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Paul Morphy vs NN
New York USA (1857) (unorthodox), New York USA
Chess variants (000)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-18-10  laskerdog: I may be an ignorant, but this is anyhow a brutal performance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessdreamer: identical with Steinitz vs Rock, 1863.
Dec-08-10  muratski: what a beauty! Incredible!
Jun-12-11  lemonadepawn: Morphy was something.
Dec-19-11  Garech: Morphy at his spellbinding best.



May-02-12  ninja warrior: what makes this game even more amazing is that morphy starts down a rook. =D
Jul-31-12  andyatchess: Forced from 13. exf7+ of course
Aug-26-12  backrank: <Chessdreamer: identical with Steinitz vs Rock, 1863.>

Since it's very unlikely for this particular game to have happened twice, it seems to me that it has been falsely attributed to Morphy and he has in fact never played this game. It may come as a terrible disappointment for Morphy fans, but it was indeed Steinitz who played like Morphy here, and in fact he WAS able to play this way, and he did so several times during his early years.

Oct-18-13  jnpope: This game was given in Brentano's Chess Monthly, 1882.01, p465-466, as part of the 60 or so Morphy games found by Reichhelm.

The New York Daily Graphic published it in 1885.10.04 as Steinitz-Amateur with the following heading: "A brilliant game at odds of QR. The following remarkable game, which has been erroneously ascribed to Paul Morphy, was played by Mr. Steinitz and a well known London amateur, and appeared in the London Era on June 14, 1863.

Jay Whitehead found it twice, once as a Morphy game and once as a Steinitz game: Game 02819 as Morphy-NN Game 02845 as Steinitz-Rock

I recall reading an article where Reichhelm defended himself against plagiarism charges by Steinitz over a game and Reichhelm claimed that Morphy had played it before Steinitz (I'm trying to find that article now).

And the column found by <redwhitechess> ...mentions the game as being played four times by Reichhelm, Morphy, Steinitz and Paul's uncle.

Oct-18-13  redwhitechess: <jnpope> thanks for more infos, indeed it said in the article.
Oct-18-13  kjr63: 9...Na5? 10.Bxf7+ mate
Oct-18-13  jnpope: Here is the Reichhelm-Walker version:

Reichhelm even notes that it was identical to a Steinitz game he published several months earlier. Interestingly he makes no mention at this time of a Morphy version of this game

Oct-19-13  jnpope: From the International Chess Magazine, 1885.05, p143:

<For my game occurred at the Divan, in London, about 1862 or 1863, and was played against a Mr. Rock, whose name, as usual in case of weak amateurs, was not mentioned when it was published in the Illustrated London News, which had at the time the most widely read chess column all over the world, for it was edited by Staunton, and not by a Duffer. It was afterward also published in Howard Taylor's splendid collection entitled: "Chess Brilliants." Poor Morphy was at the time alive, and nobody dreamt that he intended to give up chess altogether. Yet the game had stood unchallenged for about 20 years, when Reichhelm contributed it to Brentano's as a Morphy game, with a note saying that he believed it occurred, among others, to Steinitz.>

Steinitz says Reichhelm claimed the game came from an old column. Steinitz then continues:

<It was just possible that some enterprising chess editor, who wished to attract the public, did not consider my name good enough for that purpose, and placed the name of Morphy on one of my games. However, now Mr. Reichhelm states that he received the game from "a brother collector." Mr. Eugene B. Cook informs me that he principally assisted Mr. Reichhelm in collecting Morphy's games, but that he was not the one who discovered "the coincidence.">

Steinitz pressed his investigation and from the International Chess Magazine, 1885.06, p175-176:

<...Mr. Cook has discovered, on examining some of his old correspondence, that it was he who sent the Morphy-Evans to Mr. Reichhelm.>

... and further down, p176:

<Nor has a title of real evidence come forward to connect positively Paul Morphy with the particular Evans coincidence as Mr. Cook admits to me in his letter. On the contrary, it is ascribed to his Uncle Ernest Morphy, and supposed to have been played in 1862, though first published long after mine had appeared. Paul Morphy had retired in 1858, and if he had been known to have played the game, it would not have been allowed to appear under his uncles name without a protest.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: The third incarnation, Ernest Morphy vs. P. Shaub, was published in The Dubuque Chess Journal of November 1873.

It appears that Cook copied this as a PM game and sent it to Reichhelm. This may be how the A.P. Ford game also appeared in Reichhelm's collection. It is the first game given in the Journal's Ernest Morphy feature.

Apr-01-14  yureesystem: It is a masterpiece and very picturesque and beautiful aesthetic checkmate ending!! Paul Morphy was a true artist.
Sep-11-16  siegbert: This game deserves to be better known. It is a brilliant game.
Jun-06-18  RKnight: This game is a wonderful work of art by Morphy, and we should just appreciate it as such. Never mind that NN played weakly; how many of us could deliver such a game against comparably weak players? None, I dare say, certainly not I. There is beauty in chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Even if this game wasn't actually played by Morphy, it could have been, had the English not fixed world chess. So it's a Morphy game, regardless.

The above comments appear to bear this out. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Nov-25-19  pandje: NN moves on number 10, his horse to A5, what an extremely tense for Morphy, not to withdraw his Queen immediately, (what we should do). He must have seen 8 moves easily ahead already, to stay calm. His moves looks like a ballet, on the chessboard. I pitifully never encounter such incredible astonishing chess moves, after Morphy. Morphy came, left us bewildering behind and took his secrets with him. A wonder his games are written down for us.

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