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Paul Morphy vs Daniel Harrwitz
Morphy-Harrwitz (1858)  ·  Philidor Defense: Exchange Variation (C41)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-26-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <SBC> I am slow to comment because I haven't read the Edge book. Here though is a countering view.

Harrwitz in 1858 was the best player in Europe. He was in practice, clever, and unorthodox, very conscious of taking players out of their known schemes. He had however an excitable temperament, and matches tended to make him physically sick.

The arrival of Morphy was a great opportunity for him. His relationship with Staunton was acrimonious ever since Staunton had dismissed his play with Lowenthal with theatrical venom (a match he won after being down 9-2 and taking a sick break) Yet he was wary of Morphy, not appearing at the Cafe for a few days, which seems odd for a chess addict, and then only agreeing to an offhand game.

So yes, I agree that there is a possibility that Morphy being alert to signs of hesitancy-probably the same signs Staunton showed, only agreeing to play in consultation games-he may have tempered his play with Black in that first game, and pointed for a draw. In Sergeant's notes, Morphy plays an early inaccuracy, but struggles almost back to equality, but then Harrwitz finds some strong moves to end the game.

Whatever the intent, Harrwitz then agreed to a match without seconds. At this point I see no motive for Morphy to play below his strength, and I see his loss in game 1 as purely a bad opening choice. He thought Harrwitz 4th move Bb4 was the strongest move in the QGD and cited it as the reason for his switch to the Dutch Defense.

The incident where Harrwitz grabbed his wrist and exclaimed <"his pulse does not beat any faster than if he had won the game!"> is usually put down to Harrwitz's low character, but I am inclined to believe he was spooked by Morphy's demeanour even while he was leading the match. I think Morphy's pulse was low because he saw hours earlier that his 14th move lost him the game (again according to Sergeant's account) and treated the rest of the game as an intellectual puzzle, trying to make the win as difficult as possible to convert.

I don't claim this reading is the truth, but it seems logical to me, and consistent with what I have read about Morphy's character. I believe Morphy had the capability to be scheming, but not the impulse.

Dec-26-04  SBC: <tamar>

For the sake of discussion, here's a few more thoughts:

This is Max Lange's view of Harrwitz's style-

"His [Harrwitz's] play is ready and elegant, rather than deep, and his combinations appear more to be isolated, though ingenious manoeuvres, than well combined and premeditated designs. He is very skilful in profiting by the mistakes of his adversaries, and knows how to gain an advantage by speculating upon their probable miscalculations. It was natural therefore, that against a deeper and correct opponent he should be in a disadvantage, till at last, feeling himself the superiority of his antagonist, he should despair of a favorable termination of the contest."

<Yet he was wary of Morphy, not appearing at the Cafe for a few days.>

Actually, Morphy announced himself at la Regence the day after he arrived in Paris. It was Harrwitz who was out of town and didn't until 3 days later.

<matches tended to make him physically sick.>

It seems only matches that he chanced losing tended to make him sick, but fortunately for Harrwitz, he was a very successful match players. After his strange match with Staunton, he tied a match with Anderssen and won matches from Horowitz (+6-5 and +7-6), Williams (+3=2, +7=2, +7-0), Lowenthal (+11-10) and Medley (+11-9).

Whether he was, or was ever considered, the strongest European player is debatable, given Anderssen and der Lasa (or even Falkbeer or Lange), but he was certainly one of the best and most successful.

Harrwitz, as I picture him, was an entertainer or a showman. Probaby most of his antics were meant to be funny, but it also seems that many people didn't like him, considered him arrogant and would have liked nothing more than watching Morphy (whom most people, in contrast, seemed to like) beat him. When Harrwitz took his early lead, his actions were interpreted as arrogant (and it's my understanding that his behavior toward Morphy eventually cost him his position at la Regence) whether they were or not. They seemed to me more the 19th century equivalent of trash talk. The problem with that is that after running off at the mouth, the idea of losing becomes unbearable. So, Harrwitz might have truly been sick - but the sickness was opportunely timed (and only when it came to playing Morphy -as even Staunton pointed out- and not during the day when he was able to play anyone else) and possibly psychological in origin.

The enigmatic question still remains: How could Morphy say with such casual certainty - after having never won a single game from Harrwitz and already having lost 3 in a row, "How astonished all these men are going to be. Harrwitz will not win another game."?

Dec-26-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <SBC> I hear you asking, how could Morphy know he would not lose to Harrwitz again after losing the first three? My theory:

Morphy figured Harrwitz out, which I believe was Harrwitz secret terror even while winning. Harrwitz welcomed tactical skirmishes, as Lange implied, because he knew that he could gain positional advantages when the attack misfired. <He is very skilful in profiting by the mistakes of his adversaries, and knows how to gain an advantage by speculating upon their probable miscalculations.>

Morphy would have taken a big lesson from this game. Harrwitz basically snatches a pawn in broad daylight, and then throws all the living room furniture in front of Morphy's lively but unfocussed attack. After this game, Morphy carefully prepared his attacks and did not over-reach (except in game 7 where he mixed up his moves, turning a crushing victory into a draw). When the attack was not there, he played for the endgame, and outplayed Harrwitz in games 3, 5 and 6.

I think the statement to Edge meant Harrwitz could not beat him if he did not help.

Dec-26-04  SBC: <tamar>

I really don't know.

The Harrwtz match wasn't the only time Morphy predicted his opponent would never win another game. He did the same thing with Paulsen at the Chess Congress. Almost every match Morphy played with a capable opponent started off slow for Morphy but ended with a display of dominance.

One of two reasons seem most evident. Either Morphy was unsure of himself and played hesitantly until he got the feel for his opponent or else he deliberately built up their self-confidence by not extending himself in the first few games.

Morphy, after returning to the US, said he was disappointed with his showing in Europe - that he felt he could have done much better. I tend to agree with that.

The more I study, and contemplate, Morphy, the more I understand him...and the less I understand him.

Mar-11-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < I think the statement to Edge meant Harrwitz could not beat him if he did not help. > A famous parallel from boxing are the Max Schmeling - Joe Louis matches. "Brown Bomber" was the better prize fighter, but lost their first bout because of a technical flaw in his cover. Schmeling discovered the flaw on films, hit the hole, and although Louis lasted another eight rounds, could not recover enough. But, in spite of his (fair) loss, Louis after the fight had to know that he was the stronger boxer. (And he demonstrated that in their rematch.)

http://www.auschwitz.dk/schmeling.htm.

http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/fe...

Apr-29-05  Milo: I suppose Morphy might have paid him off, although this sounds decidedly un-Morphy-like... some of Harrwitz's losses are quite suspicious, though.
Jul-28-05  capanegra: This was Harrwitz' third and last win against Morphy in his life. Harrwitz vs Morphy, 1858 was their first meeting, being an off-hand game played at the Café de la Régence just before the match. So, after the present game, Harrwitz was 2-0 in the match, but 3-0 in the total games they played.

About this game, Edward Lasker also brings some light about Morphy's first two defeats in his match against Harrwitz:

<Morphy, entranced with the charm of Paris night life, had taken to going to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Foolishly he persisted in doing this even the night before the commencement of the match, and Harrwitz, who had the move in the first game, trounced him soundly, to the visible disappointment of the large crowd of onlookers who were all praying for Morphy's victory. The same thing happened the next day. In spite of his friends' warning, he stayed out until four o'clock in the morning. That afternoon, after obtaining a winning position in the game, fatigue overcame him, he made a few weak moves, and Harrwitz was again victorious.

Throughout the game the latter displayed an attitude of amused contempt. When Morphy resigned, he rose from his chair, took Morphy’s hand and felt his pulse. Then he said laughingly to the crowd: "Well, this is most astonishing. His pulse does not beat any faster than if he had won the game!"

Everybody was disgusted at this childish display of vainglory, but Morphy merely smiled and said to his "second": "How astonished all these men will be when Harrwitz does not get another game." And he didn't. Morphy promised to be in bed before twelve every night during the match, and he kept his promise. He scored the third and fourth games in beautiful style. The effect on Harrwitz was interesting. He became extremely nervous during the fourth game, often shaking violently when he was about to move. On the other side of the board sat Morphy, looking, according to eyewitnesses, like a block of living marble, the very embodiment of penetration and decision.

Harrwitz lost the fifth game too, although he had the move. He asked for a respite of a few days, pleading ill health. It was of no avail. The sixth game was again won by Morphy. Claiming that he needed more rest, Harrwitz postponed play once more. Upon resumption of the contest he drew one game and lost one more. At that point, with a score 5.5 to 2.5 against him, he resigned "on account of ill health", a worthy counterpart of Staunton.>

Apr-24-07  wolfmaster: I don't believe that 7.Bg5 is the best move in that position. 7.0-0 or Nc3 gives White a persistent edge.
Apr-24-07  RookFile: In a way, though, Morphy's instinct was tremendous, with the plan of Qxd4, Bb5, Bxc6, and 0-0-0. Tal used this plan in some games, and won some nice games with it. Obviously, on this occasion, Morphy's execution was flawed.
Apr-24-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <wolfmaster> Right, 7. Bg5 can be met by 7...Be7 8. Qxg7 Bf6 9. Qxh8 (9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Qxf6 Nxf6 regaining the pawn) Bxh8 10. Bxd8 Bxb2.
Oct-26-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.33.

Morphy 8 mistakes:
15.Kb1 0.29 (15.f4 0.74)
18.Ree1 0.22 (18.f4 0.64)
19.Rg1 -0.17 (19.Ne7+ 0.29)
20.Qe3 -0.24 (20.Qh4 0.28)
30.Rh1 -2.47 (30.Rg4 -0.34)
31.Rhg1 -3.61 (31.Qb4 -2.52)
33.Rg5 -6.03 (33.Qc3 -4.38)
36.Qxe8 -7.73 (36.Qe1 -5.68)

Harrwitz 4 mistakes:
11...Ne8 0.68 (11...Nd7 0.18)
17...Qxh2 0.64 (17...c6 0.26)
19...Kh7 0.28 (19...Kh8 -0.17)
20...f5 0.61 (20...Nf6 -0.24)

Dec-14-08  andrewjsacks: Harrwitz was also a very fine player, and ahead of his time in general understanding of the game.
Dec-14-08  Vishy but not Anand: Black Queen is basically misplaced but
Morphy's mistake is 18. Ree1??

He should just continue his attack

18. Ne7+ Kh1
19. Nf5 (threatening Rxe8! followed by Qxg7 mate)

Black options:

19. ...Rg8 20. Re4 (if ...f6 21. Ne7 and wins and if ...Nf6 21. Rh4 Qg2 22. Nxh6 leading to a mating net

19. ...Qg2 20. Nxh6 f6 21. Qh4! gxh6 (fxe5? 22. Nf5+! Kg8 23. Ne7 mate) Qxh6+ 22. Kg8 Rg5+ and wins)

19. ...f6 20. Re7 Rg8 (Qg7 21. Qd7 Rg8 22. Nxh6 and wins))21. Qd7 Qg2 Nxh6 and wins

19. ...Nf6 20. Rde1 Rad8 21. Qc3 Qxf2 22. R5e2 Rd1+!! (Qb6? 23. Rg2 Rg8 24. Rh1 threatening mate) 23. Rxd1 Qxe2 24. Rh1 (threatening mate by Rxh6+ followed by Qxf6+) Qa6 25. Qe5 (25. Qd2 Kh7 26. Qg2 Rg8 27. Qg5 still unclear)Qe6(...Re8 26. Qg3 Rg8 27.Qg5 or even faster Nxh6!! and wins) 26. Qf4 Ng8 27. Rg1 and wins

Dec-14-08  Vishy but not Anand: A glitch in analysis:

<19. ...Qg2 20. Nxh6 f6 21. Qh4! gxh6 (fxe5? 22. Nf5+! Kg8 23. Ne7 mate) Qxh6+ 22. Kg8 Rg5+ and wins)>

should be
19. Qg2 20. Nxh6 f6 21. Rh5 gxh6 22. Rxh6+ Kg8 (if Kg7 23. Qh4 Rf7 24. Rh7+ Kf8 25.Rh8+ Ke7 26. Qe4+ mate) 23. Qd5+ Rf7 24. Qh5 Kf8 25. Rh8+ Ke7 26. Qc5+ Ke6 27. Qd5+ Ke7 28. Qe4 mate

Apr-11-09  TheWizardfromHarlem: what is having a slow pulse supposed to mean..nerves of steel? coldblooded?
Aug-19-09  Brown: ... a lack of concern over the result.
Apr-02-10  madlydeeply: Hah Ms. Batgirl i love your comments it makes it seem like Morphy had a number of side bets and was playing coy to drive up the odds! Fun! I love conspiracy stuff HAHA
Jul-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <tamar> and <SBC>, nice discussion.
Apr-11-11  andrewjsacks: The much-maligned Harrwitz is a vastly underrated player and Morphy's most dangerous opponent.
Apr-11-11  drnooo: I have always felt that Morphy was not nearly conniving enough: had he wanted to trap Staunton or any of the others, he should have done it with better backroom pool hall tactics: obviously so superior to them, all he had to do was suck them in as it happened here with Harrwitz. Make it look close, then Staunton would have come. Also he might have shopped around for somebody to come up with a monstrous purse, that would have brought them around. Deep down his real reason was that he despised his own ability.
Apr-28-12  erniecohen: <SBC> You seem to be hinting that Morphy lost the first few games on purpose to raise the odds, then had someone bet heavily for him to come back and win?

I'm sure there isn't a shred of evidence for this, but wouldn't it be cool if it turned out that Morphy was secretly the ultimate chess professional?

Aug-30-12  SBC: <erniecohen> I think hinting is too strong a word. Edge gave the reason for Morphy's early losses as late nights and there's little reason to doubt Edge. But... the possibility does remain that Morphy was either testing Harrwitz or setting him up. Either way, Morphy had his number.

Interesting enough, in Harrwitz's 1862 book, "Lehrbuch des schachspiels: enthaltend die analyse der eröffnungen und Endungen" he presented only two games between himself and Morphy (two of the three he won) and one of them was this game. However, Harrwitz gives the game with this score (in algebraic notation, no less) The score given here at chessgames.com was the one given by Maroczy:

[Event "match"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Date "1858.09.05"]
[Round "2"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Paul Morphy"]
[Black "Daniel Harrwitz"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. Bxc6 Bxc6 7. Bg5 Nf6 8. Nc3 Be7 9. O-O-O O-O 10. Rhe1 h6 11. Bh4 Ne8 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. e5 Bxf3 14. gxf3 Qg5+ 15. Kb1 dxe5 16. Rxe5 Qg2 17. Nd5 Qxh2 18. Ree1 Qd6 19. Rg1 Kh7 20. Qe3 f5 21. Nf4 Qb6 22. Qe2 Rf7 23. Qc4 Qf6 24. Nh5 Qe7 25. Rde1 Qd7 26. a3 Nd6 27. Qd4 Rg8 28. Rg2 b6 29. Reg1 Ne8 30. Qc3 f4 31. Rh1 g6 32. Rhg1 Qd5 33. Qe1 Qxh5 34. Rg5 Qxf3 35. Qe6 Rf6 36. Qe7+ Rg7 37. Qxe8 hxg5 38. Qe1 Qc6 39. f3 Re6 40. Qf2 Rge7
0-1

Nov-17-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Morphy vs Harrwitz, 1858.
YOU ARE PLAYING THE ROLE OF HARRWITZ.
Your score: 60 (par = 56)

LTJ

Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  extremepleasure2: I've closely reviewed this match between Harrwitz and Morphy and the match left an impression on me that Harrwitz was an equal player to Morhpy.

I noticed that games in the the match suddenly end due to a blunder made by Harrwitz while they're pretty equal.

IMO these mistakes were made by Harrwitz due to fatigue. I believe it's the differences between life styles of these two players rather than the strength difference played an important role in this clearly one-sided result of the match. It's very well-known that Morphy had very healthy life style that includes making sports including morning joggings as well as foil. I believe that's why he, unlike Harrwitz, could keep stamina of his mind till to the very end.

My conclusion is that Harrwitz was by far the strongest chess player Morphy had ever encountered up until to this match and this match made Morphy even a stronger player.

Mar-18-14  RookFile: <tamar: Harrwitz in 1858 was the best player in Europe. He was in practice, clever, and unorthodox, very conscious of taking players out of their known schemes >

An excellent insight. In another game tonight, I reflected that Harrwitz showed elements of Lasker in his play. The guy definitely had ideas.

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