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Paul Morphy vs Charles Maurian
"Against All Odds" (game of the day Jun-16-2008)
New Orleans (1854) (unorthodox)
Chess variants (000)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-16-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Once> According to <SBC>, who knows as much about Morphy as anyone alive, Morphy and Maurian played many games at pawn and move odds after the knight odds games. We don't have the scores, though.

Morphy may well have been getting weaker by the late 1860s, but Maurian also got enormously stronger over the years (he had a pretty good trainer!), and that is the main reason Morphy's results declined. From an SBC post:

<It's known that Maurian played, on even terms, casual games against Mackenzie, Steinitz, Zuckertort and Tchigorin. The only games here are those odds games vs Morphy and 2 games vs Steinitz.

Would anyone happen to know if the game scores vs Mackenzie, Zuckertort or Tchigorin were ever published? >

Jun-16-08  MrMelad: Morphy and Maurian was best friends throughout Morphy's life. Maurian didn't initially show much interest in chess, but Morphy inspired him to play, giving him big odds. At first Maurian showed some talent but wasn't able to overcome Morphy, yet he constantly improved forcing Morphy to give him lesser and lesser odds, until later in life he was so good Morphy gave him only his usual Knight odds and even considered giving him only pawn and move. Later he (Maurian) went on to win Steinitz (!) in his prime, without odds, to further indicate Morphy’s relative strength.

More on <SBC>'s great site: http://batgirl.atspace.com/morphybi...

Jun-16-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <keypusher & MrMelad> Thanks for the link to a great site!
Jun-16-08  RookFile: I think about it like this. We all cringe when we watch champions, particularly in boxing, hang around too long and take too many shots. Morphy knew when, for him, it was time to get out. He had his share of problems, but deciding not to play chess was his decision, and you can't fault him for that.
Jun-16-08  MrMelad: Well, <RookFile>, quitting while ahead is the best way to ensure you would be remembered, but Morphy certainly did not quit because he was afraid of anyone! I think his true brilliancy is shown in those real games (not odds) when he plays other then e4 e5, where you could see an actual modern day GM. I don't think Magnus Carlsen would be ashamed of playing like Morphy, at any age, after all, Morphy quit chess just about a few years from Carlsen age, at 1859 when he was 21 (Carlsen is 17).

That is at least my impression.

<Once>
No problem

Jun-16-08  RookFile: Oh, I definitely don't feel that Morphy was afraid of anyone. But put it this way: after he had beaten everybody worth beating who had played him, what did he have left to prove?
Jun-16-08  MrMelad: Exactly, as a fan it easy to accuse players, like Morphy or Fischer or Kasparov for retiring "early" but is it justified? In most sports, like Football and Basketball, careers are stretched over 10-20 years top, in chess some players play 50 and 60 years! It is obvious that no one can stay in the top of his game for that entire time, even if he is extremely talented. But it could be said that at some point, a player's strength reach a certain height, and in the case of Morphy it is argued that his peak was very great indeed.
Jun-16-08  cracknik: after bishop takes f6 then what?
Jun-16-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <But put it this way: after he had beaten everybody worth beating who had played him, what did he have left to prove?> What does anyone ever have to prove? Anyway, chess fans can be grateful that Kasparov didn't decide he had "nothing left to prove" after he became world champion at age 22 in 1985. Same for Tal in 1960, Capablanca in 1921, Lasker in 1894, etc.

<cracknik> 25....Bxf6 26. Bxf6 Qxf6 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. g7+ Ke7 29. g8/Q+

Jun-16-08  PinnedPiece: <Keypusher

<cracknik> 25....Bxf6 26. Bxf6 Qxf6 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. g7+ Ke7 29. g8/Q+>

I don't think so...somebody with an engine will probably show that the pawn can't be queened unless

25...Bxf6
26 Qh7+

Jun-16-08  Vollmer: All Black needs here is to play 1...d5 and White's goose is cooked after an eventual OOO . Sheesh
Jun-16-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Pinned Piece> Yup, you are right. In my line black just plays 28....Qxg7.
Jun-17-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Life is full of "if only"s.

If only Morphy had played on. What an even richer treasury of games he would have left us!

If only Staunton would have agreed to play him during his London visit.

If only Alekhine would have allowed Capablanca a rematch.

If only Fischer would have carried on playing into the era of Karpov and Kasparov.

Anyone else got an "if only" to share?

Jun-17-08  RookFile: <keypusher: What does anyone ever have to prove? Anyway, chess fans can be grateful that Kasparov didn't decide he had "nothing left to prove" after he became world champion at age 22 in 1985. Same for Tal in 1960, Capablanca in 1921, Lasker in 1894, et>

Yes, this is true. As John Wooden said: "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." In Morphy's case though, it's too bad that people were afraid to take him up on his pawn and move challenge.

Nov-30-08  WhiteRook48: When does Morphy lose? Not very often.
Dec-16-08  MrMelad: <RookFile: In Morphy's case though, it's too bad that people were afraid to take him up on his pawn and move challenge.>

Or not! Imagine Steinitz playing Morphy and loosing big time, as he would have probably [I saw a recent computer research which proved beyond doubt that Morphy would have crushed Steinitz, I can't remember the link, they used Crafty to asses all the positions in all of the champions games, 5 minutes each position, and concluded that Morphy's blunder rate (by their definition of a blunder rate - if in a given position there exist a move which scores higher by +0.75 than the chosen move, then the chosen move is called a blunder or something like that) was much lower then Steinitz, close to modern champions].

How would we perceive the legacy of world championships, and the legacy of Steinitz himself in such a case? Would Steinitz still have thought of himself as the best in the world and start the world championship? I am not so sure... We call Morphy's opponents weak, wouldn't we call Steinitz weak?

I think everyone knew exactly what they were doing when they didn't play Morphy (including Staunton), they kept their face! :)

Dec-31-08  WhiteRook48: Go for Morphy! and Morphy had no version of fritz. His version was Fritz 0 and always assumed white's best move was 1. h4. then Fritz 0 recommends 2. a4 and 3. d3, 4. e3, 5. f3, 6. Na3, and 7. Nh3. Then 8. Rb1. then it recommends rook shifting from a1 to b1 and back. So when he plugged the position into Fritz it said Rg1+ was the best move.
Jan-01-09  WhiteRook48: f6!! what a Morphy move
Jan-03-09  WhiteRook48: Maurian, it seems, can't even avoid CHECKMATE!!
Jan-08-09  WhiteRook48: 25...Qf8 26. fxe7!! Qe8 27. Qh7#
Jan-10-09  WhiteRook48: heavy odds. and it was all to Morphy's benefit.
Jan-22-09  WhiteRook48: maybe Morphy didn't want to CRUSH his opponent with the best winning sequence and found another?! Some people just play passively, but I cannot imagine Morphy playing passively.
May-28-09  DwayneMeller: You guys need to remember...a knight is still a knight... to put it into perspective do you all think capa or alekhine would lose if the other was missing a knight? Or no matter who'd you think would win between fischer and kasparov do you REALLY think the other guy would lose to a knight down bobby or garry? Or Kasparov who in 27 games never lost to shirov although shirov was often close to winning would lose to a knight down garry? Well morphy and maurian was like that...maurian is "shirov" but a knight is a knight...morphy was probably still a CHESS GOD but the mortal won due to the extra knight...obviously playing 20 years with morphy at odds had to make maurian strong enough to be able to beat him eventually at odds...but that didn't mean morphy "passed the torch " either because at regular chess morphy would have killed him which is the whole point of odds anyway...to equalize chances with the "mortal" of the equation
Jul-28-09  MrMelad: <DwayneMeller:> I don't think anyone suggested Morphy could win against a top GM at knight odds. But I think his mere talent, if he was born today, would earn him a spot in that club.
Mar-30-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <DwayneMeller: You guys need to remember...a knight is still a knight... to put it into perspective do you all think capa or alekhine would lose if the other was missing a knight? Or no matter who'd you think would win between fischer and kasparov do you REALLY think the other guy would lose to a knight down bobby or garry?>

I think you have proven, beyond doubt, that Alekhine, Capablanca, Fischer and Kasparov are <all> better than Maurian!

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