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Paul Morphy

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Number of games in database: 464
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.
      220 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 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
 Evans Gambit (15) 
    C51 C52
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C65 C77 C60 C84 C64
 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
   Morphy vs Le Carpentier, 1849 1-0
   Bird vs Morphy, 1858 0-1
   Morphy vs Schrufer, 1859 1-0
   J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs A Morphy, 1850 1-0
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   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 - Mongredien (1859)
   Morphy - Loewenthal (1858)
   Morphy - Harrwitz (1858)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by fredthebear
   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 StoppedClock
   A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario by adrien79
   A First Book of Morphy by melodie
   Match Morphy! by amadeus
   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
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 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 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 J McConnell 1-029 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Morphy vs NN 1-020 1849 New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-013 1849 New Orleans000 Chess variants
7. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-123 1849 New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
8. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-020 1849 New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
9. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-017 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-023 1849 New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
11. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-015 1849 New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
12. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-021 1849 New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
13. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-011 1849 New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
14. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-046 1849 New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
15. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-023 1849 New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
16. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1850 New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
17. Morphy vs NN 1-018 1850 ?000 Chess variants
18. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-025 1850 New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
19. Morphy vs NN 1-014 1850 casualC44 King's Pawn Game
20. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-049 1850 New OrleansB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
21. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-125 1850 New OrleanC52 Evans Gambit
22. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-055 1850 New OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
23. NN vs Morphy 0-124 1850 New Orleans USAC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-114 1850 New OrleansC02 French, Advance
25. Morphy vs Maurian 0-127 1854 New 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
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Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I tried to find it on <CG>, but I don't think the following game is on <CG>. Has anybody ever seen it?

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Morphy"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[FEN "rnbqkbnr /pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/1NBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Nd4 9.Bxd5+ Kd6 10.Qf7 Be6 11.Bxe6 Nxe6 12.Ne4+ Kd5 13.c4+ Kxe4 14.Qxe6 Qd4 15.Qg4+ Kd3 16.Qe2+ Kc2 17.d3+ Kxc1 18.O-O# 1-0

It's from ACJ v3-4 (1878-79) p174/193

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <Has anybody ever seen it?>

A few times...


<The Chess Monthly, v2, 1858.12, p371; info: Mr. Paul Morphy gives an Amateur of New Orleans the Queen's Rook.>

<Morphy's games of chess, and Frere's problem tournament, 1859, p99>

<Choix des parties les plus remarquables jouées par Paul Morphy en Amérique, 1859, pp42-43>

<Morphy's Games, 1860, Appleton, pp453-455>

<Morphy's Games, 1860. Bohn, pp403-404>

<St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1878.09.29, info: Morphy-Ballard>

<Paul Morphy. Skizze aus der Schachwelt, 2nd ed., 1881, p89; info: Morphy-"B...n">

<Paul Morphy, Maróczy, 1909, pp103-104>

<Paul Morphy, Lawson, 1976, p356; info: 1854, Paul Morphy vs Alonzo Morphy>

<Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory, game 89>

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Ha, so it's bona fide I assume.

Wonder why it's not on <CG> then? (Or did I miss it?)

Do you have a guess as to NN is? My source hints around about it...

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Oh, I take that back, having looked a little harder...

Turns out <CG> thinks NN is A. Morphy and that the game is from 1850:

Morphy vs A Morphy, 1850

Not what was suggested in ACJ. Is there a consensus from all those other sources? I assume they don't all get weighted the same.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Yes, the ACJ source was in turn Ballard. Funny that your ref

<St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1878.09.29, info: Morphy-Ballard>

and ACJ merely suggests that NN could be Ballard.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Lawson gives Alonzo Morphy, but I'm not sure what his original source was for this game. All of the info I have is attached to my source citations.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: OK, thanks <jn>, I was just posting an aside while researching <Paris (1878)>.

Maybe I'll look at the game in CM later, it appears to be the oldest source.


Mar-30-16  SBC: <Zanzibar>

Shibut - Game 089
Maroczy - Game 096
Sergeant - Game CCXCVII

"The names of a number of Morphy’s opponents were not known until years later in some cases, and others will never be known. Maurian, in his chess column in the New Orleans Sunday Delta, frequently referred to Morphy’s opponents as ‘Amateurs.” As, for example, when he published the game in which Paul checkmated his father by castling on his eighteenth move. Maurian published the game in 1858, but not until 1884 was the name of Paul’s opponent known. After Morphy's death Maurian wrote to the New Orleans Times-Democrat of July 27, 1884.

'The subjoined curious little partie at odds [Queen's Rook], which is given in the various collections of Morphy's games simply as an Amateur, will acquire renewed interest for the chess world when it is stated that the Amateur in question was in fact Morphy's father, Judge Alonzo Morphy, and that the game was played about the year 1850, when the great master was hardly thirteen years old'

Sergeant was never aware of this relationship of the opponents in Morphy’s Games of Chess, in which the game appears as GAME CCXCVII" -Lawson p.82.

So both the original game score and the later 1884 revelation that Alonzo was Morphy's opponent came from de Maurian himself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Morphy's Law>:

"If anything can go wrong -- you're playing chess."

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: A segment from the article: <A Chess Champion’s Dominance—and Madness>

(from 2011)

<Morphy returned to New Orleans an international celebrity but settled into a strangely subdued mood; he said he hadn’t done as well as he should have.

He finally embarked on a law career, but interrupted it at the outbreak of the Civil War.

He opposed secession, and felt torn between his loyalties to the Union and to Louisiana, but he journeyed to Richmond to see Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, a family friend, about the possibility of securing a diplomatic position.

Some accounts suggest that he served as a volunteer aid to Beauregard (even gathering intelligence for the Confederates during the First Battle of Manassas), but others say the general deemed Morphy unqualified to serve, on or off the battlefield.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Does anyone know, what's the significance of placing one's hand inside your jacket at breast level? I see this very often in photos from the 19th Century. thanks in advance!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Joshka> Google "Hand in waistcoat".

Commonly, it denoted leadership.

I always wondered about that myself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <TheFocus> Hey thanks, I guess I just don't realize you can use google for just about everything!LOL;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Joshka> You're welcome.

Me and Google are old friends.

May-08-16  thegadfly: Great discussion here. I read Lawson's book some years back but I would like to read more. Does anyone have any recommendations?
May-12-16  SBC: <thegadfly>

For biographical info, try:

Philip W. Sergeant's "Morphy's Games of Chess" and "Morphy Gleanings" (later renamed "The Unknown Morphy") ;

Fred Edge's "The Exploits and Triumphs, in Europe, of Paul Morphy" (I think available online) ;

Willard Fiske's "The Book of the First American Chess Congress" (also online, I believe) ;

Regina Voitier's " Life of Paul Morphy in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans and Abroad" (You can read Philip Sergeant's review of that booklet here: ) ;

"The First and Last Days of Paul Morphy" by Leona Queyrouze, writing as Constant Beauvais (it can be read here: ) ;

"La odisea de Pablo Morphy en la Habana" by A.C. Vazquez (which know is also online) ;

"Paul Morphy - Sketch from the Chess World" by Max Lange, translated by Ernst Falkbeer ;

"Paul Morphy: His Later Life" by Charles Buck (can be read here: ) ;

"Poems and prose sketches, with a biographical memoir of Paul Charles Morphy" by Louis Albert Morphy (the Paul Morphy part can be read here: )

That should hold you a while.

May-13-16  WuldCahmpion: The next American great of Morphy and Fischer's caliber and who will be World Champion will be born in 2031. It seems like a once a century event for American greatness in Chess.
May-16-16  thegadfly: <SBC> thank you for sharing that valuable information! That will definitely hold me for a while. I love to read about Morphy and I, like many others, find his chess more than enjoyable. Thanks again.
Jun-22-16  DrKurtPhart: hb pcm \\ 179 //
Jun-22-16  SBC: getting up in years.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Paul Morphy.
Aug-17-16  Atking: Does someone know what kind of chess set Morphy uses on the picture. It doesn't look like a Staunton chess set...
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can offer a real answer, but till then, I can offer this:

It looks like this set comes close:

Aug-18-16  Atking: Thanks a lot <zanzibar>! Indeed it looks very close.
Feb-11-17  The Rocket: Paul Morphy is the most gifted chess player of all time in my opinion. Robert Fischer doesn't even come even close, as great as he was his during the final candidate run. Fischer trained like a dog and did not totally dominate until the 70s.

Morphy's opposition was around 15-1800 level, but given the limited chess theory that era, Morphy's play is by far the highest. He practically invented parts of the game, in particular the crucial aspect of piece development. Some of his attacks were a bit Gung Ho and frankly unsound, but that could be in part due to the suboptimal opposition.

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