
The book  -  "The Oxford Companion To Chess,"  ...
by  David Hooper  and  Kenneth Whyld.
(Second edition, copyright 1992, 1998.) 

This is not the original copy of this game I had in my database - that document would have been too lengthy and cumbersome to publish as a web page. Instead, this is a special edition of that game I developed specifically for my web site. It actually turned out to be a little more lengthy than I originally intended, but surely these games deserve a second look? 

Click  here  to go to (or go back to) back to the page, 
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 (Page last updated: Friday;  October 04,  2002.  Last edited or modified on:04/14/2014 .) 

 Copyright  (c)  A.J. Goldsby I 

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1985 - 2013.  

  Copyright  ()  A.J. Goldsby, 2014.  All rights reserved.  

Note:  These games are often previewed many, many, many times ...  long before you see them  here. I often post them and invite friends to look at them ... long before a counter is ever installed on a web page. Very often ... with the really important games - I will send them out in the  "ChessBase"  format ... and they will be previewed many times, long before there is even an html page for that particular game.  The counter often reflects this. {A.J.G.}