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Paul Morphy vs Alonzo Morphy
New Orleans (1848), New Orleans, LA USA
Bishop's Opening: Calabrese Countergambit (C23)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-13-05  OJC: Comments/analysis

1. e4 e5
2. Bc4 f5

An unusual continuation for good reason (king's gambit down a tempo is not good). 2. ...Nf6 is main line. MCO 14th ed. contains the line 2. ... f5 3. d3 Nf6 4. f4 d6 5. Nf3 fxe4 (5. ... Nc6 suggested by P. Keres) 6. dxe4 Bg4 7. fxe5 from Pereira-Roose correspondence game in 1982 as slightly to white's advantage.

3. exf5 Nf6
4. Nc3 d5
5. Nxd5!?

A bold true sacrifice from the 11 year old. After 5. ... Nxd5 6. Qh5+ Ke7 7. d4 white has some good attacking prospects (as mentioned by <Sneaky>, <beatgiant> and <Crafty> above). Paul probably recognized that his dad could be easily overwhelmed by attacking play.

5. ... Bc5?!

By declining the sacrifice Alonzo seems to acknowledge the immense attacking ability of his son. White has the advantage.

6. Nxf6+ Qxf6
7. d3 Bxf5
8. Nf3 Bg4
9. Bd5 c6
10. Be4 Nd7
11. 0-0 h6
12. c3 0-0-0
13. b4 Bb6
14. a4 a6
15. Qb3 Bf3
16. Bf3 g5
17. Be3 g4?

Overestimating black's chances on the kingside.

18. Bg4 Bc7?

Crafty evaluates Bxe3 as much better. White can now play b5.

19. Bf3

Crafty slightly prefers 19. b5 but still gives white a huge advantage after 19. Bf3

19. ... Rhg8
20. Be4

Prevents 20. ... Qxf3 and locks up black's e pawn

20. ... Rg4?

A waste of time.

21. f3 Rg7
22. b5!

Black's queenside is doomed.

22. ... axb5
23. axb5 Nb6??

The knight does not actually protect a8 from here as Paul Morphy illustrates. Crafty prefers 23. ... Nb8 but black is still objectively lost.

24. bxc6 Rdg8
25. Rf2 Qd8?

Black is under the mistaken impression that the knight can be defended in this manner. After this move, Crafty immediately finds mate in 6 for white. Paul did not start to announce these until later in life. :)

26. Ra8+!

Beautiful. If Nxa8, then Qxb7 is mate.

26. ... Bb8
27. Bxb6

This deviates from the mate earlier mentioned that Crafty has found < 27. Qe6+ Kc7 28. Bxb6+ Kxb6 29. Rb2+ Kc5 30. Ra5+ Qxa5 31. Qd5# >

Perhaps Paul preferred the following mate in 10 brought to you by Crafty < 27. Bxb6 Qf6 28. Qb5 Rxg2+ 29. Rxg2 Rxg2+ 30. Kxg2 Qg5+ 31. Kh1 Qc1+ 32. Bg1 Qxg1+ 33. Kxg1 bxc6 34. Qxb8+ Kd7 35. Bf5+ Ke7 36. Qf8# >

27. ... Rxg2+?

This doesn't look constructive. Crafty now proclaims forced mate on move 35. < 28. Rxg2 Rxg2+ 29. Kf1 bxc6 30. Bxd8 Rg1+ 31. Kxg1 Kxd8 32. Qxb8+ Ke7 33. Qf8+ Ke6 34. Bf5+ Kd5 35. Rd8# >

28. Rxg2 Rxg2+
29. Kxg2 Qg5+
30. Kh1 Qc1+
31. Bg1


A late resignation.

Jan-10-06  morpstau: a true morphy gem and another example of his fluid and fiece style.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I think that 27 cxb7+ was a quicker win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Morphy's 9. Bd5 was really something.
What do I mean by this?

This is a celebrated defensive win by Capblanca, where the key move ...Bd4 allows him to neutralize his opponent's threats:

Fahndrich / Kaufmann vs Reti / Capablanca, 1914

So - back to the Morphy game: here we have a boy playing essentially the same idea, with the colors reversed!

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: <RookFile> I think you're giving Morphy's move too much credit.
Sep-25-07  smarterthanbobby: Jun-13-04
ketchuplover: The game that started it all :)

WHAT DOES HE MEAN the game that started it all I am getting into morphy, capablanca, and others need a little back drop if I could please?

Sep-26-07  savagerules: 3 d3 puts white a move extra with reverse colors in KGD and has to be best, but in those days you were expected to accept gambits else they would call you names such as 'fraidy cat, Yankee scum and the like.
Feb-14-09  ariel el luchador: 5) N X N 6)Q5R+ K2K 7)P4Q N3QB 8)N3KB Q3Q 9)0-0 its not clear for me 5) CXC 6)D5T+ R2R 7)P4D C3AD 8)C3AR D3D 9)0-0 y la posicin no es clara.
May-13-09  Jgamazo: If the sac is accepted after 5. ... Nxd5
6.Qh5+ : 6. ... g6? 7.fxg6 Bg7( not 7. ... hxg6 8.Qxh8) 8.gxh7+ Kf8 9.Nf3 Qe8 ( not 9. ... Nf6 10.Qf7#) 10.Qxe8+ Kxe8 11.Bxd5 Rxh7 12.OO Nc6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.d4 White has a 7 to 4 pawn advantage, a safer King, and an attack on the isolated king pawn.
May-13-09  Jgamazo: or 5. ... Nxd5 6.Qh5+ Ke7 7.d4 Qd6 8.Bg5+ :
a) 8. ... Kd7 9.Qxf7+ Be7 10.Bxe7 Nxe7 11.Be6+ Kd8 12.Qxg7 Re8 13.dxe5 Qb4+ 14.c3 Qxb2 15.Rd1+ Nd7 16.Bxd7 Bxd7 17.e6 Qxc3+ 18.Kf1 Qc4+ 19.Ne2 Rg8 20.Rxd7+ Kc8 21.Qxe7 Qb4 22.f3 Qb1+ 23.Kf2 Qxh1 24.Rxc7+ Kb8 25.Rxb7+ Kc8 26.Qc7#

b) 8. ... Nf6!? 9.Qf7+ Kd8 10.dxe5 Qxe5+ 11.Ne2 h6 (if 11. ... Qxb2 12.Rd1+ Nd7 13.Nf4 Qb4+ 14.Kf1 Qe7 15.Ne6+! Qxe6 16.fxe6 h6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.exd7 Bxd7 19.Qxd7#) 12.OOO+ Nd7 13.Nf4 hxg5 14.Ne6+ Qxe6 15.fxe6 Be7 16.exd7 Bxd7 17.Be6 Rf8 18.Qxg7 Nh5 19.Qh6 Nf4 20.Bxd7 c6 21.g3 Ne2+ 22.Kb1 Kc7 23.Bg4 Rf6 24.Qg7 Re8 25.Bxe2 Rff8 26.Qe5+ Kb6 (or 26. ... Kc8 27.Bg4+ Rf5 28.Bxf5#) 27.Rd3 Bf6 28.Rb3# The point is not that the lines above are perfect, but that White has the advantage and winning chances and Black will have an overwhelming task to defend himself.

May-13-09  WhiteRook48: what weird blunders
Oct-14-09  dannygjk: 7. d4!?
Apr-30-11  prithviraj: no mercy...even wiped out his family member
Aug-30-12  TheTamale: Hmm, what was Alonso thinking with 25)... Qd8? Rough, I tells ya!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: So what was Alonzo thinking with <25...Qd8> in this position?

click for larger view

I believe the technical term for this maneuver is "desperation". Black is already three pawns down, and the ♘b6 is doubly attacked with nowhere to move. What else is there to play?

It's quite possible Black overlooked <26.Ra8+>. I mean, everybody is praising the move as brilliant and tossing around exclams like the Mayans are right after all. If it's that good a move, it would be understandable that Alonzo missed it.

But it's also possible that it's a desperate trap. Note that the immediate 25...Rxg2+ 26.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 27.Kxg2 gives Black no chance of a perpetual check, what with White's ♗e3 guarding g5 and his ♖a1 holding the first rank.

So what happens after the game continuation <26.Ra8+ Bb8 27.Bxb6>? Both White's rook and bishop have been lured away from their defensive posts, so Black can try <27...Rxg2+ 28.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 29.Kxg2 Qg5+ 30.Kh1 Qc1+>.

Of course this is not a perpetual check. It's not even in the same parish as perpetual check. But does Black have any better idea in the diagrammed position, outside of resignation?

Now, this whole diatribe has been less than serious, but I do want to make a point. Chess players make moves--including bad moves--for a reason. It behooves us to look into those reasons instead of dismissing a poor move with a laugh. You never know: some day, that move might turn out to be not as bad as you thought.

Sep-03-12  TheTamale: <PB>, your comment is both insightful and entertaining. Thanks for the food for thought.
Nov-18-12  Llawdogg: Maybe Paul declared mate in four:

"31 ... Qxg1+ 32 Kxg1 bxc6 33 Qxb8+ Kd7
34 Bf5+ Ke7 35 Qf8#"

And so Dad resigned.

Feb-15-13  clownface: Dust of the earth, Retreat like...
Dec-04-13  clownface: Crash the party- beautiful!
Sep-16-14  psionl0: At move 27, Paul Morphy had a mate in 6:
27.Qe6+ Kc7
28.Qxe5+ Qd6
29.Bxb6+ Kc8 (29...Kxb6 30.Qa5#)
30.Bf5+ Rd7
31.cxd7+ Qxd7
Sep-27-14  Ke2: Dead accurate opening.
Sep-27-14  Ke2: He did miss the mate in 5 (not 6). 27. Qe6+ Kc7 28. Bxb6+ Kxb6 29. Rb2+ Kc5 30. Ra5+! Qxa5 31. Qe5#. Morphy was occasionally ""lazy"" in completely won positions, but once you find a clean win there's no need to look at rook sacrifices I guess.
Dec-27-15  CraftyMaverick: Morphy missed a mate in five at move 27:
27. Qe6+ Kc7
28. Bxb6+ Kxb6
29. Rb2+ Kc5
30. Ra5+ Qxa5
31. Qd5#
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: An interesting blow is:

6. d4! Bd4 7.c3

(if 6... Nd5 then 7. Qh5 Kf8 8. dc5 and white is two funny pawns up already).


Back to the game: 5... Nd5 fails after 6. Qh5 Kd7 7. Bd5 c6 8. Bb3

(if 6... Ke7 7. d4 Qd6 then 8. Bg5 Nf6 9. Nf3 Qb4 10. Ne2 ed4 11. 0-0

Jan-28-16  juanhernandez: good game !!
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