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Paul Morphy vs NN
New York (1857) (unorthodox)
Chess variants (000)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-06-03  Shadout Mapes: A model game for development. In the final position, black is winning in material, yet even Garry Kasparov couldn't defend the position.
Sep-08-04  expertbyaugust: why is there no knight on B1 maybe it is just my computer but the B1 square starts off empty!!!!!
Sep-08-04  SBC: <expertbyaugust>

Unfortunately, it's September.

Look at the very top. it says:

Paul Morphy vs NN
New York 1857 · Chess variants (000)

This is an "odds" game. A type of game popular pre 20th century in which a stronger player removed a pawn or piece (and sometimes gave the weaker player the first move in addition) as a handicap to give a weaker player a fighting chance. It was also used as a sort of loose measurement of skill. Hence, a "Rook player" was a weak player who would receive rook odds from a player generally considered a master of the game (there were no ratings or even clocks back then)

Morphy played many odds games.

Sep-10-04  percyblakeney: <Unfortunately, it's September> Judging from the user profile of <expertbyaugust>, this might be the wrong time for that type of remarks. :)
Apr-27-05  PaulLovric: <Shadout Mapes> what do you mean "even Garry Kasparov couldn't defend the position", did he try it ?
Oct-30-05  CowardlyKnight: amazing amazing amazing!! I doubt if any modern grandmaster can claim to have a better grasp of the attack than morphy, not even Kaspy himself. Just thinking about what Morphy would do if he was alive nowadays gives me a mental orgasm (Sorry, can't think of a better way to describe it)
Oct-30-05  Averageguy: <Just thinking about what Morphy would do if he was alive nowadays gives me a mental orgasm (Sorry, can't think of a better way to describe it)> Well you put it better then Dear Bobby did:

"Chess is mental masturbation" - Robert James Fischer

Oct-30-05  KingG: There is nothing amazing about this game. I'm a great fan of Morphy, but for him this is all theory. This variation of the Muzio Gambit has been played hundreds of times. Everything up to 10. ...Qf6 is theory(even inMorphy's day). In a normal game 11.Qh5 would be a mistake, but because there is no knight on b1, this works because the rook can come out immediatly. The correct way of playing in a normal game is shown in Shirov vs J Lapinski, 1990.

And why did Black resign in the final position? There is no mate and he has ♗+♘+♖ for the ♕. So he has enough material to compensate for the loss of the Queen. If anything, it is Morphy who will have to fight for a draw if Balck can develop his pieces.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <And why did Black resign in the final position?>

Just a guess, but a lot of these early scores are incomplete, so maybe he did not resign. I imagine that Morphy played Qxh7 and advanced his Kingside pawns for a win against the amateur.

<ckr> any info on this one?

Jun-03-06  sneaky pete: Game CCLIX in Sergeant, who writes: "This and the five following games were all against the same player, apparently a member of the New York Chess Club." One of these 5 games (CCLXII) is found in this database as Morphy vs J McConnell, 1857, so this game would be against New Orleans based McConnell as well? Hard to believe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <sneaky pete> I saw the Sergeant note also, but believe he is wrong on this point. Chess Monthly (Fiske and Morphy editors) says “Played at the New Orleans Chess Club..” 1858 Vol 2 p206. No date or opponent given for the game.
Jun-05-06  dakgootje: brilliant game, no other words for it...
Mar-22-08  JimmyVermeer: It seems Black has the advantage at the end of this game. How does Morphy win? 20...Be7 21 Qxh7 Nc6 and Black is still ahead in material despite not having his queen.
Apr-05-08  heuristic: <KingG: Everything up to 10. ...Qf6 is theory (even inMorphy's day). > for the world-class players; they knew opening theory for both normal and odds games! see Steinitz comments in Showalter vs Taubenhaus, 1889

it's too bad that chessgames gives the same ECO code to all odds games.

anyway, for 9... in the Muzio, opening explorer shows only Qxd4+ and Qf5 and the win percentages are bimodal. if BLK takes the pawn, WHT wins; else BLK wins! so in a odds games, not taking the pawn should be even more favorable for BLK.

9...Qf5 10.Bxf4 Nf6 11.Be5 Qxf3 12.Rxf3
9...Qf6 10.Qh5+ Qg6 11.Rxf4+ Nf6 12.Rxf6+
9...Qg7 (10. same as previous)

and WHT's 11.Qh5+ is an new line (according to opening explorer)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Steinitz also won this game with a nicer ending Steinitz vs Van der Meden, 1865

The line apparently served as an opening trap for odds givers.

Aug-20-08  TheTamale: I love this game. I can almost read NN's thoughts: "Gee, I'm already a knight up, so if I keep taking everything he offers me, eventually I'll have all his pieces with an easy win." To let Morphy play a Muzio against you if you're not a strong player... seems like a bad way to go.
Jan-13-09  WhiteRook48: actually Black is winning.
Oct-21-11  Llawdogg: I wonder how Houdini or Rybka would finish this game to checkmate.
Oct-21-11  SatelliteDan: Morphy could probably checkmate a Q.
Jan-23-20  Cheapo by the Dozen: Since "A Horse With No Name" is a song by the group America, and is generally regarded as being about an altered state of consciousness, there can be no thought of finding an oddsgiver for the pun other than Mr. Morphy.

Jan-23-20  Autoreparaturwerkbau: The final position is quite unbalanced. Black may have more material, but is cronically undeveloped. White has attack going, but lacks material. How to proceed here? Let's ask an engine.

SF10 says it's at least <+2,60> (38 ply) in white's favor with best reply (21...Nd7), followed by replies +2,70 (21...Nc6 or e5), then +2,90 (21...Bd7) and +3,10 (21...Be7).

So, best reply by small margin is supposed to be 21...Nd7. The line goes 22.Qxh7 Bc5+ 23.Kh1 b5 24.h4 Bb7 25.Qf7 Bd6 which gets us here with white to move

click for larger view

From here we can see white picking up e-pawn and start harrasing black's pawn structure and simultaneously pushing his pawns forward. Despite advantage white has to be very precise.

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