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Paul Morphy

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Number of games in database: 459
Years covered: 1848 to 1869

Overall record: +165 -25 =17 (83.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 252 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (43) 
    C51 C52
 King's Gambit Accepted (23) 
    C39 C37 C38 C35 C34
 Sicilian (14) 
    B44 B40 B21 B20
 King's Gambit Declined (13) 
    C30 C31
 Philidor's Defense (12) 
 French Defense (9) 
    C01 C00
With the Black pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (21) 
    C33 C39 C38
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C77 C65 C64 C67 C84
 Evans Gambit (13) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (10) 
    C53 C50 C54
 Philidor's Defense (7) 
 King's Pawn Game (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?]
   1st American Chess Congress (1857)
   Morphy - Loewenthal (1858)
   Anderssen - Morphy (1858)
   Morphy - Harrwitz (1858)
   Morphy - Mongredien (1859)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Timothy Glenn Forney
   Paul Morphy -The Great Chess Genius by Beatlesrob
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World Says Fredthebear by demirchess
   Morphy Favorites by chocobonbon
   10 from PaulM inspired Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by rbaglini
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by Atsa
   Paul Morphy Conquered the World by Retarf
   Morphy Lessons by superstoned
   paul morphy best games by brager
   If chess was a religion, Morphy would be God. by Chopin
   paul morphy best games by fphaase
   Pure Morphy by saveyougod

   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
Search Google for Paul Morphy

(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 458  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0311848Casual gameC23 Bishop's Opening
2. Morphy vs NN 1-0191848New OrleansC20 King's Pawn Game
3. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181848Casual gameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0151849New Orleans mC51 Evans Gambit
5. Morphy vs NN 1-0201849Casual gameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
6. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1231849New OrleansC38 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0231849Casual gameC40 King's Knight Opening
8. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0171849Casual gameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0291849Casual gameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0461849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
11. Morphy vs Le Carpentier 1-0131849Rook odds game000 Chess variants
12. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0111849Casual gameC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
13. Morphy vs E Morphy 1-0201849New OrleansC53 Giuoco Piano
14. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0211849New OrleansC51 Evans Gambit
15. Morphy vs E Rousseau 1-0231849New OrleansC50 Giuoco Piano
16. Morphy vs NN 1-0141850Rook Odds game000 Chess variants
17. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1141850New OrleansC02 French, Advance
18. NN vs Morphy 0-1241850Casual gameC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
19. Morphy vs A Morphy 1-0181850Rook Odds game000 Chess variants
20. Morphy vs NN 1-0181850Rook Odds game000 Chess variants
21. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0491850Casual gameB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
22. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0551850Casual gameC42 Petrov Defense
23. J McConnell vs Morphy 0-1251852Casual gameC52 Evans Gambit
24. Maurian vs Morphy 0-1151854Rook, Pawn and Two Moves Odds game000 Chess variants
25. Maurian vs Morphy 1-0291854Rook, Pawn and Two Moves Odds game000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 458  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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< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 281 OF 281 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Let me tell it in my own dramatic way!
Sep-29-21  Z truth 000000001: <MissScarlett> - the original dramatic queen.
Sep-29-21  Z truth 000000001: <Missy> there's room for some imprecision in your statement:

< Aiello confirmed that all the Morphy images were from the original.>

Are you referring to all the Morphy images in the 2nd edition as the ones being "from the original"? Or just the particular image you asked HNOC about?

One reason for my asking is this:

<Lawson [(Whipple)] also included a large number of pictures and photographs in his original book. This new edition omits some pictures but contains some new images.>

Sep-29-21  Atking: <RookFile: An article on Steinitz and Morphy meeting:...> Thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Are you referring to all the Morphy images in the 2nd edition as the ones being "from the original"?>

From Aiello's <Editor's Introduction>, in which he explains the changes he made to the book, there's: <Lawson included myriad pictures throughout the text of his original manuscript. Some of those pictures have been retained, others have been omitted or replaced with new images. All have been moved to two distinct picture sections.>

This first picture section - which consists of several photos of Lawson, wife and friends - is all new (except for a head shot of Lawson that appeared on the original dust jacket), but these relate to Aiello's introduction and not the main text.

As it happens, Aiello was mistaken about the images, but I'll come onto that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Now where was I....

My response to the <HNOC> questioned whether the seller withheld their identity or the information may simply have been neglected.

<Miss Smith>'s reply: <It’s not that the identity was intentionally withheld or not deemed worth recording, it’s just that very often in the auction setting the name of the consigner isn’t made public as part of the documentation.>

And then in her next, she dropped a couple of bombshells....

<My apologies, I missed a page in the accession documentation regarding the auction – the daguerreotype was from the Leo Stashin Collection. The auction pages are attached here.

The 1976 edition does not include the photo.>

From one of the pages:

<Leo Stashin (1919-1973) was a photographer of note whose curiosity about the exquisite art form of early portrait photography fueled a passion for collecting daguerreian images. In the 1960s, he scoured flea markets and antique shops throughout the mid-Atlantic states in the hope of uncovering gems. He was not alone in his pursuits. His wife, a Ph. D. in microanatomy, with the heart of a detective, assisted in researching their finds. Both professionals in their own fields, as a team they were hobbyist sleuths.

[More biographical detail snipped]

The following 12 (?) lots have been in the family's possession since Stashin's death in 1973.>

The other page contains our familiar picture - confusingly numbered lot(?) #15 - a description of same and a potted biography of Morphy cribbed from Hartston's <The Kings of Chess>. The estimate is given as $2,200 -2,800.

I had asked <Miss Smith> to check and then re-check the 1976 edition for information about the picture, but she affirmed again that it wasn't there.

Aiello subsequently - via inter-library loan - got his hands on the first edition(which he presumably hadn't seen since 2010) and also confirmed its absence.

So where are we? I surmise this photo was completely unknown to Lawson (he died in 1980), and, all in likelihood, was never published as a portrait of Morphy in any chess book or periodical before 2010, when it turned up in a Google image search by some eager beaver working for UL Press.

To be continued....

Premium Chessgames Member

Oct. 29, 1973

Leo Stashin, a photographer, who in recent years turned to collecting and identifying daguerreotypes of 19th?century American statesmen, actors, inventors and businessmen, died Saturday of cancer in St. Luke's. Hospital. He was 54 years old and lived at 75 Bank Street.

At his death Mr. Stashin was writing a book on an 1849 daguerreotype he found in a Greenwich Village art shop and which he identified as one of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln experts disagreed with his identification.

This “find” led him, however, to discover and identify other daguerreotypes, including plates of Presidents John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce. [...]>

What will the Morphy experts say?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <PS- The link I gave about has the famous 1857 Congress photo w/ Moraphy as fig 1, but gives it as unattributed. Wasn't it a Brady photograph?

PPS- If you're skeptical about fig 3 being Morphy, then do you give even an iota of credence to fig 4? .>

We can move on to other Morphy images ( and try to document them as thoroughly as <Pictures of Howard Staunton> ( but all in good time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Field, January 14th 1860, p.25:

<C. M. — The portrait of Morphy in Mr Bohn's volume is a very good one, and is, if we are not mistaken, engraved from the striking photograph taken for THE FIELD by Mr H. Watkins, of Regent-street.>

Bohn's volume refers to Loewenthal's <Morphy's Games of Chess>, published at the beginning of 1860 (not to be confused with the American version, published by Appleton, in the same month).

Here is the engraving, itself, undoubtedly, the basis for <cg>'s own Morphy image:

Oct-01-21  Z truth 000000001: Let's not forget to credit the engraver for Loewenthal's illustration, who I believe is James Stephenson:

(J. Stephenson on the engraving)

The engraving itself just cites "From a Photograph", so the Field info is very helpful.

E.g. Chess Dryad got the engraver right, but the photographer wrong (at least according to <The Field>):

As an aside, I often found myself following in the footsteps of batgirl, or Gillam while doing research. Seems to be the case here as well, as batgirl collects quite a few of Morphy photographs / illustrations here:

Although, it does seem rather curious that Stephenson's Morphy engraving is missing from her post.

Let's also note how skinty her source credits are once we get to the gilded framed photo mentioned previously in this thread.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The engraving is <well-known>, of course, but I didn't know it was by <J Stephenson> - I couldn't quite make out the writing under it in Lowenthal's book.

I think we can discount the notion that it was based on a picture by Brady; it was surely an entirely London affair. The engraving is missing from the Appleton edition.

Boden's praise for the picture, I take to mean that he thought it a very good likeness.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <By 1853, an estimated three million daguerreotypes per year were being produced in the United States alone.>

Oct-01-21  Z truth 000000001: We need to talk about <google play>...
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Sunday News, February 11th 1968, p.M1:

<When Theodore Kupferman went to Washington in 1966 as the representative of Manhattan's 17th District, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate and had decorated the halls of Congress with portraits of their heroes.

Rep. Kupferman, a Republican, decided that Congress should be a little more bipartisan in its decor, and began to pass out pictures of a couple of GOP standard-bearers: Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, whose 158th birthday we commemorate tomorrow.

The likeness of Honest Abe that Kupferman distributed resembled the familiar, bearded, craggy-faced Lincoln that appears on $5 bills and pennies. The portraits were well received, even by Democrats, says Kupferman because: "Nobody objects to Lincoln."

Now, partly because of his own sleuthing Kupferman has another picture of the 16th President that a lot of people - Democrats, Republicans, Lincoln-lovers and Lincoln-haters alike - object to.

This new likeness of the Great Emancipator was discovered by one of the congressman's constituents, Leo Stashin, a freelance magazine photographer.

If you were to get a $5 bill or a penny with Stashin's Lincoln on it, you would immediately think it counterfeit. In fact, you might not even think that the picture was of Lincoln.

That was Kupferman's reaction. "It couldn't be Lincoln," he said. "It couldn't be Lincoln because I didn't want it to be Lincoln. My image of him was of Lincoln the father figure."

Far from looking fatherly, Stashin's 120-year-old daguerreotype, discovered in a Greenwich Village antique shop, looks more like a stern uncle.

"But," says Stashin, who paid $28 for the picture a year ago, "as I examined it, I wondered whether this could be the real Lincoln."

It took Stashin six months of intensive research in chemistry, history and anatomy to convince himself that the picture was indeed of Lincoln; it took him an hour to convince Kupferman.

Stashin had hoped that the congressman would be able to prevail upon the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use their photoanalysis facilities to examine the picture.

Kupferman, a Lincoln buff himself, was so intrigued he went one better: he suggested that the picture be electronically analyzed by the same process used to examine photographs from space.

He made inquiries in Washington and met Col. Charles J. SuSong, Jr., of Itek Corp.'s data analysis center in Alexandria, Va.

Col. SuSong has run a number of tests and, because he has "found many things that are similar" in this portrait and other known portraits of Lincoln, is continuing his work.

Although he is cautious about predicting any positive identification of the picture, SuSong says, "I have a kind of feeling it's there."

Why, then, the obvious differences between this picture and the other 100 or so known photographs of Lincoln?

To begin with, Lincoln sat for the portrait in 1849, at that time when political problems caused him, according to William H. Herndon, his law partner, to be "aggrieved, irritated and depressed."

Also, the portrait is the only photograph taken of Lincoln from a high camera angle, according to Mr. Stashin, and that would tend to give a different perspective to the subject's features.

Besides, says Stashin, mindful of all the Lincoln experts who have rejected the picture as being of Abe, Lincoln probably didn't like it himself.>

Oct-02-21  Z truth 000000001: As the old cliche goes - a picture is worth a thousand words:


Oct-02-21  Z truth 000000001: Kind of stuff that reminds me of the PBS <History Detectives> used to get into:


Oct-02-21  Z truth 000000001: Stereoscopic picture of Morphy vs Loewenthal:

Makes me wonder if two cameras were used for the photograph, or was this somehow created by post-processing?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Background on the <London Stereoscopic Company>:
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The engraving is <well-known>, of course, but I didn't know it was by <J Stephenson> - I couldn't quite make out the writing under it in Lowenthal's book.

I think we can discount the notion that it was based on a picture by Brady; it was surely an entirely London affair. The engraving is missing from the Appleton edition.

Boden's praise for the picture, I take to mean that he thought it a very good likeness.>

Only now do I notice that the Watkins image is also used in both editions (the American <Appleton> and the British <William Lay>) of Edge's book on Morphy, which appeared in print about June and September 1859, respectively.

From the shared preface (with some differences):

<The cuts with which this work is embellished have been engraved by the well-known Brothers Dalziel. The portrait of Morphy, copied from a photograph taken shortly after his arrival in London last year, is an excellent likeness.>

The Brothers Dalziel:

Oct-15-21  Z truth 000000001: Provenance is everything...


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Provenance is everything...>

Not quite. I would propose four tests...

i) Internal evidence - the image itself.

ii) External evidence - the object itself.

iii) Provenance.

iv) Argument from authority - the weight of the <Historic New Orleans Collection> (who paid over $6000 for a portrait which, if it's not Morphy, might be barely worth $60), Wikipedia and every other mug who blindly believes what they read on the Internet.

Oct-15-21  Z truth 000000001: Agreed, I may have overstated the case, for rhetorical purposes surely.

Still, interesting to see the Oliver Wendell connection with Paul.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The Field, January 14th 1860, p.25:

<C. M. — The portrait of Morphy in Mr Bohn's volume is a very good one, and is, if we are not mistaken, engraved from the striking photograph taken for THE FIELD by Mr H. Watkins, of Regent-street.>> Paul Morphy (kibitz #7387)

Back then, I didn't spend too much time on the identity of this Watkins, but from the woodcut portrait accompanying the biography of Morphy that appeared in the <Field> of August 21st 1858, p.153, I now find that he is <Mr. Herbert Watkins, of 215, Regent-Street>.

<Watkins opened his Regent Street studio in 1856, and produced a series of photographs of distinguished contemporaries, which he published with printed biographies under the title of National Gallery of Photographic Portraits. He claimed in his advertisements that his photographs were 'as remarkable for their agreeable fidelity to nature as for their brilliancy of production and their economy of cost'.>

Having been through all 260 photos, I can confirm that Morphy is not among them. That would have been asking too much!

Feb-22-22  Cibator: <saturn2: Morphy's career is fascinating and maybe he was the most talented. But about absolute strenth he does not reach masters of the present. There are too many ?! and ? moves in his games. What would happen if Morphy came to earth and got nowadays training is speculation. But Björn Borg with his wooden racket would lose against Nadal 6:0 6:0 and Pele would be substituted after 20 minutes completely exhausted.

Chess as a sport has developed. Kramnik said about the Lasker Steinitz match it was like a 2700 player against a 2400. Maybe Morphy would have been between them.

Morphy was the player longest ahead of others. Like Bob Beamon in long jump. My understanding of him is he studied and understood openings more than others and he was the scientist type like Botvinnik, Aljechin, Kasparov.>

<thebully99: Morphy may have been the most naturally talented player of all time. But right now, I am not sure that he would have outmatched Steinitz in their respective primes or even Steinitz in the late 1880s. Natural geniuses aren't always better than leading theoreticians with incredible fighting spirits.>

I've come rather late to this discussion, having had my interest piqued by currently reading Frances Parkinson Keyes' novel "The Chess Players".

To the comments quoted above I'd add the assessment given by Hooper and Whyld in the Oxford Companion To Chess. Baldly summarised, this said that Morphy lacked any capacity for sustained hard work. He had a truly astounding ability to retain and recall knowledge of all kinds, but that can take one only so far, as I personally have found. It's not enough to possess talent, you need the strength of character to employ that talent to the maximum. That, I believe, was the main flaw in Morphy. (Inherited wealth and the consequent underdeveloped instinct for struggle wouldn't have helped either. Nor would the Creole culture in which he grew up, which - like Morphy himself - didn't regard chess playing as a proper occupation.)

I suspect a street-fighting type like Steinitz, his skills honed to a razor edge by some real competition, would sooner or later have got Morphy's measure and proceeded to take him to the cleaners.

Mar-23-22  Polonia: nobody ever takes murphy to cleaners!

paul morphy was decalred world champion, so was adolf anderssen who won the strongest ever, for that time, tournament... you dont have to be unofficial world champion not to be the world champion, same goes for zukertort....

1. adolf anderssen
2. paul morphy
3. johannes zukertort
4. wilhelm steinitz

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