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Paul Morphy

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Number of games in database: 463
Years covered: 1848 to 1869

Overall record: +182 -25 =17 (85.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 239 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 C36
 Sicilian (14) 
    B44 B40 B21 B20
 King's Gambit Declined (13) 
    C30 C31
 Philidor's Defense (13) 
 French Defense (9) 
    C01 C00
With the Black pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (21) 
    C33 C39 C38
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C77 C65 C84 C78 C60
 Evans Gambit (15) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (10) 
    C53 C50 C54
 Philidor's Defense (7) 
 Dutch Defense (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
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   N Marache vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0

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

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by demirchess
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by rbaglini
   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
   PAUL MORPHY by vaskolon
   Obds (Part 1) by Penguincw
   Odds games #2 by WhiteRook48
   A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario by StoppedClock
   A First Book of Morphy by Incremental

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

Lucas Anderson's YouTube video 'The Life and Chess of Paul Morphy':

Unpublished manuscript of the "The First and Last Days of Paul Morphy", written by his friend and neighbor Constant Beauvais:

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

Last updated: 2019-02-18 16:57:41

 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 463  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 J McConnell 1-0231849New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
5. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0151849New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
6. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0211849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
7. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0111849New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0461849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
9. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0291849New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Morphy vs NN 1-0201849New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-0131849New Orleans000 Chess variants
12. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1231849New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
13. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-0201849New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
14. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0171849New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0231849New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
16. NN vs Morphy 0-1241850New OrleansC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181850New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
18. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1141850New OrleansC02 French, Advance
19. Morphy vs NN 1-0181850?000 Chess variants
20. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1251850New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
21. Morphy vs NN 1-0141850casualC44 King's Pawn Game
22. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0551850Casual GameC42 Petrov Defense
23. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0491850Casual GameB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
24. Morphy vs Maurian 1-0161854New Orleans000 Chess variants
25. Morphy vs Maurian 1-0251854New Orleans000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 463  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 274 OF 276 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <boomie>

You and I had a conversation about Morphy's supposed challenge to the world at pawn-and-move (I copied my last post below) but it looks like I was unaware of an important source:

<Edge, in his long dispatch of January 5 1859, to the New York Herald, was the first to announce that "Paul Morphy had declared that he will play no more matches with anyone unless accepting Pawn and Move from him." And perhaps he was not too presumptuous.>

Edge isn't necessarily a sold gold source either, but he's more reliable than Charles Buck writing more than 40 years after the fact.

<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 does not play matches any more.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Falkirk Herald, July 13th 1910, p.7:

<Mr Keeble also writes in "Norwich Mercury":— "Morphy’s name is nowadays often before the public, and the best masters, apparently, now agree that his play was quite sound, and that he would be still able to hold his own at the present time. Thirty or more years ago we remember the opposite was the case in this country. It was then thought that Morphy would have stood no chance against Steinitz and others. This criticism was met in a most amusing way by American writers in 'The Dubuque Chess Journal’ of 1875. Here is the quotation alluded to:-

The chess wiseacres of Europe, that can so readily show how Morphy could have been defeated, point out his errors, and prove by analysis that he would stand no chance with the champions of the day, owing to tho advance that chess science has made, put us in mind of the man who, when pistols were first introduced, bought one to destroy his enemy. ‘Hold,’ said one, ‘Where goest thou so eagerly?’ ‘To slay mine enemy, see my pistol, the new invention, with this I’ll blow his brains to everlasting scatteration.’ ‘But if,' said his friend, ‘but if he should have a pistol, too?' ‘ Oh, oh,’ said our hero, ‘I never thought of that! I’d best go home, for he miqht shoot also,’ and he cooled down and hid his weapon.”>

Premium Chessgames Member
  ckr: Edge, Buck are not the only sources of the alleged Morphy challenge but also Lawson.

Paulsen had heard about Morphy's odds challenge from Harrisse writing back 10/2/59.

"As soon as I received your letter I commenced analyzing the pawn and move game. I have not yet finished my work. Should the result prove that in the pawn and move game the advantage is really on the side of the player who receives the odds, as it is suppose to be, I will play a match with Morphy at those odds; and should I beat him he will be obliged to play a match on even terms"

Lawson quotes more letters between Harrisse, Paulsen and Morphy where Paulsen is harassing Morphy to play an even match to no avail.

Oct-31-18  SBC: <ckr>
Premium Chessgames Member
  ckr: Thank you SBC.
Lawson had transcribed the October 2nd letter in his book but the letter Paulsen mentioned from Harrise that propelled Paulsen into a study of "pawn & move" games was not in Lawson's book. It appears the entire set of communications are just Paulsen's side where the letter from Harrisse may have shed some light on the alleged Morphy challenge.

Lawson also opines that Paulsen skewed his analysis of "pawn & move" games in order to bolster his argument that Morphy should accept an even match with him. While it seems that there is something there, that something was stated, there is also the glaring absence of reporting in the periodicals of the day such a proclamation would have generated.

Paulsen was certainly a pest as a year later he is still hounding Morphy but was Morphy so arrogant that he would have made such a challenge against the world?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: A Morphy game lost for over 150 years:

Remaining unknown for another probably won't be seen for another couple...

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA) , June 7th 1863, p.4:

<A Rival of Morphy's. - The New York <Courrier des Etats Unis> has the following:

A chess player has appeared in France who seems destined to throw the renowned Paul Morphy completely in the shade. This gentleman, whose name is Ladislaus Macuzki, has given a public exhibition of his skill in a cafe of the Rue Imperiale in Lyons. With his back turned to the chess board, he has played with and beaten ten good players at one and the same time; without apparent effort, and while appearing only to be engaged in making and smoking cigarettes, he heard the announcement of each move of his adversaries, and instantly answered by calling out his own move, passing without effort from one player to another. A Lyons journal says every chess player is acquainted with the great problem of Euler, which consists in moving the knight on each of the sixty-four squares of the board without resting twice on the same square. Euler solved this problem in two ways; in the first and best the knight on arriving at the sixty-fourth square was in a position to regain its place of starting. Mr. Macuzki has discovered a frightful complication of this problem; the knight starting from one designated square is to arrive at another designated square, and the said point of arrival must in every case be of a different color from that from which it started. This problem gives rise to 2048 different solutions, according to the position of the squares for the first move and the final rest. Mr. Macuzki, the squares having been designated, will dictate, without seeing the board, the route the knight must travel, and will accomplish the feat without difficulty in two or three minutes.>

<Courrier des Etats Unis>:

Nov-30-18  Boomie: <Ladislaus Macuzki>

Interesting. However since there is no hits on an internet wide search for Ladislaus Macuzki, I suspect this is a hoax. Perhaps the Picayune was trying to nudge Morphy back into the game.

Nov-30-18  Boomie: <ckr: Paulsen was certainly a pest as a year later he is still hounding Morphy but was Morphy so arrogant that he would have made such a challenge against the world?>

There are no indications that Morphy was arrogant. He was always reported as a kind man who respected his opponents. His odds offers were perhaps his way of retiring from the game. There were only two players who would have a chance against him at pawn and move, Anderssen and Steinitz (who was 1 year older than Morphy, btw).

Nov-30-18  zanzibar: The Picayune article is available courtesy of <davidgil49>

So, still could be a hoax, but the article is real... (who could doubt <Missy> after all!?)

Nov-30-18  zanzibar: RE: <Courrier des Etats Unis>

Curious aside:

wiki gives this:

<During the American Civil War it supported the South [citation needed]>

But one of the editors/publishers, <Philippe Regis de Trobriand>

<... entered the Federal army as colonel of the Fifty-fifth New York Volunteers in 1861; took a conspicuous part in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; became a brigadier-general of volunteers in January, 1864; and commanded a division in Grant's campaign against Lee. >

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Trobriand's departure from the paper may have been specifically occasioned by his support for the Union.
Dec-01-18  zanzibar: <MissS> if you mean that his support somehow lead to his forced departure - I doubt that. It seems clear to me that he left due to a profound sense of patriotism, especially given his subsequent distinguished military career.

As far as French support for the two sides...

<The Second French Empire remained officially neutral throughout the American Civil War and never recognized the Confederate States of America. The United States of America warned that recognition would mean war. France was reluctant to act without British collaboration, and the British rejected intervention.


Between 1861 and 1865, the Union blockade cut off most cotton supplies to French textile mills, causing the famine du coton (cotton famine). Mills in Alsace, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, and Normandy saw prices of cotton double by 1862 and were forced to lay off many workers. As a result, many French industrialists and politicians wished for a quick Confederate victory.>

Likely the paper voiced concerns over the impact of the blockade on French workers. It seems unlikely that a paper published in NYC would be blatantly supportive of Confederacy - but I could be mistaken in this conjecture.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: In March 1864, the following report appeared in multiple British papers:

<There is a wonderful Hindoo chess-player at present in London. He plays three games blindfolded, and wins. At the same time, he plays a game of cards, and wins. During the game, a bell is touched every one or two seconds, and he gives the number of times it has been touched. A man stands behind and throws little pebbles one by one against his back; these, too, he counts; and after the games are told, he recites a poem in perfect rhyme, which he has composed during the sitting.>

The earliest example I found is the <Glasgow Saturday Post> of March 12th, although the British Newspaper Archive is hardly exhaustive. Some reports cite the presumptive original source - <Court Journal>.

But then - via - I found the exact same report in the <Goodhue Volunteer> (Red Wing, MN) of January 13th 1864.

Finally from, amongst others, the <Buffalo Courier> of December 18th 1863, p.2:

<SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY. - M. D. Conway writing from London to the Boston <Commonwealth>, says:

Let me tell you of a wonderful chess player, an account of whose performances I received lately from a distinguished and learned Hindoo Pundit here, Ram Shandah Bal Chreshni. The chess player came from Madras to Bombay, where Ram Shandah saw him. He is between 45 and 50 years of age. He plays several games - three, if I remember - blindfolded, and wins them. At the same time plays a game of cards - there are 120 different cards in a Hindoo pack - and wins. At the time when these games are going on he is given orally sums of multiplication to the extent of four figures (e.g. 9397 x 8999) and gives the correct result. At the same time a sentence of about one hundred words, each word being numbered, is given to him irregularly, (35 if, 92 but, 61 pitcher, &c.,) and he gives the whole sentence. During the game a bell is touched every one or two seconds, and he gives the number of times it has been touched. A man stands behind and throws little pebbles one by one against his back; these too he counts. And after the games are over, and all these are told, he recites a poem in perfect rhyme, which he has composed during the sitting! Ram Shandah is, I assure you, an entirely credible witness, and a very clever man every way.>

Dec-02-18  Boomie: He can pat his head and rub his tummy at the same time! Unfortunately he can't remember his name.

What does this have to do with Morphy?

Premium Chessgames Member
  mifralu: < Boomie: <Ladislaus Macuzki>

Interesting. However since there is no hits on an internet wide search for Ladislaus Macuzki, I suspect this is a hoax. Perhaps the Picayune was trying to nudge Morphy back into the game. >

The player was real, see here:

Ladislas Maczuski

Dec-02-18  Boomie: The search apparently choked on the spelling of "Ladislaus". Bloody computers.

His record in CG hardly supports the enthusiastic news report.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <What does this have to do with Morphy?>

<M. D. Conway writing from London to the Boston <Commonwealth>>:

Moncure Daniel Conway

Dec-02-18  zanzibar: <<Boomie> The search apparently choked on the spelling of "Ladislaus". Bloody computers.>

Normally Google handles this kind of stuff very well - likely because it utilizes the crowd for its adaptive data.

I suspect we're about the only people who searched on <Ladislaus>...

PS- Which is the correct spelling then, the French or English version of the Polish?

Dec-02-18  zanzibar: The Conway quote missy dug out is well worth posting here:


<Gently, as if wafted by a zephyr, the pieces glide about the board; and presently as you are about to win the game a soft voice in your ear kindly insinuates, Mate! <You are speechless.>>

Conway's quote, apparently, is taken from Sergeant's <Morphy Gleanings>.


Moncure Daniel Conway (kibitz #3)

Dec-02-18  Boomie: <This is my favorite story about Morphy's talent. This also shows that Morphy had no hint of arrogance and was always gracious toward others.>

Morphy thought little of his success with blindfold play, dismissing it with the remark that "It proves nothing." However, in Bretano's Chess Monthly of June 1881,Falkbeer expressed the opinion:

...that memory is the main factor of success in playing blind games. And, of Morphy's gigantic memory, I had the indubitable proof from my own observation at the time he was playing his celebrated match with Löwenthal. Both opponents had agreed to regard the games as their intellectual private property, not to be published. I was at the time editing the Chess Column of the London Sunday Times, and anxious to reproduce them there. In order to obtain the requisite information, I had to apply to one of the contesting parties. I first went to Morphy, who received me most cordially, and declared his entire willingness to dictate to me the last partie, played the day before. I begged him to repeat the game on the board, as I would, in this manner, be better able to follow the progress of the contest. Morphy consented, and, at the 10th move of black (Löwenthal), I asked him to stop a moment, since it seemed to me that at this particular point, a better move might have been made. "Oh, you probably mean the move which you yourself made in one of your contests with Drufresne?" answered Morphy in his simple, artless way of speaking. I was startled. The partie mentioned had been played in Berlin in 1851, seven years before, and I had totally forgotten all its details. On observing this, Morphy called for a second board, and began, without the least hesitation, to repeat that game from the first to the last move without making a single mistake. I was speechless from surprise. Here was a man, whose attention was consistantly distracted by countless demands on his memory, and yet he had perfectly retained for seven years all the details of a game insignificant in itself, and, moreover, printed in a language and description unknown to him. (The game was published in the Berliner Schachzeitung of 1851!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  ckr: <Boomie There are no indications that Morphy was arrogant. He was always reported as a kind man who respected his opponents.>

Generally I would agree agree that his demeanor was mild and polite. Morphy did issue challenges at odds to notable opponents, several notables in the chess world and publications made statements to the effect that Morphy could give odds of "Pawn and Move" to any opponent and win. To further bolster these claims is Edge's report to a New Yorker correspondent. I am not in disagreement with any of this but when it comes to Morphy himself having issued such a challenge against the world I don't see anything validating it as a fact. I feel certain if it were the case it would have been published in chess literature around the world. Since I have no knowledge of that I consider such a challenge to be "Alleged". It is not to diminish his stature in the chess world.

Edge also portrays another side of Morphy when in his embitterment he writes to Fiske regarding the "you will write, you must write, you are paid to write" episode. Is this from bitterness or is it the truth or perhaps a bit of both. I can't really say but as with most people even those with a demure demeanor there may be incidents that trigger behavior falling outside their normal character.

<Boomie His odds offers were perhaps his way of retiring from the game.>

It may be so as I think there would be the likelihood that many would find the challenge insulting or losing under those odds embarrassing.

Am I assuming too much that a recipient of such a challenge may think to themselves "Oh what arrogance! Offering me the <insert credentials> the odds of pawn and move!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  ckr: <Zanzibar> Its been days now.

<< ckr Your comment is awaiting moderation.>>

Is the approval process stuck?

Jan-07-19  zanzibar: Hi <ckr>... just approved for moderation your comment.

Not sure when I'll get to actually read it and respond, but at least the comment is now public.

FWIW- first time comments need manual approval, so no, the process wasn't stuck. I haven't worked on <London (1862)> for a long time, so any updating/reviewing will take a little while...

My response times can be, admittedly, a bit lackadaisical at times - even if on non-holiday schedule - though I usually get there in the end.


Premium Chessgames Member
  ckr: Thanks <Zanzibar> It was nothing that should take extensive review. I just noticed something very curious in regard to the results table that you obtained from J Lowenthal's tournament book but I am looking forward to your comments on it. At you convenience.
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