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Paul Morphy vs John Owen
London m2 (1858)
Owen Defense: General (B00)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-25-04  N. Cline Plane: - every source I've consulted has Morphy over Owen +5 -0 =2; what was the source for this game Morphy supposedly lost?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 5-0-2 was the score of the match. There are three other Morphy-Owen games. This is one of them and Morphy won the other two.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TrueFiendish: Morphy shouldn't have lost this ending, but he had a quite heartening desire (rare nowadays) to win at all costs. And Owen outplayed him...
Feb-27-04  N. Cline Plane: <calli> Thanks, I don't know what I was thinking.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fred lennox: Owens Immortal. The exchange sacrifice 27...Rxf2 may of came as a surprise to Morphy though it was forced, any other move looses. Either Owen was lucky or he went deeper strategically. I give him credit for the latter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drukenknight: Wow! what a great game by Owen. He also played this on Paulsen and lost a good game.

BTW: HOw is this one supposed to end? or did Morphy have to catch a plane or something?

Owens small pyramid formed by d7/e6/f7 is matched by Morphys huge zuggarat formation c4/d4/e5/f4/g4 Its funny how these patterns form when good moves are played. Why did Owen 00 anyhow? His K is fine right in the middle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fred lennox: 47 Kd3...Kf5, the f4 pawn is gone and a2 pawn is vunerable. 0-0 is not just for king safety. It connects the rooks and enables the king rook help control the central files.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drukenknight: why 47 Kd3, not 47 Ke3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fred lennox: 47 Ke3 makes more sense...Kf5 48 Rf2...Re4+ 49 K moves and the f pawn is gone.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drukenknight: why would morphy play it that way? As white he is behind in material and so he needs to get in the first check. the way you put the R as a mere defender, but he is behind in material anyhow he doesnt want to do that...

47 Ke3 Kf5 48 Rd2 I would guess.

Mar-30-05  RookFile: I agree that Morphy could have played some more moves here, before resigning.
Jun-29-05  Knight13: This is a friendly game Owen played against Morphy for the first time. After Owen beat Morphy, they both had a match, which, Owen didn't win a single game in the match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  InspiredByMorphy: I think 25.Nd6 gives white the advantage. If black tries to respond with 25. ...Bf3 then 26.Rd3 . Morphy's line of play was more elogant, but unfortunately more complicated as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pragmatist: The end position is hopeless, that is why Morphy resigned. If white tries to activate his rook, the a2-pawn falls and with 2 connected passed pawns the win is trivial. If he doesn't activate his rook, black just wins white's f-pawn, pushes white's king further back, and advances his e-pawn. 47.Ke3 Kf5 and now 48.Rd2 which drunkenknight mentions, is only marginally better than 48.Rf2 as 48.Rf2 will lose a tempo after black captures white's pawn on f4. However, white is threatening nothing with 48.Rd2. There is no threat of check, or of attacking a pawn. True, white can theoretically interpose with Rd3 when black check's on the 3rd rank, but that loses miserably to either Rxa2 or exchanging rooks. Here is a simple trap that Morphy might have played for: 47.Ke3 Kf5 48.Rh2!? and now if black plays 48...Rxf4 white has some drawing chances with 49.Rh5+ Kg4 50.Rh4+! Kxh4 51.Kxf4 and white might capture all of black's pawns. However, instead of 48...Rxf4 black has the much better and simpler 48...Ra3+ (or 48...Re4+ is good too) 49.Kd4 is forced and now just 49...Kxf4 when 50.Rf2+ Rf3! wins easily as the exchange of rooks is immediately fatal and avoiding the exchange loses time and allows the advance of black's e-pawn.
Dec-11-07  sambo: Why not 35. Kg3, in an attempt to get a piece towards black's h pawn?
Dec-11-07  Pawn and Two: This was the first game between Morphy and Owen. Following this game, they played four additional games, with Morphy winning all four.

In Lawson's book, "Paul Morphy" he states, <Morphy contested several games with him on July 3. Of the three games played that day, Owen won the first and Morphy won the last two. Later, they played two more games, Morphy winning both.>

Regarding Morphy's match with Owen, Edge reported, <Owen states that he does not look upon the result of the match with Lowenthal as conclusive of Morphy's superiority, not does he think that Morphy having gained of himself 4 out of 5 offhand games, in which Owen took an average of 1/4 hour to a move prove anything>.

Edge noted that Staunton often played Owen at odds of Pawn and move, and lost the majority of those games. Edge also noted that Owen had boasted, that if Mr. Staunton could not beat him at those odds, certainly Morphy could not. Edge then stated that Owen was so confident that he said to Morphy, <"Were it not for my position [as a clergyman] I would willingly play for 1,000 pounds">. Fortunately for Owen the agreed stakes were not 1,000 pounds, but instead were a set of ivory chessmen.

The result of this match, with Morphy winning +5-0=2, probably reduced Staunton's interest in a match with Morphy.

Dec-15-07  timhortons: owen beating the great morphy....i likewise like timman- handling in owen spassky
Premium Chessgames Member
  Whitehat1963: Player of the Day beats Morphy with black.
Sep-21-08  just a kid: I found it funny that morphy sac'd the exchange back.
Sep-21-08  just a kid: 25.Nd6 would be better.
Sep-18-09  WhiteRook48: 1...b6!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  sneaky pete: 25.Nd6 Nf3+

click for larger view

is rather messy. 26.Kf2 Qh4+ or 26.Kf1 Nxh2+ and black's knight, queen and bishop (as long as he remains on the board) will co-operate very well. I can imagine Morphy didn't fancy all this.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Xeroxx: <1...b6!!>
That is a sunday puzzle move.
May-02-11  IRONCASTLEVINAY: 1. e4 b6 wins against morphy!!!!
Dec-20-12  Morphischer: Morphy got Owened.
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