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Paul Morphy

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Number of games in database: 462
Years covered: 1848 to 1869

Overall record: +174 -24 =17 (84.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 247 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (44) 
    C51 C52
 King's Gambit Accepted (25) 
    C37 C39 C38 C35 C34
 Sicilian (14) 
    B44 B40 B21 B20
 Philidor's Defense (13) 
 King's Gambit Declined (13) 
    C30 C31
 King's Pawn Game (9) 
    C40 C20 C44
With the Black pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (21) 
    C33 C39 C38
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C77 C65 C84 C67 C78
 Evans Gambit (14) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (10) 
    C53 C50 C54
 Philidor's Defense (7) 
 Uncommon Opening (4) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858 1-0
   Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Bird vs Morphy, 1858 0-1
   Morphy vs Le Carpentier, 1849 1-0
   Morphy vs Schrufer, 1859 1-0
   J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0
   N Marache vs Morphy, 1857 0-1
   Morphy vs A Morphy, 1850 1-0
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Morphy - Loewenthal (1858)
   Morphy - Harrwitz (1858)
   1st American Chess Congress (1857)
   Anderssen - Morphy (1858)
   Morphy - Mongredien (1859)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by demirchess
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by rbaglini
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by Atsa
   paul morphy best games by fphaase
   paul morphy best games by brager
   If chess was a religion, Morphy would be God. by Chopin
   Pure Morphy by saveyougod
   PAUL MORPHY by vaskolon
   Obds (Part 1) by Penguincw
   Odds games #2 by WhiteRook48
   A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario by StoppedClock

   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834
   McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Paul Morphy
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(born Jun-22-1837, died Jul-10-1884, 47 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Paul Charles Morphy was born in New Orleans. He was the son of a successful lawyer and judge Alonzo Morphy. His uncle, Ernest Morphy, claims that no one formally taught Morphy how to play chess, but rather that he learned the rules by observing games between himself and Alonzo. When Morphy was only 12 years old, Johann Jacob Loewenthal visited New Orleans and at the behest of his father, agreed to play a casual match with the prodigy. Young Paul won 2½ to ½.

In 1857 Morphy won the First American Chess Congress with a dominating performance . This success was followed by a European trip where he met and triumphed over most of the prominent masters of the period, namely Adolf Anderssen whom he defeated +7 -2 =2 (see Anderssen - Morphy (1858)), Loewenthal in Morphy - Loewenthal (1858) and Daniel Harrwitz in Morphy - Harrwitz (1858). Upon returning to America, he announced his retirement from chess.

Although the official title of World Champion did not exist in his time, Morphy was and is widely regarded as the strongest player of his day. Even today his games are studied for their principles of open lines and quick development, and his influence on the modern game is undeniable. Mikhail Botvinnik wrote of his influence: "His mastery of open positions was so vast that little new has been learned about such positions after him."

User: jessicafischerqueen 's YouTube documentary of Paul Morphy:

Lucas Anderson's YouTube video 'The Life and Chess of Paul Morphy':

Unpublished manuscript of the "The First and Last Days of Paul Morphy", written by his friend and neighbor Constant Beauvais:

Notes: Paul also played team chess with Morphy / Barnes and Morphy / Mongredien, and edited a chess column in the New York Ledger.

Wikipedia article: Paul Morphy

Last updated: 2019-02-18 16:57:41

 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 462  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181848New OrleansC33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Morphy vs NN 1-0191848New OrleansC20 King's Pawn Game
3. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0311848New OrleansC23 Bishop's Opening
4. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0231849New OrleansC40 King's Knight Opening
5. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0151849New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
6. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0211849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
7. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0111849New Orleans cgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0461849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
9. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0291849New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Morphy vs NN 1-0201849New Orleans cgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-0131849New Orleans000 Chess variants
12. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1231849New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
13. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-0201849New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
14. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0171849New OrleansC39 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0231849New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
16. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1251850New OrleansC52 Evans Gambit
17. Morphy vs NN 1-0141850casualC44 King's Pawn Game
18. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181850New Orleans ?000 Chess variants
19. NN vs Morphy 0-1241850New OrleansC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
20. Morphy vs NN 1-0181850?000 Chess variants
21. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1141850New OrleansC02 French, Advance
22. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0491850Casual GameB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
23. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0551850Casual GameC42 Petrov Defense
24. Maurian vs Morphy 1-0321854New Orleans000 Chess variants
25. Morphy vs Maurian 1-0161854New Orleans000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 462  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Morphy wins | Morphy loses  

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

<"...but also thought that Morphy could suddenly appear and beat any 1960's GM in a match.">

Fischer more than any other great player from the late last century studied the games of the old masters and often commentated on them.

His opinion should should be heeded but it will always be that, an opinion. A heavily weighted one, but no way of proving it.

In 1960 he told Bronstein and Spassky at Mar del Plata (1960) that Botvinnik would beat Tal. (game 17. 'Bobby Fischer Rediscovered' 1st edition.)

This opinion was wrong, other people were also wrong in predicting this result, but because Fischer said it, he got the notoriety. (and as here often repeated!)


Mar-13-20  Atking: <In 1998 Guinea issued a stamp with Morphy's name on it....OOPS!

***> Good but the man looks more like Spassky than Morphy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Both had wicked hair.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Atking,

That is why I added the 'OOPS' it is Spassky's picture with Morphy's name below it.

But I can the conflict, you think I was 'OOPSING' Fischer. (I would not dare.)


Mar-24-20  The Rocket: < Does anybody else think Morphy is way overrated? Sure, his games sparkle and he plays cool tactical moves, but his opponents were weak. It reminds me of when Mike Tyson was knocking everyone out and looked invincible. Sure, until he fought someone who wasn't a chump. Isn't it close to the same thing?

I think guys in the next generation or two would have beaten Morphy. Guys like Nimzovich, Lasker, Pillsbury, Steinitz (after Vienna 1873), Blackburne, Zukertort etc...>

You can't compare eras like that. People didn't know a damn thing about chess back then. People had very rudimentary understanding about the underlying principles of the game. Even the great Morphy knew very little compared to a modern standard master.

His tactical abilities were however outstanding even by todays standards. There is no way you can discount such a guy.

If you teach Morphy the same things they know, he would beat the aforementioned players easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: That's not fair. When a new, young champion appears and easily dispatches older folks [Morphy, Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov, Muhammed Ali, Wayne Gretzky, Gale Sayers, Alex Rodriquez] people are want to say "Well, he was just beating people past their primes..."

No. Such people beat <everyone's> asses and make it look easy.

Mar-24-20  Boomie: <I think guys in the next generation or two would have beaten Morphy. Guys like ...Steinitz>

Note that Steinitz was a year older than Morphy. They both played matches against Anderssen. Morphy slaughtered the younger Anderssen. Steinitz won less convincingly. I doubt anyone would consider Steinitz a better player than Morphy. His important contributions were more in advancing the science of chess. He did play some fantastic games. However he is not viewed by the world champions with the same awe. Morphy had one of the best chess minds ever. Even Capablanca was flattered that anyone would consider him in the same league as Morphy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: < Boomie: <I think guys in the next generation or two would have beaten Morphy. Guys like ...Steinitz>

Note that Steinitz was a year older than Morphy. They both played matches against Anderssen. Morphy slaughtered the younger Anderssen. Steinitz won less convincingly.>

I think it can be argued that Anderssen improved his game considerably by the time he played Steinitz. Byrd did too.

Mar-24-20  Boomie: <Big Pawn: I think it can be argued that Anderssen improved his game considerably by the time he played Steinitz.>

That's a fair assessment. However it's hard to believe that Anderssen could have won 4 games in a row against Morphy at any time during his long career. <Anderssen - Steinitz (1866)> He considered Morphy to be the strongest player in history, though I'm not sure when he made that statement. Anderssen was not a self centered person so whatever he said was his honest attempt at the truth. He made no excuses for his match with Morphy. When asked why he didn't unveil one of his brilliancies, he said "Mr. Morphy wouldn't let me." Heh.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: I've read that Anderssen changed his mind later on and said that Steinitz was better. I took a moment to research this and found this comment from <keypusher: keypusher: <tamar: Having played both, did Anderssen ever comment on who was better?>

According to a book about the 1894 WC match, after his 1866 loss Anderssen said Steinitz was better. <In 1862 Anderssen told Steinitz he was no Morphy; in 1866 he put him far above Morphy.>

But I haven't seen an original quote.>

Anderssen vs Steinitz, 1866 (kibitz #8)

The book:

Mar-25-20  Boomie: <Big Pawn: I've read that Anderssen changed his mind later on.>

Well, he is the foremost expert on that subject. It makes me especially sad that Morphy retired. He and Steinitz could have advanced theory into the modern era. In a sense, all of Steinitz work was an attempt to answer the question "How did Morphy do it?"

Mar-25-20  Petrosianic: Would it be better if Morphy had kept playing until the world caught up with his teachings, and he slid into the pack? That's what Tal did, and although it was nice having him around for 30 years, if he'd retired in 1960, he'd still have people debating about whether it was possible to beat him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Fischer wasnt that wrong--he thought that Tal would be facing the botvinnik of 1961, in the 1960 match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I've read that Anderssen changed his mind later on and said that Steinitz was better.>

Well, after a fashion....and I believe the source for this was Steinitz himself. But one can appreciate that Steinitz was pissed at the cult of Morphy.

<In a sense, all of Steinitz work was an attempt to answer the question "How did Morphy do it?">

Steinitz started off in the romantic mould, so in that sense he knew exactly how Morphy did it - i)prodigious memory ii)dazzling speed of thought iii)near-total sight of board. Of course, Steinitz had these attributes, too, just Morphy had them more.

To that end, one might say Steinitz was interested not in how Morphy did it, but how he could've been stopped from doing it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Morphy would just be a HOT KNIFE THRU
BUTTER plyayin chess today .

Youd fear for magnus lol lol lol

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Fischer and Morphy were both mentally ill and died young. I hope Magnus Carlsen has a better go of things...
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: who wantz to live FOREVER ???
May-17-20  Chessonly: Morphy's chess games [5 Best games]

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Croydon Guardian & Surrey County Gazette, December 11th 1880, p.6:

<Dr. Max Lange has published a second edition of Morphy's games, omitting the two end games with Deacon, which are said to be apochryphal [sic]. The author, wishing to test this statement, offers three prizes of 100, 50, and 25 marks for the best essays upon the subject, which shall demonstrate, by the character of the games themselves, whether they were played or not. The essays may be written in English, French, or German, and must be addressed, with motto and sealed envelope, containing the writer’s name and address, to Dr. Max Lange, Gellerstrasse, Leipsic, before June 30th, 1881. If any of our readers can inform where the two games in question can be obtained we shall feel obliged to them.>

The first edition suggests itself.

May-20-20  savagerules: Paul Morphy in 1883, a year before his death, said about Steinitz. "His gambit is not good." It's unclear if Morphy was referring to Steinitz's style of chess as a whole, or specifically to an odd variation for White in the King's Gambit which Steinitz played, which would, either way, mean Morphy was keeping up with chess developments even though he had forsaken playing chess for years.
May-21-20  Jambow: <Petrosianic: Would it be better if Morphy had kept playing until the world caught up with his teachings, and he slid into the pack? That's what Tal did, and although it was nice having him around for 30 years, if he'd retired in 1960, he'd still have people debating about whether it was possible to beat him.>

Yeah except Tal didn't dominate anything like Morphy did. If you bother to compile every opponent that Morphy and Steinitz have in common you would see Morphy will score significantly better than Steinitz. Many of those that played them both felt that Morphy was the better player.

I only wish that Morphy was born later or not mentally ill so that we could see his positional genius at work.

May-26-20  The Rocket: Finegold made the point that all players of Morphy's era were mediocre to down right bad, yet Morphy wasn't. And that's precisely why Morphy was, relative to how much he knew, the greatest chess player of all time.

The thing is, chess theory was so different back then it's almost like comparing different games.

Many of the concepts held back then were completely wrong.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: That's ridiculous, incredible, amazing hyperbole. Take these games:

Staunton vs Bristol, 1839

E Williams vs Staunton, 1839

I deplore the 'great men of history' idea that chess was stuck in some intellectual cul-de-sac until Morphy and then Steinitz rode in to transform and liberate it.

May-27-20  The Rocket: I think you should watch this match then come back to me. Mongredien played in the 1600 elo range yet was deemed worthy enough to play a match against Morphy. Every game is attrocious.

Morphy - Mongredien (1859)

Morphy's projected elo by Stockfish CAPs analysis was 2409, compared to 2323 for Steinitz.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I'm too far ahead already.
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