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Paul Morphy vs Alonzo Morphy
Casual game (1848), New Orleans, LA USA
Bishop's Opening: Calabrese Countergambit (C23)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I think that 27 cxb7+ was a quicker win.
Jul-07-06  RookFile: Morphy's 9. Bd5 was really something.
What do I mean by this?

This is a celebrated defensive win by Capblanca, where the key move ...Bd4 allows him to neutralize his opponent's threats:

Fahndrich / Kaufmann vs Reti / Capablanca, 1914

So - back to the Morphy game: here we have a boy playing essentially the same idea, with the colors reversed!

Jul-08-06  KingG: <RookFile> I think you're giving Morphy's move too much credit.
Sep-25-07  smarterthanbobby: Jun-13-04
ketchuplover: The game that started it all :)

WHAT DOES HE MEAN the game that started it all I am getting into morphy, capablanca, and others need a little back drop if I could please?

Sep-26-07  savagerules: 3 d3 puts white a move extra with reverse colors in KGD and has to be best, but in those days you were expected to accept gambits else they would call you names such as 'fraidy cat, Yankee scum and the like.
Feb-14-09  ariel el luchador: 5) N X N 6)Q5R+ K2K 7)P4Q N3QB 8)N3KB Q3Q 9)0-0 it´s not clear for me 5) CXC 6)D5T+ R2R 7)P4D C3AD 8)C3AR D3D 9)0-0 y la posición no es clara.
May-13-09  Jgamazo: If the sac is accepted after 5. ... Nxd5
6.Qh5+ : 6. ... g6? 7.fxg6 Bg7( not 7. ... hxg6 8.Qxh8) 8.gxh7+ Kf8 9.Nf3 Qe8 ( not 9. ... Nf6 10.Qf7#) 10.Qxe8+ Kxe8 11.Bxd5 Rxh7 12.OO Nc6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.d4 White has a 7 to 4 pawn advantage, a safer King, and an attack on the isolated king pawn.
May-13-09  Jgamazo: or 5. ... Nxd5 6.Qh5+ Ke7 7.d4 Qd6 8.Bg5+ :
a) 8. ... Kd7 9.Qxf7+ Be7 10.Bxe7 Nxe7 11.Be6+ Kd8 12.Qxg7 Re8 13.dxe5 Qb4+ 14.c3 Qxb2 15.Rd1+ Nd7 16.Bxd7 Bxd7 17.e6 Qxc3+ 18.Kf1 Qc4+ 19.Ne2 Rg8 20.Rxd7+ Kc8 21.Qxe7 Qb4 22.f3 Qb1+ 23.Kf2 Qxh1 24.Rxc7+ Kb8 25.Rxb7+ Kc8 26.Qc7#

b) 8. ... Nf6!? 9.Qf7+ Kd8 10.dxe5 Qxe5+ 11.Ne2 h6 (if 11. ... Qxb2 12.Rd1+ Nd7 13.Nf4 Qb4+ 14.Kf1 Qe7 15.Ne6+! Qxe6 16.fxe6 h6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.exd7 Bxd7 19.Qxd7#) 12.OOO+ Nd7 13.Nf4 hxg5 14.Ne6+ Qxe6 15.fxe6 Be7 16.exd7 Bxd7 17.Be6 Rf8 18.Qxg7 Nh5 19.Qh6 Nf4 20.Bxd7 c6 21.g3 Ne2+ 22.Kb1 Kc7 23.Bg4 Rf6 24.Qg7 Re8 25.Bxe2 Rff8 26.Qe5+ Kb6 (or 26. ... Kc8 27.Bg4+ Rf5 28.Bxf5#) 27.Rd3 Bf6 28.Rb3# The point is not that the lines above are perfect, but that White has the advantage and winning chances and Black will have an overwhelming task to defend himself.

May-13-09  WhiteRook48: what weird blunders
Oct-14-09  dannygjk: 7. d4!?
Apr-30-11  prithviraj: no mercy...even wiped out his family member
Aug-30-12  TheTamale: Hmm, what was Alonso thinking with 25)... Qd8? Rough, I tells ya!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: So what was Alonzo thinking with <25...Qd8> in this position?

click for larger view

I believe the technical term for this maneuver is "desperation". Black is already three pawns down, and the ♘b6 is doubly attacked with nowhere to move. What else is there to play?

It's quite possible Black overlooked <26.Ra8+>. I mean, everybody is praising the move as brilliant and tossing around exclams like the Mayans are right after all. If it's that good a move, it would be understandable that Alonzo missed it.

But it's also possible that it's a desperate trap. Note that the immediate 25...Rxg2+ 26.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 27.Kxg2 gives Black no chance of a perpetual check, what with White's ♗e3 guarding g5 and his ♖a1 holding the first rank.

So what happens after the game continuation <26.Ra8+ Bb8 27.Bxb6>? Both White's rook and bishop have been lured away from their defensive posts, so Black can try <27...Rxg2+ 28.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 29.Kxg2 Qg5+ 30.Kh1 Qc1+>.

Of course this is not a perpetual check. It's not even in the same parish as perpetual check. But does Black have any better idea in the diagrammed position, outside of resignation?

Now, this whole diatribe has been less than serious, but I do want to make a point. Chess players make moves--including bad moves--for a reason. It behooves us to look into those reasons instead of dismissing a poor move with a laugh. You never know: some day, that move might turn out to be not as bad as you thought.

Sep-03-12  TheTamale: <PB>, your comment is both insightful and entertaining. Thanks for the food for thought.
Nov-18-12  Llawdogg: Maybe Paul declared mate in four:

"31 ... Qxg1+ 32 Kxg1 bxc6 33 Qxb8+ Kd7
34 Bf5+ Ke7 35 Qf8#"

And so Dad resigned.

Feb-15-13  clownface: Dust of the earth, Retreat like...
Dec-04-13  clownface: Crash the party- beautiful!
Sep-16-14  psionl0: At move 27, Paul Morphy had a mate in 6:
27.Qe6+ Kc7
28.Qxe5+ Qd6
29.Bxb6+ Kc8 (29...Kxb6 30.Qa5#)
30.Bf5+ Rd7
31.cxd7+ Qxd7
Sep-27-14  Ke2: Dead accurate opening.
Sep-27-14  Ke2: He did miss the mate in 5 (not 6). 27. Qe6+ Kc7 28. Bxb6+ Kxb6 29. Rb2+ Kc5 30. Ra5+! Qxa5 31. Qe5#. Morphy was occasionally ""lazy"" in completely won positions, but once you find a clean win there's no need to look at rook sacrifices I guess.
Dec-27-15  CraftyMaverick: Morphy missed a mate in five at move 27:
27. Qe6+ Kc7
28. Bxb6+ Kxb6
29. Rb2+ Kc5
30. Ra5+ Qxa5
31. Qd5#
Jan-21-16  WorstPlayerEver: An interesting blow is:

6. d4! Bd4 7.c3

(if 6... Nd5 then 7. Qh5 Kf8 8. dc5 and white is two funny pawns up already).


Back to the game: 5... Nd5 fails after 6. Qh5 Kd7 7. Bd5 c6 8. Bb3

(if 6... Ke7 7. d4 Qd6 then 8. Bg5 Nf6 9. Nf3 Qb4 10. Ne2 ed4 11. 0-0

Jan-28-16  juanhernandez: good game !!
Premium Chessgames Member
  naresb: wonder how White pieces were so rightly placed in accordance to the strategy that unfolds.
May-22-23  TwoMinutesToMidnight: an older morphy would have played 7.d4
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