Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles, also known during his lifetime as Guillaume le Breton, was born on March 7, 1780, and died on October 27, 1847. He was born in France and became an expert in the upper society of his era in the game of Whist. Even his international peers praised his knowledge and expertise of the game.

Note: Any additional information as to the personality of Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles would be greatly appreciated.

Note: Mr. Pierre Baudrier has contributed as of February 3, 2014, information about the personality of Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles. This contribution is authored in French without an English translation. This contributed article is only preserved and archved on this site in .pdf file format fur future reference. Note: a fuller description of the life of Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles is presented by Mr. Pierre Baudrier on his web page.

Note: One source states that he was the World Champion from 1800 to and including the year 1821 in the game of chess. A shortand description biography is quoted:

Perhaps the greatest games-man in history, he was the strongest Whist player in France and inventor of the Deschapelles Coup. He fought in Napoleon's army and was left for dead at the siege of Mainz, losing his right hand. Which meant that as a stickler for republican principles, he conducted duels with his left hand, sporting a sabre-scar from eyebrow to chin.

A portrait of Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles appears on the cover of his publication titled The French king of chess.

Note: The second illustration is of Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles at the Café de la Regence in Paris, France, presumedly playing Mr. John Cochrane around the year 1821. The title provided to the portrait is Chess Players, in French the title is les joueurs d'échecs.

Note: A lengthy biography of Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles is presented to the reader of the publication Chess & Chess-Players, Consisting of Original Stories and Sketches authored by Mr. George Walker, published by Charles J. Skeet of Charing Cross, London, England, in the year 1850. Source.

Note: A description of the military career of Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles can be found online at this website.


Note: Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles is the person wearing the yellow coat in the middle of the picture.

One was Mr. James Clay, the leading Whist authority of England, who referred to him as the Whist player beyond any comparison the world has ever seen. It seems that Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles also excelled at almost every sport played by the aristocrats of his time. Among them are billiards, chess, and Polish draughts, which is a form of checkers.

Even after losing his right arm during one of the many wars fought in his lifetime, Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles continued to play Whist. He devised the card coup which bears his name, and a number of other coups. He also published fragmented articles intended for an extensive book planned covering the many facets of the game of Whist. However, he never finished the project.


South is the declarer. The contract is 3 No Trump. West leads the King of Diamonds. Since East has only the Ace of Diamonds, East overtakes, and must decide upon a return lead. The only hope of defeating the contract is for East to assume that West has an outside Queen. If East assumes that West has the Queen of Clubs, then the contract will be defeated in any case.

However, this inference should not mislead East in leading a Club. According to Mr. Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles, the assumption should be that West holds the Queen of Hearts. East, in order to establish an entry for West, must lead the Kings of Hearts, triggering the Deschapelles Coup.

South will accept the trick by playing the Ace of Hearts, attempt to set up the Clubs, but East overtakes with the Ace of Clubs, and leads back another Heart. West wins, and runs the Diamonds. If South ducks the first Heart, West will eventually be able to use his Queen of Hearts as an entry and run the Diamonds before South collects nine tricks. By most favorable defense, South can be held to five total tricks. Any other play by East on the second trick allows South to fulfill the contract.

It must also be noted that if the assumption by East that West holds the Queen of Clubs is correct, then by proper defense, South still can be held to only eight tricks: 4 Spade tricks, 3 Heart tricks, 1 Club trick. It should also be noted that, using the example presented above, that the only safe contract is 3 Clubs by South. Only through improper defense could a contract of 3 No Trump be made.

Mr. Alan Truscott

In his bridge column for The New York Times Mr. Alan Truscott writes that it is hard to conceive that anyone could be the world's best at two demanding intellectual activities. Such a claim can be made for Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles, a Frenchman born just before his country's Revolution.

This bridge article has been only preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.



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