Morphy in the News


A random series of newspaper articles, published after his death, that mention Paul Morphy.

The San Francisco Call, February 04, 1896
A Young American Boy Who Eclipses Paul Morphy.
Paul Morphy reigned in the chess world from 1854 to 1860. He was only 35 years of age when he died, and to those who know the intensity of intellectual work required for championship chess it will not sound surprising to record that be flickered out with a diseased brain. It would be strange if it were otherwise. Gray matter becomes tired as well as muscular tissue. But in his day he was phenomenal. He was the first man to play chess blindfolded, meeting in this darkened contest from six to eight opponents at one time. One who has not witnessed this feat cannot appreciate its marvelous character. The blindfolded contestant sits far away from the table of his antagonist and carrying in his mind the positions of every piece upon the checkered square, meets move after move, when informed of it without seeing either piece or table. To do that he must have photographed upon his brain every table upon which he is making battle. The next man to accomplish this feat was Zukertort, a German, who played blindfolded at one time sixteen separate games, and the estimate in which this feat was held was displayed by the fact that by special solicitation it was done in the presence of Queen Victoria; the Prince of Wales and all the other members of the royal house of Great Britain. That is now outdone by Pillsbury, the American boy.


Omaha Daily Bee, August 04, 1886
His Gifts from Friends Sold at Auction in New Orleans.
     A New Orleans dispatch , July 21. says : To-day the the estate of the late Paul Morphy , the celebrated chess player , was sold out at public auction , to close up the succession. It embraced pieces of real estate and some personal property , notably a number of trophies and testimonials to his great prowess in chess.  Among them were a crown of silver designed in the foliage of the laurel , typical of victory , presented to Morphy in 1859 by the Union Chess club of New York , and a solid silver service, consisting of pitcher. four goblets, and a large salver , won by Morphy in the international [sic] chess tourney which took place In New York in 1857. On the salver is an engraving representing Morphy in the act of winning the decisive game of the tourney from Paulsen , Each place bears the monogram  "P. M."   The centre of  "attraction"  was the rich and elaborate chess board of alternate squares of pearl and ebony and elegantly wrought men of solid gold and silver. The designs of these pieces are intended to express the opposing forces of civilization, The gold men represent civilization and the silver men barbarianism, and the hand of the artist wrought each piece to represent some phase.and characteristic of the age portrayed. This chess board and the chessmen were presented to Morphy at New York after his return from his triumphal tour through Europe. The work was done by Tiffany , the chessmen costing $1,500 and the board $200.
     The presentation was made by the Honorable John Van Buren. On the same occasion Morphy was also presented with a fine gold watch with colored chess figures in place of the Roman numbers to mark the hours. When Morphy felt the pinch of poverty he sent the watch to Paris to be pawned. It has never been redeemed.
     The sale , which was had at the Arcade exchange , attracted much attention. The chessmen were sold first , the opening bid being $1,000 which was quickly advanced to $1,100 , then to $1,300 and up to $1,500 , where the bidding halted for a moment. This was advanced to $1,550, and, not being advanced , the set was knocked down to Mr. Walter Denegre, who, it is said , was acting for the New York and Brooklyn chess club. The silver laurel crown began at $100 and advanced quickly to $225. Mr. Samory , a retired merchant, added $25 more and secured the crown for $250. The sale of the silver service was opened with a two-hundred-and-fifty dollar bid and went up to $400 , and was knocked down to Mr. Samory also.

Amador Ledger. (of Jackson, Amador County, Calif.), November 16, 1900
Morphy's Witty Comment.
     Paul Morphy, the famous chess player, once attended church in New Orleans when the bishop of a foreign diocese was present. The young rector of the church had prepared a sermon in honor of his distinguished visitor in the delivery of which he tired everyone except the bishop who paid close attention.  Part of the congregation left the church.
    "Well," said Morphy, "that preacher is the first man I ever met who hadn't sense enough to stop when he had nothing left but a bishop."


St. Paul Daily Globe, November 23, 1884

     The Mirror's column of yesterday is a novel one.
     The Morphy gold and silver chess men are to be exhibited at New Orleans.
     The number of chess clubs in the United States is said to be 76, in Canada 10, and 1 in New Brunswick.
     Mr. Steinitz is emerging from under the weather, where be has been recently attacked, if we correctly understand, by an American "cold,"
     It will probably be called The International Chess Magazine. Have you sent on your name? We will gladly give any desired information at our command.
     M. Rosenthal,  the Paris first-rate, is in England, recompensing the natives for the loss of Blackburne. He is reported as playing in fine form.
The friends of Emmet Hamilton will be amused to learn that in certain New York chess circles he is rumored to be a myth and his name a pseudonym for William Steinitz.
     The Elmira Telegram, at the close of a long analysis in the Ruy Lopez, or Spanish opening, sums up as follow:  "We are never afraid of assuming any analytical responsibility, and consequently we propose 3 B to K2  [for black] as a candidate for occasional adoption.
     A piece of music, for the piano, graces three pages of the Brooklyn Chess Chroniclethis month. It is a tribute to the memory of Paul Murphy [sic], by Sig. G. Liberall, an eminent musician (and chess amateur) of Patras, Greece. It comes highly praised.
     The leading members having withdrawn from the French committee of play In the Paris-Vienna correspondence match, announces the resignation of Herr Englisch  "-as one of the players on the Vienna side." *  *  * This eminent player does not want either to vaincre sans peril nor triomphe sans gloire.
      The stimulating effects of the existence of a club challenge cup are shown in the extent of the contest for that of the Leeds (Eng.) Chess club. Upwards of 700 games were played all round, before it was carried off for the second time by Mr. Jas. White, chess editor of the Leeds Mercury. as noted by us some time back.
     —N. O.Times Democrat.
     The Illustrated London News says a chess seance at the City of London club on the 24th ult. attracted the largest attendance of members and visitors that ever assembled at that popular resort. Between the hours of 6 and 10 p. m. Dr. Zukertort played simultaneously  24 games, the greatest number, we believe, that were ever handled at one time. He won 18, drew 5, and lost 1.


New-York Tribune, February 21, 1910

Woman Plays on Board Used by Chess Marvel.
Comparatively few chess boards are now in existence on which Paul Morphy. the remarkable Southern chess player, is known to have played. One of these, the property of Mrs. Harriet Worrall. of Brooklyn, and on which she defeated the champion in a game at the odds of a rook, figured in the simultaneous exhibition given by Albert B. Hodges In the art room of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in the Academy of Music on Saturday night. Mrs.Worrall was one of four women players pitted against the expert, and, partnered by Walter Frere in a consultation game, played an excellent game on the Morphy relic. However, Hodges won that game and seventeen others, losing only to L. D. Rosowsky. of the Brooklyn Boys' High School, and drawing with C. G. Nicholas, of the New York Chess Club.