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Adolf Anderssen vs Paul Morphy
Anderssen - Morphy (1858), Paris FRA, rd 2, Dec-21
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Anderssen Variation (C77)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-04-04  Catfriend: What can Steinitz say about this game?

"Once Loyd visited me, and I asked him to evaluate the strength of two players by looking at their game. "Could you do it?"

"I think so", modestly replied the famous problemist.

"Well, then look at the position (in this game, after blacks 8..♘:d5). "So, the players I talk about are still in the opening phase. White has the move, and by analogy to other similar positions. I'm sure that 9.♘:e5 ♘:♘e5 10.d4 gives white a good game. Also, castling is a very good and safe choice. (In fact, better then ♘:e5. Catf.) But white plays 9.h3.

"Surely, weak and senseless!" said Loyd.

"Now it's black's turn and of course thet should playu ♗d6 or ♗b6. Instead, he castles. White, again, doesn't take on e5 and also castles. But now, for sure, black can't tarry and MUST retreat with the bishop. Yet, he plays h6. What do you think? Was it good?

"Of course, not!"

"Doubtless, white had to use it all and play ♘:e5, but he AGAIN doesn't do it and instead choses 11.d4, which creates a weak isolated pawn. What do you think of the players' strentgh? Are they of the first, the second or the third category? " I asked that innocently, but I'm sure that, given a choice of five categories, Loyd would choosr the last one. And so he answered immediately, "Third, at best!"

"Then what can you say if I"ll say to you these moves were done (twice!) in the match Morphy-Andersen?"

Loyd remained silent..."

Oct-31-04  Bobak Zahmat: Why did Paul Morphy played 30. ... Qd6+? I think after 30. ... Qxd4 it is over for white!
Oct-31-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 30 ... Qxd4?! 31. Qc6+ regains the exchange with a tough QR vs. QR endgame ahead. Steinitz' and Loyd's comments are priceless; thanks Catfriend.
May-13-06  MagnaPsygnosis: This is much more "strategical" and slower game between these two....

like I said before... these two know each other more and more with every move they made.

Jan-18-09  WhiteRook48: Yikes! Exciting how Anderssen sacs pieces against Morphy.
Jan-31-09  laskereshevsky: this was the second game of the match. the first ended with an Anderssen's victory.

Its interesting to see on works the different conception of the game by this 2 players....

the strategical "ice covered rock" Morphy, achieved a much superior position after 15... ♘d5, and after 18... ♗c4 the game looks very bad for the white....

no other player was able to put Anderssen uder so big pressure after few "simple" moves from the opening...thats remind to the Capablanca's style..

But from now the "german's lion" Anderssen play tactically, starting with 19♘f5!..., followed by 23.♗xh6!... and 27.♗xe4...

.... But Morphy resisted to this cannon-shots, and a draw was achieved.

Maybe any other player of that period, besides those two giants, should had lost this game as black....and as white too

Feb-23-09  laskereshevsky: Its strange to find a game with your own posts, by the random game feature.....
Aug-15-09  ughaibu: That is a great kibitz (last above mine).
Dec-28-09  crwynn: <Catfriend: What can Steinitz say about this game?

"Once Loyd visited me, and I asked him to evaluate the strength of two players by looking at their game. "Could you do it?"

"I think so", modestly replied the famous problemist.

"Well, then look at the position (in this game, after blacks 8..Nd5). "So, the players I talk about are still in the opening phase. White has the move, and by analogy to other similar positions. I'm sure that 9.Ne5 Ne5 10.d4 gives white a good game. Also, castling is a very good and safe choice. (In fact, better then Ne5. Catf.) But white plays 9.h3.

"Surely, weak and senseless!" said Loyd.

"Now it's black's turn and of course thet should playu d6 or b6. Instead, he castles. White, again, doesn't take on e5 and also castles. But now, for sure, black can't tarry and MUST retreat with the bishop. Yet, he plays h6. What do you think? Was it good?

"Of course, not!"

"Doubtless, white had to use it all and play Ne5, but he AGAIN doesn't do it and instead choses 11.d4, which creates a weak isolated pawn. What do you think of the players' strentgh? Are they of the first, the second or the third category? " I asked that innocently, but I'm sure that, given a choice of five categories, Loyd would choosr the last one. And so he answered immediately, "Third, at best!"

"Then what can you say if I"ll say to you these moves were done (twice!) in the match Morphy-Andersen?"

Loyd remained silent...">

That's an interesting story for people who like to argue about the relative strengths of Steinitz and Morphy. Of course, what a player says analyzing another man's game is usually not as well-thought-out as the moves he makes in his own. But this story makes Steinitz look very bad.

His idea 9.Nxe5? is obviously terrible, after 9...Nxe5 10.d4


click for larger view

10...Bg4 and White can resign. It's hard to think very highly of a player who even suggests such moves in casual analysis; White decides to open the position while far behind in development, tossing away his only active piece in the bargain - it's not like this ...Bg4 is some kind of bolt from the blue.

And I don't agree that 9.0-0 is clearly better than 9.h3; they should probably lead to similar positions, either way White will play 0-0, Nb2-e4, a4, Bd2 with a fairly even-looking position, the development of Black's bishop to g4 versus f5 does not look that important, and neither side really has to worry about making the "weakening" moves h3 and ...h6 I think.

11.Nxe5 instead of 11.d4 is a reasonable idea, but it's not as if it's anything special - 11...Nxe5 12.d4 Bd6 13.de Bxe5 14.Nd2 and I think White has a small edge from the weakening of Black's q-side, but it doesn't look serious at all.

And Anderssen's choice of an IQP position was also fine, and especially deserved no crititism since it worked out very well very fast - Morphy should've played 13...Re8 to cover e4, instead he had the unfortunate idea of driving the bishop to b1, which doesn't help him much - the queen coming to c2 is even more annoying than d3, because she hits c6.

16.Qc2 was obvious and seems to force 16...h6 losing a pawn for nothing, because 16...Nf6 17.Ne4 wins a piece. Instead Anderssen played 16.Ne2 and got a bad position. Nowadays we know that such a slow knight tour to f5 is not such a great idea in IQP positions, in those days they had to go by intuition.

Personally I think Steinitz would've had little chance against Morphy, and the only reason anybody doubts this obvious conclusion (obvious from looking at games between common opponents, and from Stenitz's somewhat uneven grasp of tactics) is Steinitz's PR campaign to convince the world that he, Steinitz, had single-handedly elevated the practice of chess to an entirely new level between roughly 1860 and 1880 - so that the Anderssen and Paulsen and Bird that Morphy dominated were not the same Anderssen, Paulsen and Bird that gave Steinitz a lot more trouble.

Dec-20-10  Xeroxx: 26... Qxf5 looks strong. Doesn't it?
Dec-20-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: If Morphy as worried about white's Nxe5 he could simply have prevented it 8...Qxd5, which is nor a bad move anyway. So maybe he played it as a trap, though not one which a player of Anderssen's strength would likely stumble into. 10...Bb6 would have been good not because it prevents the fork trick, but so black can meet 11 d4 with ed 12 cd Ndb4 winning B for N. 14...Nxd4 leads to complications which slightly favor black, instead 14...Be6 is a mistake that probably should lose as crwynn points out. (15 Qc2 Nf6? 16 Ne4! wins a piece). Then White plays an unsound sacrifice, black defends not too well, and it all ends up in a draw.
Feb-12-11  Llawdogg: Thank you Catfriend and crwynn for your informative posts.
Mar-19-14  RookFile: Regarding 9. Nxe5 - does the position remind you of something? The Marshall Gambit of the Ruy Lopez comes to mind. Of course, Marshall wasn't anywhere on the scene yet. Yet, if we begin with that understanding, the first consideration is that black doesn't even need to recover the pawn to have a playable game. That is, 9....Bb7, one of Marshall's early ideas in his gambit, is enough to give white plenty of headaches.

It turns out that the best move is 9....Nxe5. Black <starts out> with an extra knight for a pawn, so alarm bells should be going off.

Concrete analysis indicates that Morphy and Anderssen knew what they were doing. 9. Nxe5 Nxe5 10. d4 Bg4 11. f3 Qh4+ is starting to look like some cautionary tale from a Fred Reinfeld book about piece development. Black is winning.

I suspect that in other places in this game, the more you look, the more you see.

Mar-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <crwynn.... this story makes Steinitz look very bad.>

Not sure how; one suspects more than a tinge of irony in Steinitz' presentation of this.

Jan-22-16  talhal20: Unfortunately Morphy did not play professional chess after 1858 and therefor Steinitz did not have to play against Morphy. He would have certainly lost to Morphy
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