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John William Schulten vs Paul Morphy
"Paul Bearer" (game of the day Jul-14-2013)
New York (1857), New York, NY USA
King's Gambit: Falkbeer Countergambit. Charousek Gambit Morphy Defense (C31)  ·  0-1



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May-13-16  Shivam21: Why did white play 13. Kf1??
Premium Chessgames Member
  steinitzfan: Shivam21
I think he was scared of being in that pin. Black looks like he was set to bring a lot of pressure to bear on that e2 square and the bishop can't move. There is some analysis above that suggests there was at least one better way to deal with the problem (Bc3). I'll look at it after work. It's an interesting game.
Jun-24-16  Calli: IM David Pruess does a fine job analyzing this game
Jul-26-16  DarthStapler: This game was also featured in Cowboy Bebop
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I found Morphy's games rather tedious. I read a book about Morphy (semi-fictional) and read all about him. But his games are not sufficient. His opposition was relatively weak.

I have a complete of his games but couldn't play many of them.

His real strength was not really tactics, this game above most club players would have won as Black, although I am not sure Morphy played the Falkbeer correctly here; his real strength was what he added to the ideas of chess. These led to the classical theories and he knew the need to develop properly and so on. It isn't until we read Emmanuel Lasker, Schlecter, Rubinstein and Capablanca that we see serious chess.

This is also a rather superficial game.

Apr-11-17  docbenway: Richard Taylor: "I found Morphy's games rather tedious. But his games are not sufficient. His opposition was relatively weak. His real strength was not really tactics..."
I played over a couple of your games, McNabb & Duneas, it's too bad Morphy isn't alive today for you to teach him a few lessons.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <docbenway: Richard Taylor: "I found Morphy's games rather tedious. But his games are not sufficient. His opposition was relatively weak. His real strength was not really tactics..." I played over a couple of your games, McNabb & Duneas, it's too bad Morphy isn't alive today for you to teach him a few lessons.>

You chose two bad games by me. In two previous standard games I played brilliant attacks against Duneas. In the game I realised immediately my error. I haven't uploaded the game where I sacrificed a B (Duneas couldn't take the B or he was beaten). He managed a draw as I missed a fork later. Also in another game I came very close to beating him in game that was extremely complex. In another I was easily winning in a Rapid but for some reason wrote down my moves.

Against McNabb the problem was "preparation" the previous night I mixed up ideas and lines and took his N on f6 then slowly went down hill.

But in chess online, he has another name, I think when I was on ICC we were about = matched. He is higher rated of course so I wasn't expected to win.

All that said, I think we are talking about a different level of player. I don't think Morphy could teach me any lessons as, as I said, his play, objectively, isn't very interesting. Yes it was when I first learnt chess and I even read 'The Chess Players' by Frances Parkinson Keyes and played over his games etc He was actually primarily a positional player. Anderson and Paulsen and later Steinitz understood his play.

I think you might consider that when I lost to Duneas I was 69 years of age! And in my 60s against (67) McNabb...So I wonder if Morphy, had he lived, he seemed to have a weakness perhaps from too much idleness, would be struggling at my age: he would probably have forgotten the moves.

He retired in his early 20s !!

In any case, one doesn't have to be that good at chess to be able to sense a players playing. And the point that you deliberately overlooked so you could put the boot into me, rather than face the facts about Morphy, is that, as I said, compared to such as Steinitz and onward in time he faced relatively weak opposition.

Sometimes he miscalculated combinations I found relatively easy to see. Amd there was a famous puzzle he spent hours trying to solve. It was given later to Alekhine, who looked at it for about 10 minutes or less, then said: "Morphy must have been half asleep." After which he immediately demonstrated the solution with all variations. (Puzzle provided by Leonard Barden).

It may also have escaped your attention that I never claimed to be anywhere near as good as Morphy or anyone else of his ilk. Strange as it may seem, I struggle with chess! I failed to learn it by watching the board and so on; I failed to be a prodigy or advance to much over 2000 (National) rating points...But I still find, as I said, Morphy's games, contra say those of Karpov and others, to be rather tedious.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I saw you brief bio. I was a bit confused. You are a medical man? Or do you jest?

The list of writers to be anaesthetized was interesting though:

Paul Bowles, Nathaniel West, Saki, Kerouac, Celine, Hamsun, Bukowski, Lardner, Flaubert, Heller and Parker.

I have read books most of those. Not Bowles, Lardner or Parker though. All are good. I liked West, Celine, Hamsun (both indeed were a worry): Kerouac problematic like Ginsberg. 'Catch 22' is rightly a late 20th cent. classic, and I liked 'Normance' as posthumous novel by Celine ( I found that very funny and a great read). Also what I have read of his 'Journey to the...'. I have some books by Bowles and want to read them...

For me Flaubert is one of the great writers: Madame Bovary, The Three Tales, Bouvard and Pecuchet are three I have read. The first two more than once.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Sometimes he miscalculated combinations I found relatively easy to see. Amd there was a famous puzzle he spent hours trying to solve. It was given later to Alekhine, who looked at it for about 10 minutes or less, then said: "Morphy must have been half asleep." After which he immediately demonstrated the solution with all variations. (Puzzle provided by Leonard Barden).>

O.K. I exaggerated this and it doesn't prove much if anything as he may well have been tired. I failed to solve it myself. And now I think of it the combination[s] I am thinking of I had the benefit of having seen it since about 1964 or so. It is also a fact that Alekhine went through thousands of combination types as practice as well as undoubtedly he was alert when given the problem and it is well known that many great players fail to solve problems but play great tactical and positional chess.

Morphy was a good player but what I meant was his opposition was relatively weakish. This meant his games are often or often look too easy. It was good of him to give away his prize money...

I knew I would get at least one bite on the Morphy comment I have to admit I just said it for the hell of it as, well, we have the Fischer problem and the Morphy problem....No one (or not enough) mention[s] Pillsbury or Marshall.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Richard,

I suspected a bit of the Devil's Advocate in your first post.

The semi-fictitious book on Morphy's life was probably 'The Chess Players' by Frances Parkinson Keyes. I got a quarter of the way through it before closing it forever.

<"..this game above most club players would have won as Black,">

Only after Morphy had given them their ideas.

I was on board 3 in a league game and I was stunned when my board 2 failed to play 6...e3 here.

click for larger view

He played 6...exd3 and went onto lose.

He never knew this Morphy game(!).

There again both Bronstein and Spassky without a doubt knew the Morphy game and yet Spassky was willing to allow 6...e3 and Bronstein did not play it. Spassky vs Bronstein, 1971

That is the less famous of the two King's Gambit played between these two. The first Spassky vs Bronstein, 1960 was in part re-produced in 'From Russian with Love'.

But the 1971 game worked!

When the 1971 game was played Fischer had already beaten Petrosian so Spassky and Bronstein got together to produce a game where White allowed a good move to be played and Black did not play it.

Fischer would be studying Spassky's games and the plan was to drive Fischer bonkers trying to find the reason why 6...e3 was not played.

All the delaying tactics by Fischer were because he still, after 6-7 months of trying, could not find the bust behind 6...e3.

Eventually he decided he would never play 1..e5 v Spassky again and from 1971 onwards he never did despite having 10 chances where Boris opened 1.e4 to do so.

Not many people know that.

Apr-13-17  morfishine: Morphy was great against all players of all strengths.

One of the least talked-about facets of Morphy's game was his ability to defend.

Instead, all we here is conversation bout his "weak" opponents

Give me a break


Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Morfishine> Maybe the book I have is not well written. I'll give Morphy a whirl again. I was only being partly schaitte-stirring as of course I knew that US players would take me to task!

So let us be fair to Morphy. He died remarkably young. His opponents were not as 'deep' shall we say as the later players. It is true that he was ahead of his time in his understanding of development and in general open games and how to deploy.

Andersson etc played some interesting games.

I found the games of Tarrasch fascinating. But I suppose that is partly as the analysis provided was so interesting. Whereas to be honest I find trying to play over many of Kasparov's games annotated by himself rather tedious. Perhaps that is because I am getting long in the tooth and rather tired... There are simply too many lines and variations. There are exceptions to that.

The trouble for me at my advanced dotage is that I forget the position if there is no diagram and frequently miss out moves when I play a game over. (So I have to start over again). But I do prefer a real chess board. I don't have a lap top or a cell phone of any kind or one of those gizmos people use which I suppose might be able to access the games as I play on an actual board.

But I shall give Morphy a whirl.

At my new club I won a 3 min 2 sec increment lightening tournament with only one loss out of 9. So some of my brain cells are still operating. Not very strong players (although one is over 2000)...Another I think should have a true rating of 1900 or so...The rest were weak and clearly not used to the very fast time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < Sally Simpson: Hi Richard, I suspected a bit of the Devil's Advocate in your first post.

The semi-fictitious book on Morphy's life was probably 'The Chess Players' by Frances Parkinson Keyes. I got a quarter of the way through it before closing it forever.

<"..this game above most club players would have won as Black,"> >

I played in a tournament in the 80s. I had won 3 games beating an IM when I came up against quite a strong player (Spenser-Smith I think his name was) and he played the KG, I tried the Falkbeer (I actually think it is better to play the KGD as Black with 2. ... Bc5) and it didn't go well. I had my pawn on e4 but I think I was too overconfident and aggressive and suffered a counter attack and lost.

I think that in the Falkbeer it is actually better to play as Bronstein did and take on f4.

'From Russia with Love' is the only Fleming book I read. I was teenager and got very excite reading about two (I think they were Gypsy) wrestling almost naked in the mud over a man. It is very excite... I cant remember if I saw the movie.

Interesting story of why Fischer towed the line before playing Spassky! Did Spastic get in a King's Gambit? I cant remember....But perhaps it was Fischer supposed to play a KG...I am very confused.

I still think that Black's play is fairly straightforward in the game above and missing 6. ... e3 would be a fairly elementary error in a game where both players are playing Gambits...

May-16-17  User not found: <Richard Taylor: I found Morphy's games rather tedious.>

Then I'd be extremely interested to know which players games you find the polar opposite of tedious!?! Morphy's games are in the top 10 players, maybe top 5, who's games I look through before even considering any modern players with the possible exceptions of Carlsen and Nakamura.. They're tactical Hollywood attacking masterpieces and this game is a gem and he found the forced mate in 8 here

click for larger view

Whereas I might have stumbled across it as mate looks like a possibility in this destructive wonposition, white is gonna get checked into the open g and h files until i know for definite. . Morphy absolutely saw this, I find his games as entertaining as Rubinstein, Capablanca (he's more positional Imo) Fischer, Kasparov, Carlsen, Alekhine et al.. Genius.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I think that, as an attacking or tactical player* (more or less, although I like positional ideas you have to deal with them I find probably all the masters from those AFTER Morphy more interesting.

But it may be my mood. Look, when I was a teenager I thought Brahms was the greatest composer, and although I listened to contemporary music and liked it (I mean from say 1900 to now!) more recently I have palled and either don't listen to music as it interferes with my writing and reading etc or I like Bach and indeed certain contempoarary composers. In fact it is from say Charles Ives to Stockhausen, Varese, Schnittke as well as various composers writing write now I find stimulating (if I listen to music at all)....

So maybe it is age. On the other hand I think that the book of Morphy's games I have is not very well presented. I will go through it and reconsider as there are times when my mood switches and I suddenly find Vivaldi or Beethoven wonderful again, so it might apply to chess!

But re players I like the ususal names but feel that Smyslov and Karpov have been underestimated. Fischer is always interesting but it is often not understood that he is closer really to Capablanca and Tarrasch and hence Steinitz and Lasker etc Of course chess is a "limited" game and styles tend to be fluid.

Karpov, as well as being "positional" has played some wonderful attacking games, as did Smyslov and Petrosian.

Of course there are a whole host of more recent GMs and masters....

But I take your points and will revisit Morphy the tragic prodigy...!

*This is always a simplistic generalisation as many games we play we have to defend or grind out endings or we blunder etc etc and there is no way I would try to emulate Tal for instance. He was simply too ingenious.

May-16-17  zanzibar: Well, most of Morphy's games lack the drama of not knowing who wins in the end... ha!
May-16-17  User not found: That's a fair enough explanation I guess Richard, Tal completely slipped my mind and yes.. ingenious indeed. As for Karpov he must be an acquired taste because I find him boring, I find positional chess boring and I think it's because of my personality to some extent.. I like to take risks, I'm an adrenaline junkie, I want to see a football game end 5-4 as opposed to 0-0, I prefer Messi as an attacking midfielder to the brilliant Pirlo as a sweeper who plays deep in defence, I like to watch Ronnie O Sullivan play snooker and <try> for a 147 in 7 minutes over a Steven Hendry master like slow positional snooker, I like Tyson/Ali fights 10x more than Floyd Mayweathers.. you get the picture lol...

I acknowledge and respect Karpov and his ilk in the same way I do Pirlo, Hendry and Mayweather but they don't get those creative juices flowing or the superlatives don't run out in the the same way as Messi, Morphy, O Sullivan and Ali can leave you speechless.

I'm going to check some Tal out now. Ive not been looking through the old games for a year or two and some names, greats of the game, attacking Hollywood players I've completely forgot! Petrosian is another good one, Fischer too obviously but some of his games are above my pay grade so to speak :)

Jul-10-17  Saniyat24: I could not finish a Frances Parkinson Keyes book as touched chess and two great players...but had a whole lot of other things too...!
Jul-10-17  Saniyat24: Though his opponents might not have been too strong...the positions that Morphy created are unique...!
Oct-14-18  mandor: Trademark by Morphy: the advantage in developement. Just one error on move 12... h3 was mandatory... and caput!
Nov-23-19  pandje: Morphy, thank you for all the beautiful, incredible games- you left for us. Games, we can’t understand, because we can’t learn or understand your magical way of thinking. Each game, give me a smile and puzzling mind.
Aug-18-20  bkpov: Morphy's games appears so fluid so natural so simple- 2 bit players start finding fault.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <8...Bxc3 9. bxc3 Re8+ 10. Be2> is the move order given in the original publication, the January 1858 number of <Chess Monthly>, with notes by Morphy himself.

But Hazeltine in his <New York Clipper> column of February 13th, p.342, has: <8...Re8+ 9. Be2 Bxc3 10. bxc3> with the note: <The above is the order in which the moves were actually made in play.> As if to underline the point, the game carries the banner: <From the Editor's Original Score.>

Jan-25-21  ZoneChess: I am glad we converted another Morphy disbeliever here :) as aforementioned, he was great against players of all strength. Had he lived now and be aware of new theory, he would have been at the top as well. Do not forget he was one of Bobby Fischer's heroes, who described Morphy as 'brilliant.' Note the move 6...e3 here is known as a brilliancy to open the central file.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Given that 6...e3 continues to appear in games during this century, hasn't the time to name the variation in Morphy's honor? He did play it first.

Fun fact: Stockfish criticizes exactly one of Morphy's moves, 8...Bxc3. That seems like rather strong proof of his ability.

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