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Paul Morphy vs Charles Maurian
New Orleans (1866), New Orleans, LA USA
King's Gambit: Accepted. Ghulam-Kassim Gambit (000)  ·  1-0



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Mar-17-04  dag: <tamar> Thanks for your post. Good point, that match would have been truly valuable to have--the clash of two philosophies. I guess I feel I as a player benefit more from seeing the really contrasty games like this one--I'm much more of a Maurian in my approach, alas, but even a glance at the board at certain stages of certain of Morphy's matches makes the difference obvious; at the cusp of the middle game Morphy's forces almost always have a certain "look," a psychic signature, the way you can always tell a Picasso even though he had so many styles. When earnest plodding and hyperagile dance are taking place on the same field, I can grasp the brilliance of the brilliant one more completely. The things like discovered &/or double check, and dramatic sacrifices, and the tide of battle turning on a pawn or two--well, those are beautiful no matter who the opponent is. And then the subtler flows of energy around the board--Morphy will seemingly disperse it only to reunite it tellingly precisely when needed. As my knowledge of chess deepens I'll probably be able to see the same signatures in other stellar ones, but for now I'm trying to soak up Morphy. (Aren't we all!)
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <dag> Morphy is one of my favorite players, off the charts, but I'm not sure that Morphy's games have a "psychic signature" that is identifiable. There were masters in his day who were every bit as brilliant against weak opponents. Just to show one example against Schulten in the same opening. Could you really tell who was Morphy in these two games if you just had the moves? J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857
J Schulten vs Kolisch, 1860
Nov-10-04  TheGreatNN: Yes.
They are both quite impressive tactically, but no way would Morphy have played ..g5!? or gotten himself into a position as tenuous as it was for black in the middle of the second game.
Nov-10-04  TheGreatNN: But, lest my criticism be uneven, dag, "artlessly formulating crude two-step tactics, with no sense of genuine strategy, let alone theory" - You are talking about someone who sometimes beat Morphy with knight odds. You imagine too much.
Aug-26-07  frank124c: The final position in this game is a wonderful illustration of the Pin. The obvious pin is Queen and Rook battery--I like to call the Q & R battery "the gun"--keeping the knight from moving. The more subtle pin is the Bishop pinning the Queen. The part that blows my mind is that the black Queen cannot take the white Bishop because then, of course, black will be mated. So what we have is a pin on a piece guarding mate. I've heard of capturing a guarding piece, or forcing it to move, but pinning the guarding piece is unusual, to say the least.
Dec-06-07  KnightOnEverest: <dag> "warmth of intelligence, not a coldness of intellect" .... could you explain that with simpler words ....
Dec-17-08  WhiteRook48: I thought Black could break the pin with ...Qxb5 but then White has Qxe7#.
Apr-24-09  heuristic: mo' better moves :
9...Qf6 10.Nc3 Nd7 11.Nb5 Kd8 12.Qe3

11...Kd8 12.Na3 Ne7 13.exd6 cxd6 14.Rae1

12.Na3 Kd8 13.Nb5 f6 14.exf6 Bxf6

13.Nc3 Qg6 14.Nb5 Kd8 15.Rae1 f5

13...Qd7 14.Bh6 Nxh6 15.Bb5 Nf5 16.Bxd7+

14...Qxc4 15.Bxe7 Be6 15.Ba3 Qxd5 17.Nc3

15...Qxe7 16.Qc3 Qxe1+ 17.Qxe1+ Kf8 18.Qb4+

Apr-24-09  Calli: <heuristic> Noticed your Morphy interest. Here is my attempt at organising PM's odds contest - Game Collection: Morphy's Knight Odds Match vs Thompson
Jul-29-09  tentsewang: Morphy's predicament always comes out like he travelled time.
Nov-20-09  cornflake: <heuristic: mo' better moves : 9...Qf6 10.Nc3 Nd7 11.Nb5 Kd8 12.Qe3

11...Kd8 12.Na3 Ne7 13.exd6 cxd6 14.Rae1

12.Na3 Kd8 13.Nb5 f6 14.exf6 Bxf6

13.Nc3 Qg6 14.Nb5 Kd8 15.Rae1 f5

13...Qd7 14.Bh6 Nxh6 15.Bb5 Nf5 16.Bxd7+

14...Qxc4 15.Bxe7 Be6 15.Ba3 Qxd5 17.Nc3

15...Qxe7 16.Qc3 Qxe1+ 17.Qxe1+ Kf8 18.Qb4+>

Since we are on the subject of "mo better" moves instead of Maurian's 9...Qd7 how about 9...Bg7 (see Degraeve vs C Marcelin, 2002) with the idea of Ne7 and 0-0. In the game Degraeve vs C Marcelin, 2002 black managed to simplify the game to endgame that he went on to win.

Jun-26-10  Antiochus: This game is repeated Year 1869 is exact according KrabbĂ©.
Nov-12-11  Llawdogg: Wow! There are so many delightful games of Paul Morphy.
Dec-03-11  Lashab: Qd7 was a complete blunder. Bg7 would have repelled all white's attacks.

But the game surely is a masterpiece by chess genius - Morphy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Lashab> This game was played at knight odds. Morphy was playing without his queen knight. So you really can't evaluate Morphy's play the way you would if the game was played even. Among other things, he has to avoid simplification. Hence moves like d4-d5 instead of Bxe6.
Dec-04-11  Lashab: Just Reposting the comment with correcting the mistake:

White is in hopeless position after Qxf3 according to engine. Morphy loses the opening! But...

Let's check blunders after standard King's Gambit situation, when Morphy has -0.40 out of the opening with Nf3.


-1.22 at 4. Bc4 (better was h4 with -0.49)

-1.05 at 7. d5 (better was Bxe6 as only way to keep an advantage)


-1.12 at 6. d6(better was Qh4+ or Nf6 with -1.52)

-0.59 with 7.Be6 (better was Qf6 with -1.37)

+0.58 with 9.Qd7 (better was Qf6 with -1.05)

+1.88 with 11.Be7 (better was Kd8 or Ne8)

+7.46 with 12.Qg7 was worst move by Maurian but anyway Morphy was winning in every continuation from here with +2.43 even in case of best reply --- Kd8! from Maurian.

Moral of the game: Morphy loses the opening, but smashes the opponent with good tactics and once he gets advantage, he executes mercilessly!

Dec-04-11  Lashab: <Keypusher>

Well, I didn't put Knight odd in consideration for the engine. I chose as if it was equal when started.

Bxe6 was in reality the strongest continuation I suppose, I check it now:

Yap, engine still prefers Bxe6 because after pawn recaptures, queen check comes!

With correct play white is busted for sure, but with correct play white loses if he doesn't bishop - much faster.

It's not Morphy's mistake though, engines always find better continuation, which is not the move that human would play.

Jul-16-12  e4 resigns: <Lashab>
What is the computer you work with? 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 is still bookline, and black should not have an advantage by 0.4 that early on. 4.Bc4 might be put into doubt with 4...Bg7 but no blunder. I think your computer is a little biased!
Jul-31-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Morphy vs Maurian, 1866.
Your score: 24 (par = 20)


Premium Chessgames Member
  naresb: These Paul Morphy games are very good for opening game studies along with present day engines.
Sep-08-14  morfishine: Much has been written about Morphy's style, the "Morphy mystique", a "Morphy combination" or simply being "Morphy'd"

What's the simplest way to define Morphy? Well, this question contains half the answer: simple

Its not what Morphy saw (or that others didn't see), but what Morphy didn't see himself. In other words, Morphy had a way of seeing through a position, of being able to discard irrelevancies and get right to the point. Simple and clear, thats Morphy

In this game, when Black resigns, its because 16...Nc6 won't even buy a little time to sacrifice material in hopes of struggling on. White simply sticks to the original theme with: 16...Nbc6 17.dxc6 bxc6 18.Bxc6

So simple


Sep-08-14  MarkFinan: Morph... I just went back through this game with an engine because I wanted to know what it made of the knight sac. Still can't help but think that Morphy's opponents were just poor though. He was light years ahead of his time.
Mar-31-18  CheckMateEndsTheGame: Bishop to B5 like a bolt of lightning on a cloudless sky
Feb-27-21  paulmorphy1969: This game are errate Morphy against Maurian he has never played evenly, here Morphy concedes the vanytaggioc of Cavallo b1 as can be seen from the attached link
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: My favorite Maurian!
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