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



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  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.>

Oct-19-13  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I personally believe it is very likely that Morphy played this because he was a big fan of the Evans gambit - this is one of his major pet lines.

If you check the Opening explorer of Paul Morphy with the White pieces, you can see he played the Evan's gambit a lot more than the King's Gambit.

And also before this game he had some game patterns of using Ba3 to cut the King from casting.

Cheers, K

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Evans Gambit was a pet line of the 19th century. Assuming it's Morphy on that basis alone is - frankly - bonkers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <MissScarlett:> Fair enough! I respect all you do - and perhaps for me personally I felt the King's gambit was the main weapon of choice as far as gambits. I would love to see some statistics around 1850-1900 of the most popular gambits just to get a more concrete feel of things. Cheers, K
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: That's what the Opening Explorer is for.

Suffice to say, Evans Gambit lines already ran 15 moves deep in Morphy's day. Even Staunton played the damn thing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <MissScarlett> I have somehow underestimated the importance of the Evan's gambit. But I would like to see stats comparison between Evan's gambit and King's gambit in the "Romantic era".

Perhaps it is because it is so easy to play the King's gambit that it gets more profile with more modern players who want to use Romantic era gambits - i think most people do think of the King's gambit as the key one from the Romantic era. Is not the common perception?

For myself I have a big playlist on Youtube for the King's gambit which I used a lot in blitz. Maybe it is easier to market it as it starts just on the 2nd move. I don't tend to actually think as much about the Evan's gambit because the probability of actually getting it on the board is much lower.

Cheers, K

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: f4 Kings Gambit
8,694 games
Opening Explorer

Evan's gambit:
4.b4 - 1928 games
Opening Explorer

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Technically the Evan's gambit loses half of its "default" nature because of the split vote that occurs between black playing Bc5 or Nf6:

Opening Explorer

For Nf6 and White playing Ng5, there is a good counter gambit available for black with d5 and later Na5 which takes the sting out of the Ng5 line.

Essentially, the King's gambit is the easiest way for any modern player to experience some of the fun of the "Romantic era" as it can be basically forced onto the opponent after just one move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Yes, the Two Knights Defence is another 19th century opening where much of the main line analysis still holds good. Compare with, say, the Closed Ruy Lopez, where the main tabiya (<1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3> ) didn't develop until the start of the 20th century.
Aug-03-21  Z truth 000000001: For a slightly different take on <Opening Explorer(s)>: chessforum (kibitz #36458)

I'd recommend using SCID with only the historical games to get the tree values that properly reflect the play of the masters of the time.

Aug-03-21  Chessist: Played by Steinitz as early as 1860:

Wilhelm Steinitz

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: If you take the trouble to scroll up/down the older comments, you’ll see Steinitz claimed it was played in 1862 at the earliest. He wasn’t in London before then.
Aug-03-21  Chessist: Played by Steinitz as early as 1860 in Vienna as you will see if you bother to follow the given link.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Then provide the right link: Steinitz vs NN, 1860
Aug-04-21  RookFile: The annoying computer says black is still in the game, in the rook odds version of this game, with 12....Nxc4. Apparently 11. Bb5+ would have just butchered black to death, but then we wouldn't be arguing about who first played this beautiful idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: It seems Lasker ended the fun of the Evan's gambit as Wiki indicated and also the Opening explorer shows statistical evidence of:

Opening Explorer

" Eventually however, the second World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker dealt a heavy blow to the opening with a modern defensive idea: returning the pawn under favourable circumstances."

It seems to me that White is trying to punish a bishop's positioning. The Lasker return pawn idea is trying to punish the punishment in a way because dxe5 is weakening the b6-g1 diagonal.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4 d6 7.Qb3 Qd7 8. dxe5 Bb6 - Black is more than just fine.

Bb6 is a "COLD SHOWER MOVE!" Even Engines can't find anything interesting for White here unfortunately.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <" Eventually however, the second World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker dealt a heavy blow to the opening with a modern defensive idea: returning the pawn under favourable circumstances.">

Can you identify any games, or theoretical musings, in which Lasker played or advocated this concept?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < MissScarlett: <" Eventually however, the second World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker dealt a heavy blow to the opening with a modern defensive idea: returning the pawn under favourable circumstances."> Can you identify any games, or theoretical musings, in which Lasker played or advocated this concept?>

The normal cite offered is <Common Sense in Chess>. See pp. 43-44 at link below. In his notes to W Pollock vs Lasker, 1895, Tarrasch sniffed that Lasker usually declined the gambit even though he claimed to know a winning defense to it. So the idea of the defense, and the notion that it was Lasker's, must have been current at the time.

In <Open Gambits> Botterill points out that ...Bb6 had been played before, and said that strictly speaking Lasker's novelty was 10....Nf6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Lasker played 7....Bb6 against Chigorin in Chigorin vs Lasker, 1897 and Chigorin vs Lasker, 1895, but Chigorin tried 8.a4 both times. As I'm sure you know, Chigorin essayed the endgame in Chigorin vs Pillsbury, 1899, with dismal results. If there's a good answer to Lasker's Defense, Chigorin didn't find it.
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