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Daniel Harrwitz vs Paul Morphy
Morphy - Harrwitz (1858), Paris FRA, rd 5, Sep-13
Dutch Defense: Rubinstein Variation (A84)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-11-04  BeautyInChess: Go king, it's your birthday! It's your birthday!!
Mar-24-04  Oedipa Maas: Morphy wasn't too shabby in the endgame...
Jul-14-04  Jesuitic Calvinist: Yes, Morphy played some good endings in the Harrwitz match, in which he was very motivated. Harrwitz naturally tried to direct the games into more positional channels, but as the match went on, Morphy adapted and won anyway.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: This loss seemed to discourage Harrwitz. He now took a series of illness breaks without winning another game.

He was very close to equality many times, the latest at move 44, where he missed 44 g4! holding. But his previous pawn moves were now looking like weaknesses, and he opted for the safer looking but awful 44 Be2?, allowing Morphy to sweep into the Kingside in a few moves.

Staunton from England wrote in his customary needling fashion, "Herr Harrwitz, the indisposed, who, it is consolatory to know, is not so prostrate but that he is enabled to enjoy his daily Chess in the Café de la Régence with opponents less troublesome than Mr. Morphy, has demanded a truce of eight or ten days."

This from Max Lange account:

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: 27qxg4 is worth consideration-i wonder whether anyone has suggested this q sac before? the point is

qxg4 qxg4
rxh6 g5
ne2 re8
rh3! i think white wins

or qxg4 fxg4
rxh4 rxh4

and now ne4

black is the exchange ahead but his rook is very badly tangled up-white is probably not worse and may even be better.

what do people think-is this a new idea in a very old game??

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: in the second variation b5 may be stronger than ne4
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Pretty cool; maybe even Morphy may have been surprised to see such a sac. Upon the <27.Qxg4!? fxg4 28.Rxh4 Rxh4 29.b5...>, I think the key dispute comes if <29...g5>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: After 27 Qxg4 Qxg4 28 Rxh6 g5 29 Nh5 looks like White's clearest plan.

click for larger view

The threat of Nf6+ combined with fxg5 and a future g6 would be a lot for Morphy to handle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <...combined with fxg5 and a future g6 would be a lot for Morphy to handle.>

This fxg5 can be important. The variation <27 Qxg4 Qxg4 28 Rxh6 g5 29 Nh5> and Qh4+ 30.g3 Qh2+ 31.Kf1 (31.Kf3?? g4#) Qb2 ... is pretty wild; say, 32.fxg5 Bc8 33.Nf6+ Rxf6 34.Rxf6 or 34.gxf6 ....

Jun-01-06  Calli: Have no time to analyze Keene's suggestion today, but wanted to point out that Löwenthal gives 41.Rxe4 Kf7 42.f5! gxf5 43.Rf4 as a draw. Perhaps Black can play 42...g5 with some chances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After 27.Qxg4 Qxg4 28.Rxh6 g5, Fritz 9 gives an evaluation of (-1.02) at (20 ply) and indicates 29.Ne2 gxf4 30.Nxf4 is the best continuation.

Fritz found 29.Nh5 to be inferior to 29.Ne2, giving the continuation 29...Qh4+ 30.g3 Qh2+ 31.Kf1 Qb2 32.fxg5 Qb3.

After 29.Ne2 gxf4 30.Nxf4, Fritz provided an evaluation of (-1.08) (19 ply) and indicated the following continuation: 30...Qg7 31.Reh1 Qb2+ 32.Kf3 Rf7 g4 fxg4+ 34.Kxg4 Bc8+ 35.Kf3 Rxf4+ 36.exf4 Qc3+. Black is better in the final position after 36...Qc3+, but more work is needed to determine if White can still draw.

27.Qxg4 is an interesting try, but the ensuing complications favor Black, so Harrwitz's choice of 27.Kg1 would be the best move in the position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Pawn and Two> Thx for the efforts. What do the silicones say about the other principal branch, namely 27.Qxg4!? fxg4 28.Rxh4 Rxh4 29.b5... ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Gypsy> While Black's best response to 27.Qxg4 is Qxg4, 27...fxg4 is an interesting alternative.

Per your request, here are a few variations from the silicon master, Fritz 9.

First a few variations with 29.b5, then a look at 29.Ne2, which is Fritz's choice as White's best 29th move.

After 27.Qxg4 fxg4 28.Rxh4 Rxh4, Fritz's evaluation for 29.b5 is (-.30) (19 ply). An indicated continuation is 29.b5 a6 30.a4 Bc8 31.Ne2 Rh5 32.Kg3 Kg7 33.e4 g5 34.f5 Rh4 [updated evaluation (-.39) (19 ply)] 35.Nf4 a5 36.Bc2 Bd7 37.Bd1 Kf6 38.Bxg4 Rg8 39.Ne2 h5.

or 27.Qxg4 fxg4 28 Rxh4 Rxh4 29.b5 Rh6 30.Ne2 a6 31.a4 [updated evalation (-.39)(19 ply)] 31...axb5 32.axb5 Ra8 33.e4 Ra4 34.Bd3 Ra3.

and a 3rd variation - 27.Qxg4 fxg4 28.Rxh4 Rxh4 29.b5 Rh6 30.Ne2 a6 31.a4 [updated evaluation (-.39) (19 ply)] 31...g5 32.f5 Ra8 33.Nd4 Rh4 34.Bd3 axb5.

And now Fritz's choice of 29.Ne2. - 27.Qxg4 fxg4 28.Rxh4 Rxh4, Fritz's evaluation (.14) (20 ply), 29.Ne2 a6 30.Kg3 Rh5 31.Nd4 Bc8 32.e4 Re8 33.Rc1 [updated evaluation (.25) (18 ply)} 33...Bd7 34.c5 Re7.

Only with 29.Ne2 can White obtain any advantage and even then it is a very small advantage.

If White does play the questionable 27.Qxg4, then Black should not respond 27...fxg4, but instead Black should play 27...Qxg4, obtaining the advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Here is a look at Ray Keene's suggested line: 27.Qxg4 fxg4 28.Rxh4 Rxh4 29.Ne4.

As shown in my last posting, Fritz 9 found 29.Ne2 to be White's best choice in this variation. Fritz's evaluation for 29.Ne4 is (-.19) (20 ply).

Here is Fritz's continuation after 29.Ne4: 29...Bc8 30.Kg3 Rh5 31.Nf2 g5 32.Nxg4 Kg7 33.Nf2 Re8 34.Be4.

An updated evaluation from Fritz now shows Black with still a very small edge of (-.13) (20 ply). Fritz now suggests 34...Rh4 35.Kf3 h5 36.c5 gxf4 37.exf4 Rf8 38.g3 Rh2.

In this position, after 38.g3 Rh2, Fritz's evaluation shows a slight increase in Black's advantage (-.30) (18 ply). Fritz now suggests 39.Rc1 Bf5 40.cxd6 cxd6 41.Bxf5 Rxf5.

My conclusion is, if White plays 27.Qxg4, and Black recaptures incorrectly with fxg4, then after 28.Rxh4 Rxh4, White's best move is 29.Ne2.

Mar-06-07  tonsillolith: Impressive play by Harrwitz in my opinion to stave off a kingside attack by Morphy for a long time!
Aug-14-10  Atking: Why not simply 24.Nd4 ? White looks then better. Maybe 23...c5! was a necessity.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: Harrwitz was a really stubborn defender! He must have been a really good player to contain Morphy for so many moves. Morphy had to win incrementally, like Steinitz, by accumulating small advantages over many moves. Morphy, if unable to open the position and attack the king, always took the opportunity to improve his position, usually by improving the position of his worst-placed piece.
Jan-21-18  bkpov: If one of us is playing against top GMs, how will they respond? A little disdain and flashiness will surely creep in their games. If somehow they get defeated they will be back to solid play. Morphy lost 2 straight games to Harrwitz due to sheer carelessness, the later started gloating and was routed through solid and riskless play. Morphy was not all attack, he had a combined genius of Tal and Karpov.
Jan-22-18  Boomie: <bkpov: If one of us is playing against top GMs, how will they respond?>

That is an interesting theory but it ignores the facts. Harrwitz was hardly a patzer. Chessmetrics has him the #1 player in the world from 1853 to 1856. He was around #4 by the time of this match.

The second problem with your theory is assuming that "disdain and flashiness" had anything to do with Morphy's personality. All accounts relate how Morphy was always respectful of his opponents and others. When Harrwitz teased him, Morphy was amused, not offended. I'm not aware of any accounts indicating that Morphy was other than delightful company.

Apr-21-20  Mini Morphy: 55 rook h1 wins in any case!
Jun-19-22  LARRY524: As in the "computer annotated score" is pointed out, 44.Be2 is really bad (-1.75) Instead ithe computer suggests 44.g4 h5 45.gxh5 Bf5 46.Re1 Rxc4 47.h6 Rxf4 48.Rc1 Rh4 = 0.00 (40 ply). Alternatively in this line, if black supports h7-h5 by first bringing the Bishop to e8 and the king to f8, white after g4xh5 and g6xh5 counters with f4-f5 and afterwards moves the king to f4 with even slight advantage for white. Or am I wrong?

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