Alexander McDonnel- Passed Pawn Danger

Chesser777
Chesser777
May 21, 2008, 12:00 AM |
5 | Chess Players

Alexander McDonnel (1798-1840) is an Irish master that works in the market business, he eventually becomes the secretary of the Committee of West Indian Merchants and because of his good job he has enough time to play chess.  William Lewis was his trainer but McDonnel eventually became so good that Lewis refused to play him anymore because of his reputation!

At McDonnel's time there werent any chess championships but it was widely known that the French player Charles Louis Mahé de La Bourdonnais was the strongest player in the world. La Bourdonnais already had beaten the best English players, but nine years laters when he returned back to Londen, La Bourdonnais challenged McDonnel. They started playing a series of six matches, total of 58 games where played between McDonnel and La Bourdonnais. 

La Bourdonnais knew no English and McDonnell no French. It is said that the only word they said to eachother during a game was "check!”. McDonnell and La Bourdonnais were evenly matched in their abilities across the board, but wildly contrasted in their styles of play. The Frenchman was renowned for the rapidity of his play, often replying to his opponent's moves within seconds, whereas the Irishman sometimes took as many as two hours to make a single move.

When McDonnel was leading +5 -4 La Bourdonnais was forced to go back to France to deal with his creditors.  It seems the players had a loose agreement to continue the match at a later date. But McDonnell was not a well man. He was suffering from Bright's disease, a historical classification of nephritis, which affects the kidneys. In the summer of 1835 his condition worsened and he died in London on 15 September before his match with La Bourdonnais could be resumed.

 

 


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