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Paul Morphy vs Louis Paulsen
1st American Chess Congress, New York (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Nov-02
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen-Basman Defense (B40)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-04-03  clifton: Why does Morphy agree to a draw?
Dec-04-03  Catfriend: He disliked endgames, I think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: I believe white has a win here. Not an easy win, but a win nonetheless. Maybe they agreed to a draw because of exhaustion. Some of the games played in that era could go on for days.
Dec-04-03  AdrianP: Although it looks like W is clearly winning, I think this might actually be a surprising "technical draw". What do you think the winning method is? The B bishop is going to drop back to f6 and set-up a blockade and the B King can shuffle between f8, g8 and h8.

e.g. 36. gxh4 Bg6 37. h5? and the W pawns prevent the W K from penetrating...!

or 37. g5? Bg6 sets up a secure blockade on both the g and h-files.

Does anyone have any analysis of this?

Dec-04-03  Catfriend: Accroding to my analysis:
37. Bh5 Kf8 38.Kh3 h:g3 39. f:g3 Bd4 40. Be2 Ke7 41. Kg4 Kf6 42.h4 Be5 43. Bd3! Ke6 44.Kh3! Kd6 45.g4 Ke7 46.g5 gives white the point
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: White needs to create two passed and connected pawns, and use his B to control as many squares as possible infront of them.

Form Catfriend's analysis:

<37.Bh5 Kf8 38.Kh3 hxg3 39.fxg3 Bd4 40.Be2 Ke7 41.Kg4 Kf6 42.h4 Be5 43.Bd3>

43...Ke6 is impossible, so after 43...Ke7; one rough line for the purpose of discusion goes:

44.Kh3 Bd4 45.g4 Kf7 46.g5 Bb2 47.Kg4 Bc3 48.Bc4+ Kf8 49.Kh5 Be1 50.f6 Bf2 51.Kg4 g6 52.Bd3 Kg8 53.Bxg6 Bd4 54.Be4 Be3 55.Bd5+ Kh8 56.g6 Bh6 57.Kf5 and wins.


37.Bh5 Kf8 38.Kh3 <Bf6> seems a better try, e.g.:

37.Bh5 Kf8 38.Kh3 Bf6 39.f4 Be7 40.g4 Bd8 41.g5 Bc7 42.Kxh4 Bxf4 43.h3 Be5 44.Be2 Kg8 45.Kh5 Bg3 46.Kg6 Bh4 47.Bc4+ Kh8 48.Bf7 Bg3 49.Kh5 Be5 50.h4 Kh7 51.Kg4 Bd6 52.h5 Bc5 53.Bd5 Bb6 and Black has a fortress.

Can anyone see how White could improve and break through in this line?

Dec-04-03  Catfriend: <Chessical> I"ll try... 39.Be2 h:g3 40.f:g3 Bd8 41.g4 Kf7 42.Bd3 Bc7 43.Kg2 Bd8 44.Kf3 Bh4 45.Bc4+ Kf6 46.Kf4 Bg5+ 47.Ke4 Bh4 48.h3 Bg5 (now I"ll try to destroy the fortress)49.Be6 Bh4 50.Kd5 Bg5 51.Kd6 Bf4+ 52.Kd7 Bg5 53.Ke8 Bh4 I don't see a winning path.. 50.Kf3 Be1! 51.Kf4 Bd2+ 53.Kg3 Be1+
Well, I fear it's drawn after all
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: The fact that, for example, the following position would be a draw ...

W: Kf5, Bd5, Ph4
B: Kh8

... makes me believe, without too much analysis, that Black has sufficient resources here. In other words, Black can sacrifice his Bishop (and perhaps his g-pawn) for White's f and g pawns and get a draw, and I have to believe it unlikely that there is anyway for White to overcome this drawing resource.

Dec-04-03  Catfriend: <Eggman> I don't accept this nice idea as a final proof, but u'r right - it's another resource in B's hands! Besides, Paulsen wouldn't have to do it at all - as I've shown, a simple fortress allows him to sleep at the game! He simply should move his bishop mechanically!
Dec-05-03  AdrianP: Any chance of some <Honza> analysis on this one...? I'm not sure <Crafty> would be up to it...!
May-13-04  InspiredByMorphy: There was a win here. Morphy got overaggressive with the 21. Bxf4 counterattack. 21.b3 produces a whole different type of game, as the focus shifts to pure development. Im surprised Morphy didnt develop more at this point in the game. I must admit 21. b3 doesent seem like the type of move Morphy would play in this situation, as it is defensive, but it would have been a very good one. 21. b3 b5 sacrificing a pawn temporarily, only to win it back by putting the rook on the seventh rank. 22. axb5 axb5 23. Bxb5 Rxc2 Even though blacks rook is on the seventh rank, it is white who is in control. 24. Rfe1 threatens the bishop ... f6 25. Bc4+ and prepares a suttle combination. ... Kh7 26. Re4 g5 27. fxg6ep+ Nxg6 28. Bd3 Rc3 29. Bxe5! Black can resign now. The Rook for bishop exchange for black is inevitable. For if 29. ... fxe5 30. Rxe5 Rxd3 31. Rxh5+ Kg7 32. Rxd3 wins the exchange, and gives black a very poor position. Therefore 29. ... Rxd3 30. Rxd3 fxe5 looks better, but not much. Black is still down the exchange and worse, white has a potential promoting threat with the wide open pawn on b3, which should be sufficient to win the knight. The move list without commentary; 21. b3 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Bxb5 Rxc2 24. Rfe1 f6 25. Bc4+ Kh7 26. Re4 g5 27. fxg6ep+ Nxg6 28. Bd3 Rc3 29. Bxe5! Rxd3 30. Rxd3 fxe5
May-13-04  TrueFiendish: Morphy often agreed to draws in positions that favoured him. These days we're concerned with squeezing something from everything and never giving half points away, and that's fair enough; in Morphy's time he was a living legend, hailed across the world, and romance was the order of the day. The occasional draw was neither here nor there.
Nov-14-05  Rory O Rion: Ask yourself: who's asking for the 'draw', Morphy or Paulsen? And remember the 'Age' in which the're playing. Chess etiquette was an essential character_trait of this young master, as was his generosity. Gestures such as this reveal a depth of compassion, adding stature to the growing legend.
Dec-01-05  Chopin: Morphy was an amazing end game player.
May-12-08  heuristic: This is game 4 of the final round of the 1st American Chess Congress
May-17-08  heuristic: < The move list without commentary; 21.b3 b5 22.axb5 axb5 23.Bxb5 Rxc2 > Since this line is solid, I looked for alternatives to 21...b5. 21...Rxc4 22.Bxf4 Rc5 23.b4 Rd5 24.Bxe5 Rex5 25.Rxd4 Rxf5 and the position seems equal.

Mar-15-09  WhiteRook48: maybe 37 gxh4?
Mar-28-14  RookFile: Not gxh4, because you create another wrong rook pawn. (The h8 square doesn't match up with white's g6 bishop).

I think Morphy agreed to the draw because playing Paulsen was like watching paint dry.

Mar-28-14  Poulsen: <Chopin><Morphy was an amazing end game player>

LOOOL. Acutally he was quite ordinary in that phase of the game.

Morphys strenght - and weakness - was, that he nearly allways seeked tactical solutions to problems on the board. Playing against him would be something like playing a kid, that is constantly looking for a check.

When Morphy lost, it was often because his opponent managed to dismantle his tactical ressouces by exhanging pieces.

Anderssen vs Morphy, 1858

Jan-20-16  talhal20: Because of the opposite coloured bishops the win for white is extremely difficult unless black commits blunders.

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