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Paul Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard
"A Night at the Opera" (game of the day Dec-02-07)
Paris (1858)  ·  Philidor Defense: General (C41)  ·  1-0
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Given 371 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

Annotations by Robert James Fischer.      [17 more games annotated by Fischer]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 25 OF 25 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-12-14  satkul: a very instructive game
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: Talking of your last posting, dear <John Barleycorn>, please do not exaggerate! Those very few cases of - partial! - replays that I was lucky enough to recognize OTB are less of one-tenth of a percent of all those games in more or less goofy style that me, a bloody amateur, I have played during those years since I have learned the rules of chess.

On the other hand I firmly believe that those very few cases of - partial!! - replays that can be checked out on my personal page are quite instructive since they help to demystify the game of chess a little bit. For they are proof of the fact that a game of chess can be defined as being a stringing together of recurring so-called "chunks", that is to say: typic constellations of the pieces, and you "only" have to recognise those chunks ... ;-) ... but the latter fact, that is the problem of course, in all too many cases I have overlooked even the most basic chunks.

The tragedy of a hopeless PATZER!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MindCtrol9: There was no player, before or now, that can be equal to Murphy in what attack and abilities to conduct it is.The only one close to him M Tal.
Jun-22-15  Mating Net: Love this game. This is my absolute favorite mating pattern, the Opera House mate.
Aug-18-15  kishore4u: Great one!
Aug-28-15  narayase: first class game played by morphy in 1858.he is the world's bestplayer.none of the players can play like him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <MindCtrol9> And Super Nez !
Sep-06-15  The Kings Domain: One of the most memorable games, and one of the most instructive. Morphy may have seen victory by move 10.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: It is probably correct about this game being printed more than any other.

Here is today's question.

Which well known chess book had the score of this game printed in it eight times (yes 8 times) and yet on the 3rd edition of the same book it does not appear at all, not even once?

Sep-07-15  The Kings Domain: Sally Simpson: Interesting, I don't know the answer but I couldn't help but wonder: why would they do that? Reminds me of "The Mammoth book of Chess" which is supposed to be a compilation of the best games recorded and it doesn't include a single game of Morphy!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Est2002: Qb8 !! What a tremendous exhibition of chess this game is. Morphy was sumptin else :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi King's Domain.

Of course you knew the answer (or it a fantastic coincidence.) - well done!

It is indeed ' "The Mammoth Book of Chess".

They used the Morphy at the Opera game to show all the different ways of recording a game from short algebraic, to long descriptive to Correspondence notation (where 1.e4 is 5254).

In the 3rd edition this was all gone. (I've no idea if it is or is not in the 2nd edition....Anybody?)

No Morphy game in the Mammoth book of the World's Greatest Games.

But it is the 'World's Greatest Games' not the most 'Famous Games.'

Also if 100 hundred Kibitzers on here drew up a list of the 10 greatest games placed in any order I doubt if any two list would contain the same 10 games.

The 'Immortal' and 'The Evergreen' make it in the book. Two games I'd leave out, also in is Adams - Torre, New Orleans 1920. Which even this site and the Mammoth authors admit was probably analysis. (leave it in as the World's Greatest Composed Game!)

E Z Adams vs Carlos Torre, 1920

I'm wondering if the cold dark hand of Dr. John Nunn, one of the co-authors, was at work here.

Dr John has gone on record as saying he did not like the Morphy Game.

" One of my pet hates is the choice of games for beginnersí books. There are certain standard examples that tend to be repeated in book after book.

In many beginnersí books, you will find the game Morphy vs Count Isouard and the Duke of Brunswick, played during a performance of the Paris Opera in 1858.

Itís not an especially good game, as one might expect when the strongest player of his day confronts two duffers.

Moreover, it has always seemed to me faintly incredible that authors couldnít find a relevant example less than 140 years old.

In this book, every game and game extract is from the twentieth century (indeed, only two are earlier than 1950).

The style of chess played today is quite different from that of 1858, and while some of the differences are subtle, there is no reason why players should not be exposed to contemporary chess thought from the beginning."

(pages 4-5 of his book 'Learn Chess.')

Fair enough. That was in the introduction

First Chapter.

1. Why Learn Chess

And Dr. John starts with:

"Chess is a game with a long history."

Hang on...then why only two pre-1950 games.


Sep-07-15  The Kings Domain: Sally Simpson: A mistake that turned out right: I actually meant "The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games". (Heh)

Nunn has peeved me with his anti-Morphy slant ever since. It seems the Brit has yet to get over the fact that his boy Staunton ran over the hills and far away to dodge Morphy more than a century and a half after the fact.

Premium Chessgames Member
  NeverAgain: <Sally sez: The style of chess played today is quite different from that of 1858, and while some of the differences are subtle, there is no reason why players should not be exposed to contemporary chess thought from the beginning."

(pages 4-5 of his book 'Learn Chess.')
Fair enough. That was in the introduction

First Chapter.
1. Why Learn Chess

And Dr. John starts with:

"Chess is a game with a long history.">

I see no no contradiction here. History is best admired at a distance. That's from someone who'd been reading college textbooks on Roman Empire in the fifth grade.

<The Kings Domain: It seems the Brit has yet to get over the fact that his boy Staunton ran over the hills and far away to dodge Morphy more than a century and a half after the fact.>

With history it's customary to conduct at least some research before claiming something as a fact. Hint: Morphy, Edge, Winter, Google.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Never Again,

I did a wee :) at the end of my piece noting the coincidence.


As I said 'fair enough' but why mention this game if he thinks it is "not an especially good game" in a book presumably aimed at people who don't know anything about chess.

Perhaps he thought traditionalists would grumble about the fact the Morphy game was not included.

I doubt many, if any, would have said anything. His objection to this game, which takes up a third of the introduction and has more words written about it than some of the games actually included in the book, has only highlighted the fact.

Leave it out. 'fair enough' but to have an unnecessary pop at it seems very strange.

It's like writing a book on how to buy a guitar, string it, tune it and play it and in the introduction to the book tell the bemused reader about a song you don't like.

Whilst I agree many writers use the same old examples, this game is instructive, easily explained and has lit the chess spark in many a beginner.

But in or out, I'm not bothered. I just find the rant strange.

The statement:

"There are certain standard examples that tend to be repeated in book after book"

Also quivers when you see the two famous pre-1950 games Doctor John allowed into his book.

Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918

(Maybe he did not want two off hand games skittles games in his book.)

More about this game here:

The other chosen pre-1950 game is also a famous Capablanca game showing off a weak back rank.

A large percentage of the readers will already know what game I'm talking about.

Yes it's:

O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914

And now 90% of the lads here are playing 29...Qb2 in their minds.

I doubt if the Morphy - Staunton non-match influenced him. He does not seem to get to excited about any game (bar two) played before 1950.

And yet his 'John Nunn's Chess Course' by John Nunn! is based solely on the games of 'World Champion Lasker'. (1868 - 1941).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Just showed this game to my five-year-old nephew, who became a Morphy fan on the spot. After 16.Qb8 he said "I can take the Queen" - he's got good chess reflexes - and then was stunned by the mate. Such a great game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Sally S> Personally, I have some sympathy for Nunn's position -- I don't play 1.e4, and I usually play the French against it, and I tend to prefer closed games. I don't try to emulate 19th century games, as some do.

And yet ... tactics are hugely important, ditto some experience with open games. The Opera game is important precisely because of its appeal to beginners... the thread of logic running through it, the Morphy mythology, the beauty of the mate. It has the power to captivate.

Jan-30-16  DraganChase: That bG5 is the insurance. Great tactic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Just taking a poll. If you had white in this game, would you play 15. Bxd7 as Morphy did, or 15. Bxf6, planning on meeting 15....Qxb3 with 16. Bxd7 mate. No right or wrong answer here, just curious.
Jan-31-16  MariusDaniel: This is such a Great Game of Chess,I love it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Est2002: I don't see how 4..Bg4 was "A weak move already" as Fischer said. I've seen many games with 4..Bg4 but just different outcomes. Nonetheless it's still one of my favorite games of chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Est2002> Different outcomes yes but White wins more than three out of every four games against it. Opening Explorer. That's nearly as bad as Damiano's Defense. Opening Explorer

You're supposed to get something when you give up the bishop pair out of the gate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I think there is a gambit black could play here. Can't remember but I think maybe 4...Nc6 isn't too bad. At least he won't get mated right out of the opening.
Apr-21-16  sudoplatov: The usual gambit goes:
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 Bg4
4. de5 Nd7
5. ed6 Bd6
Premium Chessgames Member
  Est2002: Shams. Thank you for your reply Sir. I'll have a look at the opening explorer now. For someone who's my level I still don't think it's that bad but I guess it's hard to disagree with a player called Bobby Fischer. :)
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