CHESS

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The Independent Culture
Much as I admire the works of Schubert, I cannot help but think of 1997 not as his 200th anniversary, but as that of Louis Charles Mahe de La Bourdonnais, the best chess player of the second quarter of the 19th century. Did Schubert ever write an impromptu as spontaneous as this game?

White: Louis de La Bourdonnais

Black: Boncourt

(I do not know Boncourt's first name; I fancy it may have been Jacques. He plays like a Jacques.)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4

Captain Evans had only recently brought this move back from his travels, but already everyone was playing it.

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.Qb3 Nh6 7.d4 Na5 8.Qa4 Na5 9.Qxc4 exd4 10.Bxh6 gxh6 11.cxd4 Rg8 12.0-0 d6

It is time to assess the results of the opening: Black still has his extra pawn - albeit doubled and isolated, but his ain hope is in his two bishops. If he can castle long and get those working, then he will stand well.

13.Kh1 Qd7

Creating a crude threat, which White spots, and ignores! 13...c6 was better.

14.Nc3 c6 15.d5 Rxg2 (See diagram.)

Played with a flourish, no doubt, since 16.Kxg2 Qh3+ 17.Kg1 Qg4+ 18.Kh1 Qxf3+ 19.Kg1 Bh3 wins for Black. But La Bourdonnais has it all under control.

16.Rg1! Rxf2 17.Rg3 c5

Black's game is certainly rotten after this, but it is difficult to suggest anything better.

18.e5! b6 19.Re1 Kd8 20.e6

Apparently playing into Black's hands, for this results in the opening of the long white diagonal for his bishop. But White has correctly calculated that his passed e-pawn is more important.

20...fxe6 21.dxe6 Qe8 22.Nd5 Bb7 23.Reg1 Bxd5

Black must make this exchange to enable his king to flee from the threat of Rg8.

24.Qxd5 Kc7 25.Rg7

Deprived of the eighth rank, La Bourdonnais makes hay on the seventh.

25...Rc8 26.Rf7 Kb8 27.R1g7 Qc6

Black has struggled well to survive so long, but his game is lost.

28.Qxc6 Rxc6 29.Rxe7 Rxf3 30.Rb7+ Kc8 31.Rxa7 Kb8 32.Rb7+ Ka8 33.Rbf7 resigns

33...Rxf7 34.exf7 ends it.

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