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Alexander Beaufort Meek vs Paul Morphy
Mobile (1855), Mobile, AL USA, Mar-01
Scotch Game: Scotch Gambit. Saratt Variation (C44)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-16-05  chesscrazy: Some other resources say that the opening was 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 5.Ng5.........and the rest of the game.
Apr-08-07  sanyas: This game is 'the real, the profound Morphy', as Tartakower might say. In Modern Chess Strategy, Ludek Pachman had this to say (incidentally, he gave's move order, not <chesscrazy>'s one):

5 N-N5?

White's fourth move was, in a way, an attempt to disturb the equilibrium by giving up a pawn for the sake of development. If White had followed up in a consistent manner with 5 P-B3, there would have been no unfavourable shift in the equilibrium for him. With the text move, however, he tries to exploit the weakness of f7 by a sudden attack. This is wrong, for Black has obviously not made any error so far; the equilibrium was undisturbed, so White's display of aggression can acheive nothing.

6 NxBP?!

9 QxB

In the course of the last five moves White has succeeded in recovering the pawn sacrificed on move four and at the same time has exposed Black's King; but he is so much behind in development that the equilibrium has been disturbed in favour of Black!

11 Q-N3 ch?

A player familiar with the principles of present-day strategy, finding himself in this position, would without hesitation opt for the continuation 11 0-0, RxP; 12 N-Q2, R-K1; 13 N-B3. Although after Black's Q-B3 he would still have insufficient compensation for the pawn, he would at least have completed his development and so be in a position to ward off all immediate threats.

12 P-KB3(?)

18... P-B3!

19 Q-B1

If 19 QxN, Black answers with 19..., R-K7 ch.

19... B-R6!

Translated by Alan S. Russell.

Apr-08-07  Whitehat1963: How would computers proceed after 9...d6? I have a feeling white still has a very good chance at that point. What do you say, Crafty?
Jul-14-07  Zurahn: Rybka's analysis after about a minute comes up with this after 9...d6

1. (-0.46): 10.Qb5 a6 11.Qd3 Be6 12.Na3 d5 13.0-0 dxe4 14.Qxe4 Re8 15.Bd2

White certainly wasn't out of it.

Jan-04-08  cn1ght: Hah... I used to play that line in tournaments... Actually won most games until my rating finally hit 1600 or so, yea this is from when I was younger... then suddenly the game would often be a draw because I could never get enough momentum on the 'exposed' king...
Jan-24-08  JimmyVermeer: Philip Sergeant gives the date of this game as March 1, 1855. gives it as April 10, 1855. Anyone know what accounts for the discrepancy?

After 21 ...Ke8, the game may continue:
22 Re1 Rfxf3+ 23 Qxf3 Rxf3+ 24 Kxf3 Qxe1 25 Bf4 Qxa1 26 Ke4 Nc4 27 Kxd4 Qxb2+ 28 Ke4 Qxc2+ 29 Kd4 b6 30 Be5 Bf1 31 Bf6 Qd3#

Apr-28-08  achieve: While studying < Modern Chess Strategy, Ludek Pachman > - I of course arrived at <15. g3> after which Morphy plays <15...Rxe4> - while I would be inclined to take with the Queen - (QxQ RxQ+ Kf2)

click for larger view

with winning advantage Black because of the lead in development and immediate threats with Bg4 etc.

However the played 15...Rxe4 van be countered by the strange looking 16. Be3!! -

click for larger view

found by Rybka, and Black suddenly sees Q & R en pris, and his advantage being reduced to just 0.3

Be3 is of course a comp move - but still it makes logical sense, because exB is no option (loses) and RxB QxR equalises...

Blacks best move is ...Qg4 after Be3.

DID I MISS anything here? ;-)

Apr-29-08  achieve: PLUS - Of course, after 16. Be3! - Black has the natural looking 16...Qe7 - doubling up on the e-file; but after 17 0-0 with CHECK, White can simply move away the Bishop- after e.g. 17...Kg8 as well as Bf5 - 18. Bg5 is playable with relative equality, or equilibrium. (The Bishop can't be taken as the Rook on e4 hangs).

< 16. Be3 > definitely looks to be/IS a "saving" move for White...

Aug-17-08  hitsujyun: What's the next move after 21. ...Ke8? I checked it by Crafty.

22. Re1 Rxf3+
23. Kg1 Re1+
24. Qxe1 Qxe1#

22. Bxe3 Qxe3#

22. Re1 Rxf3+
23. Qxf3 Rxf3
24. Kxf3 Qxe1
25. Bf4 Qxa1
26. Ke4 Qe1+
27. Kxd4 Qd1+
28. Kc5 b6+
29. Kb4 Qxc2
30. Bd6 Qxb2+
31. Ka4 Qxa2+
32. Kb4 Qb3#

Nov-10-08  thebribri8: Hey, something good came out of Alabama!
Jan-10-09  ChessDaZaster: Ludek Pachman, in "Modern Chess Strategy", gives Black's 19th move a "!". What if 20. Qxh3? Any thoughts on possible continuations?
Jan-14-09  thebribri8: He gets mated.
Jan-18-09  WhiteRook48: "a little R & B from Louisiana..."
Mar-10-09  MikedaSnipe: For the patzers
20. Qxh3? Re2+ and then...
21. Kf1 Re1+
22. Kf2 (or Kg2) Qe2#
21. Kg1 Qe3+
22. Kf1 Qf2#
21. Kf3 Qe3+
22. Kg4 h4
23. Kh4 Qe7# (note that white can play Qxh4, but that just loses the queen, and incidentally white will still get mated)
Mar-29-11  Llawdogg: The meek shall inherit the earth. Just not Judge Meek.
Jun-20-11  Amphryxia: How cute that white's queen and black's king end up on the squares they started at, even after they were both brought into the middle of the board early.
Jun-21-11  Kaspablanca: Meek was very weak.
Dec-23-11  Knight13: White's attack on f7 is premature. Also, a better (and more modern) move would be 4. c3 if White really wants to avoid the Scotch and play with the dynamic advantage.
Oct-22-12  BearJr: Morphy`s big mistakes (by Rybka 4):
15...Rxe4?? 16.Be3!! (-0.3)
Instead: !15...Qxe4!! (-1.8)

Also: 16...Qe7?? is horrible because of 17.Bg5!!!(-0.19) Instead of the invertebrated 17.Nd2??(-3.13) Instead: 16...Qf6!!(-1.87)

But with all this, Bobby once said about Morphy: I don`t care about his mistakes, the guy was a genius.

Jun-23-15  Devin Larson: I think Morphy don't play really serious in this game. He made much mistakes in this game I think. But that doesn't matter because he win the game
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Instructive game to teach the principles of opening play. White moves the same pieces repeatedly before developing new ones, allows black to develop with tempo gains, and keeps his king in the center. Textbook mistakes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TerryMills: I would not have thought of 19...Bh3; pretty clever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: 16. Be3 Qg4 17. O-O+ Bf5 18. Bf2 Rae8 - does the discovered attack on the White queen by the Black bishop on f5 lead to anything?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Tartajubow gives background information on Meek and comments on this game:
May-28-21  asiduodiego: As many have commented, the key defensive manouver for white would have been after: 15 ... Rxe4+?! 16 Be3!. Suddenly, black's counterattack is stopped in its tracks. Qe7 is basically forced, and then white castles to safety (and with check) regaining momentum. It is a rather understandable mistake by Morphy, because, in general, you don't want to trade queens when you have the momentum of the attack on your side. In any case, the position is just about equal, so it's not a "blunder", just an oversight, in my opinion.

White also missed 17 Bg5!. A great move, which develops, and then allows Nd2. 16... Qf6+ was indicated, but then 17 Qf3 basically forces the Queen trade, which Morphy was avoiding. Again, it's not that he's losing or anything: white's position is still with some issues, but it's far more manageable, and now his pieces can develop far more smoothly.

A classic game nonetheless. Even if Morphy didn't always found the best moves, in terms of chess principles, he played a brilliant game: he punished the wild incursion of the white queen with very good development and principled moves. I think those mistakes are not horrible, just over-optimistic.

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