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Paul Morphy
Number of games in database: 465
Years covered: 1848 to 1869
Overall record: +195 -25 =24 (84.8%)*
   * 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 (44) 
    C51 C52
 King's Gambit Accepted (25) 
    C37 C39 C38 C35 C36
 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
   J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   N Marache vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0

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

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   If chess was a religion, Morphy would be God. by Chopin
   paul morphy best games by brager
   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
   Paul Morphy: A Modern Perspective by Avalon Landing
   Match Morphy! by amadeus
   Paul Morphy's Best Games by KingG
   Morphy: A Modern Perspective by monkeysbum
   morpstau's favorite games by morpstau
   First Book of Morphy by ganine1947

   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, 47 years old) 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 465  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-031 1848 New OrleansC23 Bishop's Opening
2. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1848 New OrleansC33 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Morphy vs NN 1-019 1848 New OrleansC20 King's Pawn Game
4. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-023 1849 New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
5. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-023 1849 New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
6. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-017 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-029 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
8. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-015 1849 New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
9. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-011 1849 New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
10. Morphy vs NN 1-020 1849 New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-013 1849 New Orleans000 Chess variants
12. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-021 1849 New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
13. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-020 1849 New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
14. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-123 1849 New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-046 1849 New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
16. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-049 1850 New OrleansB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
17. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-114 1850 New OrleansC02 French, Advance
18. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1850 New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
19. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-055 1850 New OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
20. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-025 1850 New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
21. Morphy vs NN 1-014 1850 casualC44 King's Pawn Game
22. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-125 1850 New OrleanC52 Evans Gambit
23. NN vs Morphy 0-124 1850 New Orleans USAC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. Morphy vs NN 1-018 1850 ?000 Chess variants
25. Maurian vs Morphy 1-027 1854 New Orleans000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 465  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
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Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I fear Morphy would still be at a disadvantage because theory is not the only thing a modern GM gets from computers. By following the lines, a GM can learn how to play positions and what to aim for.

For Morphy it would be an immersion in a new environment. For the GM, it would be a routine pattern recognition.

The only level field would be a Fischer Random game. I believe, based on Morphy's ability in odds games, where Morphy excelled even over Paulsen at making game theory decisions in the opening, he would have a seat at the top GM's tables.

Dec-29-14  Petrosianic: Are you sure even Fischer Random would be "level"? That would eliminate opening theory, but it wouldn't completely compensate for advances in middlegame theory.
Dec-29-14  diceman: <Wyatt Gwyon:
My understanding, which comes from John Watson's book "secrets of modern chess strategy," is that the understanding of the middlegame has changed markedly over the last century.>

If John Watson gets it, Morphy should be able to pick it up.

Dec-29-14  Wyatt Gwyon: <Diceman> Right. Like I said above, it's a different hypo if we give Morphy time to absorb modern theory, as opposed to just plopping him down in front of a GM with the knowledge he had in the 1850s.
Dec-29-14  Petrosianic: If we give him time to absorb modern opening theory, we're no longer talking about a player who actually existed. We're then talking about a hypothetical player, and it then boils down to one of those "Would the Enterprise be able to beat the Death Star?" kind of discussions.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Petrosianic> You might be right.

Fischer alluded to Steinitz knowing more about "the use of squares than Morphy", but a lot of Steinitz work was just analyzing Morphy's games, and trying to find an antidote.

Since chess is a finite game, the people coming after will always have an advantage over the earlier ones.

Dec-29-14  diceman: <Petrosianic: If we give him time to absorb modern opening theory, we're no longer talking about a player who actually existed.>

Bobby Fischer of the 70's was a much better player than the "kid" Fischer who lost to Tal 0-4.

Everyone is a snapshot in time based on the knowledge/experience of the moment.

<If we give him time to absorb modern opening theory> choice would be to send modern players back in time before their machines.

Jan-11-15  The Rocket: <What if you set up a balanced position from a modern GM game at around move 20 and 25? How would Morphy do against a GM, with modern opening theory out of the way?>

Morphy would be surprised by the defensive resilience of modern players. Most of his games have a modern flavour overall though, and once he fully grasped the defensive resources of modern chess, he would be a top player. I wouldn't say it's out of the question that he could beat a 2500 player in some positions, while he would get blown away in others.

Jan-12-15  Poisonpawns: Depends if the position was open,closed or semi closed. Players like Morphy and Chigorin took the open games to the limit, and this has not been surpassed.What I mean is that a modern GM could not play the open games any better than these players. Now closed and semi-closed would be a different matter.Morphy would have trouble with French,Caro-Kan and Sicilians. They did not have the correct approach at the time to deal with these properly.
Jan-12-15  HeMateMe: As someone pointed out above, defense is MUCH better nowadays than in the swashbuckling time of Paul Morphy and Adolph Andersson. Also, the gap in talent between super GMs and weaker GMs is much lower these days than it was in the time of Paul Morphy. It is highly unlikely that Paul Morphy would be able to employ the same style that was used in his time, and unlikely that he would win as many games in this era as he did in his own era.
Jan-15-15  gokusano: You are speaking about Morphy of the era he has played with. Talent-wise, I think Morphy would still stand with an equal chance against the no. 1 of today if Morphy was born today. For what part of other's knowledge will Morphy be disadvantage at? I'm speaking about Morphy's talent cultured and educated with today's information.
Jan-15-15  HeMateMe: If Morphy were born today, he wouldn't be Paul Morphy. He would be a different person.
Jan-15-15  gokusano: Yes of course he will not be born today because he was born before today. Talent is all that matter and it's flexibility.

<It is highly unlikely that Paul Morphy would be able to employ the same style that was used in his time, and unlikely that he would win as many games in this era as he did in his own era.> You spoke too soon. Why talk about Morphy as if he can transcends from yesteryears into today's time. What a pity!

Jan-15-15  The Rocket: Morphy wasn't an attacker like Anderssen. He was much more conservative. I would characterize Morphys style as aggressive, at most. Mikhail Tal sacrificed far more pieces in serious play than Morphy ever did.
Jan-15-15  Poisonpawns: <The Rocket> "Morphy wasn`t an attacker like Anderssen" This is what set Morphy apart from the "brute force" attackers of the day.Many of those attacks had no positional basis, and as many of those attack were a success, the same amount were refuted. Morhphy attacked when the position said attack. The others would try to launch attacks from any position as they felt they could "out combine" their opponents as they used to say. Anderssen,Blackburne,Bird,Harritz,Falkbeer etc all great but then there is Morphy.
Mar-13-15  TheFocus: <Apparently, Morphy's style exerts an irresistable magnetic power for players of all times, and the return to a style of the highest degree is the dream of every chessplayer, not excluding even the Grandmasters> - Bronstein.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Morphy was first and foremost a positional player. The resulting tactics emanated from his ability to achieve superior positions. Morphy would excel in modern times creating his own modern "theory". Morphy's grasp of any position was not equaled by anyone. He left no square unaccounted for.
Mar-26-15  Pawn Ambush: These old time champions were capable of playing either tactical or positional chess. Here is a game by Anderssen in his later years playing a Sicilian Kan defense. I don't think they would have any problems learning and employing new systems.

Philidor on the other hand would crush them all, past and present.

A Schwarz vs Anderssen, 1873

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Pawn Ambush> Excellent game by Anderssen! A great example of how winning tactics result from airtight positional play. Position before tactics


Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Father had a serious injury, and mother did not want him consorting with chessplayers to the detriment of his legitimate avocation, and also to his taking a personal secretary who handled his life affairs, but since this is Morphy's page, enough talk about Wesley So.
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