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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 348 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 1 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-19-02  Danilomagalhaes: Send me an e-mail for we talk about this and other games! (
Oct-19-02  Danilomagalhaes: I prefer 4... Nd4.

If 5. Nxe5, Nxe5, d4, Bb4, dxe5, Nxe4, Qd4, Nxc3, bxc3, Be7, Bf4! And White is better.

Itīs also possible to play 6... Nxe5, d4 with more possibilities for White.

Better continuation for 6... Re8 isnīt Nxc6, but 7. Nf3!, Nxe4, d4, Nxc3, bxc3, Bf8, d5, Ne5, Nxe5, Rxe5, Bf4, and white is better on position.

Morphy couldnīt play 8... Nxe4? because of Nxe4, Rxe4, Bxf7+, Kxf7, Qf3+, and white is better.

Itīs not good 9. Bb3 because of Bg4, Qe1, b4

Itīs better 12. d3, b4, Be3, Bxe3, fxe3, Rxe3, Qd2.

12... Qd3! is a good move, that blocks the white pawn.

Another move is 13. Re1, Rxe1+, Qxe1, Bf5, Qe2, Rd8, Qxd3, Bxd3, and whiteīs position is not confortable.

Maybe itīs better 15... Bb7, Ra2, Rae8, Qd1, Ba6!

The game is wrong in a lot of moves, but the phylosofy of Morphy will be always beautiful...

Dec-18-02  refutor: there's a writeup on this game today at
Apr-22-03  pegasus: By the 7th move, white seems to have a better game. But by 12... Qd3, black has a much better game because black has an insurmountable lead in developent and it shows later in the game with 17...Qxf3!!!! 18.gxf3 Rg1+ and black will soon win this great game of chess.
May-22-03  sangfroid: In reply to:

<If 5. Nxe5, Nxe5, d4, Bb4, dxe5, Nxe4, Qd4, Nxc3, bxc3, Be7, Bf4! And White is better.>

Another alternative for black is: 5. Nxe5, Bxf2+! 6. Kxf2, Nxe5, and thangs aren't looking bad for black

Jul-06-03  morphynoman2: 22... Rg2!! (Zukertort).
23... Be4!! (Bauer)
Jul-10-03  mj29479: is this the first game where we see a queen sac???
Jul-10-03  Woodpusher: First queen sac? Heavens no, look at this Greco vs NN, 1619
Aug-31-03  Benjamin Lau: 12... Qd3!! is a beautiful and stunning example of prophylaxis. Since Morphy has control over the e file, it is almost impossible to shoo the black queen away without losing significant tempo or material. But if the queen doesn't leave, Paulsen won't be able to develop. In the end, Paulsen advances many of his queenside pawns, trying to free his pieces, but he loses considerable tempo. By the time he unlocks the bind, it is already too late to save the king from Morphy's final assault.
Aug-31-03  Shadout Mapes: See Morphy vs NN, 1850 for a similar move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: "it is almost impossible to shoo the black queen"

Actually a lot of annotators have pointed that Paulsen simply dilly-dallies around too much in this game. One example is 16.Ra2?. 16.Qa6 in stead of the next move would oust the queen.

Sep-01-03  Benjamin Lau: <Calli>

I said it is almost impossible to shoo the black queen away, without significant loss of tempo. Even if Paulsen didn't play 16. Ra2?! and went straight to the point with 16. Qa6, he's already lost several tempi with queenside action that doesn't matter in the long run.

Sep-01-03  Shadout Mapes: Morphy missed a few forced mates, 22...Rg2 and 23...Be4+ both would've ended the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Lau, not really. If 16.Qa6 Qf5 (or Qg3) then 17.d4 and White has the better game. Therefore 16...Qxa6 is indicated. After 17.Rxa6 Rae8 18.d3 (not 18.d4? c5! with Bb5 threatened) is equal.

Also, the 13.Re1 given earlier by Danilomagalhaes also works for White because 13.Re1 Rxe1+ 14.Qxe1 Bf5? 15.Bxc6 Rd8 16.a4 and White is ahead. In fact, Paulsen could have played Re1 anytime around moves 13-15. This is why is criticized for not acting quickly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  talchess2003: Morphy always was a big one for development. Perhaps the first chess player to stress the need to develop before you attack... He just simply annihilated all the competition in his time. I believe that he was potentially the greatest player of all time, his genius goes along with Capablanca, Alekhine, Fischer, and Tal
Dec-07-03  Sarimanok: 12...Qd3! is a beautiful move indeed. 12 d3 is called for in order to develop white's dark square bishop. A good lesson on the importance of opening development.
Feb-03-04  m0rphy: Together with the game vs The Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard Paris 1858, this is probably the most photogenic of Morphy's games.Of the many books and anthologies published where it is featured, it is used to illustrate Morphy's genius in the classic book "The Game of Chess" (1954) by Harry Golombek.This is where I first saw it.It is also featured in a chess tv series programme a few years ago of the twelve best games ever played selected by Raymond Keene over a period of about 150 years.Ray Keene discussed the games in the tv studio with his South African friend Donald Woods, an enthusiastic amateur.

Golombek illustrates where Morphy could have ended the game more abruptly with a rook move but this is still a fine and original combination. Since this game from 1857 you can find other examples of the basic motif e.g. in a game Janowski vs Marshall (see Marshall's best games).I am sure a tactical genius like Anderssen would have seen the combination but am not so certain about the positionally crushing 12...Qd3.Imagine what a player Morphy would be if he had absorbed all of today's chess knowledge in the effortlessly way he learnt the whole of the Louisiana state code of his day in his quest to be regarded as a lawyer!!.

Feb-27-04  731: Inspiring game, this one.
Mar-26-04  boordgamer: I am curious, does anyones computer consider 17...Qxf3.
Mar-26-04  square dance: i wonder what the reaction of the spectators was when morphy played 17...Qxf3?
Mar-26-04  HailM0rphy: If the great Paul morphy has to take twelve minutes to visualize 12 moves ahead for just this one combo, I doubt anand can do it on a regular basis :)
Mar-27-04  SBC: : "Morphy always was a big one for development. Perhaps the first chess player to stress the need to develop before you attack"

I've seen this sentiment so many times before.

While I'm as big a Morphy fan as one might can be, it's very apparent that the value of quick development was recognized even before Philidor. I believe you can see it easily in Greco's games. And you can certainly see it in post-Philidor games by such players as Atwell, Bourdonnais, Staunton, of course, and so many others, like Lasa, Szen, Anderssen, etc. I've never seen the idea, that Romantic players attacked willy-nilly, substantiated.

Morphy's power, at least to me, lay in the precision of his moves, the positional considerations, his creativity and his will to win. Morphy, like Lasker years later, was the personification of the practical player.

Mar-27-04  Benjamin Lau: SBC, I completely agree with your above post. I too have never understood why so many people attribute the "discovery(?)" of development to Morphy, it's not like Anderssen, Paulsen, etc were patzers who brought none of their pieces out. Surely Count what's his face in the famous "opera house game" did not develop his pieces very quickly, but there are NN today who have the same problems, but NN will always be NN. Morphy was special because he was the first to rigorously apply such a clean and dominating accuracy to the game.
Mar-27-04  SBC: "See Morphy vs NN, 1850 for a similar move."

Well, first, that game is listed as Morphy vs am

I've seen it other pages on the internet with the same date, players , etc. But I've never found it in a book anywhere. I first thought "am" might refer to "amateur" but then considered that it might refer to his father, Alonzo Morphy. I have 27 of Morphy's pre-Ameican Chess Congress(1857) games and this isn't among them.

Does anyone know where this game came from? And is it a valid Morphy game?

Yes, it does have a similar Queen incursion. That was a good observation.

Mar-27-04  SBC: ..

stop the presses!

the game at Morphy vs NN, 1850 is listed wrong.

It was in fact Morphy vs NN (though it's listed there as Morphy vs Am), but it certainly wasn't 1850.

Morphy gave two simul blindfold exhibitions in New Orleans after he returned from the tournament in New York.

The first was against 4 boards in January, 1858. Morphy won all 4.

The second was against 6 boards in February or March, but only four game records have survived. In all 10 games, only one opponent's name is recorded - Dr. A.P. Ford. He was one of the 6 . Morphy won those 4 games (it isn't known how the other 2 fared)

This game was one of those 6 blindfold games, opponent unknown.

Bill Wall located the exact game for me.

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