François Antoine de Legall de Kermeur, or Kermur Sire De Legal, was a French chess player in the 1700’s who introduced a checkmate pattern to the world of chess, called Legal’s Mate, in 1750. He’s also considered to be the worlds first professional chess player.
Full Name: Kermur Sire De Legal
Place of birth: Versailles
Born: September 4, 1702
There are no recorded Elo ratings for Legal due to the time period he played in, just shy of couple centuries before FIDE was established.
Kermur Sire De Legal is a French chess player born on September 4, 1702, in Versailles France. From about 1730 to 1755, Kermur Sire De Legal was possibly the best player in the world. Twiss spells his name Kermur, Sire de Legal, and others spell it Kermur and Kermuy, Sire de Legal. It appears in the List of Subscribers to Philidor’s Second Edition as in Twiss, but the spelling was most likely Philidor’s in both cases. HeKermur Sire De Legal played in Paris’s Café de la Régence with other famous players and is thought to have been the greatest player in the globe in the 1730s. Kermur Sire De Legal trained François-André Philidor how to play chess.
Until 1755, when Legal was defeated by Philidor, he was most likely the best competitor at the Café de la Régence and probably around the globe. It is unknown whether Legal traveled or competed in countries other than France, but because the Café de la Régence was the chess Mecca of the period, the majority of the best competitors of the 18th century did end up there eventually, and the greatest among them competed against Legal. As per Philidor, Legal competed with Sir Abraham Janssen, the greatest English competitor at the time. G. Allen states that Legal shared Philidor’s assessment of Janssen’s abilities across the board.
It can imply that Janssen won roughly one among the four games he contested with Legal as he did with Philidor, however, this isn’t entirely clear from Allen’s text if this view is correct. Based on the previously stated author, the chess game between Legal and Janssen occurred after the tournament between Philidor and Janssen and thus must have occurred after 1747.
There is only one recorded game of De Legall in the database, and it’s the one that introduced Legal’s Mate to the chess board.
Kermur Sire De Legal vs Saint Brie – “18 & Legal” – Paris, France – 1750
Did you enjoy reading about Kermur Sire De Legal? If you did, you might be interesting in reading other influential players from the past, such as Emanuel Lasker, Paul Morphy, and Rey Enigma.