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Paul Morphy vs James McConnell
New Orleans (1849), New Orleans, LA USA
King Pawn Game: McConnell Defense (C40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-28-06  blingice: <whatthefat> It's pretty difficult to rip someone apart that fast, so that's why everyone loves this game, including me. The mating net is also very precise, where one missed move would allow black some recovery.
Feb-28-06  whatthefat: <blingice>
I don't agree. The fact is, Morphy was never behind in material, and black's moves are almost all forced (usually by check). I just don't see how this game showcases the genius of Morphy when half of the players in the database could have ripped black's play apart. Compare to Morphy vs E Rousseau, 1849 where Morphy again decimates some patzer-play, and there's considerably more ingenuity involved.
Feb-28-06  blingice: <whatthefat> You're kind of contradicting, you are saying that this McConnell is a n00b, and anyone could beat him with the way he played. Then you go and cite Rousseau as a "patzer" who Morphy ripped apart with a little more style. As I said, the mating net is very precise in this game, so that is why people like it, and people enjoy seeing another person soundly beat another person.
Feb-28-06  whatthefat: I'm not contradictory, and nor am I saying he is "a n00b". He certainly plays the opening like one, and after <that> there's no helping him. I said that this "mating net" is not difficult. It's actually very easy, and white has many ways to win. In the other game, white actually does require some precision at a few points. Here, playing from white's 12th move, there isn't a single nonobvious move, IMO.
Mar-01-06  SBC: I've made weak moves and/or blundered in openings against very stong players and got ripped apart as a result, but no one ever did it with such orchestated elegance as 12 year old Morphy demonstrates in this games vs McConnell.
Mar-01-06  JustAFish: For some reason I find this game absolutely hilarious.
Apr-08-06  midknightblue: LOL! This is one of morphy's worst games ever. 13. NF5 is absolutely horrible. Morphy nearly posted a loss against a patzer here.
Jul-09-06  RookFile: Ok, so the boy overlooked 13... Qb4+
in reply to 13. Nf5, and basically 13. Nd6+ instead wins. I guess anybody can make a mistake.
Sep-29-06  blakjak: omg that was genius! for ten moves TEN morphy wouldnt let blakc get his rook and took his queen and exposedhis king in only ten moves 12-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Well, everyone has a right to criticize this game, but it is still a good example of how development of the pieces is important in chess.

In the final position, White has 4 developed pieces, and black has only developed his king!

May-31-08  DeltaHawk: Why the hell isn't this game of the day?
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <aw1988>2...Qf6 isn't exactly classified as an opening by itself, it is merely an amateur try to bring out the most powerful pieces first.

2...♕f6 is called the Greco Defence by Schiller and Benjamin.

Source: "Unorthodox Openings", Eric Schiller and Joel Benjamin, Batsford, 1987

Jan-24-09  WhiteRook48: 2...Qf6?? Black played like a patzer to bring out the Q early.
May-18-09  blacksburg: black played like a patzer, but that doesn't mean the game isn't pretty and instructive.
Jul-31-09  tentsewang: In Morphy's world of chess, everything is about connectivity and placing part of his soul as his adversary for prediction which usher him to be called "the king of the chess" in our known universe.
Jul-31-09  tentsewang: If the black had accepted the free pawn on e5 and played 13...Qxe5, Morphy had played 14.Nd6+ Kd8 15.Rxe5. This displays an excellent strategy and if not this then he also had plan through it. Genious!
Mar-29-11  Llawdogg: 13 Nf5?? is a rare Morphy blunder, but McConnell doesn't make him pay. 13 Nd6+ would have been better, but it didn't matter after all. The rest of the game was vintage Morphy at a very young age.
Feb-11-13  Aditya Bhan: Black was too terrorized to notice Morphy's blunder on move 13 - another example of Morphy's adeptness at winning psychological battles even against more experienced opposition.
Feb-14-14  tranquilsimplicity: I truly believe there is genius in Morphy's play; even though his opponents are not strong players. It's the way he sets out his game, manoeuvres his pieces, and rips his opponents to shreds. That is what is really telling. I doubt many of us would smash weak opposition with such elegance.

Mind you, Morphy could do the exact same with Chess Masters.#

Feb-14-14  Poulsen: This game is rubbish.

Clearly Morphys opponent was a very very weak player - and it takes no genius to win this.

Much of Morphys demigod status is based on rubbish like this. If it was not of some historic value, I would move to have this game deleted from the database, since it does not live up to the quality standard otherwise set - but perhaps not enforced (+2200 ELO).

In around 40 serious games against the best opposition avaible at the time Morphy scored 70 %. Some of even these 'good' opponents played very badly - and this tells a lot about the general standard of chess at Morphys time.

Now a 70 % score is fine and enough to consider Morphy the best at his time - but its not staggering or a sign of a genius. For comparison one had to score at least 76 % at board one at the olympics in 1956 to become Grand Master - and that against the best opposition available THEN (Botvinnik, Gligoric etc.)

There is a huge leap in quality - as you might understand.

No, Morphy was certainly not a genius - he had in fact a very narrowminded and limited understanding of chess - compared to f.x. Steinitz.

Morphy will not make it to my top 50 list of all time greatest - this is a claim that is supported by Jeff Sonas' calculations.

Feb-18-14  tranquilsimplicity: Like the world renowned genius Leonardo da Vinci designed a helicopter 300 years before we 'mere mortals' re-designed and created one, Paul Morphy was so far ahead of his contemporaries in Chess, that the label - genius - easily fits on him.

This is especially so if we consider the definition of the term 'genius', that is given on wikipedia.

"A genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of an unprecedented leap of insight".

The fact that we have now created cars and smart phones which Leonardo da Vinci would not know how to use, let alone how they work, does not mean that Leonardo was not a genius. Similarly, it is rather obvious that Morphy would be baffled by the Chess knowledge that Super Grandmasters currently possess. But that does not diminish Morphy's genius.

The following statements from Chess World Champions (not mine or any other amateur's opinions), are given to support this position.

"Paul Morphy was a great Chess player, a genius....Morphy, I think everyone agrees, was probably the greatest genius of them all" - Bobby Fischer 'Yugoslav Press Conference' 1992.

"Morphy was a great stylist.... In his time the question of position was not properly understood, except by himself. This brought him enormous advantages, and he deserves nothing but praise. His games show that he had an outstanding playing style. ...This was his style, which as far as could be judged, was perfect!" - Capablanca, 'Mundial Chess Magazine' May 1927.

"To this day, Morphy is an unsurpassed Master of the open games. Just how great was his significance is evident from the fact that after Morphy, nothing substantially new has been created in this field" - Mikhail Botvinnik.

And finally;

"Paul Morphy's life illustrated the idea that genius is the capacity to take infinite pains added to the knowledge of how to achieve ends with small effort" - Emmanuel Lasker's lecture in 1907. #

Nov-07-14  dehanne: 10.Bf5 is much better and simply wins the queen.
Feb-10-15  Cactusjuice: Black drastically punished for his opening.....
Jun-23-15  MindCtrol9: Morphy seas s chess genius no questions ask.He beat all the players of his time easily up to the point that he retired from playing chess because there was nobody capable to beat him.G Masters today can not be compared to him in any way.
Jul-06-15  psionl0: <dehanne: 10.Bf5 is much better and simply wins the queen.> 10.Bf5 Qh6 Rg1 dxc3 Bxh6 Nxh6 Bh3 cxb2 Rb1 and Black has 2 pieces and 2 pawns for his Queen.

Still a better game for White but Black hasn't been destroyed yet.

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