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Paul Morphy
Number of games in database: 467
Years covered: 1848 to 1869
Overall record: +196 -26 =24 (84.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      221 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (45) 
    C51 C52
 King's Gambit Accepted (26) 
    C37 C39 C38 C35 C33
 Philidor's Defense (14) 
 Sicilian (14) 
    B44 B40 B21 B20
 King's Pawn Game (13) 
    C44 C40 C20
 King's Gambit Declined (12) 
    C30 C31
With the Black pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (21) 
    C33 C39 C38
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C65 C77 C78 C64 C84
 Evans Gambit (15) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (10) 
    C53 C50 C54
 Philidor's Defense (7) 
 Petrov (4) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858 1-0
   Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Le Carpentier, 1849 1-0
   Bird vs Morphy, 1858 0-1
   Morphy vs Schrufer, 1859 1-0
   Morphy vs A Morphy, 1850 1-0
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   N Marache vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   1st American Chess Congress (1857)
   Anderssen-Morphy (1858)
   Morphy-Loewenthal (1858)
   Morphy-Harrwitz (1858)
   Morphy-Mongredien (1859)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   paul morphy best games by brager
   If chess was a religion, Morphy would be God. by Chopin
   Pure Morphy by saveyougod
   Odds games #2 by WhiteRook48
   A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario by adrien79
   A First Book of Morphy by melodie
   Match Morphy! by amadeus
   Paul Morphy: A Modern Perspective by Avalon Landing
   Morphy: A Modern Perspective by monkeysbum
   morpstau's favorite games by morpstau
   Paul Morphy's Best Games by KingG
   Odds games by WhiteRook48

   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Paul Morphy
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(born Jun-22-1837, died Jul-10-1884) United States of America

[what is this?]
Paul Charles Morphy was born in New Orleans. He was the son of a successful lawyer and judge Alonzo Morphy. His uncle, Ernest Morphy, claims that no one formally taught Morphy how to play chess, but rather that he learned the rules by observing games between himself and Alonzo. When Morphy was only 12 years old, Johann Jacob Loewenthal visited New Orleans and at the behest of his father, agreed to play a casual match with the prodigy. Young Paul won 2½ to ½.

In 1857 Morphy won the First American Chess Congress with a dominating performance . This success was followed by a European trip where he met and triumphed over most of the prominent masters of the period, namely Adolf Anderssen whom he defeated +7 -2 =2 (see Anderssen-Morphy (1858)), Loewenthal in Morphy-Loewenthal (1858) and Daniel Harrwitz in Morphy-Harrwitz (1858). Upon returning to America, he announced his retirement from chess.

Although the official title of World Champion did not exist in his time, Morphy was and is widely regarded as the strongest player of his day. Even today his games are studied for their principles of open lines and quick development, and his influence on the modern game is undeniable. Mikhail Botvinnik wrote of his influence: "His mastery of open positions was so vast that little new has been learned about such positions after him."

User: jessicafischerqueen 's YouTube documentary of Paul Morphy:

Notes: Paul also played team chess with Morphy / Barnes and Morphy / Mongredien, and edited a chess column in the New York Ledger.

Wikipedia article: Paul Morphy

 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 467  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Morphy vs NN 1-019 1848 New OrleansC20 King's Pawn Game
2. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-031 1848 New OrleansC23 Bishop's Opening
3. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1848 New OrleansC33 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-013 1849 New Orleans000 Chess variants
5. Morphy vs NN 1-020 1849 New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-021 1849 New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
7. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-020 1849 New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
8. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-123 1849 New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-046 1849 New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
10. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-023 1849 New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
11. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-023 1849 New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
12. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-017 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
13. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-029 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-015 1849 New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
15. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-011 1849 New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
16. NN vs Morphy 0-124 1850 New Orleans USAC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. Morphy vs NN 1-018 1850 ?000 Chess variants
18. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-114 1850 New OrleansC02 French, Advance
19. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1850 New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
20. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-049 1850 New OrleansB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
21. Morphy vs NN 1-014 1850 casualC44 King's Pawn Game
22. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-025 1850 New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
23. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-055 1850 New OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
24. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-125 1850 New OrleanC52 Evans Gambit
25. Morphy vs Maurian 0-139 1854 New Orleans000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 467  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Morphy wins | Morphy loses  

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 257 OF 257 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-10-14  RookFile: A few points.

1) Paulsen absolutely made major contributions to opening theory, that are still relevant today.

2) The statement: "Steinitz could play like Morphy." needs to be qualified. More precise is: "Steinitz could attack like Morphy." The issue here is that Morphy was a fantastic defender on the black side of open games. Steinitz was decidedly NOT. Chigorin, Gunsberg, Andersseon, and numerous other routinely rolled Steinitz up on the white side of open games.

3) Steinitz must be given his due in closed games, and imagined to have an advantage over Morphy. After all, he played them more than Morphy did.

I've gone through this exercise before, I continue to believe that Morphy would win a hypothetical match, because there is almost the possibility of offering a gambit, in order to steer a game from a closed game to an open one.

Apr-10-14  SimonWebbsTiger: @<Rookfile>

It musn't be forgotten Steinitz did have some odd ideas in the opening.

A nice book is the selection of articles collected and commented on by Ray Keene in the Pergamon Press book "the Evolution of Chess Opening Theory: From Philidor to Kasparov." Chapters 1 to 5 cover: Philidor's Defence; 19th C views on Gambits; the Close Games of Staunton, etc; the Ruy Lopez - Steinitz and the Tarrasch/Chigorin debate; and Tarrasch's search for the perfect defence v. 1. d4.

Perfect for <Conrad> "here to learn." ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I have a question about some of the details raised by the Bird interview. The Wikipedia article gives this:

<In the years following his victory over Anderssen he beat Henry Bird in 1866 (seven wins, five losses, five draws)>

Whereas the Bird interview quoted above gives:

<Steinitz beat me 8 to 7, with 6 draws. That was in '67>

Now, Bird's interview was made several decades after the match, but still...

The Wiki article seems to reference Silman, but exactly how? The link is confusing and possibly stale (but not in the 404 sense, more in the redirect traffic to site kind of way).

Anybody know the accurate details? <CG> gives ~21 games 1866-67, five labeled "match" or "m" for Event/Locale.

Did the match span '66-'67? Note that Bird's 21 game total matches <CG> total game count.

* * * * *

Also, I haven't studied Steinitz as closely as I should apparently. But how radical was the supposed "shift" in his playing style pre-1873/post-1873?

(Bird's match was during his supposed open-style of play. What year or period is commonly regarded as peak for Steinitz?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ughaibu: If you like we could play some games of three checks chess at BrainKing, my record is around 95%. This includes +5 -1 against a world top 50 correspondence chess player.>

Yeah, we all care about your results over a small sample size in some arcane variant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: If you calculated their respective performance against all players they played in common Morphy's record against the same opposition was significantly better. I have done it before and it is very one sided.

Thinking Steinitz was his equal none the less superior seems to be wishful thinking at best. There are plenty enough opponents they share in common to get meaningful data from.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: In the these phantom matches I will always favour the player from the latter generation because as in this instance Morphy will be playing an improved version of himself.

To say otherwise you are basically saying chess is going backwards This is not so.

Apr-10-14  RookFile: Chess isn't like life, though. Tal showed up and started dropping knights on his opponent's position, for sometimes dubious compensation. He won anyway. What Tal knew is that chess is 99 percent tactics. Steinitz could certainly calculate, but I don't see how he or anybody else from the 1800's compares with Morphy's ability to crunch out variations.

In my view, the "modern" era of defensive chess started with Petrosian.

Apr-10-14  Assignment Troll: <I will always favour the player from the latter generation because as in this instance Morphy will be playing an improved version of himself.>

This whole idea of standing on the shoulders of giants is really being abused.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Do people put any credance in EDO's ratings?

At the very least it's an attempt to quantitate - and does give an indication of when a player reaches their peak.

For example - Morphy reaches a ATH rating of 2805 in 1859/60.

As for Steinitz - his EDO rating hits his peak in 1876 at 2782. There isn't really a dramatic break in his rating rise in 1870-1873, but rather a steady ratings increase across the 1860 decade. By 1876 Steinitz's rating drops almost as steadily as it rose, from 1876's high to 1885.

Note that Bird, in his interview, was referring to both players from about 1865, when Morphy was about 2700 and Steinitz was, say, 2650. Also note that Bird claims Morphy wasn't necessarily playing his absolute best, given his superiority over the competition.

There is a lot of discussion on this topic of course, here's just one reference, it talks a little about Steinitz' opinion on Morphy:

(Care of batgirl - who is a big Morphy fan fwiw)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Do people put any credence in EDO's ratings?

Not one bit. A complete waste of misleading time.

Every generation furthered the understanding of the game and the overall standard of play was better with each generation.

Opening progress aside, I know of only one game where you can compare previous generations and it is a pretty lame one.

E R Lundin vs Smyslov, 1946

Smyslov missed the late middle game win and took the perpetual.

Chigorin vs Rubinstein, 1906

Chigorin found and played the win.

So that makes Chigorin a better player than Smyslov? No. On that day in 1906 Chigorin played a better game of chess than Rubinstein and nothing more.

My main gripe with placing grades on some of the old masters and comparing them with modern players grades. Some players will look at these cock-eyed lists and dismiss some of the most instructive and quite brilliant games of chess ever played because they were not played by a so called 2700+ player.

Failing to study (and thoroughly enjoy) the games from the old great masters, and that includes players like Chigorin, Janowski, Mieses etc will leave huge gaps in a players development.

(And I too am a big Morphy fan).

Apr-11-14  Petrosianic: <Some players will look at these cock-eyed lists and dismiss some of the most instructive and quite brilliant games of chess ever played because they were not played by a so called 2700+ player.>

The problem is that chess is a big game. Complicated. Too much for anyone to fully grasp. So, by tossing out everything except a few games played by the so-called "Greatest Player Who Ever Lived", they lighten the load a lot, and have a perfect excuse to ignore most of the game.

Apr-11-14  RedShield: Is there any chess player who isn't a Morphy fan?
Apr-11-14  Petrosianic: Yeah. Staunton.
Apr-11-14  Conrad93: Batgirl is a blogger with as much credibility as anyone else.
Apr-11-14  Conrad93: An, by the way, those Elo ratings are approximations.

Mere opinion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I agree with much of this discussion, like the danger of trying to compare modern players to historical players, and the danger of rankings, and that this discussion is admittedly speculative, and mostly "for fun".

I even agree that Petrosian is a seminal figure in modern defensive play.

But a couple of points.

First, Batgirl (aka Sarah), is indeed a credible writer, and maybe more, since she often digs into original sources. It's hard to deny that her blogs often have beautiful graphics from the day as a result. She's usually worth reading, and can I say, accurate as well?

Next, I readily admit the limitations of EDO's system, but I think it's being dismissed a little too casually.

I'll give you an example. Since EDO is a quantitative system (based on certain assumptions, sure) - it allows a visualization like the following:

This is a comparison of the various contemporaries of Morphy just before his retirement. And it was useful to me, introcing me to Ignatz Von Kolisch.

whose name, I must admit, was not immediately recognizable to me. But as the graphic shows, Steinitz, Morphy and Kolisch were playing at a cut above the rest in ~1867. And indeed, if Morphy hadn't retired it would have been likely that his next European match be against Kolisch.

(Kolisch, interestingly, shortly after Morphy also retired from competitive play, going on to become a wealthy banker - who just happened to finance some very influential tournaments).

So, the EDO ratings were useful for me, even if not gospel truth.

Apr-13-14  Conrad93: Batgirl's blogs would not be a credible source in any academy.

Blogs, Wikipedia, and tabloids are strictly prohibited.

Apr-13-14  Conrad93: Yes, they are good approximations about the relative strength of the players.

In that regard they work.

Their accuracy, though, is questionable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <SBC> has done some fine work and it is outrageous for <Conrad> to malign her in this way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <perfidious> is the B for Batgirl?

BTW- I just discovered that Sarah appears on the Carolus site under her own name:

It's "Under Construction".

Oh, did I mention that I'm a big fan of Carolus too?

Especially his treatment of the WCC:

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