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Famous Chess Players: Paul Morphy

[Event “Paris”]
[Site “Paris”]
[Date “1858.??.??”]
[EventDate “?”]
[Round “?”]
[Result “1-0”]
[White “Paul Morphy”]
[Black “Duke Karl / Count Isouard”]
[ECO “C41”]
[WhiteElo “?”]
[BlackElo “?”]
[PlyCount “33”]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 {This is a weak move
already, Fischer} 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7
8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5 {Black is in a zugzwang position
here. He cannot develop the Queen knight because the pawn
is hanging, the bishop is blocked because of the
Queen, Fischer} b5 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.O-O-O Rd8
13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+ Nxb8 17.Rd8# 1-0

Paul Morphy may have been the greatest chess player of all time. Bobby Fisher thought so, and so did Adolf Anderseen, a contemporary of Morphy’s who was considered by many to be the leading chess player of his time. Morphy grew up in New Orleans and was a chess prodigy, having learned to play by merely watching the games of his father. He was around 8 years old at the time. At twenty-one, Morphy traveled to Europe to compete in an international chess tournament with the hope of being able to play against Howard Staunton, the renowned English champion. Staunton, however, after seeing Morphy play avoided him, and the game that could have been, never was. Morphy did play against Anderseen, and Anderseen lost decisively. Morphy returned to New Orleans and eventually abandoned chess. He died of a stroke at 47, having spent his last years in sorrow.

This particular game, Morphy vs. Duke Karl of Brunswick/Count Isouard, was played in Paris during the opera, Norma. The game itself was certainly casual, but the resulting moves remain absolutely astonishing and delightful. For an analysis of the game itself, click on the link below, but before you do, be sure and watch the game a few times.

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Paul Morphy

Morphy vs Duke Karl/ Count Isouard, 1858
Game Analysis

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