MacDonnell, Alexander

BORN 22 May 1798, Belfast - DIED 14 Sep 1835, London: Tavistock Square
CAUSE OF DEATH bright's disease
GRAVE LOCATION London: Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (182/PS (392))

Alexander MacDonnell was born in Belfast. Between 1820 and 1830 he conducted a business in Demerara in the West Indies. Back in London he became Secretary to the Comittee of West Indian Merchants. This comfortable position left him time to develop a passion for chess. In 1825 he became a pupil of William Lewis, in those days Britains best chess player. But soon MacDonnell was the stronger player and in 1834 a series of six matches was organised against La Bourdonnais at the Club of Chess of Westminster in London.

MacDonnel only managed to win the second match and lost the first, third, fourth and fifth. During the sixth and last one La Bourdonnais was urgently recalled to France. MacDonnel was suffering from Bright's Disease and died before play could be resumed. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London. In recent years a headstone was placed in front of his grave.

Related persons
• has a connection with La Bourdonnais, Louis-Charles Mahe de


The grave of Alexander McDonnel at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

The grave of Alexander McDonnel at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Jun 2009)


• Stephen, Leslie [Sir], Sidney Lee [Sir] [Editors], The Dictionary of National Biography, From the Earliest Times to 1900, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1960

Mach, Ernst

Published: 09 Nov 2008
Last update: 15 Jan 2023