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Paul Morphy vs John Owen
Casual game (1858), London ENG, Jul-03
Owen Defense: General (B00)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-27-04  drukenknight: Wow! what a great game by Owen. He also played this on Paulsen and lost a good game.

BTW: HOw is this one supposed to end? or did Morphy have to catch a plane or something?

Owens small pyramid formed by d7/e6/f7 is matched by Morphys huge zuggarat formation c4/d4/e5/f4/g4 Its funny how these patterns form when good moves are played. Why did Owen 00 anyhow? His K is fine right in the middle.

Feb-27-04  fred lennox: 47 Kd3...Kf5, the f4 pawn is gone and a2 pawn is vunerable. 0-0 is not just for king safety. It connects the rooks and enables the king rook help control the central files.
Feb-28-04  drukenknight: why 47 Kd3, not 47 Ke3?
Mar-01-04  fred lennox: 47 Ke3 makes more sense...Kf5 48 Rf2...Re4+ 49 K moves and the f pawn is gone.
Mar-01-04  drukenknight: why would morphy play it that way? As white he is behind in material and so he needs to get in the first check. the way you put the R as a mere defender, but he is behind in material anyhow he doesnt want to do that...

47 Ke3 Kf5 48 Rd2 I would guess.

Mar-30-05  RookFile: I agree that Morphy could have played some more moves here, before resigning.
Jun-29-05  Knight13: This is a friendly game Owen played against Morphy for the first time. After Owen beat Morphy, they both had a match, which, Owen didn't win a single game in the match.
Jun-29-05  InspiredByMorphy: I think 25.Nd6 gives white the advantage. If black tries to respond with 25. ...Bf3 then 26.Rd3 . Morphy's line of play was more elogant, but unfortunately more complicated as well.
Apr-24-07  Pragmatist: The end position is hopeless, that is why Morphy resigned. If white tries to activate his rook, the a2-pawn falls and with 2 connected passed pawns the win is trivial. If he doesn't activate his rook, black just wins white's f-pawn, pushes white's king further back, and advances his e-pawn. 47.Ke3 Kf5 and now 48.Rd2 which drunkenknight mentions, is only marginally better than 48.Rf2 as 48.Rf2 will lose a tempo after black captures white's pawn on f4. However, white is threatening nothing with 48.Rd2. There is no threat of check, or of attacking a pawn. True, white can theoretically interpose with Rd3 when black check's on the 3rd rank, but that loses miserably to either Rxa2 or exchanging rooks. Here is a simple trap that Morphy might have played for: 47.Ke3 Kf5 48.Rh2!? and now if black plays 48...Rxf4 white has some drawing chances with 49.Rh5+ Kg4 50.Rh4+! Kxh4 51.Kxf4 and white might capture all of black's pawns. However, instead of 48...Rxf4 black has the much better and simpler 48...Ra3+ (or 48...Re4+ is good too) 49.Kd4 is forced and now just 49...Kxf4 when 50.Rf2+ Rf3! wins easily as the exchange of rooks is immediately fatal and avoiding the exchange loses time and allows the advance of black's e-pawn.
Dec-11-07  sambo: Why not 35. Kg3, in an attempt to get a piece towards black's h pawn?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: This was the first game between Morphy and Owen. Following this game, they played four additional games, with Morphy winning all four.

In Lawson's book, "Paul Morphy" he states, <Morphy contested several games with him on July 3. Of the three games played that day, Owen won the first and Morphy won the last two. Later, they played two more games, Morphy winning both.>

Regarding Morphy's match with Owen, Edge reported, <Owen states that he does not look upon the result of the match with Lowenthal as conclusive of Morphy's superiority, not does he think that Morphy having gained of himself 4 out of 5 offhand games, in which Owen took an average of 1/4 hour to a move prove anything>.

Edge noted that Staunton often played Owen at odds of Pawn and move, and lost the majority of those games. Edge also noted that Owen had boasted, that if Mr. Staunton could not beat him at those odds, certainly Morphy could not. Edge then stated that Owen was so confident that he said to Morphy, <"Were it not for my position [as a clergyman] I would willingly play for 1,000 pounds">. Fortunately for Owen the agreed stakes were not 1,000 pounds, but instead were a set of ivory chessmen.

The result of this match, with Morphy winning +5-0=2, probably reduced Staunton's interest in a match with Morphy.

Dec-15-07  timhortons: owen beating the great morphy....i likewise like timman- handling in owen spassky
Jul-01-08  Whitehat1963: Player of the Day beats Morphy with black.
Sep-21-08  just a kid: I found it funny that morphy sac'd the exchange back.
Sep-21-08  just a kid: 25.Nd6 would be better.
Sep-18-09  WhiteRook48: 1...b6!!
Mar-07-10  sneaky pete: 25.Nd6 Nf3+

click for larger view

is rather messy. 26.Kf2 Qh4+ or 26.Kf1 Nxh2+ and black's knight, queen and bishop (as long as he remains on the board) will co-operate very well. I can imagine Morphy didn't fancy all this.

May-08-10  Xeroxx: <1...b6!!>
That is a sunday puzzle move.
May-02-11  IRONCASTLEVINAY: 1. e4 b6 wins against morphy!!!!
Dec-20-12  Morphischer: Morphy got Owened.
Sep-07-18  64pieman: 33 ,,,h5 is outstanding move and deserves x3 exclamation marks. weaken white on his light squares. Morphy misses 15 Qg3
Owen should never have played the match at odds later on he had just been married and for one given morphy the chance to have a pawn removed has to be an advantage to him preferring open lines. Owen was an outstanding player. Outclassed morphy is this great game.
Sep-07-18  64pieman: The result of this match, with Morphy winning +5-0=2, probably reduced Staunton's interest in a match with Morphy. As quoted by pawn and two is fanciful at best. Staunton never agreed to any terms of a match and Edge filled morphys head with the crap he wanted to hear. Staunton had given up chess altogether. Staunton at his best would have been more than a match for Morphy. As Fischer said 'staunton was ahead of his time'and his chess really modern something that Morphy chess was lacking. Great attacking player but set chess back steinitz/nimzowitch carried on from Staunton. The rest can be forgotten. morphy lacked a great chess player to play against even Anderrsen had been out of touch with chess. Morphy should have carried on playing but like fischer turned his back on chess because he was scared of losing.hence all the games at odds.
Sep-07-18  SatelliteDan: So u think Morphy needed a excuse to lose? He wasn't the best chess player?
Sep-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: As <sambo> pointed out, 35. Kg3 is better

For instance: 35. Kg3 h4+ 36. Kh3 Kxf4

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Black has virtually 2 pawns against the exchange, most likely Morphy overlooked White's next move. 37. Rg1 and White is winning.

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So 35... h5-h4 loses for Black.


35. Kg3 e5 36. Rd6 exf4+ 37. Kh4 Ke5 38. Rf6 Be4 39. Rf1 Rxc4 40. R6xf4 d6 41. Kxh5 again Black is losing

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35. Kg3 e5 36. Rd6 exf4+ 37. Kh4 Rf8 38. Rg1 Ke5 39. Rd2

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39... f3 40. Re1+ Kf5 41. Rd6

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A funny position where Black can't move their King (41... Kf4 42. Rf6+), Rook or Bishop without fatal consequences. But a simple 41... a6 holds the draw.

42. Kxh5 Be4 43. Kh4 Ke5 44. Rf6 Rxf6 45. gxf6 f2 46. Rf1 Kxf6 47. Rxf2+ Ke5

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 5.d5!, as in Lagno vs Huang Qian, 2016, is much stronger than the flaccid 5.c3.
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