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Paul Morphy

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Number of games in database: 464
Years covered: 1848 to 1869

Overall record: +186 -25 =17 (85.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 236 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, 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 C34
 Philidor's Defense (14) 
 Sicilian (14) 
    B44 B21 B40 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 C67 C84 C78
 Evans Gambit (15) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (10) 
    C53 C50 C54
 Philidor's Defense (7) 
 King's Pawn Game (4) 
Repertoire Explorer

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

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

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by Atsa
   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
   A First Book of Morphy Compiled by Melodie by fredthebear
   A First Book of Morphy by StoppedClock
   Match Morphy! by amadeus
   Paul Morphy's Best Games by KingG

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

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Paul Morphy
Search Google for Paul Morphy

(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 464  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181848New OrleansC33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Morphy vs NN 1-0191848New OrleansC20 King's Pawn Game
3. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0311848New OrleansC23 Bishop's Opening
4. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0171849New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-0201849New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
6. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0231849New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
7. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0111849New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0211849New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
9. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-0131849New Orleans000 Chess variants
10. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0291849New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Morphy vs NN 1-0201849New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0461849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
13. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1231849New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0151849New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
15. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0231849New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
16. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0551850New OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
17. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1141850New OrleansC02 French, Advance
18. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-0251850New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
19. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1251850New OrleanC52 Evans Gambit
20. Morphy vs NN 1-0181850?000 Chess variants
21. Morphy vs NN 1-0141850casualC44 King's Pawn Game
22. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0491850New OrleansB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
23. NN vs Morphy 0-1241850New Orleans USAC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181850New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
25. Morphy vs Maurian 0-1271854New Orleans000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 464  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 273 OF 273 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-14-17  Boomie: <Poulsen>

Your views of Morphy are plausible given the tenor of the times. However we have a lot of first hand evidence about him so you don't need to rely on vague notions like romanticism.

As luck would have it, your views of Morphy and his motivations are well off the mark. I suggest you read SBC's site.

Aug-14-17  Boomie: <keypusher: Thanks for posting that, Boomie. Is my memory wrong? Did Morphy not formally offer a match to anyone in the world at those odds?>

I think the article at SBC's answers your question. Or is there something missing there? Notice that Morphy tried to arrange a pawn and move match with Harrwitz but was turned down. St. Amant said that he believed Morphy could win such a match against anyone. However no leading player accepted the challenge.

Aug-15-17  KnightVBishop: so what is the consensus among chess historians, fans etc. on the Staunton-Morphy controversy?
Aug-15-17  Boomie: <KnightVBishop: so what is the consensus among chess historians, fans etc. on the Staunton-Morphy controversy?>

Unfortunately, Staunton avoided Morphy, who spent quite a bit of time in England trying to arrange a match. Too bad as Staunton was a great player although at the time, he was getting a little old. We'll never know why he ducked Morphy, aside from the fact that he would probably have lost any kind of match. But Staunton would have given Morphy a good workout and sprung some opening novelties on him.

As always, Batgirl comes to our rescue.

Start with the link titled "The Staunton Challenge".

Aug-15-17  Poulsen: <Boomie><As luck would have it, your views of Morphy and his motivations are well off the mark>

Really? - I don't think so. Why do you?

For example I find this citation from the batgirl account particular noteworthy: "Morphy was never so passionately fond, so inordinately devoted to chess as is generally believed". I think, that this is in perfect alignement with my impression of Morphy.

Also this: after winning against Stanley "he sent the stakes, accompanied by a kind note, to Mrs. Stanley, who, poor lady, sadly needs them". This is also perfectly aligned with my general description of Morphy as a 'cavalier'.

I could go on, but never mind.

The description on the batgirl site is an important account no doubt, but I think it fails to put his life and relation to chess into a larger picture other than the immediate circumstances - such as the civil war. Off course this is not purpose of the description - it only describes and does not seek to understand or interpret.

Eyewitness accounts and contemporay newspaper descriptions are off course important sources to historic events - but normally history is better understod at much later point in time. This applies to the history of our time as well that of Morphy's.

I do not pretend to be a Morphy expert, but I do have my opinions about him, and that is not always in accordance with those, that consider him a demi-God of chess - mostly because they blindly take over the judgment of his contemporaries.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < Boomie: <keypusher: Thanks for posting that, Boomie. Is my memory wrong? Did Morphy not formally offer a match to anyone in the world at those odds?> I think the article at SBC's answers your question. Or is there something missing there? Notice that Morphy tried to arrange a pawn and move match with Harrwitz but was turned down. St. Amant said that he believed Morphy could win such a match against anyone. However no leading player accepted the challenge.>

As I read those excerpts I tried to distinguish between statements made by Morphy (or clearly made on his behalf) and those made by others. He definitely challenged Harrwitz to such a match (and tried to arrange it), and offered Staunton a pawn-and-move match. Other people say that Morphy could play such a match against anyone, but don't indicate that he made such a challenge to the world at large.

My recollection had been that Morphy formally offered such a match to anyone. I went back to SBC's site and found the following:

<according to Charles Buck's Paul Morphy: His Later Life (1902, Newport, Kentucky)

shortly after reaching New Orleans Morphy issued a final challenge offering to give odds of Pawn and move to any player in the world, and receiving no response thereto, he declared his career as a chess-player finally and definitely closed, a declaration to which he held with unbroken resolution during the whole remainder of his life.>

No doubt that's what I was remembering. But as SBC notes, Buck isn't very reliable.

Thinking about this some more, it would have been difficult to make such a challenge to "the world at large," because there were very few people (namely, the leading European masters) to whom Morphy would give <only> pawn and move! SBC reports that Morphy decided in 1859 that he would play only at knight odds (or greater) against American opponents, for example.

So, while Morphy may have decided that he would not play a formal match at less than pawn-and-move, I don't see evidence that he made an actual challenge to that effect.

Following up my earlier statement about Kolisch, it appears that Kolisch tried to challenge him while he was in Paris in 1863, but Morphy replied as follows:

<I could have believed at the time when hearing of your successes that you are superior to other players I had encountered in Europe, but since, as you are well aware, the result of your matches with Messrs. Anderssen and Paulsen had not been favorable to you, there is now no reason why I should make an exception in your case, having decided not again to engage in such matches, an infringement of my rules which I should be obliged to extend to others...>

Nothing about pawn-and-move; instead Morphy says he doesn't play matches any more. He played a number of casual games against de Riviere on even terms in Paris.

Aug-15-17  Boomie: <Poulsen: <Boomie><As luck would have it, your views of Morphy and his motivations are well off the mark> Really? - I don't think so. Why do you?>

If you would back up your opinions with references to the history, then people would take notice. Anyone can have opinions. History is of interest. Opinions are for Rogoff. Everything that is known about Morphy is at Batgirl's house.

For example, one of you statements:

"Morphy was indeed a 'cavalier' by hearth - and chess at the time was a fitting leisure for upperclass gentlemen like him - much like fencing, horseback riding and other more or less fruitless ventures, that could raise superior individuals above the common riff raff. A fine art that in the hands of a sporting gentleman was honorable and even beautifull."

Chess was not considered particularly honorable as a career by the Morphy family. They were already "way above the riff raff". They had nothing to prove to anybody. Paul had simply noticed that his skill at the game was advanced and he set out to see if he was the best. When he was satisfied that he had accomplished his mission, he moved on to other things.

According to you, historians "blindly take over the judgment of his contemporaries." What was said and written about him is all we have to work with. Nobody had ever described Morphy as a cavalier, for example. On the contrary, people were almost as impressed with his nice personality as with his chess skill. He was approachable, well humored, and a good sport. This is the testimony of Anderssen, Falkbeer, and others. There is no evidence that Morphy was trying to prove anything more than mastery of the game.

Aug-15-17  Boomie: <keypusher> You are right that there doesn't appear to be any solid evidence of the odds offers. I find it unlikely that he could offer knight and move to Poulson, for example. There are a lot of mysteries about Morphy that we will never solve. Too bad he wasn't a writer.
Aug-16-17  KnightVBishop: “And as we gazed at Morphy, with his fine, open countenance, brunette hue, marvelous delicacy of fibre, bright, clear eyes, and elongated submaxillary bone, a keen suspicion entered our ethnological department that we were not the only Carthaginian in the room. It might only be one drop, perhaps two ,God only knows how they got there but surely, beside the Tria mulattin who at present writes, there was also a Hekata-mulattin in that room!”

Paul Morphy was of black ancestry, his mom is said to be Afro-Carribean

is this true?

Aug-16-17  Boomie: <KnightVBishop>

Interesting quote. Please give a reference to it.

What is known about Morphy's ancestry is here:

His mother was a Creole. That means that her family can be traced back to early Spanish or French inhabitants.

His grandfather was in Haiti during the slave revolt. He managed to escape and was part of the Haitian exodus that doubled the population of New Orleans. There doesn't appear to be any reference to racial mixing in Morphy's family though it wouldn't come as a great surprise.

Aug-16-17  KnightVBishop: >boomie>

James Mccune Smith

although i guess their is no evidence at the moment

Aug-16-17  Boomie: <KnightVBishop>

Thanks for the link. Any statement coming from someone as brilliant as Smith has to be taken seriously. Although it does not rise to the level of evidence, it is at least intriguing.

Aug-16-17  KnightVBishop: Beethoven was also described as having a "darkish, moorish color" as well, which many people have speculated he had african ancestry
Aug-16-17  Boomie: <KnightVBishop> We try to keep on topic, especially in hallowed halls such as Morphy's forum. Our personal forums and the Rogoff page are exceptions.

I will say in passing that the current scientific notion about skin color is that it's a balancing act between Vitamin D and skin cancer. In cloudy Northern climes, lighter skin color allows more Vitamin D to be made. In sunny climes, that isn't an issue, so skin color darkens to reduce the chance of cancer. These are tiny effects but over thousands of years, small effects create enormous changes. Many such anatomical changes are driven by the environment. Of course, one would have to believe in evolution to understand that the notion of race is obsolete.

Aug-17-17  KnightVBishop: >Boomie

I understand Boomie, I am just interested though about the supposed african ancestry theory of Morphy, I have heard it mentioned before in the past, but I never took it completely serious

Hopefully other people comment their opinions on it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: I, for one, could not care less about Morphy's race, but only about his chess and personality; and there are plenty of positive things to be said of both, by all accounts.
Aug-17-17  KnightVBishop: I mean it is kind of somewhat important though what the truth of his race is
Oct-09-17  ketchuplover: Mr.Morphy would only lift his eyes from the game when victory was imminent. He would stare curiously at his opponent. His opponent would sense this and humbly raise his gaze to meet Paul's. In that moment he knew resistance was futile.
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I was bored so I wrote this for fun. I might as well post it here:






MORPHY: I'm the genesis of modern chess, I brought forth a meta-Morphy-sis, it took me less than two years to prove I was the world's best! Everything you ever did, I did it first and did it faster! You made GM at 15 but I'm the OG-Master!

You came on the scene as a teen but took over 10 years to win the title, claimed the Russians were arranging their games like some recital! My ascent to the top went off without a hitch, but then again my cheering section wasn't chanting "Go Fish!"

FISCHER: You must be kidding me, old man, you think you have a better resume? All the patzers that you beat barely knew how to play! Steinitz would have whooped your ass, because he could play positionally, you're all flash and no substance, and you were never champ officially!

Forget undermining pawn chains, I broke through the Iron Curtain, and played the Game of the Century when I was only thirteen! You should have stuck to law school, you woodpushing fool, instead of thinking it would be cool to try and challenge my rule!

MORPHY: I left chess to be a lawyer, yes you did get that right - what did you do after you quit, other than become a raging anti-Semite? You're half-Jewish yourself, have you never seen your family tree? But you'll never be half as great a chess player as me!

Game of the Century? Sure, I'll give you that one - because in the century before I was second to none! The fat lady already sang when I played my Opera Game, compared to that your so-called 'brilliances' are the epitome of lame! You ducked a match with Karpov like declining the King's Gambit (which still hasn't been busted despite your best efforts to do it!) My reputation never suffered any serious besmirching, but what happened to your sanity? I hear that they're still searching!

FISCHER: You want to talk about dignity in later life, bub? That's funny coming from a guy who died in his bathtub! My name's a household word, who's even heard of you except for a few chess nerds? You think your little Opera Game was brilliant? How absurd! I've seen better combinations by the likes of Henry Bird!

Like you did to your paul Maurian, I'd beat you with knight odds, but that would hardly even be a feat worthy of applause! I'm the best player the US, no, the world has ever seen! Compared to me you're nothing but an antique has-been!





Nov-29-17  Moszkowski012273: I think I know who you are <Darth>....
Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: Darth: I like it! I like them both. I cant decide.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

<"Perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived, he would beat anybody today in a set-match.">

-- Fischer (on Morphy)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Edwin Meijer: <DarthStapler>

That is a great rap man!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Think we'll ever see a movie on Paul Morphy? He had a very short professional chess career which is perfect for the silver screen considering they only like to take the top 3-4 years of a players great years. Southern gentleman, during the Civil War, conquered Europe returned home a hero, then just quit. Maybe in the vein of "A Beautiful Mind"
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: how about if Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" plays Morphy?
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