The Pioneer of the New School

The Pioneer of the New School‎

GM Julio_Becerra
34 | Chess Players

Louis Paulsen was born at Nassengrund, in Germany, on January 15th, 1833 and at an early age he learned chess from his father. In 1854 he immigrated to America and was the number one player when Paul Morphy wasn't playing. He was a resident of Dubuque, Iowa where he and his brother Ernest engaged in farming and cigar manufacturing. They also founded the Dubuque Chess Club in 1858.

In the 1860s and 1870s, he was among the top five players in the world. Steinitz called him a "pioneer of the new school" and claimed that Paulsen was the one opponent he feared most in match play. Paulsen changed the way we play chess by his treatment of pawn structures, closed positions and fianchettos and was one of the first players to challenge the notion that an attack could be constructed out of brilliance. He put forward the idea that any brilliant attack would have failed against correct defence. Aaron Nimzowitsch listed Paulsen among his six greatest "purely defensive players."

In tournaments he was 2nd at New York 1857 (after Paul Morphy), 1st at Bristol 1861, 2nd at London 1862 (after Adolf Anderssen), 2nd at Baden-Baden 1870, 1st at Krefeld 1871, 1st at Leipzig 1877, 2nd at Leipzig 1879 and 4th at Breslau 1889.
In matches he played Adolf Anderssen three times; drawing in 1862 (+3, =2, -3) and winning in 1876 (+5, =1, -4) and 1877 (+5, =1, -3).

Paulsen was a master gifted in his insights into opening play; many of his ideas were adopted long after his death!  He became famous for his skill in opening play and he is considered the father of the "Sicilian Defense”! In addition to the "Paulsen Variation," he invented the "Dragon Variation" and pioneered the "King's Indian Defense”!

He was the first person to popularize blindfold chess and held the record of 15 games played simultaneously. Paulsen set world records with his exhibitions. No one had ever attempted more than one blindfolded game at a time. During one exhibition, Paulsen played four matches simultaneously winning three and losing one to a twenty-year-old chess master named Paul Morphy! He was the leading blindfold expert in the world during his lifetime!

Paulsen died of diabetes on August 18th, 1891.














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