Morphy Letter - Abandoning Chess

May 7, 2008, 1:03 PM |


Letter to Fiske discussing Morphy's abandoning chess... 


From: Paul Morphy To: Daniel Fiske Date: February 4,

My dear Fiske

Pray, do not be too prompt in condemning the tardiness of my
reply, for in this case at least, it can be justified. I have purposely
abstained from returning an immediate answer to your favor, in the
hope of being enabled to take a trip to Vienna, not for the sake of
chess-playing, but activated by the very natural desire to see you
after such a lapse of time as has gone by since my last visit to New
York, and inquire about old friends and associations made doubly
dear by the sad events that are transpiring in our distracted
America. Much as I would enjoy a visit to Germany for those and
other reasons, I am sorry to say that it will not be in my power to
leave Paris at present. I am here with my brother in law and part of
my family, the remainder being in New Orleans. We are all
following with intense anxiety the fortunes of the tremendous
conflict now raging beyond the Atlantic, for upon the issue
depends our all in life. Under such circumstances you will readily
understand that I should feel little disposed to engage in the
objectless strife of the chess board. Besides, you will remember
that as far back as two years ago I stated to you in New York my
firm determination to abandon chess altogether. I am more strongly
confirmed than ever in the belief that the time devoted to chess is
literally frittered away. It is, to be sure, a most exhilarating sport,
but it is only a sport; and it is not to be wondered at that such as
have been passionately addicted to the charming pastime should
one day ask themselves whether sober reason does not advise its
utter dereliction. I have, for my own part, resolved not to be moved
from my purpose of not engaging in chess hereafter. The few
games that I have played here have been altogether private and
SANS FACON. I never patronize the Cafe de la Regence; it is a
low, and, to borrow a Gallicism, ILL FREQUENTED

Hoping that you will excuse my dilatoriness, and wishing you
health and happiness,

I remain Yours truly, /s/ Paul Morphy

P.S. Lybrandt begs to be kindly remembered to you.