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Paul Morphy vs Charles Maurian
Odds game (1863) (unorthodox), New Orleans, LA USA
Chess variants (000)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sebastian88: No chance with the Paul.
Jul-16-13  Poulsen: LOL - this is just another stupid game with Morphy vs Silly Opposition. Indeed such chess noobs would have no chance against any decent player of time.
Jul-16-13  Poulsen: Its games like this, that makes Morphy the most overrated player of all time.
Jul-16-13  DoctorD: A strong statement that in my opinion shows a gross lack of understanding of odds games in particular, and chess history in general.
Jul-19-13  Poulsen: How strange - everytime Morphys "God-like" status is questioned - the questioner is subject to personal attacks.

I would advice you not to underestimate me - but please do tell me: do you know something about this matter, that I don't?

And I stand by my opinion: Morphy is very overrated.

Jul-19-13  DoctorD: There is nothing wrong with thinking Morphy was "very overrated." Even though you would be incorrect in that statement, it is not unusual for those performing a superficial analysis of chess history to come to that assessment. You may as well assert that Spyridon Louis was very overrated as a marathoner. Or knock Jesse Owens because today high schoolers can run as fast.

The fact that you deal in dichotomies ("God-like status"; "Silly Opposition") indicates to me a further lack of understanding of Morphy's actual place in chess history (perhaps you are simply given to hyperbole). As I noted originally, your statement of "most overrated player of all time" is simply too strong to be justifiable without a good amount of proof.

I certainly do not underestimate you in the same way you underestimate Morphy and Maurian.

Maurian was not "silly opposition" and I suspect you also do not understand odds games very well, in which case I would recommend that you read Larry Kaufman's writings on the subject. A player of Morphy's caliber would easily defeat an "ordinary master" at the odds of a knight.

And if you take the time to assess Maurian properly, you would find he was of about what we would consider master strength today. So calling him a "chess noob" is a rather silly statement. That he lacked a modern understanding of chess is rather apparent; just because he did not know "what every schoolboy knows" today does not diminish his relative strength.

In the end, I think that's the problem - you are evaluating these two by modern standards, instead of their relative places in chess history. It certainly is possible that I have underestimated you (I am not the type who feels he always must be correct), but I don't think so.

Jul-19-13  DoctorD: I'll make the further and final note that I took the time to look at your kibitzes. Your analyses of modern players appears to be quite spot-on. Good work there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sebastian88: Maurian was not "silly opposition". He won a game with Steinitz. Steinitz vs Maurian, 1883
Mar-01-21  paulmorphy1969: The date must be wrong about the year 1866 also reported in the book by Macon Shibut, because it was published 3 years earlier in the Illustrated London News April 4, 1863 illustrating 2 games and stating that they are part of a series of 13 unreleased games played one or two years earlier.According to my research and my personal Morphy-Maurian hypothesis they started friendly matches as early as 1861, this game may have been played in 1861, as there are no games played in 1862 as Morphy was in Havana Link It was published in the Nouvelle Regence of June 1963, page 182 Link:
Mar-01-21  Z truth 000000001: <paulmorphy1969> yes, I think any date from Shibut should be under suspicion, no doubt.

Thank you for your work in trying to obtain primary sources for the games. It's appreciated.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The date must be wrong about the year 1866 also reported in the book by Macon Shibut, because it was published 3 years earlier in the Illustrated London News April 4, 1863 illustrating 2 games and stating that they are part of a series of 13 unreleased games played one or two years earlier.>

It says thirty, not thirteen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <Poulsen>, I have been analysing in depth with Stockfish 14 many Morphy games over the recent weeks.

Whilst it is true Morphy can play inaccurately at times, I would say in general he is far more accurate than any of his peers in his time. Also I think that his powerful punishments of violations of opening principles allowed the Chess world to evolve and crystalise those opening principles which form the foundation of modern Opening play.

In this game there are in fact several super accurate moves by Paul Morphy which get the "winning probability" which I feel these odds games underline very clearly - that despite the material odds, Paul Morphy can generate win probability out of very little sometimes.

11.Rxe7 is the most accurate move

15. Re5 is the most accurate move and in fact btw here cxd5 Bxf8 White is winning:

Paul Morphy - Charles Maurian 1-0 0.0, Odds game New Orleans, LA USA 1863

click for larger view

Analysis by Stockfish 14:

1. +- (#10): 16...Qd2 17.h4 Qc1+ 18.Kh2 d6 19.Qf6 Qf4+ 20.Qxf4 Be6 21.Bh6 f5 22.Rxe6 Kf7 23.Rf6+ Kg8 24.Qxd4 Rc8 25.Rf8+ Rxf8 26.Qg7#

Chess is essentially an evolving database of examples. But in the Morphy era players had to resourcefully improvise and did not have concrete examples to go on. Without concrete examples, the very principles of opening and middlegame play could not be so authoritatively formed as today. But Morphy's games provide the essential foundation. In many of Morphy's games, the contrast of the pieces developed is huge and it falls into a large number of source error concerns:

- Moving pieces more than once
- King safety issues often having to undevelop pieces - Overestimating material grabbing vs development and King safety etc

The concrete principles in my view can be gained by critically asking in many Morphy games the question:

"What is in particular causing the contrast of piece development between Morphy's pieces and the Opponent?" - this can lead to the crystalisation of key principles, and in fact many instructors point to Morphy games for clear illustrations of Opening principles and what happens when they are broken because Morphy acts as quite a punishing powerful tactical opponent to punish principle violations.

Cheers, K

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Also BTW as someone in IT, I think principles are of key importance. E.g. "Agile" has key fundamental principles worth fighting for and not the commercial exploitation of buzz words around Agile and the key founding principles the founders met up on and agreed on.

With Paul Morphy you don't get the commercial angle of chess which is "Learn or memorise opening x, y z" - you have access to key examples to let you even determine very clearly the principles from the ground up. As such Paul Morphy is a raw principle forming player that essentially every Modern player should be aware of and his key games.

You can see in many industries how people tend to try and capitalise on stuff and create Noun words e.g. "Scrum" in IT - and don't really give people a chance to clearly see the essential principles. Chess as an industry is no different to that with people often pointless memorising endless theory without a clear view of the philosophies and principles of opening and middle game play which is the essential understanding that should underpin any memorisation.

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