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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Anderssen - Morphy (1858)
   Morphy - Loewenthal (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 Frisco Del Rosario by adrien79
   A First Book of Morphy by melodie
   Match Morphy! by amadeus
   Paul Morphy: A Modern Perspective by Avalon Landing
   Paul Morphy's Best Games by KingG
   Morphy: A Modern Perspective by monkeysbum
   morpstau's favorite games by morpstau
   Odds games by WhiteRook48

   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
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 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 Morphy 1-020 1849 New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
5. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-123 1849 New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-046 1849 New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
7. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-023 1849 New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
8. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-017 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-023 1849 New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
10. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-029 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-015 1849 New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
12. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-011 1849 New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
13. Morphy vs NN 1-020 1849 New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-013 1849 New Orleans000 Chess variants
15. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-021 1849 New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
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
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 262 OF 262 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-29-15  Boomie: <SBC>

Nice to see you again, Sarah. And at the Morphy page, of course...heh.

I found a reference to the Morphy quote at

Unfortunately, the best they can do is say it is attributed to him.

May-30-15  SBC: <Boomie>

Hi again.
It has the same lack of credibility as the Checkers is for Tramps quote. People get these from sites and pass them around like cheap cigars at a wedding, but no one ever seems to look for actual sources. I've never come across either one in my own Morphy Gleanings.

May-30-15  Boomie: <SBC>

<Checkers is for Tramps>. That one just doesn't sound like something Morphy would say. As far as I know, he was a man of few words. And when he did speak, he was all business. He seemed to appreciate humor in others but apparently it wasn't a part of his own character.

<cheap cigars at a wedding> Ah ha ha ha...good one. <thefocus> has been posting lots of quotes all over the site. Though it would be nice if they were referenced, I think it's better this way than not having them at all. They can arouse interest in chess history. And we have to go searching for citations, which is good exercise.

May-30-15  TheFocus: <Boomie> <SBC> <Checkers is for Tramps>

<That one just doesn't sound like something Morphy would say.>

No, it doesn't. My Spidey-sense was tingling about this one. I felt it was wrong, but saw it had been attributed to him elsewhere, so just went with it.

I would be very surprised if someone found an actual citation or source for this one.

May-30-15  TheFocus: Didn't most people refer to checkers as "draughts" in his day?
May-30-15  Boomie: Boomie: <TheFocus: Didn't most people refer to checkers as "draughts" in his day?> Good point. I'm not sure when the term "checkers" entered the lexicon.

BTW - <SBC>, Sarah, nee <Batgirl> has assembled a great collection of Morphyana at

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Checkers, chequers and draughts were all terms used before the birth of Paul Morphy.

I suspect the tramps quote will be found in the New York Clipper checker column (I'll keep an eye open for it), but a cursory check of Google books finds that quote in Yate's Checker Player (1905), page 14.

May-30-15  TheFocus: Whoa!!!

Thank you Mr. Pope for your input!

May-31-15  SBC: Where did Morphy say it is the question.
May-31-15  SBC: Well, I've never come across certain quotes attributed to Morphy in any reliable source material. I can't imagine Morphy even bringing up checkers or draughts. Other than his Ledger column, Morphy isn't recorded with saying much about chess at all (or about anything else for that matter). I once tried finding the 'let your pieces help you,' in his chess column but came up empty-handed. It sounds more like what someone might imagine Morphy saying rather that something Morphy would have actually said.

<Offramp> Arnold Shoenberg is actually Harold C. Shonberg, long time art critic for the NY Times who wrote on music and chess. I read that book 20 years ago, but the poem doesn't ring a bell. Was it James Russell Lowell's poem from the Revere House banquet? There were a few poems written about Morphy.

May-31-15  SBC: Here's a snippet of Lowell's impossibly, rather long and hard-to-digest poem:

"And chiefly our guest, who has show that the wreath, Need not turn, as so often, the head underneath;
That apoison of Jealousy, meanness and quarrel,
Is not always distilled from the leaves of the laurel. I give you the man who can think out and dare,
The bloodless Marengos on twelve inches square,
Yet so modest, the conquered all feel that the meet,
With a Morphy, and not morty-fying defeat."

James Russell Lowell, Revere House, Boston. May 31, 1859.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday to my favourite 19th century player, Paul Morphy.
Jun-22-15  DrKurtPhart: This particular asteroid hit Europe on 22nd of June 1858. It was a Tuesday. It also happened to be just twenty-one years old.

It was initially expected to collide with and destroy Planet Staunton but due to wobbly and unpredictable orbit patterns of Planet Staunton the asteroid had to be content with only destroying Planet Loewenthal, Planet Harrwitz and Planet Anderssen and all other sundry stars around.End.

Jun-22-15  RookFile: Paul Morphy learns the rules of the game, then beats the best of America, before travelling to Europe and beating all comers. He gives a simul to several of the world's top 10 and wins it. If there was a greater talent in chess, I don't know who that was.
Jun-22-15  ketchuplover: Top ten simul? Never heard of that before. I think Kasparov & Fischer are both a tiny bit better than him.

That being said Morphy rules!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: Player of the century is what he was.
Jun-22-15  Sally Simpson: Thank you Paul Morphy for everything you gave to Chess.

Your games are still essential to any up and coming player, without knowledge of them they leave huge gaps in their development as players and of course they help one to fall in love with the game.

Thank You.


Probably been mentioned before but I've always found it a strange coincidence that Howard Staunton died on Morphy's Birthday.


Edward Winter too is chasing after the Morphy & Checkers quote.

C.N. 4425 quoted from page 14 of R.D. Yates Checker Player by W.T. Call (New York, 1905):

‘Paul Morphy, the chess genius, sought to obtain a glimpse into the scientific depths of checkers without too much trouble, but never succeeded in getting within sight of anything under the surface of the game. When he went to England he asked Thomas Lear, who played both checkers and chess, to explain to him “wherein the beauty of draughts playing lay”. On another occasion, half in jest, half in earnest, the great chess master said to a New York player, “Checkers is for tramps”.’

Wanted: substantiation of the purported remark by Morphy.

He kicks of his piece with this statement.

"This latest selection from Chess Notes provides a stark warning against gullible quotation of alleged remarks of the old masters, including Alekhine, Nimzowitsch and Tartakower.

There may be no area of chess literature with more dark corners or where the risk of error is greater.

Many familiar quotes are, at best, dubious and, at present, lack authentification, can any reader help?"

Jun-27-15  thomastonk: Steinitz wrote in 1885: "It is a striking feature in Morphy's match play, that he shows greater knowledge of the openings than any of his opponents, but it is still more curious that he did not introduce a single innovation in the early part of the game."

Morphy experts: is this true?

PS: Steinitz' essay can be found in "Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory" by Macon Shibut beginning on page 301. It is mostly readable for free at Google books.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: I'm no expert on Morphy, but I have heard of this:

Jun-27-15  thomastonk: <Gregor Samsa Mendel> Thank you! But 3... a6 in the Ruy Lopez is much older and was acknowledged before. Von der Lasa attributes it in the first edition of the Handbuch (1843) to the "Anonymous Modenese", i.e. Domenico Ercole del Rio, and claims that it can be played without any disadvantage.
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