Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Paul Morphy vs Louis Paulsen
"Morphy's Law" (game of the day Apr-20-2012)
1st American Chess Congress, New York (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Oct-29
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen-Basman Defense (B40)  ·  1-0



Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 104 times; par: 63 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 10 more Morphy/Paulsen games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can get computer analysis by clicking the "ENGINE" button below the game.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-30-13  MarkFinan: Then I have to say I strongly disagree with that expert then! You must be on about Mr Gormless? Lol 😃
Jul-18-15  pericles of athens: "Morphy was a great player, but he doesn't deserve to be in the top ten list." Hilarious! I got a hearty laugh out of that! Thanks Conrad!
Jul-18-15  thegoodanarchist: In 1857 Morphy won the First American Chess Congress with a dominating performance.

This success was followed by a European trip where he met and triumphed over most of the prominent masters of the period, namely Adolf Anderssen whom he defeated +7 -2 =2 (see Anderssen-Morphy (1858)), Loewenthal in Morphy-Loewenthal (1858) and Daniel Harrwitz in Morphy-Harrwitz (1858).

Mikhail Botvinnik wrote of his influence: "His mastery of open positions was so vast that little new has been learned about such positions after him."

Does this sound like a 1900 player to anyone, other than Conrad?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Wyatt Gwyon: <MakFinan> What you have to keep in mind is that Morphy was playing possibly at a 1900 level by modern standards, according to one of's top experts.>

Yeah, on the best day of his life.

Some of what <donkrad> posts has a tinge of humour about it, so earnest does he appear in his belief that a good many top players of past and present are found wanting.

Jul-18-15  zanzibar:
Sep-29-16  pawngobbler: Morphy a 1900 player? HA! A little perspective. I'm 2150 and: - I cannot play even one blindfold game (no more than 3 moves really). Morphy played 8. - I cannot find Morphy's winning moves--the moves which Morphy played and the computer today evaluates to be the best

Steinitz' positional understanding was severely overrated. Maybe compare Morphy's games with those of Steinitz against the Evans gambit where he got crushed by Chigorin repeatedly. Steinitz lost so many games positionally to the Evans gambit because he made stupid choices. Those games are what leads me to believe Morphy was far superior to Steinitz.

Nov-04-16  talhal20: To my knowledge no world champion from Steinitz to Carlsen has ever said that he would have defeated Paul Morphy. An interviewer had once asked a straight and pointed question to Bobby Fischer if he could beat Paul Morphy to which Fischer replied " I don't know " This speaks volumes about Morphy. If Morphy is a 1900 player as one patzer thinks then there may be at least a few patzers writing on this site could fancy their chances to beat Morphy. Good luck to them. Ben Finegold a GM and professional chess teacher was asked to rate Paul Morphy and he said " 10 plus Carlsen's " Although Finegold is not an authority to rate chess players his opinion carries some weight.
Feb-03-17  jumboshrimpscampi: <offramp> That's an interesting idea where you suggest <Now Paulsen could have played 13...Ng6 and annihilated the pe5, then followed up with ...Bc7 to get rid of the white bishop on d6.>, however I think White would have still had a good response to that:

13...Ng6 14.Bh5 Bc7 15.Qg4

In that position, the black knight would be pinned and attacked. White doesn't have to take the c7 bishop, and instead can just continue to pile up pieces onto the kingside attack.


Feb-03-17  ChessHigherCat: <jumboshrimpscampi:> "Jumbo shrimp" is already an oxymoron but then you add "skimpy" to it! Just kidding, I love that stuff. I think 13. Ng6 14. Bh5 7 N(c)xe5 15. Bxe5 Nxe5 16. Bxf7+ Nxf7 would have been better for black than the horribly constipated position in the game, which reminds me of some of Burroughs's less appetizing reminiscences about the life of a junkie.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Jumboshrimpscampi>, firstly, welcome to I am sure that you will enjoy yourself here tremendously, just as I have.

If 13...Ng6,

click for larger view

I think the line given by <ChessHigherCat> looks the best. In games against Morphy I think material was immaterial, and it was important to have the initiative, which made him uncomfortable.

BTW, I think Paulsen should have got rid of that knight on f6 much sooner, perhaps even immediately:

click for larger view

18...Rxf6!?, although I think this loses the f-pawn as well. At least it helps in getting that rubbishy bishop on c8 out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 18. Nf6+.

click for larger view

Black now played 18...Kh8. I think it is best NOT to let the knight stay on f6. I think 18...Rxf6 immediately is quite good, I mean at least as good as the game. 19.exf6 Qxf6 20.Qxf4 Qxf4 21.Bxf4.

click for larger view

And now I suppose ...e5 or ...d5. Black is now the whole exchange down but he no longer has those pieces at d6 and f6 crowding his position.

One lesson I learned from Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 is that it is very often best to swap rook for knight if the knight is clearly going to be a pest and to do that as quickly as possible, because then you have cleared the position up a bit. Capablanca hesitated and lost.

May-26-20  califkid: Morphy's move 21.Nd2 is clever because the knight is hanging --- many good players would not even consider it. It works because capturing the knight with 21...Qxd2 would allow Morphy's queen into Paulsen's house with 22. Qxg6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: What would Morphy's rating be reeeeeeeeeeet now ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <<MarkFinan: This is sheer genius from 'Morphine', but even I could see 25...Nxf6 was a crazy move! Stupid! I could well be wrong as I haven't looked at this game with an engine yet, and I've only flipped through the game twice although I can obviously see black was in Big trouble by that point. Makes me think what GM Gormally (sure that's his name? ) said about him being better than GM'S from a 100 years ago is *slightly* true.>>


And bring OASIS with ya 😉😎👍

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: People need to cut Paulsen some slack. Few realise that he came into this tournament practically unknown with less experience and less book learning than Morphy. Unfortunately, by the time he felt ready to challenge him on more even terms, Morphy used these games as an excuse not to play. Well, I think he said he'd play him at pawn and move first, but it's not clear if he was serious.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Nobody needz to cut Paulsen any slack lol lol lol
May-26-20  Charlie Durman: Morphy is the 19th Century Bobby.
May-26-20  sudoplatov: Fischer hinted at one method of study he used. He said that he would get a game by Morphy or Steinitz (or Capablanca or Lasker or Tarrasch...) then take the other side and try to find out how to defend.

This idea might make a good (if probably unpopular) solitaire chess game. One plays NN (or Paulsen or...) against a grandmaster. One scores on how one defends. I suppose one could use a computer similarly. One does an analysis of positions that you (NN) would have gotten against Alekhine and see if you could hold out longer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <This idea might make a good (if probably unpopular) solitaire chess game.>

The accompanying book would be called <How Not to Get Crushed By the Masters>, the reverse blurb promising 'survival techniques allowing your games not to be published as NN miniatures for history to laugh at'.

Aug-30-20  talhal20: Looks like a cat and mouse game.
Oct-04-22  paulmorphy1969: MissScarlett wright:''Well, I think he said he'd play him at pawn and move first, but it's not clear if he was serious''

Morphy was damned serious about taking on Paulsen by granting the advantage of the trait and a pawn, which Pausen refused ', the same offer was given to Horrwitz after the defeat of their match, an offer he made to all the players in the world before retiring from the game. Morphy after a few games was able to evaluate his opponent's playing strength perfectly and if he proposed to give Pausen an advantage, he knew very well that he could beat him.

Oct-04-22  paulmorphy1969: In these comments I keep hearing the same things over and over, that Morphy today would not reach 2000 points that would not beat any modern master etc. Chess from Morphy's time to today has 200 years of evolution thanks to the predecessors who contributed to the evolution of the game including Morphy himself. Only the authoritative opinion expressed by some great masters (the most qualified to express an opinion) on Morphy would be enough to understand his value. Morphy's ability to concentrate, Morphy was able to play continuously for days from 9 to midnight without losing concentration, patience and calm, another talent of Morphy waited for hours for the opponent's response remaining impassive, simultaneous blindly lasting 10 hours and Morphy sitting without eating and drinking for 10 hours - all skills that Morphy possessed to become a great teacher even today.
Oct-04-22  paulmorphy1969: Let's turn the question: Who today's grandmaster, removed the chess engines, removed the books, removed the theory, brought to 1800 would be able to defeat Morphy by force alone?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Great question, <paulmorphy1969>! Never thought of reversing the time travel scenario, rather wish to have thought of that sooner.

First, just so you know, in my opinion, had Morphy been born in 1997, he would *unquestionably* rank in the world's top 5, but given the sheer number of competitors worldwide, esp. from nations where they didn't play chess in the 1850s, cannot guarantee that he would ever win the world championship.

Now to your question--and my wild guesses. Magnus Carlsen would have ranked among the world's best had he been in 1830, along with Anand and Firoujza. From an earlier age, Fischer, Casablanca and Mir Sultan Khan. Why? Because they came from nations which *at the time* had comparatively little chess "infrastructure" and therefore had to rely on natural ability for at least the early part of their careers.

Problem: this represents pure speculation. Anyone who says that genius is universal and timeless, so the great players of today would have been the great players of Morphy's era--well, you might be right. Still, fun question! Hope it doesn't keep me up all night.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Fun fact--the variation with 7.Bf4 still gets used today! However, 7...d5 has for the most part replaced 7...0-0
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 6)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
1.e4 c5 2.d4
from Morphy plays openings other than 1.e4 e5 by Fischer of Men
paul morphy best games
by brager
game 9
from GM RAM Game Selection by takking
Selected 19th century games
by atrifix
Morphy crooks a piece
from Morphy's masterpieces by kevin86
Mendrys' favorite games
by Mendrys
Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius
by Timothy Glenn Forney
Game 24
from If chess was a religion, Morphy would be God. by Chopin
White - Sicilian: Morphy
by gaborn
by Pragmatist
gm ram games
by chessloser68
Paul Morphy's Best Games
by KingG
exhibit : morphy's style
from attack_1900 by heuristic
Morphy Chess Masterpieces
by nuts
Morphy Favorites
by chocobonbon
It's Morphy.... annihilating his opponent for a change!
from MarkFinan's Classic games by histories greats by MarkFinan
lis great games
by gmlisowitz
+5 -1 =2 vs. Paulsen (Am.Chess Congress, Final)
from Match Morphy! by amadeus
Shibut's Morphy games
by crawfb5
Final Match, Round One
from New York 1857 by suenteus po 147
plus 77 more collections (not shown)

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC