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Paul Morphy vs Louis Paulsen
"Morphy's Law" (game of the day Apr-20-2012)
1st American Chess Congress (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Oct-29
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen-Basman Defense (B40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-01-13  Jason Frost: <Conrad93> Benign question, are you actually Conrad Holt? I don't think I've ever seen you claim to be in a post and it's not listed on his player page, though you obviously want people to assume it given your name?
Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: <Conrad93> I won't reply any more, but your latest stream of posts (on various pages) look like trolls to me :) Adios!
Nov-30-13  MarkFinan: I'm making a game collection and the game's must meet two 'categories'? ..

1) Be played by a player regarded by the majority of chess historians and fans as being in the top 50 of all time.

2) Be as 'unknown' as possible! A little gem that most regular fans (like me! ) won't have heard of or come across before.

I think this game fits into that, so someone tell me if I'm wrong? I've not heard of this game before and stumbled across it. I think it fits my categories well, and this is the only collection I'll make you'll be pleased to know, so I intend on making it good. Anyone reads this, be it today or in a year, and they know of any others of these type of games, please say....

Btw.. After 8 moves this reminds me of some kinda reversed Caro Kahn!!

Nov-30-13  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.
Nov-30-13  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.
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!
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Feb-03-17  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.

Feb-04-17  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.
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