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Friday, July 20, 2018

Reshevsky – Gligorich Match 1952

     In March of 1952, Samuel Reshevsky was still enjoying the prime of his career and he had just defeated Miguel Najdorf +8 -4 =6 in a match that was unofficially called "The Match for the Championship of the Free World". The first eight games were played in New York, games 9 through 13 were played in Mexico City and games 14 through 18 were played in San Salvador. 
     Svetozar Gligorich was an up-and-coming star who was returning home after having won by a half point over Spain's Arturo Pomar in a tournament held in Hollywood. Both players were undefeated, but Pomar had the misfortune of being held to a draw by local California master Ray Martin. 
     Arthur Dake of Portland, Oregon shared 4th-5th places with Lionel Joyner of Canada and Long Beach, California. Dake lost one game, to Joyner, who also upset Isaac Kashdan. But, Joyner's losses to Gligorich, Pomar and Herman Steiner were too many to gain a better spot. 
     James B. Cross, an ex-US junior champion from Glendale, California finished 7th with seven draws. Isaac Kashdan, then living in Tujunga, California showed his lack of practice and finished in a dismal 7th place with a score of 4-5. 
     Walter Pafnutieff of San Francisco, Ray Martin of Santa Monica (who nicked Pomar for a draw) and Sonja Graf of Los Angeles rounded out the field. Graf lost all her games, but one; she managed to draw with Dake. 
     The event was Steiner's idea and co-sponsored by Mrs. Piatigorsky and Philip McKenna. 
     The match between Reshevsky and Gligorich was played at the Manhattan Chess Club from June 2nd to June 22nd, 1952 and was closely contested. Below are the highlights with the winner in bold. 

1. Reshevsky vs Gligorich (King's Indian) 
Reshevsky won a nice game in which switched his attack from Q-side to K-side. 
2. Gligorich vs Reshevsky (Ruy Lopez) 
The game was adjourned at move 42 with both players having a R and 5 Ps. The players agreed to a draw when Gligorich's sealed move was opened. 
3. Reshevsky vs Gligorich (Queen's Gambit Declined) 
A grandmaster draw was agreed after 28 uneventful moves. 
4. Gligorich vs Reshevsky (Ruy Lopez) 
This game was a hard fought minor piece ending with Gligorich having two Ns against Rehevsky's N and bad B. The five-hour session was adjourned after 44 moves and a draw was agreed without further play.
5. Reshevsky vs Gligorich (Queen's Gambit Declined) 
A nicely played game by Reshevsky where he saw deeply into the position. Things looked even until the ending when his two Bs triumphed over Gligorich's two Ns 
6. Gligorich vs Reshevsky (Ruy Lopez) 
A marathon 85-move game. The game was adjourned after five hours of play and upon resumption, they dueled it out for another five and a half hours. Reshevsky had an extra P, but could not make any progress. 
7. Reshevsky vs Gligorich (Dutch Stonewall) 
Reshevsky was near winning when he made a horrible blunder in time pressure and lost a piece. 
8. Gligorich vs Reshevsky (Nimzo-Indian) 
A drawn position reached after 19 moves, but they played on for another 14 moves before giving it up as hopelessly drawn. 
9. Reshevsky vs Gligorich (Queen's Gambit Declined) 
Reshevsky played his favorite Exchange Variation and there was nothing Gligorich could do except agree to the draw after 20 moves. 
10. Gligorich vs Reshevsky (Nimzo-Indian) 
Gligorich was in the difficult position of having to win, which he very nearly managed to do, in order to tie the match, but at least he had white. The result was a 73 move game that featured an N and P ending where Gligorich was a P up, but it wasn't enough to win. 

     The following game is the first game. I don't know if it qualifies as a positional masterpiece or not, but some of the positions seemed to have had Stockfish flummoxed. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Chess Art

     I've tried to do some chess art with my watercolors, but so far haven't produced anything worth crowing about. I don't know what you would do with chess art that appears online, but in the past I have copied some of them with a snipping tool and a paint program and saved them for use as wallpaper and screensavers. Or, maybe if you have a good color printer and don't mind wasting a ton of ink you could print them out and frame them. Of course, there is also the possibility that you could just look at them as with any other art. 

Some nice pictures can be found here... 
334 best Chess in Art images on Pinterest 
Chess Art for sale from Society 6: digital, painting, illustration, vintage, watercolor, background, expressionism and many other categories. If you're not buying, just fun to browse. 
Carolus Chess is an interesting site on chess history with a ton of stuff, including chess art history.  Well worth a visit! 
Toutfait.com, the Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal has a page titled Reevaluating the Art and Chess of Marcel Duchamp that's pretty interesting reading. 

    Duchamp spent a large part of his life as a serious player. After he became an established and successful artist, he turned his attention to playing chess. He's the guy that proclaimed, “while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” Don't know if I agree with him on that. As a chess player, calling me an artist is like calling a six year old with a crayon an artist. 
     By most estimates, Duchamp was about master strength. He competed in the 1925 French championship, reportedly scoring 50 percent, and represented France in the 1933 chess Olympiad (on the same team as Alexander Alekhine, the world champion, who was then resident in France). Though he was often outclassed, every now and then he managed to hold his own, as in a 1929 game against Vera Menchik and a 1930 game against Frank Marshall, then the US Champion. 
     Chessmetrics puts his rating, based mostly on Olympic games, at 2413. After moving to Greenwich Village from France in the 1940s, he played for the Marshall Chess Club in the Metropolitan Chess League and his photograph still hangs on the club’s wall. You can read a complete list of his chess exploits at chess.com HERE
     In the following game he gives Milton Hanauer, a New York master, a solid thumping. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Era of Russian Hegemony

     It began with contributions by Mikhail Chigorin in the late 19th century who lost two close matches for the world championship and is generally considered to be the father of the Russian school of chess. But, it was dating from about the early 1930's the Russian players (as they used to be called) began venturing into international tournaments and the USSR began to be recognized as a leading chess power. 
     However, as late as 1940 there were only five international GMs in the Soviet Union. In most countries talented players were employed in regular occupations, but it was not so in Russia. With the Russian government as a sponsor, a vast program of chess activity began and top talent was subsidized and professionalized. 
     Because no other country did this on a comparable basis the Russians players reached a peak of technical perfection. As in other areas of competition, the Russians identified talent at a young age and then nurtured it. Success was important politically because they believed they were proving themselves to be superior intellectually. 
     Chess in the Soviet Union wasn't just for the top competitors. With millions of players of varying skills throughout the country and many chess clubs to accommodate them, there were political, cultural, economic, and other reasons for the Soviet ascent and their continued dominance. 
     One feature of this period was the great emphasis on openings. Hordes of analysts fine combed opening theory to produce interesting innovations. This changed the way chess was played. With a lot of people researching openings and conducting analysis of the positions resulting from them, play became a lot of more theoretical. Without the internet it was harder for players in other countries to keep up and Soviet literature was as valuable as gold. The Soviet style of play was characterized by its creative scope, boldness, attacking energy, tenacity and resourcefulness. 
     Top GMs had a team working for them, analyzing and helping them train. In international tournament play they also helped each other by “teamwork.” They either threw or drew games with each other to prevent outsiders from winning tournaments. 
     It must be pointed out that less that one percent of chess players become masters and much of their preeminence no doubt came from the fact that it was the great numbers of players in the Soviet Union accounted for their large number of masters. With over one million registered players, as opposed to the 5000-7000 USCF members when I began play in the early 1960s and even fewer in the 1930s to 1950s, the claim by Kotov and Yudovich in The Soviet School of Chess that “the rise of the Soviet school to the summit of world chess is a logical result of socialistic cultural development” is nothing more than propaganda. For some interesting insights on Soviet training methods see my post Strategy and Tactics where I posted about GM Alex Yermolinsky's insights on the Soviet training methods. 

     According to Kotov and Yudovich, Soviet chess can be divided into four periods. From 1917-1925 the Revolution “brought cultural activities” to the masses as a result of efforts by trade unions, the Young Communist League and the military. And, in the early 1920s chess began springing up in workers' clubs in factories and the cultural education department of the Moscow Trade Union Council called a chess council which established the Chess and Checkers Section of the Higher Council of Physical Culture. 
     The second period, from 1925 to 1931 saw extensive activity during which chess at workers' clubs and rural libraries was greatly expanded and chess was encouraged among school children. Also, the rating system was developed and trade unions sponsored tournaments. 
     The third period, from 1931 to 1941 saw the rise of a new group of superstars, Botvinnik being chief. Other masters such as Alatortsev, Belavenets, Chekhover, Kan, Konstaninolpolsky, Lisitsyn, Makogonov, Panov, Ragozin, Rauzer and Ryumin became prominent and the level of play was on the upswing.
     Botvinnik played a big part in the rise of the level of play with his approach which involved deep research. His opening discoveries and analysis became models of how strategy and tactics should be studied and his method of preparation became the standard. 
     The fourth period came after World War II resulted in explosive growth and a new generation of Soviet masters dominated international chess. One of my favorite books is The Russians Play Chess by Irving Chernev first published in 1947; it contained 50 games. My edition is the 1963 edition with 56 games. Additional games were those of Bronstein, Smyslov, Tal and Petrosian. 
     In the book, Chernev said he examined hundreds of games by Soviet players and picked the cream of the crop. His criteria for choosing the games were variety. They had to illustrate the styles of the 36 players, they had to be reasonably short (average 30 moves) and they had to be enjoyable with the accent on brilliancy. The book has light comments every couple of moves that aren't very enlightening for stronger players and there are plenty of diagrams. And, of course, since Chernev was not a GM and engines didn't exist, the notes aren't always accurate, but that takes nothing away from enjoying the games. What I also like it that many of the games were played by lesser known, or unknown, masters and unlike many published games or best games collections, the warts show you that even strong masters are not immune from errors. 
     Of the following game, Chernev introduced it by saying that the winner created a masterpiece with attractive elegance and that as pretty as the game itself were variations that never occurred. In the game a virtually unknown player destroys Vasily Panov in a tactical gem. I have no information on Panov's opponent and assume that the game may have been played in a match for the Soviet Master title. However, his name does show up in a number of Moscow championships and USSR championship semi-finals. He also competed in the 1961 Chigorin Memorial. 
     Panov (November 1, 1906 – January 13, 1973) was born in the small Russian town of Kozclsk and began playing as a schoolboy. He originally competed in second (1875-2000 Elo) and first category (2000-2125 Elo) tournaments in Moscow and from 1928 on he was good enough to play in the Moscow City championships, winning it in 1929. 
    He was awarded the coveted Soviet Master title in 1934. In those days the only way you could get the Master title was by defeating a recognized Master in match play. 
     Awarded the IM title in 1950, Panov was a player with a very sharp, aggressive style known for his tactical ability. He is best known as a prominent theorist in all phases of the game, especially openings. His is many books include a beginners' guide, biographies of Alekhine, who he spent many years studying, and Capablanca, and Kurs Debyutov, Russia's best-selling opening book.
     Panov contributed greatly to the theory of the Caro-Kann Defence and the Ruy Lopez. He is also credited with a sound variation of Alekhine's Defense as white, known as the Panov variation. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Post-Steinitz Era, Moderns and Hypermoderns

     After Steinitz came what is sometimes called the Modern Era which produced players like Lasker, Tarrasch, Schlechter, Maroczy as well as attacking geniuses Pillsbury, Marshall and Janowski and host of others too numerous to mention.
     One of the characteristics of this era was the much higher standard of play which made it harder to bowl over one's opponent. Positional chess became the order of the day because generally it was necessary to outplay the opponent positionally in order to create favorable conditions for tactical play. Emanuel Lasker once wrote: "If you play well positionally, the combinations will come of themselves." 
     This era also included the rise of the Hypermoderns and those who, while not strictly speaking were Hypermoderns themselves, adapted a blend of play that made them giants who far exceeded the older generation in their understanding. Players like Rubinstein, Nimzovich, Bernstein, Capablanca, Tartakower, Spielmann and Vidmar. They not only applied what they had learned from the great players of the past, but they and made their own additions and corrections to theory. 
     By 1914 it had become pretty clear that Nimzovich and Alekhine were evolving a new school of chess thought whose effect was to turn the current theories upside down. During and after the World War, they were joined by such masters as Reti, Bogoljubow and Breyer. 
     As those players began to dominate the tournament world, their successes began to gain respect and along came a new crop of players such as Euwe, Flohr, Kashdan, Fine, Reshevsky, Botvinnik and Keres, to name a few. They all had their disparate styles and preferences and few preconceptions. As a result every game was treated in whatever way the situation demanded; something the older generation was rarely capable of. 
     The following Bogoljubow-Alekhine game took place in the last round and enabled Alkehine to win the tournament 1/2 a point ahead of Rubinstein. The game is fairly well known and Euwe included it in Strategy and Tactics in Chess as an example of an “obstructive combination” which he used to describe situations where the pieces are not in a position to perform their ordinary functions, if changing their position requires a lot of time or if parrying a threat takes too much time. 
     Richard Reti wrote that the game illustrated the Hypermodern school's emphasis on positional play in opposition to the routine play of the classical style of chess that was set down by Tarrasch and Steinitz. 
     Rather than duplicate effort, I refer you to James Stripes excellent account of this game that he presented on his website HERE. Since Mr. Stripes doesn't give the game using KnightVision, I give it below without notes so you can follow his notes easier. 

1) Alekhine 7.5-2.5 
2) Rubinstein 7.0-3.0 
3-4) and Bogoljubow and Thomas 4.5-5.5 
5) Tarrasch 4.0-6.0 
6) Yates 2.5-7.5 
 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Age of Steinitz

     I have done posts on the Unknown Steinitz and a shooting incident at his home.  Here we will take a quick look at the legacy of "the man who destroyed brilliancy in chess" as he has been called by some.  That's not really true. Steinitz' influence on the game was definitely not destructive.  In fact, he made Bobby Fischer's 10 greatest players of all time list.
     Steinitz himself was a strikingly brilliant player, but at some point he was converted from an enthusiastic disciple of the attack and became obsessed with the evils of the carelessness, flashiness and frequent unsoundness of that that method of play. 
     Morphy's natural development, logical preparation and accurate execution struck a chord and Steinitz developed an interest in defense to the point that it became his passion; he was fascinated by the idea of refuting an unsound attack, of demonstrating to the opponent that one cannot lightly toss away Pawns, not to mention pieces, without being punished. Hit-or-miss, helter-skelter attacks wouldn't do. 
     While Steinitz appreciated the play of his greatest rivals, Zukertort, Chigorin and Blackburne, their attacking play was purified and raised to finer artistic levels by his criticism. His theories had a lasting effect on the chess world whether the great masters agreed with him or not, they absorbed the fundamentals of his theories into their own styles. 
     According to Steinitz, at the beginning everything is in equilibrium and correct play on both sides maintains the equilibrium and leads to a drawn game. Therefore, wins come only as the result of an error. There is no such thing as a winning move, only losing ones. As long as the equilibrium is maintained, an attack cannot succeed against correct defense. Winning positions could not be obtained by inspired attacks and unsound sacrifices. Therefore, you should not attack until you have an advantage, caused by the opponent's error, that justifies the attack. 
     His beliefs also had an effect on openings. A player should not at once seek to attack, but instead should try to disturb the equilibrium in his favor by inducing the opponent to err. Steinitz believed that all gambits can be defended.
     When it came to defense, Steinitz taught that one must be prepared to defend and make concessions if necessary, but don't make them until forced to do so and then only make the required to meet the threat. 
     There's an interesting debate about the advice on attacking: once a sufficient advantage has been obtained one must attack or the advantage will disappear. Who said that? Steinitz or Lasker? The answer depends on what historian you read. 
     Speaking of Steinitz, Henry Bird wrote that if you put the pieces in a hat, shook them up and dumped them on the board you would get the style of Steinitz. Bird was joking, but for players who were used to the straightforward attacking styles of Anderssen and Morphy, Steinitz' sometimes time wasting and weird looking moves to obtain some seemingly trivial advantage just didn't look right. But, it was from those moves that players learned about strategy. 
     In the following game Steinitz delayed castling, made some odd looking moves and his N took a journey starting at move 19 and when it reaches c6 at move 27, he had a won game and black resigned shortly thereafter. It's interesting to note that here were no tactics in this game. Steinitz just squeezed the life out of his opponent. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Morphy Era

     Having looked at chess in the pre-Morphy period last post, I thought it might be interesting to look at the subsequent eras up to at least the Fischer Era. Chess history can be roughly broken down into the Morphy Era, the Age of Steinitz, the Post-Steinitz Era, the Hypermoderns and the age of Russian Hegemony, so we'll take a look at each of those eras to see what they brought to the game.
     Generally when people think of Morphy they think of a great tactician, but it was he who introduced the method of play which proved to be a death-knell of sacrificial play in which brilliancy was the be-all and end-all. 
     Before Morphy, sacrifices were made without rhyme or reason, usually with very little regard for their soundness. As mentioned in the previous post, in many cases masters could play that way because there wasn't much in the way of organized chess and they played for amusement and so winning was not always so important as playing a spectacular game. 
     A study of Morphy's games show a radical departure from that style of play. The combinations he conceived were carefully executed. It is interesting that while Morphy is admired for his brilliant combinations, his games are equally notable for the correctness of his strategy. Think about how quickly he made converts out of the great players who came shortly after him. Those players retained their individuality, but were so impressed by his games that they began to reflect Morphy's the influence. 
     Another great player who was famous for the brilliancy and accuracy of his combinations was Adolph Anderssen who had made his mark about ten years before Morphy's appearance. Some even go so far as to rate Anderssen ahead of Morphy. So, perhaps we should call it the Anderssen-Morphy Era. 
     Writing of Morphy, Emanuel Lasker said “he discovered that the brilliant move of the master is essentially conditional not on a sudden and inexplicable realization, but on the placing of the pieces on the board. He introduced the rule: brilliant moves and deep winning maneuvers are possible only in those positions where the opponent can be opposed with an abundance of active energy... From the very first moves Morphy aimed to disclose the internal energy located in his pieces. It was suddenly revealed that they possess far greater dynamism than the opponent's forces.” 
     Capablanca wrote, “Reviewing the history of chess...we discover that the greatest stylist was Morphy. He did not look for complicated combinations, but he also did not avoid them, which really is the correct way of playing... His main strength lay not in his combinative gift, but in his positional play and general style.  Morphy gained most of his wins by playing directly and simply, and it is this simple and logical method that constitutes the true brilliance of his play, if it is considered from the viewpoint of the great masters.” 
     Botvinnik wrote, “To this day Morphy is an unsurpassed master of the open games. Just how great was his significance is evident from the fact that after Morphy nothing substantially new has been created in this field.” 
     Bobby Fischer said of Morphy: “A popularly held theory about Paul Morphy is that if he returned to the chess world today and played our best contemporary players, he would come out the loser. Nothing is further from the truth. In a set match, Morphy would beat anybody alive today... Morphy was perhaps the most accurate chess player who ever lived. He had complete sight of the board and never blundered, in spite of the fact that he played quite rapidly, rarely taking more than five minutes to decide a move. Perhaps his only weakness was in closed games...But even then, he was usually victorious because of his resourcefulness.” 
     Vassily Smylsov concurred, saying that Morphy's “positional understanding the pure intuition would have made Morphy a highly dangerous opponent even for any player of our times.” 
     Garry Kasparov called Morphy the forefather of modern chess and said, “Morphy had a well-developed feel for position, and therefore he can be confidently regarded as the first swallow - the prototype of the strong 20th century grandmaster.” 
     Morphy's games are well-known (or should be if you believe all the above esteemed players. So, today we'll take a look at a game by another player of that era. In the following game, Rev. G.A. Macdonnell defeats Samuel Boden in a game that left English chess fans so enthused over the brilliant outcome.
     George Alcock MacDonnell (August 16, 1830 in Dublin – June 3, 1899 in London) was an Anglican clergyman and a chess writer. For an excellent article on his career visit the St. George-in-the-East Church's website.  
     Samuel S. Boden (1826–1882) was an English professional player for whom the mating pattern "Boden's Mate" was named. I have gotten to play Boden's mate only twice; see HERE and HERE.   
     There is also a line in the Philidor Defense named after him, based on one of his games against Paul Morphy. Morphy was of the opinion that Boden was the strongest English master, even though Barnes had a better record against him than Boden. Boden authored A Popular Introduction to the Study and Practice of Chess, published anonymously in 1851. 
     Little information seems available on Boden who was born in a town of about 25,000 where fishing and cotton weaving were the main industries. As an adult he worked for the railroad and dabbled in painting and art criticism. He became active in chess around 1850 shortly before publishing his book. 
     During the First International Chess Tournament of London 1851, there was another smaller, less tournament taking place, the Provincial Tournament, which Boden finished first. He finished second place in Manchester 1857 behind Lowenthal, but other than that, he never played much tournament chess. In match play he defeated both Marmaduke Wyvill, a leading English master and Liberal Party politician, and Rev. John Owen, an English vicar and strong amateur master. Boden faced Morphy seven times in casual play, scoring +1 -5 =1, but Morphy considered Boden his strongest English opponent. Boden was chess editor of the Field from 1858-1873. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Chess Before Morphy

     Chess as we know it wasn't initiated until about 1485 when important rule changes were made. The main changes were the Queen, which could only move one square diagonally suddenly became the most powerful piece. The Bishop originally could only move two square diagonally. 
     By 1510 the “old” chess was obsolete. Openings known today as the Ruy Lopez, Giuoco Piano, Petroff Defense, Philidor Defense, Bishop's Opening and Queen's Gambit Accepted, were first outlined in a late 15th century manuscript and the first best seller was Damiano's book printed in Rome in 1512. 
     Ruy Lopez was the leading player of Spain for over 20 years and noted for his skill at blindfold chess. In 1561, Lopez published a book on chess containing rules, general advice and a miscellaneous collection of openings, but opening analysis is considered weak. 
     Among the leading Italian players of the period 1560 to 1630 were Paolo Boi, Giovanni Leonardo da Cutri, Giulio Cesare Polerio and Gioachino Greco. 
     Existing chess books had become obsolete, but the strong players of the period did not publish their findings. The high stakes for which they played made them secretive. However, for a fee it was possible to obtain a copy of their notes on openings and many of these manuscripts have survived. The manuscripts of Polerio, considered the leading player of Rome in 1606 and some some other books from this period, including three works published by Dr. Alessandro Salvio, one of the leading Neapolitan players, who for his time was a good analyst have survived. 
     Greco was one of the last great Italian players. A man of poor parentage and no education, he left his mark on chess history when in about 1619 he began to keep a collection of games and gave extracts to wealthy patrons. About 1620 he traveled abroad to France, England and Spain. In 1669, a French translation of his manuscript was published in Paris. After Greco's death in 1634, Italy produced no outstanding players for over a hundred years. 
     In England, France and Germany, however, the popularity of chess had increased and in the 18th century the coffee-houses of London and Paris were the leading centers of chess activity. Andre Philidor dominated this period. Philidor defeated all the strongest players at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris and Slaughter's Coffee House in London. Phildor set forth his theories of chess in his Analyze du Jeu des Echecs and was the first to define and explain the principles of strategy and tactics. 
     At about the same time as Philidor, Italy again produced some gifted players such as Ponziani and G. Lolli. France also produced Verdoni, Leger, Carlier and Bernard. In England there was J . K. Sarratt, William Lewis, John Cochrane, Captain W. D. Evans, William Lewis, Alexander MacDonnell and Howard Staunton. 
     In France, Alexander Deschapelles, Pierre de Saint-Amant, de la Bourdonnais were prominent. Elsewhere in Europe Johann Allgaier (who originated the idea of tabulating openings in a treatise, first published in 1795), von Bilguer (whose famous Handbuch was published in 1843), L. E. Bledow (who started the magazine Schachzeitung in 1846), Horwitz, von der Lasa and C. Mayet. 
     Other masters of the period were the Russian Petroff, Lionel Kieseritzky, Hamppe and the Hungarians Szen and Lowefithal. 
     In 1843 Staunton established himself as the as the leading player by defeating Saint-Amant in a match. Staunton's Chessplayers Handbook, published in 1847, became the leading English text-book.
     But it was the year 1851 that stands out as the beginning of a new age. That was the year that the first International Tournament was held in London and was won by Adolph Anderssen of Berlin. A brilliant player, Anderssen went on to win first place in 7 out of the 12 tournaments in which he participated. 
    The games of the pre-Morphy period may have their faults, but they were played by masters who were self-reliant and had to find their way through uncharted country. Also, many of their recorded games were not played in matches or tournaments, but were played for amusement only. 

 
de La Bourdonnais
    The following game, which Al Horowitz called one of the most magnificent masterpieces on record was the 50th match game played between Louis-Charles Mahe de La Bourdonnais of France and Alexander McDonnell of Ireland. 

     The two played a series of chess matches in 1834 which confirmed La Bourdonnais as the leading player in the world. It was the first match of importance and is sometimes referred to today as the World Championship of 1834. 
     The games were published widely and were annotated and discussed all over Europe. Both players introduced several innovations, a few of which are still seen today. It might even be said that the modern era of chess began with the McDonnell-La Bourdonnais match of 1834. La Bourdonnais won the first, third, fourth and fifth matches; McDonnell won the second match, and the sixth was abandoned with McDonnell leading. The overall score was La Bourdonnais +45 -27 = 13. 
     One of their better encounters follows.