Deschapelles Alexandre Luis Honoré Lebreton (07.03.1780 – 27.10.1847)

Deschapelles-Alexandre-LuisDeschapelles was the strongest French player in the early of the 19 century. As a French marshal, he participated in many of Napoleon’s campaigns while  wounded, he lost his right hand in the fighting against Prussians. After the battle at Waterloo he retired as a general and become a farmer.

During the period of 1815-1821 he was  a regular visitor of the Café de la Regence in Paris and soon he became the strongest chess player in France, he was called the Philidor’s successor. He gave odds (generally a rook) to any challenger.

In 1821 he lost a match to Lewis with the score 1-2 with Lewis having odds of a pawn and a move, then beat John Cochrane, 6-1, with Cochrane having odds of a pawn and two moves. In 1836 he drew with Pierre de Saint-Amant, 1½-1½ then beat him in 1842 3-2.

Realizing that he could not give odds to his pupil anymore, Deschapelles gave up chess and started to compose music and play whist for a living. He was quite successful and made about 30.000 and 40.000 francs a year at the game.

Deschapelles was imprisoned in 1832, he was suspected in conspiracy anti-Bourdonist. He was released one month later, after he wrote a letter to the King, saying that he was old, innocent and infirmed.

He spent his last days writing constitutions for Italy, Spain, Portugal, and some South American republics. He died of hydropsy.