Bourdonnais, Louis de la (Louis-Charles Mahé de la Bourdonnais), 1795–1840, French chess player, b. La Réunion. A pupil of Alexandre Deschappelles, he defeated his mentor in 1821 and from then until his death was considered chess's unofficial world champion. He was the author of the chess primer Nouveau traité du jeu des échecs (1833). His game was marked by an understanding of positional chess and a mastery of the endgame. His most famous matches were a series of six played in 1834 against the Irish master Alexander McDonnell, then considered the strongest player in England. Won by de la Bourdonnais, this was the first major international chess event to be widely reported and analyzed.
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