Learn From The Masters: Morphy's Opera House Game
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Learn From The Masters: Morphy's Opera House Game

EOGuel
EOGuel
Jun 7, 2018, 11:51 AM |
14

Hello, everyone!

I'm sure many of you heard of this famous game played by Paul Morphy against two opponents at an Opera House. If you've seen it a thousand times (like I have), you may be rolling your eyes, like "Come on, Daniel! Can't you present something better and more interesting?" However, I am confident that there are many of you who have not heard of this game! For those who have not seen the game, or simply would like to enjoy a free chess lesson, feel free to read along! 

Paul Morphy was one of America's prime chess talents, playing in the 1850s, though his career was cut short due to off-board issues with his life. Morphy was invited to an opera by two people, as well as a chess game at the opera! Paul was trying to simultaneously crush these dudes while watching the show, so you can imagine how easy Duke Karl and Count Isouard were to beat! I hope you enjoy the game!

We will skip through the first few moves, which were 1. e4, e5 2. Nf3, d6 3. d4.

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Back when this game was played, 4. Bg4 was considered theory, though nowadays, it is considered simply dubious, and Paul Morphy rightfully punished that move!

Now I am sure Paul Morphy retreats the Bishop and continues the game from there... nope!
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Morphy immediately hits his opponents with 10. Nxb5(!). What is the point behind this sacrifice? White will lose the piece for two pawns, though Black cannot castle anytime soon (and won't have time to anyway!), and White is just throwing punches along the d-file and a4-e8 diagonal! Still don't believe this compensates for the lost material? Let Morphy correct your doubts!
Again, I hope you enjoyed this lecture, even if you have seen the game hundreds of times! I think this game can be seen as entertaining and somewhat instructive for pretty much all levels of play. Morphy truly displayed the power of rapid development and the initiative (as he does in many of his games!).
Have a good day and fun Opera! 
P.S. I can't seem to edit a board once I completed it, so that's why the names in the last one are blank. Apologies!