Paul Morphy: the First Modern Player (part II)

Paul Morphy: the First Modern Player (part II)

GM Julio_Becerra
May 13, 2009, 12:00 AM |
31 | Chess Players

After his victory in the First American Congress, Morphy received an invitation to participate in an international chess tournament to be held in Brimingham, England in the summer of 1858. This trip to Europe was the key moment in Paul Morphy's chess career. Instead of playing in the tournament, he played and easily won a series of chess matches against all the leading English masters. However, his primary aim was a match with Howard Staunton who initially promised a match, but eventually declined after witnessing Morphy's play! Staunton was later criticized for avoiding a match with Morphy. It is said that Staunton was working on his edition of the complete works of Shakespeare at the time, but he also found time to compete in a chess tournament during Morphy's visit!

Looking for new opponents, Morpy crossed to France. At the Cafe de la Regence in Paris, the center of chess in France (and the world!) he played a match against Daniel Harrwitz, severaly defeating him. In Paris, Morphy suffered from a bout of intestinal influenza but he insisted on playing a match against Adolf Anderssen, considered by many to be Europe's leading player. Morphy won this contest easily, winning seven, losing two, and drawing two. When asked about his defeat, Anderssen claimed to be out of practice, but also admitted that Morphy was in any event the stronger player and that he was absolutely beaten; also he said that Morphy was the strongest player ever to play the game. After this success, Morphy again attempted to challenge Staunton to a match, but in vain.

In October, Morphy visited the opera and during the intermission of "The Barber of Seville" he played his famous game against Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard. This game is an extraordinary model of logic and precision. It is said that Morphy played blindfold! To many readers it will already be familiar; but to those who have not seen it before: try to predict the white moves, and then inscribe this game in your memory as a model.

 






 

 

 






 

 

 

Having crushed virtually all serious opposition, Morphy declared that he would play no more matches without giving odds of a pawn. Returning to America, he declared himself retired from the game and, with a few exceptions, gave up public exhibitions for pleasure. Morphy died on the afternoon of July 10, 1884 at the age of forty-seven. The Morphy house, sold by the family in 1891, is today the place of Brennan's, a famous New Orleans restaurant.

Here is another elegant combination of Morphy's to enjoy:

 



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