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Louis Paulsen

Number of games in database: 515
Years covered: 1856 to 1889
Overall record: +226 -107 =89 (64.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 93 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (45) 
    C02 C01 C00 C10 C15
 Scotch Game (30) 
 Four Knights (22) 
    C48 C49 C47
 King's Gambit Accepted (21) 
    C33 C37 C39 C36 C38
 Vienna Opening (18) 
    C25 C29 C28 C27 C26
 Sicilian (17) 
    B40 B45 B23 B32 B43
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (57) 
    B40 B25 B30 B45 B23
 Ruy Lopez (38) 
    C65 C77 C70 C78 C60
 King's Gambit Accepted (17) 
    C33 C39 C37 C34
 Evans Gambit (17) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (14) 
    C50 C53 C54
 French Defense (11) 
    C13 C01 C11 C00
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Paulsen vs Owen, 1862 1-0
   Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857 1-0
   Paulsen vs Blachly, 1858 1-0
   Paulsen vs Blackburne, 1861 1-0
   Paulsen vs S Rosenthal, 1873 1-0
   Paulsen vs H Schneider, 1864 1-0
   Paulsen vs Mackenzie, 1861 1-0
   Kolisch vs Paulsen, 1861 0-1
   Paulsen vs Blackburne, 1873 1-0
   Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Paulsen - Kolisch (1861)
   Anderssen - Paulsen (1877)
   Leipzig (1877)
   Paulsen - Schwarz (1879)
   1st American Chess Congress, New York (1857)
   2nd NSB Congress, Hamburg (1869)
   1st DSB Congress, Leipzig (1879)
   5th BCA Congress, London (1862)
   Baden-Baden (1870)
   Vienna (1873)
   6th DSB Congress, Breslau (1889)
   Vienna (1882)
   5th DSB Congress, Frankfurt (1887)
   2nd DSB Congress, Berlin (1881)
   3rd DSB Congress, Nuremberg (1883)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Kolisch - Paulsen (1861) by MissScarlett
   Vienna 1873 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1873 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by Calli
   vaskolon's favorite games by vaskolon
   New York 1857 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   New York 1857 by Mal Un
   New York 1857 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Louis Paulsen
Search Google for Louis Paulsen

(born Jan-15-1833, died Aug-18-1891, 58 years old) Germany

[what is this?]

Louis Paulsen was in the 1860's and 1870's among the top five or six players in the World. He was a great master of defense and gifted in his insights into opening play; many of his ideas were adopted long after his death. In tournaments, he was 2nd at New York in 1857 (after Paul Morphy), 1st at Bristol in 1861, 2nd at London in 1862 (after Adolf Anderssen), 5th at Baden-Baden in 1870, 1st at Krefeld in 1871, 1st at Leipzig in 1877, 2nd at Leipzig in 1879, and 4th= at Breslau in 1889.

In matches, he played Adolf Anderssen three times, drawing in 1862 (+3, =2, -3) and winning in 1876 (+5, =1, -4) and 1877 (+5, =1, -3). A match with Ignatz von Kolisch in 1861 was agreed drawn with Paulsen leading (+7 =18 -6). In 1864, he defeated Gustav Richard Neumann (+5, =3, -2). He also did important analytical work with his brother Wilfried Paulsen. He died of diabetes in 1891.

"Paulsen discovered a larger number of opening ideas than any of his contemporaries. For the attack he contributed to the Scotch Game, the Goering Gambit, the Paulsen Attack, the Paulsen variations of the Vienna Game, and the Four Knights Opening. For the defence he discovered the Boleslavsky variation, the Paulsen Defence of the Kieseritzky Gambit, and the Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian Defence. He introduced the Pirc Defence and improved Black's chances in the Muzio Gambit and in several lines of the Sicilian Defence. His contributions were not confined to an odd move or improvement here and there: he also invented whole systems of play. ... Paulsen wrote no books, and none has been written on his theoretical contributions." (The Oxford Companion To Chess, by Hooper and Whyld)

notes: Louis was occasionally involved in consultation chess, see Anderssen / Louis Paulsen / Dubois, Louis Paulsen / Dr. Carl Goring / Johannes Metger or Johannes Metger / Jacques Mieses / Louis Paulsen

Wikipedia article: Louis Paulsen

Last updated: 2019-01-12 12:41:17

 page 1 of 21; games 1-25 of 515  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Schoenhals vs Paulsen 0-1251856Blindfold simul, 2bC21 Center Game
2. Paulsen vs Wullweber  1-0201856Blindfold simul, 2bC41 Philidor Defense
3. P Ware vs Paulsen  0-1251857Casual gameD00 Queen's Pawn Game
4. C Graef vs Paulsen  ½-½261857Casual gameC50 Giuoco Piano
5. F Graef vs Paulsen  0-1371857Blindfold simul, 2bC58 Two Knights
6. Paulsen vs W Fuller 0-1541857Blindfold simul, 3bC47 Four Knights
7. Paulsen vs T Frere 1-0211857Blindfold simul, 3bB32 Sicilian
8. Paulsen vs B Raphael  1-0251857Blindfold simul, 3bB44 Sicilian
9. S Calthrop vs Paulsen 0-13018571st American Chess Congress, New YorkB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
10. Paulsen vs S Calthrop 1-04218571st American Chess Congress, New YorkC54 Giuoco Piano
11. S Calthrop vs Paulsen 0-12218571st American Chess Congress, New YorkC40 King's Knight Opening
12. Morphy vs Paulsen ½-½501857Casual gameC40 King's Knight Opening
13. Paulsen vs Morphy 0-1231857Blindfold simul, 4bC46 Three Knights
14. H P Montgomery vs Paulsen 0-14718571st American Chess Congress, New YorkB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
15. Paulsen vs H P Montgomery 1-03118571st American Chess Congress, New YorkB01 Scandinavian
16. Morphy vs Paulsen 1-0541857Double blindfold gameC40 King's Knight Opening
17. T Frere vs Paulsen 0-1411857Blindfold simul, 5bA10 English
18. Paulsen vs C Oscanyan 1-0381857Blindfold simul, 5bC44 King's Pawn Game
19. R J Dodge vs Paulsen ½-½371857Blindfold simul, 5bC40 King's Knight Opening
20. Paulsen vs A Hawes 1-0311857Blindfold simul, 5bB40 Sicilian
21. Paulsen vs S Heilbuth 1-0431857Blindfold simul, 5bC44 King's Pawn Game
22. B Raphael vs Paulsen 0-12518571st American Chess Congress, New YorkB40 Sicilian
23. Paulsen vs B Raphael ½-½4718571st American Chess Congress, New YorkC47 Four Knights
24. B Raphael vs Paulsen 0-15318571st American Chess Congress, New YorkC32 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
25. Morphy vs Paulsen 1-03618571st American Chess Congress, New YorkB40 Sicilian
 page 1 of 21; games 1-25 of 515  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Paulsen wins | Paulsen loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-20-16  zanzibar: <Herr Wilfred Paulsen, the brother of the late Louis Paulsen, and also one of the leading German Chess masters, sends the following most interesting reminiscence of his brother and an account of his last days to Deutsch's Woehenschach;

<"Louis Paulsen lived very simple and regularly; he only drank water—no spirits, coffee or tea—he did not smoke, and apparently he had conserved himself very well. In March he suffered from influenza. Regularly he came daily from Blomberg to Nassengtund (the residence of Wilfred Paulsen). In the beginning of May he ceased coming on account of his suffering from swollen feet, and he had to keep his room, where, however, he did his usual work.

(Louis Paulsen was engaged as a manager of an estate belonging to his brother, who writes this letter).

About the end of May I proposed to make a journey with him to the Hartz,which, however, he declined. In July he at last attempted a journey for his recuperation, but he was al ready too weak for the purpose. He stopped in Kassel, whence after a ten-days', stay he wrote to request that one of his relatives should visit him. My brother Ernst made the journey and brought him back to Blomberg. He positively refused to take medical advice. During his last days his strength failed most rapidly.

On August 18 he slept during the evening as quietly as a healthy man, but at a quarter to 12 o'clock he ceased to breathe. The physician, Dr. Theopold, who viewed the body next day, considered it probable after the account which we gave him about the symptoms of illness and habits of life of our brother, that the cause of death was diabetes mellitus, which generally ends with consumption. His features were not altered in the least. He looked as if he were sleeping.

On August 22, at 10 a.m., the funeral took place with a numerous participation. A great number of laurel wreaths had been sent and the coffin was not visible under their cover. He had no enemy and no differences with any one. His life was simple and unassuming; in spite of his economical habits he rewarded services that were done for him very generously, and gladly gave alms to the poor. Strict rectitude, conscientiousness, punctuality and love of truth were his special distinctions.

For us his death is a great loss. His bookkeeping was so careful and exact that mistakes were totally excluded. With such energy he kept himself up that only during his last day he was confined to his bed."><<>>>

From <Intl Chess Magazine v7 July, 1891> p207:

(PP's added)

Jan-24-16  zanzibar: There is one of Paulsen's blindfold simul games played against Raphael while in NY for the 1st American Chess Congress.

It's from <NY Daily Tribune> 1857-11-09 p3, a 25 move Sicilian won by Paulsen as Black, who opened 1.e4 (yes, you read that right; remember, it's 1857).

<[This game waa played by Mr. Paulsen, simultaneously with two others; his antagonists being Dr. Raphael, Mr. Thos. Frere of Brooklyn, and Mr. W. J. A. Faller of New-York ]


The latter game had lasted from 7:30 p m, 11 o'clock, when Dr. Raphael resigned any further continuance of the struggle. The question was put to Mr. Paulsen whether he would consider the contest terminated, or allow some other gentlemen to go on with it, and he chose the latter; namely, requesting that one of the strongest players present would take the Doctor's seat. In accordance with the wish of all in the room, Frederick Perrin, esq., Secretary of the New-York Chess Club, came forward, and after a quarter of an hour's analysis of the situation, resigned the contest, stating that although the struggle might be prolonged a short time, yet defeat must eventually ensue; an opinion concurred in by the other members of the Club>

The game itself lasted 3 1/2 hours.

Jan-24-16  zanzibar: RE: Paulsen slow cooking

<NY Daily Tribune> Oct 11, 1860 p7:

<When they first met at the tournament in 1857, Paulson displayed a power of analysis and skill which was so much the more surprizing that he poseeessd scarcely any book knowledge, had never encountered a single firtt-class player, and was literally obliged to invent nearly all the moves and defenses which his more learned opponents had gathered from Chess treaties. Hence his slow play and close game.>

Paulsen's famous for driving Morphy up the wall with his slow play during their match in 1857. The article goes on to say:

<And yet he not only took the second prize, but made a bolder stand, perbaps than any of the celebrities who played with Morphy in Europe. Since, Paulsen has devoted much time to books, and may be said to be now both skillful and erudite; he plays boldly, rapidly and openly.>

Somehow, I had the different impression that Paulsen was always a bit of a slow player throughout his lifetime.

Jan-26-16  zanzibar: Lyons NY Wayne Democratic Press 1857-12-02 p1

Pierce Pudgent of the N. Y. Daily
News, thus touches a scene in the "Pleasures
of Memory."

Our Aunt Pearl, has lately been so much
interested in the proceedings of the Chess
Congress, that she knows the names of the
principal players by heart. But the astonishment
became supreme, when she read that
Mr. Paulsen played chess with five persons all
at once blindfolded. Laying down the
Daily News she said, "Nephew, do you be-
lieve that possible?" "Certainly," I replied.
"I think it a tempting Providence," returned
Aunty." I bet he'll next attempt to walk
Broadway with his eyes shut.""Many a
man is luckier with his eyes shut," we ob-
served, "than when they are open. We
found it so; for playing blind man's buff once
we had in our arms once the loveliest girl in
all New Jersey, We caught her when we
were 'blind man.' Alas!, we never had a
chance of doing so when we could see — she
wouldn't let us. No dear Aunty, we go in
for playing blindfolded. Ah! to have that
angelic Mary in our arms forever, we would
have been a second Milton, "blind for life!" —
And as we said it we sighed, and our soul
rushed back forty years, and in a stretch of
golden memory pressed that beautiful blooming
creature once more to our heart, and we
threw off in that inspiring thought, the ac-
cumulated rheumatism of half a century!

Jan-15-17  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Player of the Day Louis Paulsen.
Jan-15-17  ColeTrane: Fight Club: "His name was Louis Paulsen...." ad infinitum.
Jan-15-17  Dionysius1: Blimey <Zanzibar>! That's beautiful, and a bit eye-watering to a man in his 61st year. Nostalgia rules ok!
Jul-04-17  zanzibar: Now here's a much better bio than the above, or the canonical wiki for that matter:


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Urcan Questions Validity of Paulsen’s Simul Blindfold 12- and 15-Board World Records in 1858-59>

Sep-24-18  Jean Defuse: ...

Hans Renette:

... Regular contributions by Paulsen could also be found in the chess column of the Clipper. Paulsen had the habit of sending batches of games to friended chess editors (like Hazeltine and Löwenthal), so that several of his games were only published in England and the States – and not in Germany. The following game is such an example.

In a small introduction, Paulsen wrote how he had received Adolf Anderssen at the estate of his family.

On Pentecost [9 and 10 June 1878] we had the pleasure of a visit from him here [at Nassengrund], on which occasion my brother and myself played a few games with him. Of three games with Wilfried, Prof. A. won two and lost one; with me, his score was just reversed.

Only one of the three games between Anderssen and Paulsen was published. It is not a particularly impressive one, but nevertheless worth mentioning here.


[Event "Nassengrund"]
[Site "Nassengrund"]
[Date "1878.06.??"]
[White "Anderssen, Adolf"]
[Black "Paulsen, Louis"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C51"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bb6 5. a4 a6 6. d4 exd4 7. O-O d6 8. a5 Ba7 9. c3 Ne5 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. Qb3 Qf6 12. f4 Nh6 13. h3 O-O 14. Kh1 Qh4 15. cxd4 Bxd4 16. Ra2 Ng4 17. Qf3 Nf6 18. Nd2 Nh5 19. f5 Ng3+ 20. Kh2 Nxf1+ 21. Nxf1 Bd7 22. g3 Qd8 23. g4 Bb5 24. Bb3 c5 25. bxc5 Bxc5 26. Ng3 Qd3 27. Qxd3 Bxd3 28. Bd5 Rab8 29. g5 Kh8 30. Rd2 Bb5 31. Bb2 Be3 32. Rg2 Bf4 33. h4 f6 34. Kh1 Bc6 35. Nh5 Bxd5 36. exd5 fxg5 37. Nxf4 exf4 38. Rxg5 Rf7 39. h5 h6 40. Rg6 Re8 41. Rxh6+ Kg8 42. Re6 Rd8 43. f6 f3 44. Kg1 gxf6 45. d6 Rfd7 46. Bxf6 Rxd6 47. Bxd8 Rxe6 48. Kf2 Rh6 49. Kxf3 Rxh5 50. Ke4 Kf7 51. Kd4 Ke8 52. Bb6 Kd7 53. Kc4 Kc6 0-1 (and after a few moves prof. Anderssen resigned.)


This game was thus not published in Germany around the time it was played – and therefore is not present in the Anderssen biography by Von Gottschall. But by a curious twist it appeared into print in the Deutsche Schachzeitung in 1919. Otto Koch, a priest living in the small hamlet of Tröchtelborn (nowadays ca. 300 inhabitants), had undecked the game in the Clipper. Why and how he found out of this can only be guessed at.


Oct-12-18  micahtuhy: I just read the biographical data here on, and it says Paulsen placed second at Baden Baden 1870. This is incorrect, as Paulsen placed sole fifth behind Anderssen, Steinitz, Blackburne, and Gustav Neumann. Does anyone know where corrections may be submitted for errors like this?
Oct-12-18  Boomie: <micahtuhy: Does anyone know where corrections may be submitted for errors like this?>

Biographer Bistro

Dec-30-18  Jean Defuse: ...

MissScarlett: <Urcan Questions Validity of Paulsen’s Simul Blindfold 12- and 15-Board World Records in 1858-59>


'An Interview with Hans Renette'


Did you discover new things regarding Paulsen's interest and statistics concerning blindfold chess?


I assembled a list of 39 blindfold exhibitions by Paulsen. He got known as a blindfold expert before the tournament of New York 1857. <Then he quickly raised the number of simultaneously played games to ten. On one occasion he began an exhibition against fifteen opponents. He would doubtlessly have succeeded in finishing this exhibition successfully, but after a dinner break his opponents were not eager to resume the games and so the exhibition was aborted.> That it would have been a record-breaking one was something that clearly didn't occupy the mind of Paulsen or his contemporaries. I was quite surprised by finding out that in 1862 Wilfried also played against nine opponents simultaneously. That made him the number two of his time in the field of blindfold chess.

The full Interview:


Dec-30-18  morfishine: Paulsen has almost as many games on record as Morphy
Jan-15-19  The Kings Domain: Could have been a contenda, just wasn't quite there. One of the most notable masters of the time.
Jan-15-19  Jean Defuse: ...

Probably played shortly after the American Chess Congress:

[Event "3-board blindfold exhibition"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1857.??.??"]
[White "Paulsen, Louis"]
[Black "Raphael, Benjamin I"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B44"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Be3 Nge7 6. Bd3 d5 7. Nc3 Nxd4 8. Bxd4 Nc6 9. Bb5 a6 10. exd5 axb5 11. dxc6 bxc6 12. O-O Bd6 13. Ne4 Bxh2+ 14. Kxh2 Qh4+ 15. Kg1 Qxe4 16. Re1 Qg6 17. Re3 f6 18. Rg3 Qf7 19. Bc5 e5 20. Qd6 Qd7 21. Qxd7+ Bxd7 22. Rxg7 Rb8 23. a4 bxa4 24. Rxa4 Bf5 25. Raa7 1-0

click for larger view


'Die Brüderschaft' 1885, p. 138 reported:

'Die Partie hatte von 8-11 Uhr Abends gedauert, und Dr. Raphael gab weitere Versuche, das Spiel zu halten, auf. Es entstand die Frage, ob Herr Paulsen das Spiel als beendet betrachten, oder irgendeinem anderen Herrn erlauben wolle, es weiter zu führen. Er wählte das Letztere, bedingend, daß einer der stärksten anwesenden Spieler des Doktors Sitz einnehme. Dem Wunsche aller Anwesenden entsprechend, trat Fr. Perrin, Sekretair des N. Y. Schachklubs, vor. Nach einer viertelstündigen Analyse gab auch er die Partie auf, da dieselbe wohl einige Zeit fortgesetzt werden könne, aber schließlich verloren gehen müsse; eine Ansicht, die von allen Mitgliedern des Clubs geteilt wurde.'

Paulsen won all 3 games.

Source: Fiske & Morphy - The Chess Monthly 1857, p. 342 (Black - M.D. Raphael).


Premium Chessgames Member
  Klaus Peter: Klaus-Peter,
great comments about Paulsen. But I never unterstand, why the britain and american chessplayer do not accept the Paulsen system in the sicilian defence. They got the Paulsen sicilian to a chessplayer with the the name Kan. Also chessgames do this. I never know where Mister Kan was and with was his achievement for this variant of the sicilian defence. My only explanation is, that Paulsen was a german chessplayer and many people in Great Britain and USA hate germans.
Dec-17-19  Dionysius1: Or maybe did when the variation was being named.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Kikoman: Rest In Peace Sir Louis Paulsen.> Louis Paulsen (kibitz #76)

<Louis Paulsen. A Chess Biography with 719 Games> Hans Renette (Jefferson, 2019), p.407:

<Louis' funeral took place on Saturday 22 August. His grave site was emptied of coffin and remains in 1979. The tombstone was preserved and is kept at the Nassengrund estate.>

Upon first reading, I thought it was meant that Paulsen's grave had been desecrated, but on reflection, it must surely refer to a redevelopment of the estate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <My only explanation is, that Paulsen was a german chessplayer and many people in Great Britain and USA hate germans.>

It's because we love Russian commies.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Quite a few Paulsen games appeared in the pages of the <ILN>, usually forwarded by the man himself. Staunton's comments about his play are invariably generous - in particular, Staunton was genuinely awed by anyone capable of multiple blindfold games. If Morphy had not the temerity to challenge him - and air their dirty laundry in public - Staunton would likely have been his greatest paladin.
Oct-02-20  Wanda Nida: paulsen and anderssen were on the same level, best players after morphy!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: According to Chessmetrics Paulsen was the number one active player in the world for 39 months in the 1860s and 1870s.
Jul-14-21  Jean Defuse: ...

According to Chessmetrics Louis Eichborn was the best player ever ...


Jul-14-21  fabelhaft: Chessmetrics can be accused of many things, but not of that :-)
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