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Staunton / Owen vs Morphy / Barnes
Consultation game (1858), London ENG, Jul-??
Philidor Defense: Philidor Countergambit (C41)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-08-08  sneaky pete:

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16.Rhe1 .. is no doubt very strong. It's called centralisation and smells like a positional concept. Not something to be expected from Attila Attakinski. Why play positional chess when you can attack?

16... h6 17.Qxe4 ..

Now 17... hxg5? is punished by 18.Bf7+ Kxf7 19.Rxd7 .. and if 19... Nxd7 20.Qe6+ Ke8 21.Qxg6#. So to prevent Rxd7 .. black obstructs the d-file.

17... Bd4 18.Be3 ..

This puzzles me. After 18... Bxe3+ 19.fxe3 .. comrade Hau Ruck looks silly on e1. One would rather expect 18.Rxd4 .. with variations 18... Qxd4 19.Qxd4 Nxd4 19.Bf6 ..; 18... Nxd4 19.Bf6 .. or 19.Be3 c5 20.Nd5 ..; 18... hxg5 19.Rxd7 .. etc.

On second thought:

18.Be3 Bxe3+ 19.Rxe3! (A-ha! sagt Meister Gehirnfehlt) 19... Nxe3 (19... Qxe3+ 20.fxe3 Nxe7 21.Qe5 .. doesn't look very inviting either) 20.Qxg6+ Kxe7 21.Qg7+ Kd8 22.Qxh8+ Kc7 23.Qe5+ .

Nov-15-08  JimmyVermeer: According to Staunton's Chessplayers' Handbook (Book 2, Chapter 2, Game 17), Staunton and Owen were playing Black this game. Could it be that Staunton was wrong about a game he himself played? Or is it more likely a printing error?

Anyway, here is a possible faster win for Black.

31 Re7 Be6 32 Rxe6 Rd8 33 Nd5 Rxd5 34 Re8+ Kg7 35 g3 Qc1+ 36 Qg1 Rd1 37 Kh2 Rxg1 38 gxh4 e1Q 39 Re7+ Qxe7 40 Kh3 Qxh4+ 41 Kxh4 Qh6#

Dec-30-09  capatal: Staunton cannot burn Barnes - under Morphy's watchful eye.
Oct-01-10  SirChrislov: A game between 4 players? Is this chaturanga or is this why they called it the romantic era?
Feb-04-11  AnalyzeThis: Maybe computers can now finally give us the verdict on this complex opening. Up to a few years ago, they could not.
Jun-12-12  Anderssen99: The Morphy/Barnes team could have won artistically as follows: 31...,Be6!! (Also good is: 31...,Rd8. 32.Nd7,Rxd7!!. 33.Rxd7,e1=R+. 34.Qg1,Bg3 mate). 32.Rxe6,Rd8. 33.g3,Qc1+. 34.Kg2 (34.Qg1,Rd1),Qf1 mate.
Sep-14-16  Mozart72: A sloppy game indeed. White gave itself a coup de grace with 23.Re4.
Nov-26-16  karrer1: Staunton & Owen vs. Morphy & Barnes, 1858
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6
1 2...d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.Nc3 c6 7.Ngxe4 1 7.e6 Nh6 8.Ngxe4 dxe4 9.Qh5+ g6 10.Qe5 Rg8 11.Bg5* Bg7 12.e7 Qd7 13.Qf4 Qf5 14.Qc7 Be5 15.Qd8+ Kf7 16.Bxh6 Re8 17.O-O-O Be6 18.Qd2 Rxe7 19.Re1 Rd7 20.Qe3 Bd4 21.Qxe4 Na6 22.Bxa6 bxa6 23.Qxc6 Rad8 24.Qxa6 Bxc3 25.bxc3 Bd5 26.Re3 Kg8 27.Rd3 Rb8 28.Qa5 Qe6 29.c4 Bxc4 30.Re1 Qf7 31.Rxd7 Qxd7 32.Qe5 Rc8 33.Rd1 Qb7 34.Qf6 Qc7 35.Bf4 Qb6 36.Qxb6 axb6 37.Kb2 Be6 38.Rd6 Bf5 39.c3 b5 40.Be5 Re8 41.f4 Be6 42.g3 Kf7 43.Ra6 Bc4 44.a4 Re6 45.Ra8 bxa4 46.Rxa4 Rb6+ 47.Kc1 Bd5 48.Ra5 Ke6 49.Kc2 Bb7 50.Kd3 Rb1 51.Ra7 g5 52.c4 gxf4 53.Bxf4 h5 54.Kd4 Bf3 55.Ra6+ Kf5 56.c5 Rb4+ 57.Kc3 Rb5, 58. Be3 Ke4, 59. Bd4, 2 pawns better.

this 11. Bg5 was suggested by Sozin in 1944 as improvement (over 11 Bh6—where Morphy & Barnes went on to win game) and Stockfish agrees. The line from 11. Bg5 is Stockfish’s best play for both.

Nov-27-16  karrer1: so I ran Stockfish a bit deeper (between 20-24 moves deep, evaluations generally around 1.5 in favor of white) & we get a slightly more accurate possibility: 1. e4 e5, Nf3 d6, 3. d4 f5, 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.Nc3 c6 7.e6 Nh6 8.Ngxe4 dxe4 9.Qh5+ g6 10.Qe5 Rg8 (analysis:) 11.Bg5 Bg7 12.e7 Qd7 13.Qf4 Qf5 14.Qc7 Be5 15.Qd8+ Kf7 16.Bxh6 Re8 17.O-O-O Be6 18.Be2 Bf6 19.Qd2 Nd7 20.Qe3 Bxe7 21.Nxe4 Bd5 22.Bd3 Qe6 23.Rhe1 Kg8 24.Nc3 Qf7 25.Nxd5 cxd5 26.Qf4 Nc5 26...Qxf4+ 27.Bxf4 Bc5 28.f3 Nb6 29.h4 Bf2 30.Rxe8+ Rxe8 31.h5 gxh5 32.Rf1 Bd4 33.Rh1 Nc4 34.b3 Ne3 35.Rxh5 Bc3 36.Bg3 Nxg2 37.Rxd5 Nf4 38.Rg5+ Kh8 39.Bb5 Re5 40.Rxe5 Bxe5 41.Kd2 Kg7 42.Be2 42.Bf2 Bb8 43.Bd7 h5 44.Ke3 Kg6 45.Ke4 Ne2 46.f4 Nc3+ 47.Kf3 Nxa2 48.Be8+ Kf5 49.Bxh5 Bxf4 50.Bg4+ Ke5 51.Bxa7 Bh6 52.Bc5 b5 53.Bd7 Kd5 54.Be7 Nc3 55.Be8 Ke5 56.Bc5 Kd5 57.Be7 Ke5 58.Bc5 Kd5 59.Be7 Ke5 60.Bc5, =.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Wasn't this game played at Staunton's house in Streatham? If so, the address was #2 Leigham Avenue:


I know that road well. It's now dominated by social housing and is full of Third Worlders. Poor Staunton must be spinning in his grave.

Apr-12-18  zanzibar: <I know that road well. It's now dominated by social housing and is full of Third Worlders. Poor Staunton must be spinning in his grave.>

Yeah, you Brits shoulda kept to yourselves instead of colonizing the entire world.

Apr-12-18  Retireborn: <z> On that note, I've been meaning to ask you what <zanzibar> refers to...the history of that place, especially in relation to Heligoland, should be of interest to critics of British colonialism.
Apr-12-18  zanzibar: Well, <RR/B>, I do have a fondness for most things Z, and Zanzibar as a mythical far away land (especially during winter blizzards).

But there isn't much else in the backstory....


Apr-12-18  RookFile: This really is a brilliant game. It reminds me of the poisoned pawn Siclian. Black's play seems crazy and then he's winning.
Jul-12-18  JPi: I imagine Staunton face after such game. You know I'm very busy...
Oct-10-19  amadeus: There are some games between Staunton and Barnes/Owen as well: search "staunton vs owen %2F barnes"

Howard Staunton beat Owen / Barnes 4 to 1.

Apr-14-20  Petrosianic: <Kaspablanca: I want somebody explain how this kind of game works, Staunton and Owen consult what move to make or they have to make one move individually?>

<TrueFiendish: Consultation games can and have been conducted either way.>

"Consultation Game" means that the partners literally "consult" with each other, and agree on the move they're going to play.

The kind of chess where each partner makes his move WITHOUT consulting his partner is known as Tandem Chess.

Apr-14-20  Petrosianic: White is doing very well here, probably winning out of the opening, thanks to Morphy's use of that wretched 3...f5 line.

15. Be2? gives Black breathing room. Rd4, threatening Bc4, exchanging material, and getting rid of Black's two Bishops looks much better.

23. Re4?? is where White goes under. He obviously overlooked the power of Kh8-Qg7-Qh6, and has to give up buccu material to stave off the threat. Re4 takes the square away from the Knight which needs to go there to challenge the g3 Bishop. But Black already looks better at this point. The Queen is in danger of getting trapped on a8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Nov-15-08 JimmyVermeer: According to Staunton's Chessplayers' Handbook (Book 2, Chapter 2, Game 17), Staunton and Owen were playing Black this game. Could it be that Staunton was wrong about a game he himself played? Or is it more likely a printing error?>

<The Chess-Player's Handbook> was published in 1847. I suppose you mean his <Chess Praxis> (1860) which was marketed as a supplement to the <Handbook>, but whose main motive was surely to cash in on the Morphy boom. But even in this you're wrong - the respective sides are correctly given.

What is interesting is that Staunton had analysed this Philidor Countergambit (3...f5) in the <Handbook> wherein 12...Qe7 is treated as the main line, having previously been analysed by Bilguer and von der Lasa (see also the Atwood-Wilson games). In <Chess Praxis>, Staunton notes of 12...Qg5 <It may be proper to notice that if Black in the Variation mentioned, "Handbook," pp. 67-68, adopt at move 12 a coup introduced by Mr. Morphy and Mr. Barnes in a game by consultation against the author and Mr. Owen (...), he ought infallibly to lose. In the game referred to White lost merely by a hasty slip at their 17th move when the game was in their hands.>

He goes on to give the <proper continuation> as <13.Qc7 Bxe6 14.Qxb7 e3 15.f3 Qe7 16.Qxa8 Kf7 [as in the game] 17.Rd4> when <I cannot see how Black will save the game.>

Almost needless to say, Stockfish prefers the hasty slip to 17.Rd4 when White has only a nominal advantage.

The suspicion must be that Morphy or Barnes - but especially Morphy - entered this line with the express purpose of playing the counter-attacking 12...Qg5, although, again, the engine prefers the other move, 12....Qe7.

Apr-15-20  WorstPlayerEver: 22. f4=

click for larger view

Oct-01-20  paulmorphy1969: Morphy on 23 June visited Mr. Ries' Grand Cigar Divan, owner of the luxurious chess club in the Strand where one can admire the busts of Lewis, Philidor and Labourdonnais and the St. George's club where Morphy was introduced to Mr. Staunton by the Secretary Mr. Thomas Hampton. On that occasion it seems that Mr. Staunton told Morphy that he would have liked to take up the chess challenge launched on February 4th by the chess club of New Orleans but he asked for at least a month to prepare for his long absence from serious competitions. to the chessboard. Mr. Staunton kindly invited Morphy to his home in Streatham, a south London area, to play games in consultation with Thomas Barnes and the ecclesial Rev. John Owen (1827 1901) also known in chess circles.come “Alter” pseudonimo che lui utilizzava per scrivere articoli a tema scacchistico. Il Rev. Owen fu parroco a Hooten nello Chesire dal 1862 al 1900. Le partite in consultazione si svolgevano di solito in due camere separate in modo che i ragionamenti di una squadra non fossero uditi dall'altra squadra. Ogni squadra aveva la sua scacchiera e poteva discutere la mossa migliore a suo piacimento. Una volta decisa la mossa, la squadra la trasmetteva a un arbitro che andava subito a riferirla all'altra squadra. Le partite in consultazione avrebbero reso felice il siriano Filippo Stamma che nel suo trattato aveva elogiato il modo di giocare dei giocatori di Aleppo che “se lessent conseiller & choissent presque toûjour chacun un second“. Le partite in consultazione erano in gran voga in quel periodo. Da ricordare che tutte le partite di Morphy vennero giocate senza orologio perchè questo congegno venne ad essere utilizzato per la prima volta solo nel 1867, in Francia.
Oct-01-20  paulmorphy1969: the date dont correct not Julay but 23 june
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Doesn't it seem likely there would be a respectful gap between any invitation and its fulfillment?

<Morphy: I have travelled half the world to play you, Mr. Staunton!

Staunton: OK, let's play now.

Morphy: Sorry, I'm busy this evening.

<awkward silence>>

This is not how they did things in Victorian England.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Confirmation that the two consultation games were played in July can be found in Lowenthal's column in the <Era> of July 11th, p.13.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Wasn't this game played at Staunton's house in Streatham? If so, the address was #2 Leigham Avenue>

Lawson's <Paul Morphy: The Pride and Sorrow of Chess> (Kindle ed. 2010):

<The following day, June 23, Morphy visited the Grand Divan and the St. George's Chess Club. [...] Just how soon Morphy met Staunton is not known, but evidently it was on the twenty-third or twenty-fourth of June, because he enjoyed Staunton's hospitality at his country home at Streatham that weekend, as Edge mentions in one of his letters. [...]

While at Streatham, Staunton proposed some consultation games, Thomas W. Barnes and the Reverend John Owen also having been invited to Staunton's country estate. Morphy and Barnes were paired against Staunton and Owen, and the former pair won the first game. A second game [ Morphy / Barnes vs Staunton / Owen, 1858 ] between the same partners was adjourned and not resumed until nine days later at the St. George's Club. In the meantime, the game was well analyzed by Barnes, Owen, and others, all agreeing it could end only in a draw. However, when resumed, it was won by Morphy and Barnes.

Whether any games took place between Morphy and Staunton that weekend other than those in consultation with Barnes and Owen has remained a subject of speculation for many years. W. P. Turnbull, author of <Chess[men] in Action>, told Philip W. Sergeant that he had heard that Morphy and Staunton did play private games together at that time. As Sergeant suggests, it was undoubtedly Staunton who stipulated that there be no publicity, and therefore nothing was divulged concerning them while Staunton was alive. Both Barnes and Staunton died in 1874. However, Owen lived on until 1901, and evidently Turnbull's information came from him. Without doubt, chess was what brought the four of them together that weekend, and it is most reasonable to believe that more than one game of chess was played while they were there.>

A lot to unpack here, but, first, I want to concentrate on one matter - how do we know that Staunton's home, which Morphy visited, was in Streatham? Lawson's book has been criticised for its over-reliance on quoted materials, but it's a pity he didn't do so for the Edge letter in question. It's correct that Staunton lived in Leigham Avenue in Streatham at the time, but was it his only place of residence? After his marriage in 1849, Staunton lived at Sydney Place in Brompton, but in 1851, he apparently played matches against Jaenisch and Williams at a country retreat in Cheshunt (and that's all we know about it). In 1853, he moved from Brompton to Barnes/Richmond, and the evidence suggests he remained there until at least 1856 - he's listed in the electoral register for Streatham for 1857-58, but not 1856. He didn't, however, appear on the electoral register in Barnes, which means we can't be sure that he left there in 1856.

Now here's what I'm working up to - in <The Chess Monthly> of September 1858, p.282, in an account of <Paul Morphy in the Old World>, presumably written by Fiske, we read: <He has visited the St. George's Club, the London Club, the Divan in the Strand and the Philidorian Rooms in Rathbone Street. He has called upon Mr. Staunton at Richmond, Mr. Walker and Mr. Lowenthal.> How would Fiske in New York know that Staunton lived in Richmond unless he'd been told this, whether by Morphy, Edge, or anyone else?

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