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Louis Paulsen vs Paul Morphy
"Morphy Us" (game of the day Nov-25-2007)
1st American Chess Congress (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Nov-03
Four Knights Game: Spanish. Classical Variation (C48)  ·  0-1



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Given 349 times; par: 42 [what's this?]

Annotations by Irving Chernev.      [4 more games annotated by Chernev]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 12 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-27-19  scholes: So many different mating patterns in this puzzle.
Jul-27-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: I overlooked the power of the dark squared bishop, and just went with 22 ... Bxd1, which leaves Black with evenish material and great positional advantages. Fortunately, that alone is enough to justify the combination. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Too well known.
Jul-27-19  morfishine: Steinitz described Paulsen's <16.Ra2> as "silly"
Jul-27-19  saturn2: White's pawn moves 12-14 look like from a 1550 elo player today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Thus game is Exhibit A for anyone who thinks Morphy isn't all that good. 12 minutes to find this?
Jul-27-19  Damenlaeuferbauer: The immortal Paul Morphy finally found 17.-,Qxf3!! 18.gxf3,Rg6+ 19.Kh1,Bh3 20.Rd1,Bg2+ 21.Kg1,Bxf3+ 22.Kf1, but missed the quicker 22.-,Rg2! 23.Qd3,Rxf2+ 24.Kg1,Rg2++ 25.Kh1/Kf1,Tg1# (Reuben Fine, The World's Great Chess Games, 1976, p.34). One of the most brilliant games from New Orleans' genius!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Taxman: Computer analysis indicates that 23....Be4+ is mate in 4. Somewhat irrelevant in a practical sense - I agree that finding and checking the winning line in 12 minutes is amazing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: Some have criticized Morphy's play because he missed a quicker mate. I suspect Morphy, like some other old players, went for the most artistic mate rather than the fastest.

I remember Tarrasch had a faster mate in a game against Nimzovich but played the more artistic one. He almost certainly saw the faster one.

Jul-27-19  nok: <A wonderful game but it's always annoyed me as to why PCM missed 22...Rg2!>

He prolly looked at the check first and saw it won back the queen, after which he's completely winning. Don't forget +5 is often as good as mate to a human.

Jul-27-19  mel gibson: Wow - good game.
It only took Stockfish 10 a few seconds to see the same move as Morphy.


(17. .. Qxf3 (♕d3xf3 g2xf3 ♖e6-g6+ ♔g1-h1 ♗d7-h3 ♕a6-d3 f7-f5 ♖f1-d1 ♗h3-g2+ ♔h1-g1 ♗g2xf3+ ♔g1-f1 ♗f3xd1 ♕d3-c4+ ♔g8-f8 ♗c1-a3 ♗d1-f3 b4-b5+ c6-c5 ♗a3xc5+ ♗b6xc5 ♕c4xc5+ ♔f8-g8 ♕c5-e3 ♖e8xe3 f2xe3 ♖g6-g2 h2-h4 c7-c6 b5xc6 ♗f3xc6 ♖a2-a5 ♖g2xd2 ♔f1-e1 ♖d2-c2 ♖a5xf5 ♖c2xc3 ♔e1-d2 ♖c3-a3 ♖f5-c5 ♗c6-e4 ♖c5-e5 ♗e4-f3 ♖e5-c5 a7-a5 ♖c5-c4 h7-h6 e3-e4 h6-h5 ♖c4-c5 ♔g8-f7 ♖c5-f5+ ♔f7-g6 ♖f5-g5+ ♔g6-h6 ♖g5-e5 a5-a4 ♖e5-e6+ ♔h6-h7 e4-e5 ♖a3-b3 ♖e6-a6) +6.30/45 175)

score for Black +6.30 depth 45

Jul-27-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: It turns out that 12 d4 is only s sham pawn sacrifice, and leave White with a pretty good position. And 12 b3 leads to equality. If Paulsen however rejected both those ideas, what else was he to do?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Nok,

22...Rg2 would have been the perfect wrap up to this 'look out world here I come' game.

It's the iced cake without the cherry on top and I want my cake and eat it.

Apparently it was Zukertort who first pointed out the quicker mate(s) in 1880, not to detract Morphy more to take a poke at those who missed it when noting up Morphy's games.

Later Steinitz took the credit. He rated the game quite highly, the position after 17...Qxf3 appeared on the cover on his 'Chess Instructor.'

Picture here.

Eward Winter article here:


Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I have seen this game well analyzed in a book somewhere, so I don't take credit for "finding" ...Qxf3
Jul-27-19  TheaN: I actually did not know this Morphy masterpiece, so had the joy of finding out whether <17....Qxf3!> works as definite as it did.

Why I do think this doesn't really qualify as a Saturday is the lack of alternatives for White: after Qxf3 Black picks up the bishop and places the pieces for a devastating attack. White can't counter with a desperado: 18.Qxb6? cxb6 19.gxf3 Rg6+ 20.Kh1 Bh3 -+ is curtains, and all other alternatives seem to run into Rg6 with Bh3 with the Black queen still on the board. Not a good idea.

So <18.gxf3 Rg6+ 19.Kh1 Bh3>. This is probably the key position. What can White do to prevent 20....Bg2+ 21.Kg1 Bxf3#? A few tries:

20.Rg1, the obvious counter to such intrusion, fails on 20....Rxg1+ 21.Kxg1 Re1+ and Black reloads 22.Qf1 Rxf1#.

Simply moving out of the way with 21.Rd1 almost allows White to escape, but Black ensnares the king with 21....Bg2+ 22.Kg1 Bxf3+ 23.Kf1 Rg2 and White can't protect both f2 and h2: anything but 24.Qd3 runs into Rxh2 with Rh1#, and that into 24....Rxf2+ 25.Kg1 Rg2+ 26.Kh1 Rg1#.

A relatively hidden defense seems to give White options: <21.Qd3> taking her adversary's pre-sac square to attack Rg6. Black has to play accurately, as now 21....Bg2+? 22.Kg1 Bxf3+ 23.Qxg6! ± and White does escape. No, the attack on the rook has prio: and why not? <21....f5! 22.Rd1 (Qc4+ Kf8)> now it does somewhat work <22....Bg2+ 23.Kg1 Bxf3+ 24.Kf1> now White seems to have done damage control, but after <24....Bxd1 -+> Black is won.

Jul-27-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 d 24 dpa done

1. = (-0.12): 14.Re1 Rxe1+ 15.Qxe1 Bd7 16.Qf1 Qxf1+ 17.Kxf1 a5 18.Bb2 axb4 19.cxb4 Ra4 20.a3 c5 21.Be4 g6 22.Bc2 Ra7 23.Be4 Kf8 24.Ke2 cxb4 25.axb4 Ra4 26.Bc3 Ke7 27.Re1 Kd6 28.h3 Be6 29.f4 f5 30.Bb7 c6 31.Kf3 Bd5+ 32.Kg3

2. = / + (-0.48): 14.Bg4 Re5 15.Qf3 Bf5 16.Bxf5 Qxf3 17.Bxh7+ Kxh7 18.gxf3 a5 19.d4 Rf5 20.bxa5 Bxa5 21.Bb2 Rxf3 22.Kg2 Rf5 23.a4 Rb8 24.axb5 Rbxb5 25.Ra2 Rg5+ 26.Kh1 Rb3 27.c4 Rh5 28.Ba1 Bc3 29.Bxc3 Rxc3 30.c5 Rch3 31.f3 R5h4 32.f4 Rg4

Jul-27-19  JohnDMaster: We all know this game!
Jul-27-19  RandomVisitor: After 15...Bd7 Stockfish 'thinks' white has the advantage:

click for larger view


<54/92 1:11:10 +0.61 16.Qa6 Qg6 17.d4> Rae8 18.Be3 c5 19.bxc5 Bxc5 20.Qa5 Bb6 21.Qh5 Qxh5 22.Bxh5 Bb5 23.Rfb1 Bc4 24.Bg4 Rd6 25.h4 Bd3 26.Rb2 g6 27.h5 f6 28.Bf3 Kf7 29.Bd1 Bc4 30.Rb4 Be6 31.h6 a5 32.Rb2 Bc4 33.Ra4 Be6 34.Be2 Red8 35.Ra3 Re8 36.Bb5 Re7 37.Bd3 Rd8 38.Rb1 Kf8 39.Raa1 Kf7 40.Kh2 Kf8 41.Be2 Bf5 42.Rb2 Kf7 43.g4 Be6 44.g5

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: Fischer on Morphy:

"Perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived, he would beat anybody today in a set-match. He had complete sight of the board and seldom blundered even though he moved quite rapidly. I've played over hundreds of his games and am continually surprised and entertained by his ingenuity."

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I've never understood why annotators of this game commonly pass by the grotesque 12.c3?? in silence. Mind you, Paulsen was no slouch. Within five years, according to Chessmetrics, he would be the strongest (active) player in the world. Him playing 12.c3?? is the positional equivalent of, say, Giri falling into scholar's mate in a standard tournament game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <OCF> Anyone who thinks Morphy wasn't all that good is woefully uninformed. And mind you he became the de facto world champion (by a country mile) almost by himself. At the time, there was almost no chess literature worthy of the name, no databases, no chess engines, no online chess, et cetera, et cetera. The first chess tournament had only been held a few years before, at London 1851.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <RandomVisitor> 18.Be3 is illegal.
Aug-22-19  saturn2: <FSR At the time, there was almost no chess literature>

Morphy's opponents said he was booked up concearning openings. He is one of the best ever but there is no use making him an out of the world wonder. In my understanding he was a 'resarcher' though he did not communicate his theories.

Aug-24-19  OMH: <FSR> 18 Be3 is not illegal if White has played 17 d4 first, as in Mr Stockfish's learned analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <RandomVisitor> <OMH> Sorry, didn't see those first moves in brown.
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