Friday, 8 May 2015

The first century

While I am sure that there were thousands upon thousands of chess games played in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, not that many were recorded for posterity. This is why a lot of the "first game to" records are probably not entirely accurate, and should instead be "the first recorded game to".
An example of this is the first *recorded* game to reach 100 moves. According to my database (which may not be 100% complete), this occurred during the De Labourdonnais - McDonnell match. In fact it was in the ninth game of the fifth match between them, although history tends to treat these matches as one giant match.
The game went for exactly 100 moves, with Black's 100th move being "resigns". As the game was played without a timer, I have no idea how long it actually lasted, but I am assuming it went for quite a while (and possibly over more than 1 day). I also suspect both players might have been quite tired at the end, as on move 93 both players missed a trick that might have ended the game a few moves short of the century, and with an entirely different result.

De Labourdonnais,Louis Charles Mahe - McDonnell,Alexander [C51]
London m5 London (9), 1834

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