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Daniel Harrwitz vs Paul Morphy
Morphy - Harrwitz (1858), Paris FRA, rd 1, Sep-07
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack (D35)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Given 56 times; par: 110 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-12-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <SBC> < I have to wonder about Morhpy's role in this drama.>

Morphy's behavior at the beginning of this match is also strange. I think he approached the match with close to near certainty that he would win, despite having little knowledge of Harrwitz.

He approached Harrwitz,"departing (as in the case of Staunton) from his usual custom, asked him to have a game." Sergeant varies the account from Edge's version that Morphy asked him for a match, but either way, Morphy showed either confidence or impatience by changing his routine.

Morphy according to Edge played the offhand game in an "excited" state, which lends credence to the theory he threw that game, or at least handicapped himself several pawns before playing at full force.

Then even more oddly, if Edge is to be believed, he stayed up late partying the nights before the first two games. What is this all about?

In any case, in Game 1 shown on this page he was clearly outplayed, and his errors were not gross or unbelievable, just errors of timing and planning. He does not mention any plan to exchange on c3 and pressuring it at move 14 which masters of the 20th century would have looked at first (14...Nxc3 15 bxc3 Rc8 Maroczy) or even better 14...Rc8 immediately (Knaak)

He does seem to have calmed down. Thanks to Harrwitz(!) we know his pulse was very slow. And he made a typical Morphy decision after a loss. Despite having found the error immediately 14...Kh8? and an improvement 14...Bf6, he discarded this opening the rest of the match.

So far so good for Morphy. He did not take losses to heart if he knew the reason. But the pulse taking incident was so rude, Morphy likely drew real offence and began to wonder what type of person he was up against. Harrwitz could not know that Morphy was very sensitive to how he carried himself, as he seems to have measured his life achievements against that of his father who had just died. This was a public humiliation.

Harrwitz got his goat, and while it paid off in a victory in the next game, Morphy the rest of the match played the best chess of his life.

My total impression of the match is Morphy started it over-confident, and even distracted. Harrwitz tricked him with openings, then angered him, but the anger prodded Morphy to raising his game up to a level Harrwitz could not hope to match.

These are just my impressions, and what really happened is still a mystery.

Mar-12-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sbc> <tamar> thanks for a fascinating and informative discussion. And yes, as SBC thought, 295 pounds sterling is quite a sum of money. By way of comparison, the stakes for the 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort match were $2,000, or about 410 pounds sterling.
Mar-12-05  SBC: <tamar>

<Then even more oddly, if Edge is to be believed, he stayed up late partying the nights before the first two games. What is this all about?>

I guess it depends on how one views Morphy. I'm of the opinion that chess didn't consume him, that he didn't spend much of his free time studying and analyzing or even thinking about the game. His abilities were about as natural as they could be. He hinted at this when asked if studied books and he replied that he looked at some instructional material, but the things they were trying to teach were obvious to him at a glance. So, in many ways, to Morphy chess wasn't an end but a means. His sudden popularity opened the doors of many famous, interesting and intelligent people. I think Morphy liked this mingling more than he did chess. But what took some time to sink in was the idea that fame is often a double-edged sword. If he were allowed into this special circle by virtue of his chess skill, then who are these people really interested in, Morphy the chess champion or Morphy the man? These same parties and private gathering that so enamoured him early in his chess career later became an element of his discontent.

But, as you said, Morphy was, as always, confident in the eventual outcome of any game. The idea of losing a game didn't seem to bother him in the least, possibly because he felt perfectly capable of understanding why he lost and how to have won and equally confident that he would never repeat the error again.

Mar-12-05  SBC: <keypusher>

Thanks for th info. I did some cursory looking-around and came up with this:

according to:
http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~alan...

on the value of a pound in 1861

in 1861 - teachers earned about 93 pounds/year, surgeon, 343; Lawyer, 1600; policeman, 54; general laborer, 44; clergyman, 272; printer, 74; clerk, 248; farm worker, 36.

The exchange rate in 1859 was 4.9 dollars= 1 pound, which would make 295 pouds = $1445.50 in 1859 dollars

Aug-07-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Morphy's Misbehavin' Song (with apologies to Fats Waller)

Just bums to play with,
I'm not myself,
No sign of Harrwitz
And I'm worried 'bout my health,
Ain't misbehavin'
I'll take a night out on the town.

Mom, you must believe me
I don't stay out late,
Just a walk about Paris
And I'm home about eight...
Ain't misbehavin'
I just need a little fun.

My head is spinnin'
The thread is gone,
I thought I was winnin'
Then I dropped another pawn
Ain't misbehavin'
And it won't happen again!

May-22-07  jeremy24: I've read Morphy was out till 4 in the morning before his first two matches with Harrwitz courting a Ms. Charmain Shepard. He threw the first two games.
Oct-17-07  get Reti: It's interesting to see how Morphy, an attacking player, thought the queen's gambit, a positional opening, was so powerful that he decided to play the dutch later.
Oct-17-07  RookFile: Well, Morphy's insight looks pretty good today, the Dutch is all the rage, and guys like Timmerman are playing it with their backs to the wall against the world team.
Nov-01-07  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.33.

Harrwitz 4 mistakes:
30.a4 0.05 (30.Be2 0.85)
33.Rb6 0.23 (33.Bb7 0.73)
40.Ke2 0.72 (40.d5 1.23)
50.Rg5 1.37 (50.Kf3 2.40)

Morphy 9 mistakes:
14...Kh8 0.13 (14...Rc8 -0.24)
15...Bf6 0.48 (15...Nf6 0.01)
31...Rb8 0.41 (31...Ra8 0.05)
32...Rd8 0.73 (32...Ra8 0.26)
34...Bc8 0.56 (34...h5 0.21)
36...Ra8 1.12 (36...f6 0.59)
43...Ke7 1.89 (43...Ke8 0.68)
46...Kf7 2.40 (46...Kd7 1.88)
50...Rh8 2.40 (50...Ra2+ 1.37)

Nov-01-07  Riverbeast: <"After the game, Harrwitz made an insolent and impertinent gesture by approaching Morphy, taking his hand and feeling his pulse! Turning to the crowd, he shouted, "Well, this is astonishing! His pulse does not beat any faster than if he had won the game!">

That's what you get for talking smack, Harrwitz. I wish Morphy had said something to him after he won all the rest of the games - but unlike me, he was a gentleman.

I would have busted out a line like "Do you still have a pulse, Harrwitz?"

Maybe Morphy could have been the first in recorded history to say..."Who's your daddy?" Or "What's my name?" Or "How you like me NOW?"

Nov-01-07  Riverbeast: I hope Morphy got his Charmain Shepard, at least. No point visiting France if you can't sample the local cuisine.
Mar-10-08  InspiredByMorphy: <Riverbeast> Some words are better expressed through action.
Jan-02-09  YJGYJ: As Harrwitz even says, this game has no Morphy Brilliance, so i give this game an official YAWN!
May-02-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Harrwitz vs Morphy, 1858.
YOU ARE PLAYING THE ROLE OF HARRWITZ.
Your score: 124 (par = 109)

LTJ

Nov-11-14  Ke2: 4... a6 is kinda mysterious. It's not like Nb5 is a threat. Why wouldn't the great Morphy just play Be7 and develop like a normal guy?
Jan-16-20  Carrots and Pizza: Harrwitz played excellent position chess in this game. He play was simple and he focused on little positional pluses, like posting a piece on an outpost, even the Rook meekly going to c5. He traded off Morphy's knight on c6 and left him with a bad bishop.

<14.Bg3 - Very well played for it not only obviates the capture of the Bishop and the subsequent posting of the King’s Knight at f4, but also prevents the advance of the f-pawn.> That's a lot of prophylaxis.

28.Rc5! A modern kind of move! Harrwitz is playing well here. He didn't allow Morphy the positional advantages he needed to launch an attack.

This just goes to show that a modern 2200 player could probably stuff Morphy's attacks just like Harrwitz did, who probably played at 2200 on his good days.

Jan-16-20  Boomie: <This just goes to show that a modern 2200 player could probably stuff Morphy's attacks just like Harrwitz did, who probably played at 2200 on his good days.>

Chessmetrics has Harrwitz ranked #1 in the world a couple of years before this game. His results were not good after 1856 but he did play well in this game. His highest rating was 2644 in 1853. We can quibble about Chessmetrics but it's the only reference we have.

Many world champions would disagree with <modern 2200 player could probably stuff Morphy's attacks>. Even Capablanca, who was hardly generous in his assessment of other players, considered himself flattered that he was compared to Morphy.

http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/...

Jan-16-20  RookFile: You'd have to say that Harrwitz was 2400 minimum, especially after his play in this game.
Jan-16-20  sudoplatov: EDO has Harrwitz rated 2619 (#5) with Morphy at 2800 (#1).

2. Anderssen 2637
3. Löwenthal 2631
4. Petroff 2626

Morphy was beating some of the better players by this time.

Jan-18-20  Carrots and Pizza: < Riverbeast: I hope Morphy got his Charmain Shepard, at least. No point visiting France if you can't sample the local cuisine.>

Anyone know what Charmain Shepard is?

Jan-18-20  Carrots and Pizza: < sudoplatov: EDO has Harrwitz rated 2619 (#5) with Morphy at 2800 (#1).

2. Anderssen 2637
3. Löwenthal 2631
4. Petroff 2626 >

I view early chessmetrics calculations with much skepticism because there isn't enough data to draw from. I once saw that Horwitz, who was a terribly weak player, had a rating of around 2500. If that's the case, those numbers are meaningless. Just looking closely at the games of some of these old masters with chessmetrics ratings of 2400+ reveals that they are in the 1800-2200 range. You can tell by the number of blunders or omissions and see that players rated about 1800-2000 have about the same number and rate of blunders. Also, the way these guys blew won endings reminds me of my play, which is not that good to put it nicely. Harrwitz, 2600? Grain of salt.

Jan-18-20  Boomie: <Carrots and Pizza: I view early chessmetrics calculations with much skepticism because there isn't enough data to draw from.>

There is plenty of data if you start in the future and work back. I'm not sure if that's how Chessmetrics rates the older players. But there are lots of hints concerning Morphy's strength. For example, he dominated Anderssen 8 years before Steinitz struggled with him. That suggests that Morphy was stronger than Steinitz so his high rating seems justified. The ratings of the old timers have to mesh with the all time ratings.

Jan-19-20  Carrots and Pizza: <boomie: That suggests that Morphy was stronger than Steinitz so his high rating seems justified.>

Sure, Morphy's rating seems justified, but not just because of what you mentioned. If you analyze his games with a modern engine, as many have done here, it proves that his play was accurate like that of a modern GM in open positions. In closed positions, he was much less noteworthy. No one wants to hear that (and I just got my new edition of Pride and Sorrow of Chess by Lawson but haven't cracked it open yet) but it is the truth.

Let's talk about Harrwitz though. He played some decent games here and there, but there's no way he plays like a 2600 player. Look at Horwitz. His chessmetrics rating is around 2500 and there is absolutely no way in hell he is anywhere even close to that. Run his games through an engine analysis and you'll see that they are littered with blunders just like any 1800-2000 player. So, if Horwitz can be 2500 on chessmetrics, then that casts doubt on all early chessmetrics calculations. How can't it?

<boomie>, Petrosian, when he won the world championship, was rated about 2660. He was head to head with Spassky, Tal and Botvinnik. Surely you don't think that Harrwitz played on their level do you?

Feb-02-20  RookFile: Actually, I find that's Morphy's play in closed positions is excellent. It just didn't happen as much as in Steinitz's games. I think a factor we are forgetting is the chess clock wasn't used in Morphy's games. Guys like Paulsen literally bored Morphy to death by taking all day to make their moves. Morphy played open games because he knew he could just blow his opponents away. He didn't want to have to take 12 hours to win a closed game.
Feb-02-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Carrots and Pizza> <Run his games through an engine analysis and you'll see that they are littered with blunders just like any 1800-2000 player. So, if Horwitz can be 2500 on chessmetrics, then that casts doubt on all early chessmetrics calculations. How can't it?>

Because ratings don't measure <quality of moves>, they only measure <results against other players in the same rating pool>.

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