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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 1-018 1848 New OrleansC33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Morphy vs NN 1-019 1848 New OrleansC20 King's Pawn Game
3. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-031 1848 New OrleansC23 Bishop's Opening
4. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-015 1849 New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
5. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-011 1849 New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
6. Morphy vs NN 1-020 1849 New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-013 1849 New Orleans000 Chess variants
8. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-021 1849 New Orleans -C51 Evans Gambit
9. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-020 1849 New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
10. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-123 1849 New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-046 1849 New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
12. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-023 1849 New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
13. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-023 1849 New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
14. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-017 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-029 1849 New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
16. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-055 1850 New OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
17. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-025 1850 New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
18. Morphy vs NN 1-014 1850 casualC44 King's Pawn Game
19. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-125 1850 New OrleanC52 Evans Gambit
20. NN vs Morphy 0-124 1850 New Orleans USAC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
21. Morphy vs NN 1-018 1850 ?000 Chess variants
22. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-049 1850 New OrleansB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
23. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-114 1850 New OrleansC02 French, Advance
24. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-018 1850 New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
25. Maurian vs Morphy 0-129 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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Aug-14-15  zanzibar: Let's compare...

<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.">

Paul Morphy (kibitz #6916)


<Edward Winter has these Steinitz quotes, taken from his <International Chess Magazine> [...]

July 1886, pages 204-205:

‘But when it is so freely asserted that Morphy’s style was all genius and inspiration throughout, while the play of modern masters is all book and study, I would take leave to answer frankly that just the very reverse can be proved in the only part of the game in which knowledge and study can be of much use and in which a test of the assertion can be applied, namely in the openings. For Morphy possessed the most profound book knowledge of any master of his time, and he never in his practice introduced a single novelty, whereas since his day the books have had to study the players.’>

One question, where did Steinitz exactly publish, in 1885, the first quoted section?

Or, in other words, where did Shibut find it?

Aug-14-15  zanzibar: OK, I guess Shibut also used Steinitz's writings from the <ICM (1885)>.

These issues are difficult to find online.

However, I do see quite a bit of material from these issues being discussed in

<The Steinitz Papers: Letters and Documents of the First World Chess Champion

By William Steinitz>

in particular, from <ICM July 1885 p209-210>:

<the question of the so-called Reichhelm Muzio and the Morphy-Evans has been definitely settled in my favor>

So, Steinitz may have a stake in the matter, and might be down-graded Morphy's opening innovations (if any did indeed exist) to bolster his own claims.

And can we trace back the Lasa excerpt that Steinitz alludes to?

Aug-14-15  saturn2: @Sally Simpson: Developing with a plan rather than developing hotch-potch and hopes something turns up.

That is a very good point describing Morphys style. I am not aware if any of his predecessors had this strive for activity. Looking at Morphys games one gets the sensation every move in the opening has a meaning beyond mere development. As I dont believe too much in miracles I would say this was the result of intensive study of the openings which were known at his time and not so much a result of natural talent which rather helped him more in later stages of the game.

He had his own particular style. It is striking that this feature is displayed in the games he played as a 12 year old boy, during the days of his public success as well as in those he played privately in 1869.

Aug-14-15  Sally Simpson: Hi Zanzibar,

"...and might be down-graded Morphy's opening innovations (if any did indeed exist) to bolster his own claims."

We must recall that Steinitz was at one time under the Morphy spell, in fact his early style won him the nickname 'The Austrian Morphy'.

Peaking at this style Steinitz realised that without an unforced error then no matter how brilliant you were at playing combinations, with correct play you would not get a chance to display your skill.

Steinitz then set about laying the foundations for the modern game. To do this first he had to, as he had done with himself, debunk what he considered the Morphy myth.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < saturn2: @Sally Simpson: Developing with a plan rather than developing hotch-potch and hopes something turns up. That is a very good point describing Morphys style. I am not aware if any of his predecessors had this strive for activity. Looking at Morphys games one gets the sensation every move in the opening has a meaning beyond mere development.>

I think Anderssen had that striving for activity (beyond development) to a degree.

Anderssen vs Szen, 1851

Of course Morphy would never play against a Sicilian that way. Possibly better example:

Anderssen vs Staunton, 1851

Aug-15-15  Sally Simpson: Hi Keypusher,

Anderssen was a brilliant player often using his tactical skill to get out of bad positions as well as crowning his better positions to produce some wonderful wins.

By coincidence I was looking at one of his casual games v Morphy a few weeks back.

Anderssen vs Morphy, 1858

Where he tried a 'swindle' on Morphy (added a post there.)

And many years ago when looking his at games I noticed he adopted what I call 'The Anderssen Knights' (we have the Harrwitz Bishops so why not the Anderssen Knights?)

click for larger view

I kept seeing this pattern pop up time and time again and although it's now a common set up in Lopez he appears to be the first to realise their strength in the 19th century.

You see chess quotes from famous players dotted all over this site, some contain valued words of wisdom. others food for thought and some are best forgotten But Anderssen's famous quote is one he played and lived by.

Attack! Always Attack!

Aug-18-15  WTHarvey: I posted 28 checkmate puzzles from the games of Paul Morphy @ What's the winning move ?
Aug-22-15  nilanjanasm: A Paul Morphy game.

W - Paul Morphy
B - NN

e4 e5
Nf3 Nc6
Bc4 Bc5
d4. exd4
Ng5 d5
exd5 Nxd5
0-0 Be7
Nxf7! Kxf7
Qf3+ Ke6
Nc3! dxc3
Re1+ Ne5
Bf4! Bf6
Bxe5 Bxe5
Rxe5+! Kxe5
Re1+ Kd4
Bxd5 Re8
Qd3+ Kc5
b4+! Kxb4
Qd4+ Ka5
Qe3+ Ka4
Qb3+ Ka5
Qa3+ Kb5


Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: That would actually be this game:

Morphy - NN [C55]
1858 USA New Orleans
Blindfold Simultaneous (6 boards)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Ng5 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Qf3+ Ke6 10.Nc3 dxc3 11.Re1+ Ne5 12.Bf4 Bd6 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.Rxe5+ Kxe5 15.Re1+ Kd4 16.Bxd5 Rf8 17.Qd3+ Kc5 18.b4+ Kxb4 19.Qd4+ (# in 4) 1-0

source: Paul Morphy, Maróczy, 1909, pp113-114 (also as game 164 in Shibut)

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Which is also given on this site as:
Morphy vs NN, 1858

With a few altered moves...

Aug-22-15  nilanjanasm: Thanks. jnope. I could not even find any in chessgames. Com
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Why is his surname Morphy and not Murphy?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Lots of American immigrants changed their names; some groups more than others.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: The Morphy family claimed that the name was changed when part of the family (Captain Michael Murphy / Morphy) moved to Spain. His son and Paul's grandfather, Don Diego Morphy was the family member who immigrated to New Orleans from Spain circa 1800.
Aug-24-15  saturn2: I would be interested in further details on Morphy's later years from which I only know some hints: He liked to go for a walk, he chased some ladies, he read a lot, he had paranoia, he considered himself betrayed by a relative in land matters. So did he get in touch with the ladies, which books did he read, and so on?
Aug-24-15  diceman: <offramp:
Why is his surname Morphy and not Murphy?>

...sounds like he Morphed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <saturn2>, this may sound stupid, but I cannot answer your question, but don't believe anything that is said about PC Morphy being non-PC. There's a huge amount of rubbish said about him.
Aug-24-15  wrap99: <saturn2> In one of Edward Lasker's books (maybe The Adventure of Chess) he says that his mother-in-law would see him on the streets of New Orleans when she was a young girl -- I assume Lasker's mother-in-law was born in the 1860s or before. (His wife passed away early in their marriage, I think -- Lasker had a relationship with the much younger female player Mona Karff whom I believe I saw at LA events in the 1970s or 1980s.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: It looks like none of the players with a Morphy number of 3 have played this year (the only one I know of who played in 2014 was Bisguier). Unless one of them steps back into the arena, it seems likely the youngest player with a Morphy number of 4 will be John M Burke .
Aug-31-15  wrap99: I think of Jean Calment who lived to be 122. Too bad she was not a chess player (think of how the Morphy numbers would have gone down). Alternatively, if Paul Morphy had lived to 122 (which sounds almost science fictiony but it *did* happen) he would have passed away in 1959 and he reasonably could have been playing casual games against still-living players including Anand. Of course, Euwe would still be alive and Alekhine would have just passed if they were to live 122 years.
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