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What you don't know about Morphy...

batgirl
Jun 24, 2009, 1:11 PM 7

Chess history is funny.  It's really an awfully esoteric field of study that appeals to a relatively tiny portion of society. In the scope of things, it's rather unimportant and yet certain historians become ridiculously obsessed with minute details and trivia as if such things supercede the story itself - and that's all that history really is, a story. 
I've written a lot about Paul Morphy and have contributed my own flotsam of trivia in the process. But even I have my tolerance level and left out many things I had noted mentally over the years.  So, for the trivia lovers, here are a few of the things most people may not know about Paul Morphy -

 

Paul Morphy's father was, of course, Alonzo Morphy and most people know Alonzo's brother was Ernest Morphy. But most people aren't aware that Alonzo had another brother and three sisters - Thomas (possibly Tomas) Manuel Julius Morphy, born in 1804;  Anne Esmeralda Morphy, born in 1811 (and died in January of the same year as Paul, 1884);  Madeleine Antoinette Morphy, born in 1813;  Henriette Emma Morphy, born in 1815.
Alonzo also had a half-brother Diego Morphy, Jr.

 

We all know that Paul Morphy died in his bathtub and was diagnosed by the attending physician with congetion of the brain (apoplexy) which was assumed to have been brought on through the effect of cold water on an overheated body. What most people don't know is that Paul, though found in the water of the bathtub, had a large purple bruise on his left temple from where he fell.

 

Despite the fact that his opponent at the time was a beginner (it was Charles Maurian who was taught the game by Morphy in 1854) and Morphy was already a first-class master (having beaten Löwenthal four years earlier), Paul Morphy lost his only recorded game giving Queen-odds:

 

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