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Louis Paulsen vs Paul Morphy
Blindfold simul, 4b (1857) (blindfold), New York, NY USA, Oct-10
Three Knights Opening: General (C46)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-18-03  Bears092: ah... NO ANSWER!??!

I'll take a stab... mate in five...

23...Rxg2+ 24. Kxg2 Rg8+ 25. Kf2 Qh2+ 26. Kf3 Bg4# hrmm... that's only four...

23...Rxg2+ 24. Kxg2 Rg8+ 25. Kf3 Qh5+ 26. Kf2 Qh2+ 27. Kf3 Qg2# That's it!

Premium Chessgames Member
  crafty: 23. ... ♖xg2+ 24. ♔xg2 ♖g8+ 25. ♔f3 ♕h5+ 26. ♔f2 ♕h2+ 27. ♔f3 ♗g4#   (eval -Mat05; depth 9 ply; 10M nodes)
Jun-18-03  Shadout Mapes: 23...Rxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rg8+ 25.Qg7 Rxg7+ 26.Kf2 Qh2+ 27.Kf3 Qg2# (27...Bg4#)

23.Rxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rg8+ 25.Qg7 Rxg7+ 26.Kf3 Qh5+ 27.Kf2 Qh2+ 28.Kf3 Qg2# is mate in 6. Maybe the queen intervention doesn't count?

Jun-18-03  Corben: I think this is the 5 move mate:
24. Rg8 Rf2
25. Qh3 Re2
26. Rh6 Rf1
27. Qh2+ Kf2
28. Qxg2#
Jun-18-03  Jonber: Mate in five against best defence:

23...Rxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Qh3+ 25.Kg1 Rg8+ 26.Qg7+ Rxg7+ 27.Kf2 Rg2#

Jun-18-03  rodolpheb: <Jonber> yes, or also: 23...Rxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Qh3+ 25.Kf2 Qh2+ 26.Kf3 Rf8+ 27.Qf7 Rxf7#
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 10.Be3? is one of those 19th century positional errors. Players thought the open file might be worth the doubled and isolated pawns. Can't blame Paulsen too much for going with the flow - only a Morphy would go beyond the norm of the day. You never seem to see Morphy himself make such moves, yet he never wrote about these principles. However, I sure the other players had to figure out why they were always losing to him and that alone improved the general level of chess. Today, one would play Qd3 and then Be3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: In the opening, I think Paulsen could improve on his fourth move with 4. Nxe4 (instead of 4. Bb5). Play could go 4. Nxe4 NxN 5. d4 with a position that is at least equal if not better for white.

Although things get messier for white after sequences like 4. Nxe4 Bxf2+ 5. Kxf2 NxN 6. D4 Nc3 7. Be3 d6, white still looks better after 8. Be2 Qh4+ 9. g3 Qf6+ 10. Kg2. Note that this position is well known to theory, and that with a little opening preparation white should be no worse. Certainly, black has many ways to go wrong in this sequence against a well prepared opponent.

I've won many off hand and tournament games as white with this continuation, and against novices (or those unfamiliar with the opening variation) there is usually a shocked look at the fact that white has "sacrificed the knight" so early. In fact, it is nothing but a psuedo sacrifice as the piece is won back quickly, with at least equality in the position.

There is an interesting historical note here. Morphy played five games in a match in 1857 in New York against Paulsen. The event involved an international "chess congress" with match play among the best players in the world gathered there. Morphy took first place overall and Paulsen placed second in the event. Yet, Morphy won three of the games in his match with Paulsen, and secured a draw in the fourth (draws did not count in the standings at this event however). Still, 3 and 1/2 out of five against Paulsen (perhpas the best player of his day next to Morphy)is a superb result. Morphy was apparently without peer in his time, and some have declared him the greatest of all time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Interestingly, the score of this game indicates it ended after Morphy announced mate in five after Paulsen's 23. Qxc7. However, the game score at or shows a continuation of 23...Rxg2 24. Kxg2 Qh3+ 25. Kf2 Qh2+ and white resigned.

Those trying to improve their chess can learn a lot by studying the games of Morphy. His opponents were not as well prepared as today's masters and his play provides an excellent illustration of how masters win against inferior play by non-masters, who are less familiar with opening theory, tactics and positional play.

Jan-17-06  SBC: <>
I can't believe I'm the first person to note that this games is particularly special. It was played on October 10, 1857. Morphy played 1 of 4 boards in a blindfold simul conducted by Louis Paulsen. Morphy agreed to play one of the boards on the condition that he, too, play blindfold. It was Morphy's first public blindfold games and the only one to my knowledge in which he played the black pieces. When Morphy announced mate in 5, Paulsen, in a mintute or two said, "I can see it."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: <SBC> Your are right. I found this game from a book on the American Chess Congress of 1857, and I submitted this game to
Jun-11-07  Halfpricemidge: Calli and Patzer2 are right. White made plenty of mistakes for Morphy to punish; So is Morphy as 'great' as everyone says or did his amateurish competition just make it seem that way?
Jun-11-07  neveramaster: Halfpricemidge:

Morphy was great because he was a pioneer-One of the first masters to understand the concept of positional play. Read Reti's Modern Ideas In Chess-he explains Morphy in a very elegant way.

Jun-11-07  Halfpricemidge: <NeverMaster> Thanx!! Plus he won against Adolf Anderssen--he's gotta' be good. In this game, I'm thinking white should've moved 12.Bb3 and 13.Rf3, eh?
Aug-25-07  sanyas: <Shadout Mapes> Queen takes Queen.
Nov-13-07  D4n: What a good game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <the open file might be worth the doubled and isolated pawns> which make 12.Qd3 curious, as
12.Qf3 0-0 13.Bb3 Be6 is more in the spirit of using the open file.

<I think Paulsen could improve on his fourth move with 4. Nxe4 > according to Opening Explorer, 3...Bc5 is rare.

and both players revisited this opening later, with Paulsen winning. Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857
where BLK tried 8...Qh4.

thanks for the comments about 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Bd6 6.dxe5 Bxe5 7.Qd3 Nf3; indeed, WHT looks fine

Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: this game is exemplary of Morphy's style (as i see it)

- straightforward development with "pressure, not attacks" 8...Qf6 with pressure on the e pawn instead of 8...Qh4 with an attack on f2

- solid placement of the minor pieces
6...Bd7, 7...bxc6 and the B controls the h3-c8 diagonal 12...Ng6, 13...Ne5 and the N is situated nicely!

- protect the K
14...0-0, 15...Kh8

- prepare the major pieces to support the attack
17...Rg8 instead of 17...Ng4 immediately
21...Rg6 instead of 21...Bh3

- laser-focus on the K attack
19...dxe5 gives BLK isolated doubled pawns and a hanging f pawn, but it is a Q+R+B+P against a Q+2P scenario as WHT's rooks are ineffective in the defense.

- take advantage of the fact that offense is "easier" than defense 20...Rxg4 21.Qf3 Rag8 and 22...Rag8 23.Qxc7 Rg5 seem more powerful, but an engine tells me not by much!

since my games usually find me on the defensive,
i was interested in how one would defend against a Morphy-style attack.

- use all your pieces
12.Qf3 0-0 13.e5 exd5 14.Rad1 and 13.Rad1 Ne5 14.Qe2 0-0 15.Qf2 look more attractive

- keep immediate area closed
20.g3 gxh3 21.Qf2 Rg7 22.Bb3 seems more sustainable

- trade weak pieces for strong
16.Nd1, 17.Nf2 18.Nd3 19.Nxe5 seems correct

- apply pressure elsewhere
21.Qa6 instead of Qf2
although 23.Qxc7 follows this advice, it just goes to show that these are guidelines and not mandates!

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: If this game weren't so famous, 15...Black to Move would be an impossible Sunday puzzle. Everyone would look for sacrifices on h3 and g4, while only the humble corner tuck of the King is the most effective continuation.

The ...Kh8, ...Rg8 and ...g5 attack must have stunned the spectators. It was at least a century ahead of its time, and is one proof that if Morphy had been born in say, 1978, he would be one of the collection of current or ex-world champions we have today.

Sep-12-10  morphy2010: This is a great example of how to play agaist weaker opposition. Morphy just crushes paulson.I think Be3 was a positional mistake and i believe bobby fischer was to use this K moneuver in a few of his games. (Kh8,Rg8,g5)
Sep-15-10  morphy2010: this is a reat attack see above comments
Jun-02-12  kasparvez: Nice observation, heuristic!
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