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|Apr-11-11|| ||AVRO38: <I think Morphy could still dominate GMs today>|
No doubt about it..He would be World Champion as long as he wanted to be.
People always bring up the advances in opening theory as a liability for Morphy if he were to return today but the exact opposite is true. Morphy would be able to force his openings (Dutch, King's Gambit, 2.f4 Sicilian, etc..). Today's GMs would not be able to force the King's Indian, Grunfeld, Slav, Catalan, etc.. on Morphy.
|Apr-11-11|| ||SugarDom: nope. he'll get his ass kicked silly...|
|Apr-11-11|| ||TheFocus: In a tournament against today's superstars, Morphy would finish in last place.|
|Apr-11-11|| ||Phony Benoni: I'm sensing a difference of opinion here.
It's tempting to romanticize Morphy, to agree with one noted authority who wrote "In a set match, he would beat any player living today." But I fear it just isn't true.
Now, this is not meant to denigrate Morphy or his achievements. But chess has moved on. The beautiful attacks would not succeed today; indeed, they wouldn't be allowed to get off the ground.
Yes, Morphy could "force" his openings. Take the Dutch as an example. I think any super-GM would gladly pay Morphy to play the Dutch. There are effective and well-known strategies that were not conceived of until years after Morphy's death. Yes, Morphy could play "his openings", but they wouldn't be the openings he knew.
Now, Morphy was a fast learner who often started slowly in matches before coming on strong. Against Paulsen, the match was even after four games--then Morphy won four in a row. Against Harrwitz, Morphy lost the first two games--then won four in a row. Against Anderssen, he started loss, draw--then five wins in a row.
But the learning curve seems very steep now. We're talking 150 years of progress, of building on the lessons of the past. Yes, Morphy would probably improve relative to other players--but it would require more concentrated hard work than he ever showed the inclination for.
|Apr-11-11|| ||tamar: Morphy was a category above any player in his time, maybe two categories.|
To me an apt analogy of his feats would be if records would be discovered of a New Orleans boy running a 4 minute mile in 1860 on muddy roads by the Mississippi.
In 1860 the fastest recorded mile time was 4:23.
Now it is 3:43:12 set by Hicham el Guerrouj with two pacemakers to take him through 3 laps.
Could an extremely talented runner from the two centuries ago compete with the Moroccan or similar runners today?
Probably not, but el Guerrouj only beat his nearest competitor by a few feet in that race, while Morphy broke away from every serious competitor he had.
|Apr-12-11|| ||Once: We've discussed this many times in the past, but it doesn't hurt to repeat the salient points.|
If we were able to invent a time machine and brought Morphy to the present day, this is probably what we would find:
1. His opening theory would be poor;
2. His endgames would be so-so;
3. His combinational skills would still be strong
4. His strategical understanding would be mediocre.
In short - fresh out of the box - he would probably play at below GM strength.
But give him access to a chess library, allow him time to prepare and catch up with chess theory, give him the same training that modern GMs receive, and then I do believe that he would improve. How far? I don't know, but he would be a fearsome opponent for just about anyone if properly prepared.
After all, this was a man who studied hard at University, graduated with the highest honours, and - so we are told - memorised the entire Louisiana code of laws. He was qualified to practise law before he was old enough to do so - no mean feat.
So when we talk about Morphy losing to modern players - are we talking about a time-machine Morphy with absolutely no extra training, or a Morphy who has been given time to catch up with chess theory?
|Apr-12-11|| ||AVRO38: <I think any super-GM would gladly pay Morphy to play the Dutch.>|
If he did he would only prove PT Barnum was right!
A Dutch game with Morphy would be "out of book" very quickly and the "super-GM" would be on his own. It would be talent vs talent and Morphy would win the vast majority of the time.
Can a modern GM hope to outplay Morphy in a King's Gambit? If not then the entire Open Game is out the window. How will he respond to Morphy's 1.e4? with the Najdorf? not after 2.f4. The advances in the Slav, Grunfeld, Catalan, Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, Nimzo_Indian etc..would all be meaningless. In short, the modern GM would be hopeless against Morphy.
|Apr-12-11|| ||Once: <In short, the modern GM would be hopeless against Morphy.>|
I'd like to think so, I really would, but I just can't see it happening like that.
A time-warped Morphy would have a lot of catching up to do. Sure, his open game technique would be good, but any GM who really wanted to win would steer the game into positions that Morphy would not understand. That means meeting 1. e4 with the French or Caro Kann or even the Modern. It means closed games and hypermodern strategy.
But give Morphy a chance to study...
|Apr-12-11|| ||AVRO38: <It means closed games and hypermodern strategy.>|
Morphy was no stranger to closed games and hypermodern strategy. Take a look at the final game of his match with Anderssen:
Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858
I just don't see anyone today playing the near flawless chess that Morphy played.
|Apr-12-11|| ||epicdude: Would 33...Qxe7 have faired better?|
|Apr-12-11|| ||LIFE Master AJ: Addressing the Morphy debate - on these pages. (How would Morphy fare today?) |
Seeing that chess was/is 99% tactics, and Morphy was perhaps one of the greatest tacticians who ever lived ...
I would have to say, give Morphy 3 years (and a coach) to catch up ... and he would hold his own with anyone today.
Years ago, I had little, black notebooks full of Morphy positions (and games), some masters failed to find the correct winning move(s).
Today, I have analyzed many of these games, I would hazard a guess to say that I have publicly analyzed more than 100 of Morphy's games. I have written extensively on Morphy, several of these articles have won awards. (USCF, CJA, FFE, etc.) So I am not speaking from a position of ignorance.
|Apr-12-11|| ||LIFE Master AJ: I went over the game (again) ... nearly falwless play by Morphy. |
Please note above - I felt that Morphy would "hold his own," I never said that he would crush everyone.
|May-25-11|| ||gamego: Today, Morphy would create responses in any opening by simplifying and simplifying to reach a more open game. All he would need today would be one game to get the concept, then play on his own terms.|
|May-25-11|| ||James Bowman: I would be one to agree with Fischers assesment, I don't think it's romanticizing either just observation only Fischer was able to back it up against the greats of his era inspite of 100 years of advanced chess knowledge.|
Morphy might suffer for a brief period but I'm rather sure his genius was greater than the greatest of the current crop and he would rapidly adjust. Probably he would much rather enjoyed playing opponents that he didn't have to spot a piece too just to make it sporting.
Morphy showed us glimpses of great positional understanding, and endgame technique despite seldom finding it necessary nor having studied at all.
Many young guns have studied and learned chess concepts and stratagies Morphy created them OTB which is simply on another level than most of the thousands of grandmasters alive today, no offence to them or their own skills intended.
I know this is a heated subject and a rather emotional topic for some but his natural talent combined with exposure to the current positional ideas would in my own estimation be a recipe for world champion in any era, and Harrwitz is the perfect example trying to make it a slower more closed game only met with limited short term success.
The players I would have loved to have seen him play were Lasker, Capablanca and maybe Karpov too.
I suppose it's settled now lets get back to Fischer or Kasparov ;o].
|May-25-11|| ||sarah wayne: If Morphy were around today he would be the next Bobby Fischer.In fact maybe Bobby was Morphy a lot alike.Seriously Morphy studied chess diligently just like all subjects he knew.|
|Aug-01-11|| ||Jambow: <Seriously Morphy studied chess diligently just like all subjects he knew> |
What do you base that on? Because he was a regular polymath and excelled in anything relying on intellect? I never found quotes from his era speaking of him studying chess, if you know of some I'm interested to hear them. No all indications are that he just more completely understood open positions and tempo than anyone before or since, that would include opening a closed position almost at will.
He also was a very quick study at closed games and I suspect would be no less adept at them as demonstrated by this and other games vs Harrwitz.
|Aug-01-11|| ||JoergWalter: <Jambow> From Morphy's annotations in the NY Ledger you can see that he was familiar with Staunton's Handbook, the Chess Player's Chronicle, the 1851 london tournament book and what other commentators wrote e.g. about the games McDonnell vs. DeLaBourdonnais, 1834. |
Also the following remark by Morphy concerning his dislike of "closed games" shows that he knew (or "studied"?) chess literature:
<If there is anything to be regretted in connection with the combats between these
illustrious players, it is the pertinacity with which McDonnell persisted in adopting, in two
of the debuts which most frequently occur, a line of play radically bad. Against such an
adversary as Labourdonnais the disastrous effects of McDonnell’s early moves in nearly
all of the Sicilian Games and Queen’s Gambits could not be overcome even by the very
best afterplay. The moves of 2 Nf3 or still better 2 d4, are those now generally recognized
as the best. The latter move is indeed so strong that it has gone far towards disabusing the
public mind of that pernicious fondness for the Sicilian Defence which was displayed
during what may be called the period of close games, extending from about 1843 to some
time after 1851. It was an epoch of uninteresting games and dreary analytical labors, and
with the exception of the contests occurring between the great Prussian masters, afforded
but comparatively few specimens of brilliant play. It should be a subject of rejoicing with
every lover of the game that an age in which so much severe labor led to such unprofitable
results, has passed away. There is now a visible tendency to cultivate a higher style of
chess art – to substitute for the false taste which has so long prevailed a more elevated
standard of excellence.>
|Aug-03-11|| ||James Bowman: Thanks <JoergeWalter> No doubt Morphy read chess material from his day and since he was of such high intellect absorbed copius amounts of it as compared to most, yet the general feel is that he learned on the fly as in his Harrwitz mini match. Keep in mind chess literature was a tiny fraction of what we have today. Nor do I think he was unaware of chess history which he played a huge part in. I just think certain players studied to achieve great results like Botvinik, Fischer and Kasparov as examples and others like Morphy, Capablanca and Carlsen perhaps understand things a bit more intuitively or so it would appear were less devoted to formal study. All geniuses yes all studied to some degree no doubt but the emphisis seems very different imho. |
Not saying his mind wasn't resolving and computing off the board, certainly someone who could be blindfolded and come out ahead in a simul against a multitude of strong players of the day could do so. I just don't think there is any indication that he made a systemic study like Steinitz or Nimzowitch did.
I know at work I had a friend that was a fairly strong player who either won or drew ten games in a row against me and had me baffled as we had been fairly even up until that point. Then all at once I understood what he was doing while away from the board and I won the next ten games straight. Not trying to put myself in Morphy or Carlsens camp but I was not so dilligent at formal study and grasped more by just listening observing and pondering what I saw and heard so I personally understand that type better as I can relate.
|Aug-04-11|| ||JoergWalter: <JamesBowman: I just don't think there is any indication that he made a systemic study like Steinitz or Nimzowitch did.> That is true. However, the systematic study of Steinitz was a way to find out about the principles of chess and the secret of Morphy's play. Morphy himself "just had it". I think of Morphy's study that he would skim through a book and after that he tell you that 2/3 of the lines are inaccurate or false. Very much the way how later Capablanca "studied" chess. These guys didn't work hard or systematically simply because they didn't have to.|
|Aug-04-11|| ||JoergWalter: That is usually called "talent". I am not aware of an exact definition, it seems to me that "talent" is always brought into discussion when other explanations fail. Sometimes you read "natural ability" but this is thought up to explain something "unnatural" or at least uncommon. When explanation fails just admire these guys blessed with a godgiven gift.|
|Aug-06-11|| ||Jambow: I think equating talent to natural abillity is by and large correct and recognizing the immense God given talent of Morphy and Capa doesn't take a grand master or expert talent scout either.|
At the same place of employment I described in the previous post a very good friend of mine dominated chess there and for some odd reason we had a plethora of solid club worthy players, most of which were in the 1600-1900ish range. My friend could play easily with out view of the board and often he would play on multiple boards and would seldom lose.
With very little study he was in the 2000-2100 range. Ironically he has a natural Morphy like style with every move gaining space and tempo so that you always felt as if you were responding to his ideas. The only time I ever won two consecutive games was after playing over the Evans Gambit games of Morphy.
Anyway I really had a feel for what to do more than based upon concrete calculations. After he left I was considered the strongest player but only by the slimmest of margins but didn't dominate, since I really started in my mid 30's and was by far the rookie not to shabby I suppose. Addicting game with no known cure except insanity ;o]
Anyway sorry about the biography and a little boasting from a small pond perspective, I would say our take on Morphy and talent in general is not very diverse on the whole <Jeorge>
|Aug-06-11|| ||JoergWalter: <JamBow> no disagreement at all. you know, it is not only the field of chess when i start believing in rebirth. there are guys who are just amazing having something on the ball which takes years of hard work for mere mortals (or forever).|
|Aug-06-11|| ||sevenseaman: The move 35. Nxd6 is like a MIRV (Multi-warhead Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicle). Its too much to carry on after.|
Morphy was the rarest of a chess talent, no question. Such great occurrences have the capacity to delight generations of posterity without finding a peer.
|Feb-29-12|| ||artsys: They said Kasparov was the best and was unbeatable. Kramnik, who didn't even qualify for the World Championship and was lucky to get a chance to play Kaspy, defeated him without losing a single game, yet Kasparov is the best attacking player of all time. There is absolutely no way to tell how well Morphy would do, but considering his tactical skills, I am more than willing to give Morphy a chance. Here's why: Morphy's skill in open games, and in tactics, has not really been attained by anyone before or since, and that is the analysis of just about every chess world champion. Whatever edge he may have in tactics will be dulled by the gap in theory, and the chances are, fresh out of the box, he will lose, but in a set match, I'll stand with Fischer's words and say, yes, he'd win.|
|Nov-20-12|| ||Llawdogg: The pride and the sorrow of chess.|
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