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Louis Paulsen
Number of games in database: 440
Years covered: 1857 to 1889

Overall record: +215 -108 =85 (63.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 32 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (42) 
    C02 C01 C00 C10 C15
 Four Knights (28) 
    C48 C47 C49
 Scotch Game (23) 
 Vienna Opening (21) 
    C25 C29 C26
 King's Gambit Accepted (13) 
    C33 C37 C38
 Three Knights (13) 
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (64) 
    B23 B40 B24 B30 B21
 Ruy Lopez (33) 
    C65 C77 C70 C78 C60
 Evans Gambit (16) 
    C51 C52
 King's Gambit Accepted (16) 
    C33 C39 C37 C34
 Giuoco Piano (14) 
    C50 C53 C54
 French Defense (11) 
    C13 C11 C01 C00
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Paulsen vs Owen, 1862 1-0
   Paulsen vs Blachly, 1857 1-0
   Paulsen vs Blackburne, 1861 1-0
   Paulsen vs Blackburne, 1873 1-0
   Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857 1-0
   Paulsen vs S Rosenthal, 1873 1-0
   Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857 1/2-1/2
   NN vs Paulsen, 1861 0-1
   Eugen von Schmidt vs Paulsen, 1864 0-1
   Kolisch vs Paulsen, 1861 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Paulsen - Schwarz (1879)
   Leipzig (1877)
   Anderssen - Paulsen (1862)
   Leipzig (1879)
   1st American Chess Congress (1857)
   Baden-Baden (1870)
   Vienna (1873)
   Breslau (1889)
   Vienna (1882)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   Berlin (1881)
   Nuremberg (1883)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1873 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1873 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by Calli
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by JoseTigranTalFischer
   New York 1857 by suenteus po 147
   New York 1857 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   London 1862 by sneaky pete
   Leipzig 1879 by suenteus po 147

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(born Jan-15-1833, died Aug-18-1891, 58 years old) Germany

[what is this?]
Louis Paulsen was in the 1860's and 1870's among the top five or six players in the World. He was a great master of defence and gifted in his insights into opening play, many of his ideas were adopted long after his death. In tournaments he was 2nd at New York 1857 (after Paul Morphy), 1st at Bristol 1861, 2nd at London 1862 (after Adolf Anderssen), 2nd at Baden-Baden 1870, 1st at Krefeld 1871, 1st at Leipzig 1877, 2nd at Leipzig 1879 and 4th= at Breslau 1889.

In matches he played Adolf Anderssen three times, drawing in 1862 (+3, =2, -3) and winning in 1876 (+5, =1, -4) and 1877 (+5, =1, -3). A match with Ignatz Von Kolisch in 1861 was agreed drawn with Paulsen leading (+7 =18 -6). In 1864, he defeated Gustav Richard Neumann (+5, =3, -2). He also did important analytical work with his brother Wilfried Paulsen. He died of diabetes in 1891.

"Paulsen discovered a larger number of opening ideas than any of his contemporaries. For the attack he contributed to the Scotch Game, the Goering Gambit, the Paulsen Attack, the Paulsen variations of the Vienna Game, and the Four Knights Opening. For the defence he discovered the Boleslavsky variation, the Paulsen Defence of the Kieseritzky Gambit, and the Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian Defence. He introduced the Pirc Defence and improved Black's chances in the Muzio Gambit and in several lines of the Sicilian Defence. His contributions were not confined to an odd move or improvement here and there: he also invented whole systems of play. ... Paulsen wrote no books, and none has been written on his theoretical contributions." (The Oxford Companion To Chess, by Hooper and Whyld)

notes: Louis was occasionally involved in consultation chess, see Anderssen / Louis Paulsen / Dubois, Louis Paulsen / Dr. Carl Goring / Johannes Metger or Johannes Metger / Jacques Mieses / Louis Paulsen

Wikipedia article: Louis Paulsen

 page 1 of 18; games 1-25 of 440  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Paulsen vs Blachly 1-0191857New YorkC37 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Morphy vs Paulsen ½-½501857New York blindC40 King's Knight Opening
3. B Raphael vs Paulsen 0-12518571st American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
4. Paulsen vs S Calthrop 1-04218571st American Chess CongressC44 King's Pawn Game
5. S Calthrop vs Paulsen 0-13018571st American Chess CongressB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
6. S Calthrop vs Paulsen 0-12218571st American Chess CongressC40 King's Knight Opening
7. Paulsen vs Morphy 0-1231857Blindfold simul, 4bC46 Three Knights
8. H Montgomery vs Paulsen 0-14718571st American Chess CongressB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
9. Paulsen vs H Montgomery 1-03118571st American Chess CongressB01 Scandinavian
10. Morphy vs Paulsen 1-0541857Double blindfold gameC40 King's Knight Opening
11. Paulsen vs C Oscanyan 1-0381857Blindfold simul, 5bC44 King's Pawn Game
12. Paulsen vs S Heilbuth 1-0431857Blindfold simul, 5bC44 King's Pawn Game
13. Paulsen vs A Hawes 1-0311857Blindfold simul, 5bB40 Sicilian
14. T Frere vs Paulsen 0-1411857Blindfold simul, 5bA10 English
15. R J Dodge vs Paulsen ½-½371857Blindfold simul, 5bC40 King's Knight Opening
16. Paulsen vs B Raphael  ½-½4718571st American Chess CongressC47 Four Knights
17. B Raphael vs Paulsen 0-15318571st American Chess CongressC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
18. Paulsen vs Morphy ½-½5318571st American Chess CongressC67 Ruy Lopez
19. Morphy vs Paulsen 1-03618571st American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
20. Paulsen vs Morphy 1-03418571st American Chess CongressC46 Three Knights
21. Morphy vs Paulsen 1-06418571st American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
22. Morphy vs Paulsen ½-½3618571st American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
23. Paulsen vs Morphy 0-12818571st American Chess CongressC48 Four Knights
24. Morphy vs Paulsen 1-02618571st American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
25. Paulsen vs Morphy 0-12918571st American Chess CongressC47 Four Knights
 page 1 of 18; games 1-25 of 440  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Paulsen wins | Paulsen loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-15-13  Kikoman: Rest In Peace Sir Louis Paulsen.
Oct-19-13  Karpova: According to page 1 of the January 1882 'British Chess Magazine' (the Almanac), Louis Paulsen was born on January 10, 1833 (here it says January 15). Which date is correct?
Oct-19-13  RedShield: According to Gaige's <Chess Personalia>, which lists several biographical sources, it's the 15th.
Oct-19-13  waustad: I know that he was born and died in germany and lived for some time in or around Dubuque, Iowa. Does anybody know how long he lived in the US? Since he was often back to Europe, he must have been quite a traveller, considering that for much of his life a transatlantic crossing was a rather slow event at the mercy of the winds.
Oct-20-13  thomastonk: <waustad: Does anybody know how long he lived in the US?> Only from 1853 until the autum of 1860.

<Since he was often back to Europe, he must have been quite a traveller, ...> No, he went only once back to Europe and stayed there.

Oct-20-13  parisattack: Quite a pioneer in the Sicilian! Early MCOs refer to the Kan as Paulsen's Defense. He also played the Taimanov often enough.

Some books used to call ...Nbd7 in the ....e6 Sicilian 'Paulsen' as distinquished from ...Nc6 Scheveningen. Not sure how that came to be, however.

Oct-20-13  waustad: Thanks for the information. 1860 sounds like a good time to get out of the US.
Oct-20-13  redwhitechess: snip of his obituary:

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Happy B.D. Mr.Paulsen.
Jan-15-14  thomastonk: From the biography: "notes: Louis or his brother Wilfried were occasionally involved in consultation chess, perhaps also being on the team of Louis Paulsen / Dr. Carl Goring / Johannes Metger."

I will delete Wilfried and the speculation from this statement, because the tournament book of Leipzig 1877, where the corresponding game has been played, leaves no room for doubts.

Premium Chessgames Member

The death is announced of Louis Paulsen, who, next to Anderssen, has been regarded the foremost of the great chess players of the last generation, whose names became most familiar the occasion of the first World's Tournament in 1851, and that of the British Chess Association in 1862. Of the list of recognised masters of that time, numbered at 36, there are but six dating back 1846, and another to 1849. Reckoning the five great masters that have sprung up since 1862, we have not quite a third of the leading class of representatives which we could boast 30 years ago.

Paulsen was most distinguished player, but the slowest of all the masters ; his amiability and modesty were his marked characteristics, and it is marvel that he was universal favourite. He won first prizes Bristol in 1861, and in one of the early German tournaments, that at Leipsic, about 15 years later, in the American tournament 1857 he came out second, Morphy alone beating him in the London tournament 1862 Anderssen, the 1851 winner, was again first, Paulsen being next.

Paulsen was the first who played blindfold chess on its present scale, a feat frequently and successfully accomplished in more recent years by Blackburn and Zukertort; two games played Philidor at a time intervals from 1783 - 1795 being considered too remarkable ever to be believed in future ages. During 1855-56-57 Paulsen,in the West of America, played ten games once on at least three occasions; and at Simpson's, London, in 1861, met the strongest team ever encountered by a player without sight of board or men.

Source: <Nottingham Evening Post - Wednesday 26 August 1891, p.2>

Jan-24-14  thomastonk: <Nottingham Evening Post - Wednesday 26 August 1891, p.2> Beware! This obituary contains mistakes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  akiba82: Paulsen also contributed to the french defense. The move 3 Nc3 is supposed to derive from Paulsen as well as the move 3 e5 which denotes the french advance.
Jan-15-15  yureesystem: Paulsen a chess genius, because of his contribution in the opening, his defensive techniques.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Louis!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: You don't want him to rip?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Not until August.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Herr Wilfred Paulsen, the brother of the late Louis Paulsen, and also one of the leading German Chess masters, sends the following most interesting reminiscence of his brother and an account of his last days to Deutsch's Woehenschach;

<"Louis Paulsen lived very simple and regularly; he only drank water—no spirits, coffee or tea—he did not smoke, and apparently he had conserved himself very well. In March he suffered from influenza. Regularly he came daily from Blomberg to Nassengtund (the residence of Wilfred Paulsen). In the beginning of May he ceased coming on account of his suffering from swollen feet, and he had to keep his room, where, however, he did his usual work.

(Louis Paulsen was engaged as a manager of an estate belonging to his brother, who writes this letter).

About the end of May I proposed to make a journey with him to the Hartz,which, however, he declined. In July he at last attempted a journey for his recuperation, but he was al ready too weak for the purpose. He stopped in Kassel, whence after a ten-days', stay he wrote to request that one of his relatives should visit him. My brother Ernst made the journey and brought him back to Blomberg. He positively refused to take medical advice. During his last days his strength failed most rapidly.

On August 18 he slept during the evening as quietly as a healthy man, but at a quarter to 12 o'clock he ceased to breathe. The physician, Dr. Theopold, who viewed the body next day, considered it probable after the account which we gave him about the symptoms of illness and habits of life of our brother, that the cause of death was diabetes mellitus, which generally ends with consumption. His features were not altered in the least. He looked as if he were sleeping.

On August 22, at 10 a.m., the funeral took place with a numerous participation. A great number of laurel wreaths had been sent and the coffin was not visible under their cover. He had no enemy and no differences with any one. His life was simple and unassuming; in spite of his economical habits he rewarded services that were done for him very generously, and gladly gave alms to the poor. Strict rectitude, conscientiousness, punctuality and love of truth were his special distinctions.

For us his death is a great loss. His bookkeeping was so careful and exact that mistakes were totally excluded. With such energy he kept himself up that only during his last day he was confined to his bed."><<>>>

From <Intl Chess Magazine v7 July, 1891> p207:

(PP's added)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: There is one of Paulsen's blindfold simul games played against Raphael while in NY for the 1st American Chess Congress.

It's from <NY Daily Tribune> 1857-11-09 p3, a 25 move Sicilian won by Paulsen as Black, who opened 1.e4 (yes, you read that right; remember, it's 1857).

<[This game waa played by Mr. Paulsen, simultaneously with two others; his antagonists being Dr. Raphael, Mr. Thos. Frere of Brooklyn, and Mr. W. J. A. Faller of New-York ]


The latter game had lasted from 7:30 p m, 11 o'clock, when Dr. Raphael resigned any further continuance of the struggle. The question was put to Mr. Paulsen whether he would consider the contest terminated, or allow some other gentlemen to go on with it, and he chose the latter; namely, requesting that one of the strongest players present would take the Doctor's seat. In accordance with the wish of all in the room, Frederick Perrin, esq., Secretary of the New-York Chess Club, came forward, and after a quarter of an hour's analysis of the situation, resigned the contest, stating that although the struggle might be prolonged a short time, yet defeat must eventually ensue; an opinion concurred in by the other members of the Club>

The game itself lasted 3 1/2 hours.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: RE: Paulsen slow cooking

<NY Daily Tribune> Oct 11, 1860 p7:

<When they first met at the tournament in 1857, Paulson displayed a power of analysis and skill which was so much the more surprizing that he poseeessd scarcely any book knowledge, had never encountered a single firtt-class player, and was literally obliged to invent nearly all the moves and defenses which his more learned opponents had gathered from Chess treaties. Hence his slow play and close game.>

Paulsen's famous for driving Morphy up the wall with his slow play during their match in 1857. The article goes on to say:

<And yet he not only took the second prize, but made a bolder stand, perbaps than any of the celebrities who played with Morphy in Europe. Since, Paulsen has devoted much time to books, and may be said to be now both skillful and erudite; he plays boldly, rapidly and openly.>

Somehow, I had the different impression that Paulsen was always a bit of a slow player throughout his lifetime.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Lyons NY Wayne Democratic Press 1857-12-02 p1

Pierce Pudgent of the N. Y. Daily
News, thus touches a scene in the "Pleasures
of Memory."

Our Aunt Pearl, has lately been so much
interested in the proceedings of the Chess
Congress, that she knows the names of the
principal players by heart. But the astonishment
became supreme, when she read that
Mr. Paulsen played chess with five persons all
at once blindfolded. Laying down the
Daily News she said, "Nephew, do you be-
lieve that possible?" "Certainly," I replied.
"I think it a tempting Providence," returned
Aunty." I bet he'll next attempt to walk
Broadway with his eyes shut.""Many a
man is luckier with his eyes shut," we ob-
served, "than when they are open. We
found it so; for playing blind man's buff once
we had in our arms once the loveliest girl in
all New Jersey, We caught her when we
were 'blind man.' Alas!, we never had a
chance of doing so when we could see — she
wouldn't let us. No dear Aunty, we go in
for playing blindfolded. Ah! to have that
angelic Mary in our arms forever, we would
have been a second Milton, "blind for life!" —
And as we said it we sighed, and our soul
rushed back forty years, and in a stretch of
golden memory pressed that beautiful blooming
creature once more to our heart, and we
threw off in that inspiring thought, the ac-
cumulated rheumatism of half a century!

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Player of the Day Louis Paulsen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ColeTrane: Fight Club: "His name was Louis Paulsen...." ad infinitum.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Blimey <Zanzibar>! That's beautiful, and a bit eye-watering to a man in his 61st year. Nostalgia rules ok!
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Now here's a much better bio than the above, or the canonical wiki for that matter:


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