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Paul Morphy vs Ernest Morphy
"Crying Uncle" (game of the day Oct-21-2010)
New Orleans (1849) (blindfold), New Orleans, LA USA
Italian Game: Classical Variation. General (C53)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-12-08  artspec: checkmate4327, you seem to be dreaming. He can try to prevent the end, but it comes down anyway...a simple 20....Bxf2+??!(a completely desparate move) fails to 21. Kh1!) and now, let's see what "plans" black has in hand, to avoid mate without losing his queen. In fact, even if he gives up his queen, he has less than 10 moves before he is mated.
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  Calli: Player of the Day Trivia:

149 years ago today, this was Morphy's first blindfold game, played on his 12th birthday, 22 June 1849.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Make that 159 years ago. :-)
Aug-27-09  Aspirador: Pun suggestion:

"The Original Pin"

Jul-10-10  ChessMaster453: Great Game!
Jul-19-10  sevenseaman: The game assumes a decisive direction here when Paul goes for the knight on c6 rather than the routine fxe3 which opens the useful f-file. 20. Re7 is devastatingly shattering and comprehensive in closing out the win with no further fuss.

click for larger view

Oct-21-10  Naugh: Very nice game by Morphy, especially as he was blindfolded. It seems that he discovered something like a novelty here.

And I really like the decisice blow with ♖e7!!, forcing immediate resignation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: <"The Original Pin"> Good one!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: It seems a shame when Fritz sticks a shiny pin in the bubble of an old game. But I am afraid this is what happens here.

It seems that <Checkmate4327> and <The Analyst> were quite right. 19...Bxf2+ does save black. Fritzie reckons that white's best is: 19..Bxf2+ 20. Kxf2 Rb8 21. Rxe8 Nxe8+ 22. Qxf7+ Kxf7 23. Ne5+ Ke6 24. Re1 Rxb2+ bringing us to here:

click for larger view

Fritzie gives this an eval of -0.77, Black is up a pawn but positional factors degrade its value from the full point.

And 19...Bxf2 20. Kh1? Fritzie says 20...Bxe1 and an eval of -10.

Okay, okay, before the howls of protest come flooding in ... Morphy was a genius (one of my favourite players), and yes he was only 12 years old at the time and blindfolded at that. And he didn't have the benefit of computers like us spacebar masters.

But despite all that, we have to say that this was an objectively unsound attack which ought to have been refuted with best play. Sorry.

Oct-21-10  shakespeare: if Nimzos style was hypermodern - Morphys style was hyperagressive
Oct-21-10  scormus: The continuation after 19 Ng6 is rather curious, nespar?

19 ... Bxf2+ is such an obvious chance for B that it is surprising he didnt play it, even if he'd thought it might not work.

Neither Rxf2 not Kh1 look very promising for W, leaving only Kxf2 as playable. Then B has the chance of a double+ which for <Once> does not seem to be right.

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  kevin86: The submission hold on black's rook is enough to breat its back;or to cry "uncle".

Here it's the uncle who cries "uncle".

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  playground player: <Once> Do we really need a computer to tell us that Bxf2+ saves Black? It's sort of an instinctive move, isn't it?
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  Once: <playground player> Let's see ... The strength of Bxf2+ was missed by two kibitzers, Uncle Morphy and young blindfolded Paul. So maybe it's not so obvious after all.

But the question we have to ask is does it work? And that is where silicon is useful, especially as we have to wade through a reasonably lengthy sequence just for black to win a pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Some possibilities at move 19:

19...Bxf1 20.Rxe8+ Rxe8 21.Kxf1 Nd7 22.Nh8 Kxh8 23.Qxf7 Nf6 24.Nd5 and White seems to be winning.

19...Bxf2+ 20.Kxf2 Nd5+ 21.Kg3 Rxf1 22.Rxe8+ Rxe8 23.Qxd5+ and again White seems to be winning.

In neither case, though, is Black quite ready to resign.

Oct-21-10  eightbyeight: I'm glad I wasn't in Morphy's family. Just imagine: "Hey Dad/Mom/Grandma/Grandpa/Uncle/Aunt/Cousin! Wanna become part of my legend?"
Oct-21-10  AGOJ: I understand that the computer may evaluate the position after 19...Bxf2+, with best play, as favorable to Black, but I have a problem with this type of analysis. I have lost games that were objectively level, against opponents who were better than me, because they refused to play "best moves", choosing instead dubious moves that required computer precision on my part in order for me to gain an advantage, and plenty of opportunities for going wrong (and I duly obliged). It took me a while to learn my lesson, and to start winning games by complicating the position, at the expense of "best moves". This works at all levels, of course; at my humble level, to Tal's level. So... it is possible that Morphy missed 19...Bxf2+, but so what? I am sure he, at 12 and blindfolded, knew he could win against his uncle with that attack. Beautiful game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Not bad, but he's no Jutta Hempel.
Oct-21-10  AGOJ: I am re-reading my post up there, and it looks a bit harsh in tone -- I didn't mean it to be. I just meant to say that sometimes an unsound move or plan may be ok, if you obtain good practical chances in a complicated position, especially if you know the opposition is weaker.
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  DarthStapler: Isn't the normal term "saying uncle"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <AGOJ> You make a very good point. We do have to play our opponent as well as the position. And that can sometimes mean playing aggressively against a weaker player and aiming for complicated positions with the initiative, even if it is not objectively sound. After all, Tal made almost his entire career out of this way of playing.

But ...

Eventually you start playing tougher opponents and (unless you are Tal) this speculative approach can explode in your face. Good players tend to find the accurate defences. They take the material that you sacrifice and hang on grimly to win the endgame. They don't just crumple, they counterattack.

Put it another way - if Morphy was playing black he would almost certainly have spotted a relatively simple tactical shot like 19....Bxf2+.

Dan Heissman calls it "hope chess" - you play an aggressive move and hope that there isn't a refutation. Risky, very risky.

Jan-28-16  juanhernandez: no signal problems!
just don't switch off your Heart.!
Apr-20-16  talhal20: AGOJ has given the best comment on what may happen playing the best move based on computer analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Nope - it reads very sensibly and moderately to me!
Mar-16-18  Tjm50: According to the book “Morphy’s Games of Chess” by Sergeant, there is some doubt about whether Morphy was blindfolded for this game. He he says it’s possible that Ernest was the one blindfolded, because he played far below his usual strength in this game.
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