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Adolf Anderssen vs Paul Morphy
Anderssen - Morphy (1858), Paris FRA, rd 8, Dec-25
Anderssen Opening: General (A00)  ·  1/2-1/2



Annotations by Johann Jacob Loewenthal.      [28 more games annotated by Loewenthal]

find similar games 16 more Anderssen/Morphy games
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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-24-02  refutor: frightening to think that morphy's defense of anderssen's ruy lopez made anderssen, one of history's truly great attacking players give up 1.e4 and start playing 1.a3
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Yes, it reminds me of Kasparov opening with 1. d3 (Mieses' opening) against Deep Blue!

I've always liked the idea behind 1. a3. It's not as much of a "joke opening" as some people think.

After 1.a3 e5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e3 the game is a Siclian with the colors reversed. White has an extra tempo, that being "a3", which is not a bad move considering how helpful a6 is in normal Sicilian lines.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: ...and it goes without saying that the Sicilian defense is so strong for Black, that if White can play it with an extra tempo, it's got to be a powerful weapon.
Jun-26-02  refutor: i disagree (going without saying that the sicilian defense is strong for black...white extra tempo...gotta be a powerful weapon), but the 1.a3 reversed sicilian isn't as powerful as the normal sicilian for the same reason that 1.c4 e5 isn't as powerful as the sicilian. the guy playing 1.a3/1.c4 is "showing his hand" one move earlier, it makes it easier to make better plans as black. that's what i heard anyways :)
May-13-04  InspiredByMorphy: An alternate plan for Morphy in the middlegame, may have been 22. ... Nf6 23. Rfc1 Rac8 and now if 24. Qxc6 Qxc6 25. Rxc6 Bxf4! and whites rook is hanging while black threatens to win a piece with 26. ... Bxe3+ Therefore... 24. a4 Nd5 25. axb5 cxb5 26. Qb3 Red8 27. Rc5 Rb8 and white is cramped for space, with no attack. Therefore, white must get sacrificial to initiate an attack. 28.Ra6 Qxa6 29. Rxd5 Rxd5 30. Qxd5+ soon to win blacks center pawns. However blacks queen is very strongly posted, and with proper defensive play (being the exchange up), I think black could win.
May-13-04  poktirity: About the 1.a3, how would a computer react? Wouldn't it loose it's opening book quite soon?
May-13-04  InspiredByMorphy: <poktirity> Chances are very good that a computer would either play one of two moves. Some prefer 1.d5 against it, as it doesent allow a reversed color sicilian like 1.e5 does. However I would play 1.e5 like Morphy did.
Jan-20-05  Abaduba: <sneaky> While the Sicillian is a powerful weapon *for black* it fights for equality. The white player wants to fight for an advantage. Just white gets a small edge with good play vs. 1. e4 c5, black gets a small edge vs. 1. a3 e5 2. c4 Why use your 1st move advantage to get a small disadvantage?
Jul-03-05  bridgepro: Why not 5....e5! taking full advantage of the extra tempo
May-13-06  MagnaPsygnosis: <bridgepro> you are absolutely correct. 5. ... e5! is a typical move for a tactical player (NB both Anderssen and Morphy were tactical visionares)

I think the reason Be6 is played is because morphy knew that Anderrsen wont fall for any tactical tricks

May-13-06  MagnaPsygnosis: This game however shows that although chess-strategy are strong and chess-tactics are even stronger... it is not the only two styles in chess.. hence 1. a3 (Slightly tactical)
Jan-18-09  WhiteRook48: 1. a3... makes me think Anderssen wants the Black pieces instead.
Jan-18-09  WhiteRook48: this is a well-played game.
Jan-31-09  WhiteRook48: with move 1. a3 I think Anderssen plays better with Black
Feb-23-11  Llawdogg: Wow! Morphy can even make a draw look pretty.
Feb-23-11  SatelliteDan: If you have "the move" use it.
Oct-11-15  The Kings Domain: Llawdogg: True.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One of the few games played on Christmas day. In fact I have calculated that out of all the games in the <> database less that 1 in 365 was played on Christmas Day. Amazingly small!

Both players were a long way from home. Anderssen was closer but unlikely to go home to either Berlin or Breslau, so it was a Christmas away from home for both. There was probably an audience that came out to see the players because in those days home internet was very flaky. The Parisiens were delighted for the diversion and commemorated this event with a magazine which is still running:

At the end

click for larger view

there was no way through for the white pawn, so it was a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: Anderssen missed a golden opportunity to clinch this game:

click for larger view


1. 41.. ♖b2 42.♘e5+ ♔.. 43.♘c4 +-
2. 41.. ♖c2 42.♔d3 +-

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <telemus><41.Ra5! >

It follows that 40....Kf7 was a huge blunder, and Morphy can't even blame the clock. 40....Kg7 is fine.

Maybe the score is wrong? But Morphy played ...Kg7 on the next move, so presumably the score is correct.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: <keypusher: It follows that 40....Kf7 was a huge blunder> Exactly.

<Maybe the score is wrong?> The CPC 1859, page 43 gives "40.. K to B second".

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: A Morphy blunder comes but once a year.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: I suggest to study the sixth match game, too.

Morphy could well have lost the last three games with the Black pieces.

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