The Opera Game, Part II

The Opera Game, Part II

Mar 9, 2016, 1:24 AM |

Hi there! In Part I of "The Opera Game" 

we learned about Paul Morphy, a great chess player from New Orleans. We saw the beginning of his game against the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard.

If we count the pieces, White is down one minor piece (a knight or bishop). But that is not all that is going on. White is pinning both of Black's knights. The black king is caught in the center. He cannot get his bishop on f8 or rook on h8 into the game. In fact, almost all of Morphy's pieces are aimed at black pieces, while none of Black's pieces are attacking White! However, there is one piece that White is not using...

You guessed it. The rook on h1. Now Morphy finds a clever way to get this last piece into the game, complete his development, and overload the defense.

Now Morphy finished the game with a beautiful combination. This means that he made one move which makes no sense by itself (in fact, it loses the queen), but suddenly makes sense when you see the next move.

Morphy realized that if the knight on d7 were to go away, he could checkmate with his rook on d8. No price is too high for checkmate, even the queen!
Do you see the final position? Black is up a queen and a knight! That is more than you need to win a game - it might even be enough to win a whole tournament! But they are in checkmate. White has only a rook and bishop left, but they combine perfectly. Black's pieces, on the other hand, are just sitting at home. Their rook and bishop, in fact, never moved.

So when you play your next game, try to play like Morphy. Bring your pieces out as fast as you can. Pin your opponent's pieces, control the center, and keep your king safe. Maybe you are the next Paul Morphy?!