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Adolf Anderssen vs Paul Morphy
"Grand Opening" (game of the day Aug-20-15)
Anderssen - Morphy (1858)  ·  Anderssen Opening: General (A00)  ·  1-0
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Given 41 times; par: 144 [what's this?]

find similar games 16 more Anderssen/Morphy games
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-03-10  Petrosianic: <I believe there was a contemporary report from a British chess publication, whose correspondent claimed actually to have helped Morphy from his sickbed to the game, that Morphy was very ill, apparently with something fluish--hardly unexpected in international travel at the time--which might explain a lot about his play here.>

There seem to be excuses for most great player's defeats, and most of them are dubious. So many people just have a hard time conceiving of one of the greats being truly beaten. That's why in pro wrestling they have such a wealth of ways for a Face to lose without losing cleanly. Outside interference, a distraction, some kind of deus ex machina. Hulk Hogan lost his first title after 4 years, because the bad guys bribed the referee's twin brother, and had him switch places just before the match. That way the audience could think "Okay, he lost, but he didn't REALLY lose," because it's just so hard for them to accept that.

Same thing in chess. It's just one game in a match that he won +7-2=2, but it seems to have disturbed you so much that you went on this long litany of Morphy's lifetime achievements rather than just accept that once in a while he lost one. It's a long, protracted struggle, in a closed game, of the type that he performed less well in than open ones, against the strongest opponent in the world. No special explanation for his defeat is needed, and there are no moves that make you think "Wow, I can't believe he played that."

It's worth remembering that, even though Morphy's many wealthy American fans would have made it very lucrative for a challenger, <no one ever took up his offer of pawn and move versus all comers after he returned from Europe.>

Why should they? What would be the value of beating him that way? Everyone would say that Morphy was better and they only won because of the handicap. And they'd probably be right.

Sep-24-10  morphy2010: Morphy was, quite simply, the best chess player who ever lived. True, he played in the style of his time. What great player doesn't? But at his best he would have dominated in any time, in any style. Unfortunately, he would probably also have succumbed to his mental fragility in any era, just as Fischer did.

It's worth remembering that, even though Morphy's many wealthy American fans would have made it very lucrative for a challenger, no one ever took up his offer of pawn and move versus all comers after he returned from Europe.

Feb-25-11  Llawdogg: I'm as big a Morphy fan as there is. But the match was over. Morphy was clearly better. It's nice that Anderssen was able to get a win in this tenth game after a long, hard fought endgame. He hadn't had any success since the first game. It must have been terribly humiliating. So, this win was some small consolation. Let's not begrudge him it.
Mar-05-11  ketchuplover: 13...g5 looks interesting imo.
Sep-28-11  skcin: I think as much as is in me is, I might make this one of my mantras, like the game of the century. Like the game vs the allies. I am taking my own medicine. Live long and prosper my fellow chessplayers
Jan-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Did Anderssen invent this opening for his match with Morphy, or had he used it before?
Jan-31-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <playground player> The games against Morphy are Anderssen's oldest with 1.a3 in the database. Someone with access to old periodicals could tell you if there were any earlier. In any case, Anderssen maneuvered into a Sicilian Reversed inspired (I think) by this defeat:

Anderssen vs Wyvill, 1851

Apr-20-12  Rook e2: Hm, is Anderssens opening a sign of underestimation? Has no one ever thought this might have contributed to his big loss against Morphy?
Apr-20-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Rook e2: Hm, is Anderssens opening a sign of underestimation? Has no one ever thought this might have contributed to his big loss against Morphy?>

No and no. Anderssen started playing 1.a3 when (i) he was well behind in the match and (ii) he had gotten some relatively poor positions with 1.e4 e5.

See benzol's index of the match.

Game Collection: WCC Index [ Morphy - Anderssen 1858 ]

And we know 1.a3 didn't contribute to his defeat because he got good positions with it and scored relatively well with it. (+1-1=1)

Mar-20-14  RookFile: This game is a courageous effort by Anderssen after he had already suffered some crushing defeats.
Dec-06-14  Mudphudder: Excellent game by Anderssen. Still hard to believe that Morphy lost to 1.a3!
Jun-06-15  thegoodanarchist: <Petrosianic: ... That's why in pro wrestling they have such a wealth of ways for a Face to lose without losing cleanly. Outside interference, a distraction, some kind of deus ex machina. Hulk Hogan lost his first title after 4 years, because the bad guys bribed the referee's twin brother, and had him switch places just before the match.>

You made a comparison with pro wrestling? (wrasslin') You know that it's choreographed, right?

Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Would anyone recommend playing 1.a3 in a blitz game (to try to catch your opponent off guard)?
Aug-20-15  RookFile: Sure. I think it's fine over the board too. In this game Anderssen essentially played the Sicilian Kan with an extra move. You have to be realistic in your expectations, i.e. white has no right to claim an objective adventage, but it may help you get the type of game you want.
Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Anderssen's play here is strong and remarkably "modern."
Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Penguincw: Would anyone recommend playing 1.a3 in a blitz game (to try to catch your opponent off guard)?>

For occasional surprise value, why not? Treat it as if you were playing Black with an extra a3 thrown in.

You would be giving away the slight advantage that white gets with his first move, but as compensation your opponent may have to think a bit more about whether his white openings still work so well if you have sneaked an extra move in.

Might also be good against an aggressive opponent if you intend to play a closed or hypermodern game.

Objectively, it's not as good as a more classical white opening, but OTB it might have some pragmatic benefits.

Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: The logic behind <1.a3> is simple: If the Sicilian is good, why not play it with a move in hand?

*****

Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Is this why that Anderssen is given "credit" for this passive, quaint opening?
Aug-20-15  mruknowwho: I guess Anderssen didn't want to give Morphy much space to work with. That's what I gather from the fact that he retreated his bishop on the 20th move rather than capture the pawn on f5.
Aug-20-15  newzild: I agree with <andrewjsacks> that this game is remarkably modern.

Both players avoid exchanging pieces at appropriate times, both players fight for counterplay in the ending, etc.

Really, a very interesting game.

Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <morfishine> If you have your heart set on playing the Sicilian with a move in hand, 1.c4 probably accomplishes that more straightforwardly.
Aug-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  coolconundrum: If you just wanna play the Sicilian reversed though surely C4 is a better route to take.

A3 suggests a certain amount of romantic daring.

Aug-20-15  RookFile: Anderssen knew that Morphy wouldn't play something like 1...d5.
Aug-20-15  zanzibar: As already pointed out by <nimh>:

Anderssen vs Morphy, 1858 (kibitz #44)

Up to move 29 there's been some nice maneuvering, but White has the space advantage, and b-pair.


click for larger view

Maybe Morphy was growing impatient, and wanted to force a breakout on the K-side with 29...g5?

What Morphy didn't appreciate, and Anderssen didn't find, was the power of the X-rays, c2-c5, and c3-h8.

So, if Anderssen had found 31.c5! the b6-pawn falls (with best play), and Black has his hands full with a dangerous passer.

Otherwise, play over the game after 31.c5 bxc5 32.cxd5 Bf8 33.Bc4 Qe7 34.Ra8. Black is down a piece and a half due to the pins.

(White has a lot of options on move 31, but the move 31.c5 best crystallizes the weaknesses in Black's position. Precise and accurate.)

Aug-20-15  thegoodanarchist: Today's pun is much more clever than yesterday's Loch Ness/Look: Ne5 mess.
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