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  Paul Morphy (2800) - Some Amateur (2200)  
 Club Game (?) (Casual Game) 
New Orleans,  LA;   1858.

[A.J. Goldsby I]

A model Morphy game. Also a great game for teaching beginners. 
(I have taught this game probably several hundred times!!)  

You will definitely need a chess board, as there are NO diagrams here. (A text-based page.)  

 (Click  HERE  if you would like to see this game on a java-script, re-play board!!)     

  Click  HERE  to see a revision of my analysis, feel free to print this out and study it.  (October 1st, 2013.)     

   Click  HERE  to see my video on this game!  (October 1st, 2013.)     

"Morphy's combinations usually ended in mate, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Here he resorts 
to a device rarely seen in his time. He simplifies by a series of exchanges, to reach a position where 
the mere threat of a simple pin clinches the win."  - IRVING CHERNEV.  


1. e4 e5;   2. f4 exf4;   3. Nf3 c6!?; ('?!')
Controls the center square on d5, but takes the best square away from Black's QN.

 [ The best line for Black was: 3...d5!; 4.exd5 Nf6; 5.Bb5+ c6;  6.dxc6 Nxc6; 7.d4 Bd6; 
    8.Qe2+ Be6;  9.Ng5 0-0!; {Comp.} and Black gets a playable game.

   Another book line is: 3...d6;  4.d4 g5;  5.h4 g4;  6.Ng1 Bh6;  7.Nc3 c6;  8.Nge2 Qf6;  
   9.g3!, with complicated play for both sides. ]  


4. Nc3 Bb4?!;  
Black is in a rush to get rid of White's Knight. Yet later in the game, it is the LONG-RANGE 
Bishop that will be the more dangerous of the two minor pieces!!

5. Bc4 Bxc3?;  
Continuing with the idea expressed by his last move.

   [ Much better was: >/= 5...Qe7!?; "~" ]


6. dxc3!,  
White captures away from the center!

He opens up his Queen, his QB, pressures the d-file, prevents ...d5; and threatens to
take the pawn on f4.

   [ Normally I teach my students to capture towards the center with, 6.bxc3,  but the
     text is much sharper and much more accurate. ]


6...Ne77. Qd6!,   
Normally you do  not  bring out the Queen early!

But here there are 2 good reasons for doing so:
  # 1.)   The Queen on d6 is almost impervious to attack.
  # 2.)  The Queen on d6 prevents Black from easily developing his entire Queen-side.
            (White's Queen on d6 plays the role of blockader ...  something that is normally 
              reserved for the Knights. And as long as the Queen is on d6, Black can never 
              push his QP. And as long as the QP cannot move, Black will be unable to find 
              a reasonable development of all of his Queen-side pieces.)  

  Notice Black was also threatening  ...d5(A break in the center.);  which White just prevented

   [  7.0-0 d5!;  etc. Black is doing pretty well here. ] 


7...0-08. Bxf4 Ng69. Bg5 Qe8;  
Black is trying defend.

With his next move, White offers Black a pawn.  ("Take my e-Pawn, PLEASE!!")   
10. 0-0!,  
The White King is safest on the King-side. There is no reason to castle on the Q-side. 
Plus with a King-side deployment ... White exerts very powerful pressure down the f-file. 

White is also offering a gambit.  (The KP is open to possible capture.) 
(...) Which Black probably wisely decides not to accept. 

     [ If 10...Qxe4?!; 11.Bb3,   (11.Nd4!?)   11...b6; 12.Rae1! Qg4; 13.h3 Qh5; 14.Ne5! Nxe5;
      ( 14...Qxg5?; 15.Rxf7 Ne7;  (If 15...Rxf7?;  16.Bxf7+ Kh8;  17.Nxg6+! hxg6; 18.Qf8+ Kh7;   
        19.Qg8+ Kh6; 20.Qh8#)    16.Rxe7+ Kh8; 17.Nf7+ Kg8; 18.Nxg5+ Kh8; 19.Re8 h5; 
         20.Rxf8# )     15.Rxe5 h6;  Black has no good move here.  16.Be7,  "+/-" 
        and White has a winning attack. ]


11. Rae1!,  
White has mobilized his entire army!

He avoids moving any other piece until every unit is actively engaged!!!

GM Edmar Mednis writes:
<< Again admire Morphy's plan: It is only move 11 and ALL of his pieces have been actively
      and purposefully developed; moreover, his King is safely castled. On the other hand, Black
      is playing WITHOUT his Queenside. Under such conditions, combinations appear as if
      they, "fell from out of the sky." >>
 (From his book, "Practical (Chess) Opening Tips,"  page # 20.)

   [ Several  Masters have recommended: 11.Nh4!?,  as winning for White. ]


11...f612. e5!,  
Morphy insists on opening lines!

   [ White could also play: 12.Nh4!?;  or 12.Bd2!? ] 


Black wisely tries to keep lines closed.

The player guiding the Black army MUST have been one of several things:
#1.)  A very strong player, capable of seeing that if he took the Bishop on g5, that
         White would get a winning attack; 
#2.)  He knew Morphy liked to open the game, and thus he simply wanted to keep 
         the game closed; 
#3.)  He had been destroyed by Morphy before, and was simply terrified of what the
         great genius might do, if given the chance!


It might have been this, or any number of things - or a combination of the factors listed above - 
that caused Morphy's opponent to play as he did.

   [ A good example of what happens if Black foolishly OPENS lines is:
     12...fxg5?; ('??') 13.Nxg5 Na6;  14.Rxf8+ Qxf8;  15.Re4! Nc5;  16.Qxg6! hxg6;  17.Rh4#. ]


13. Nd4 f414. e6!, (Maybe - '!!')   
Morphy single-mindedly continues to pursue the idea of opening lines.

   [ Maroczy  pointed out many years later that White could have played:
     14.h4! h6;   (14...f3!?)   15.h5 hxg5; 16.hxg6 g4; 17.Kf2!, with Mate coming on the h-file. ]  


14...dxe615. Nxe6 Bxe616. Rxe6 Qc8;   
It looks as if Black ALMOST has everything under control.

But once again, Morphy finds a combination that brilliantly exploits the state 
Black's sadly under-developed game.

I also must point out that:
 A.)  Morphy has calculated this entire combination out, even though it is nearly 10 moves long!!; &
 B.)  Morphy may have had this whole thing planned well in advance!

17. Rxg6!! hxg618. Qxg6, ('!')  
Seemingly ... the obvious move. 
{But did White have a better one?} 

In fact this is such an obvious move ...  that few people have even bothered to look for 
improvements at this particular point.  But this move is not even in the top three picks of 
most strong computer {chess} programs here. 

Going over some old notes, I find that a large improvement was {first} suggested by one 
Rick Frye, during one of my 'PCC' (Pensacola Chess Club) lectures. 
(Circa approximately 1977.) 

But I had forgotten all about this idea until Bjørnar Snoksrud e-mailed me and mentioned 
it again. (This note added: February 11th, 2004.)  

     [ In all likelihood, White could improve with:  >/=  
        18.Rf3!! Re8!;  19.Rxf4! Re1+;  20.Kf2! Re4!;  21.Rf8+! Kh7!?; 
         22.Bg8+!, {D?} Much better than simply grabbing the Queen here. 

            ( Also sufficient was: 22.Rxc8!?,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}     
              which is probably good enough to make the average player resign. )      

        22...Kh8;  23.Bf7+ Qxf8;  {Diagram?} 
        This is probably forced.  

            ( </= 23...Kh7?!;  24.Qxg6#. )     

        24.Qxf8+ Kh7;  25.Qg8#.  


        White could have also played: (>/=) 
         = 18.Rxf4! Rxf4;  19.Qxf4,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}  
         and the only way Black can stop mate is to give 
         up the Queen with ...Qg8. ]   


18...Qf519. Rxf4! Qxg620. Rxf8+ Kh721. Bg8+, (!)  21...Kh8;  
22. Bf7+ Kh7
23. Bxg6+ Kxg624. Bf4, ('!')  Black resigns.

 1 - 0

Black is going to lose a piece due to the pin on the back rank.

One of Morphy's prettiest games, and one that has withstood the rigors of analysis for nearly 150 years.
(It is also a tremendous teaching vehicle and shows clearly - the dangers of lost tempi and poor development.) 

* Another little-known fact about this game:  
   It was one of several games played both  SIMULTANEOUSLY ... and   BLINDFOLD!!!  
   (One of six games played in a blindfold, simultaneous exhibition, according to Chernev!!!!!!) 

I have seen this game in literally dozens of books over the years. 
The two best that I consulted in preparing this game are:  

# 1.)  "Practical (Chess) Opening Tips,"  by GM Edmar Mednis

# 2.)  "The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess,"  (Game # 898, page # 485)   
            by the late (great)  Irving Chernev. 

[See also this link. (A digitized copy of the 1860 book of Morphy's games by J. Lowenthal.)]  

 © A.J. Goldsby, 2002.


   (Page last updated :  Wednesday; February 11th, 2004.  Last edit/save on: 10/07/2013 .)  

NOTE: Black may have resigned after White's 23rd move, although this is not 100% certain. (I remember seeing a copy of the main newspaper in New Orleans printed a copy of the game as I have it here. However, these records may no longer exist, it seems that much of this material may have been destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) See the COMMENTS/KIBITZING of the CG page for this game for more details, I am user "LIFE Master AJ" on that website. (You may read the comments, visit the referenced pages, and make up your own mind.) 

The two references that I give (above) give this game with the same game score as I give it here, so I have not altered this page - as I think that would possibly cause some confusion. 

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