Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais
|Louis de La Bourdonnais|
|Full name||Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais|
|Died||1840 (aged 44 or 45)|
|World Champion||1821–40 (Unofficial)|
La Bourdonnais was born on the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean in 1795. He learned chess in 1814 and began to take the game seriously in 1818, when he regularly played at the Café de la Régence. He took lessons from Jacques François Mouret, his first teacher, and within two years he became one of the best players of the Café.
La Bourdonnais was forced to earn his living as a professional chess player after squandering his fortune on ill-advised land deals.
Unofficial World Chess Champion
La Bourdonnais was considered to be the unofficial World Chess Champion (there was no official title at the time) from 1821—when he became able to beat his chess teacher Alexandre Deschapelles—until his death in 1840. The most famous match series, indeed considered as the world championship, was the series against Alexander McDonnell in 1834.
He died penniless in London in 1840, having been forced to sell all of his possessions, including his clothes, to satisfy his creditors. George Walker arranged to have him buried just a stone's throw away from his old rival Alexander McDonnell in London's Kensal Green Cemetery.
He was the grandson of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais.
|This example uses algebraic notation.|
- Alexander McDonnell vs Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais, 16, London 1834, Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32), 0–1 A game demonstrating the strength of pawns. Its end position is one of the most surprising in the history of chess.
- Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais vs Alexander MacDonnell, 3, London 1834, Queen's Gambit Accepted: Old Variation (D20), 1–0 La Bourdonnais punishes McDonnell's premature attack.