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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
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   N Marache vs Morphy, 1857 0-1

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

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 melodie
   A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario by adrien79
   Match Morphy! by amadeus
   Paul Morphy: A Modern Perspective by Avalon Landing
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by fredthebear
   Paul Morphy's Best Games by KingG
   Morphy: A Modern Perspective by monkeysbum
   morpstau's favorite games by morpstau

   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 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. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-123 1849 New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-046 1849 New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
6. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-023 1849 New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
7. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-023 1849 New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
8. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-017 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-029 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-015 1849 New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
11. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-011 1849 New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
12. Morphy vs NN 1-020 1849 New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
13. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-013 1849 New Orleans000 Chess variants
14. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-021 1849 New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
15. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-020 1849 New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
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. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-049 1850 New OrleansB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
19. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-114 1850 New OrleansC02 French, Advance
20. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1850 New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
21. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-055 1850 New OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
22. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-025 1850 New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
23. Morphy vs NN 1-014 1850 casualC44 King's Pawn Game
24. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-125 1850 New OrleanC52 Evans Gambit
25. Morphy vs Maurian 1-016 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
  TheFocus: Didn't have enough money? I thought Morphy's family were wealthy and would have looked down upon him being a professional player.

Didn't he refuse the stakes that were offered to him if he won?

Maybe <batgirl> can weigh in on this?

Sep-01-15  savagerules: I looked at that 1882 newspaper article and Morphy says that in 1856 his father had over $146,000 in total inheritance to be divided up. Looking at an inflation calculator this would be worth over $3,500,000 dollars in todays money. No wonder Paul wasn't all that motivated in being a lawyer for the rest of his life! You figure he had to have gotten about a million dollars or at worst a half million of it for himself to last until his death in 1884.
Sep-02-15  wrap99: <Caissanist> As far as Morphy being a complete failure as a lawyer, I have a vague recollection that he did not appreciate potential clients mentioning chess or something to that effect. I think he would have been potentially an amazing corporate lawyer. Perhaps in modern times he would have become an analyst at an investment bank like some other chess players have.
Sep-02-15  RookFile: What a terrific link by thomastonk above. Learn something new every day!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: <wrap99> The anecdote you site is included in the Wikipedia article on Morphy, though there is no source given for it there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: The $3,500,000 inheritance would have been split between Paul, his brother, his two sisters, and his mother; if it was split equally then he would have been left with about $700,000 in today's money. Probably enough to live on if you don't work, but not luxuriously. I would imagine that his family suffered financially in the Civil War and reconstruction as well, although I'm not aware of any information about that.
Sep-02-15  wrap99: <Caissanst> I remember that he personally inherited 150k and money was indeed not a problem. But it is interesting that this fortune survived the war. New Orleans was invaded by Beast Butler whose nickname was "Spoons" cause he and his men basically appropriated silver and other valuables. It is not impossible that the games played against Winfield Scott helped the Morphy family years later or simply his position as the greatest living player provided some protection against the Union army.
Sep-02-15  saturn2: Thanks to all and especially to thomastonk who are sheding some light on Morphy's later years.

So the tendency is to describe him as an idle person with no need to strive for money, interested in fine arts and maybe good looking ladies. If this is true than his earlier statements that chess is only a game and suggesting what really counts in live is real honest work were hypocrisy or he changed his mind completely.

The fact that he publically mentions his heritage sounds like an excuse that he had no need to work. In addition he mentions his legal education - maybe the only thing according to his opinion that would him gain some public respect.

So he could in fact have felt somehow guilty because of his leading a life without regular job and no need to earn money; a thing which at his time was more uncommon than today. His friend Maurian tried to put things in Morphy's favor when he stated in a letter to a newspaper that Morphy was not idle and studied a lot suggesting he was working rather mentally than physically.

Sep-02-15  wrap99: <saturn2> Looking back with modern eyes, I could imagine him sending a letter to Vanderbilt or Rockefeller (his near contemporary) to make some "real" money but he does not seem motivated by that. To be someone of such native ability and to, what again to modern eyes seems to be just giving up and at such a young age, even by 19th century standards, is a tragedy. A normal life span would have allowed him to see many technological improvements, including the airplane. In fact, he might have contributed to such advancements. He really missed out. (He could have also met men who bridged that time with the modern, like Lasker. Sad indeed.) On the other hand, maybe he was doomed by health to a short life.
Sep-12-15  The Kings Domain: Having recently finished Edge's account of Morphy's triumph in America and Europe I couldn't help but marvel at the American's brilliance and genius. No other player dominated the game in his time like Morphy did. The way he vanquished a brilliant player like Anderssen is astounding. Only Fischer's career comes close. Truly one of the most fascinating, inspiring, and haunting legacies the game has ever known.
Sep-15-15  wrap99: Antiques Roadshow, table from Paul Morphy chess club. Damaged during Katrina, there were two plaques: one was chess players who had played on the table and I glimpsed Edward Lasker and Geza Maroczy. The checker plaque had Pillsbury (he was also on the chess plaque) and Newell Banks. Estimated price was 8k USD. I wonder what became of this? It should be at Mechanics Institute or of course a New Orleans club if there still is one!
Sep-15-15  wrap99: Here is link to table:
Sep-15-15  wrap99: I wrote to the appraiser to see if he knew what became of it.
Sep-15-15  SBC:

Morphy seemed to have had a relatively satisfying later life. Charles A. Buck wrote his account of Morphy's later life (, much of which David Lawson took issue with, though a lot of Lawson's issues seem overstated. As for Morphy's legal career, he seems to have practiced law, at least to some degree, from 1864 to 1874. I was able to find one instance of Morphy arguing before the LA Supreme Court in 1867. His client was A. Dhones.

When Morphy wrote to the editors of the "Bee" concerning his entry in the biographical series proposed by L'Abeille newspaper, he apparently wanted to deflect attention way from himself onto those whose careers had contributed to society (particularly his father). In 1882 when all this came about, Morphy had no career.

Morphy became ever more peculiar as he grew older, at least to the public. At home he followed his true passions, the opera, philosophy, religion and French literature. He attended and partook in weekly soirees given by his mother. He followed chess. As Maurian expressed in the mid 70s, he didn't play enough to keep in practice, but, so Maurian felt, if Morphy put his mind to it, he could still win whenever he so desired. He was considered kind and gentle by those who knew him, though he tended to be sarcastic at times.

During his daily walks though the French Quarter. he stared at pretty ladies and gave sardonic grins to strangers who stared at him. He carried his walking stick and wore a monocle. Morphy was quite the dandy.

Sep-15-15  savagerules: Too bad a movie was never made about Morphy. It would be a great period piece. New Orleans before and after the Civil War and a look at the fashions of that time amid the heat and humidity. Of course it would be Hollywoodized and they would make Morphy out to be a gay man trapped in a strict society or some such rot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <savagerules> <Too bad a movie was never made about Morphy. It would be a great period piece. New Orleans before and after the Civil War and a look at the fashions of that time amid the heat and humidity. Of course it would be Hollywoodized and they would make Morphy out to be a gay man trapped in a strict society or some such rot.>

There would have to a horse and buggy chase for Hollywood to consider it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <During his daily walks though the French Quarter. he stared at pretty ladies and gave sardonic grins to strangers who stared at him. He carried his walking stick and wore a monocle. Morphy was quite the dandy.>

It would have been cool if he had ever sat down to play blitz with Jude Acers. And then analyzed over some Po' Boys.

Sep-15-15  Dr. Overlord: Morphy's Law:

Anything that can go wrong in a chess game, will go wrong in a chess game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Morphy was very profound.
Oct-02-15  The Kings Domain: savagerules: Very true. With the recent release of "Pawn Sacrifice" a movie on Morphy would be just right. Good point on it being a good period piece, done well it would look great. If Hollywood would have their big guns work on such a project like Scorsese directing it then it would most likely be a hit, letting more people know about the great 19th-Century champion.
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