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Some people are destined to be remembered not for their great achievements but for their glorious defeats. Kieseritsky and Defresne, two of the strongest masters of the 19th century, have their names etched in history for their losses to Adolf Anderssen. David Bronstein is the chap who didn't beat Botvinnik, and even Boris Spassky, one of the finest players of all time, is permanently labelled as the man who lost to Bobby Fischer.

Perhaps the greatest loser of all, however, was Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant, the man who lost to Howard Staunton in the Great Chess Match Between England and France in 1843. Staunton, a magnificent player but even greater self-publicist, made such a good job of spreading word of his achievement, that history has forgotten St Amant. The Frenchman was, however, the last in a line of uncrowned world champions from his country that had begun with Philidor and continued through Deschapelles and Labourdonnais.

Philidor, however, was a chess genius; Deschapelles was the greatest braggart the chess world has ever known; and Labourdonnais was a jolly fellow who "swore tolerably round oaths" when he found himself in a difficult position. By contrast, St Amant was a hen-pecked husband, famed for always leaving his board at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris, when his wife's parasol tapped at the window. But he was, in the early 1840s, almost certainly the strongest player in the world. As the following game shows, he was a dangerous attacking player when roused. Perhaps he had to get home early to cook dinner.

After a cautious opening on both sides, St Amant exploited his slight development lead to develop a K-side initiative. The fun starts with Staunton's 20...Ne4, which meets with a brilliant refutation starting with 22.d5! Black is despatched elegantly with 23.Rxe6, 24.Bf6! and 25.Rxd6! when 25...Qxd6 26.Qxh6 leaves Black unable to prevent mate.

White: St Amant Black: Staunton

13th match game, 1843

Queen's Gambit Declined

1 d4 e6 14 Rc1 Rc8

2 c4 d5 15 Rc2 Rc7

3 e3 Nf6 16 Rce2 Qc8

4 Nc3 c5 17 h3 Nd8

5 Nf3 Nc6 18 Qd2 a6

6 a3 Be7 19 b4 Ne6

7 Bd3 0-0 20 Bf5 Ne4

8 0-0 b6 21 Nxe4 dxe4

9 b3 Bb7 22 d5 exf3

10 cxd5 exd5 23 Rxe6 Qd8

11 Bb2 cxd4 24 Bf6 gxf6

12 exd4 Bd6 25 Rxd6 Kg7

13 Re1 h6 26 Rxd8 and wins.

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