Morphy, Lasker, Alekhine And Moriau. A Chess Lucky Bag!

Morphy, Lasker, Alekhine And Moriau. A Chess Lucky Bag!

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Back when I was a kid - a long, long, time ago when my dad was still alive and I got pocket money, there was a thing called a 'lucky bag'. For three old pennies you got great big bag with a random assortment of sweets and bits of plastic and cardboard. All very exciting when you are little!!

Nowadays my version of the lucky bag is this

 Fiala's amazing collections of bits of chess history. I have just received my copy of the one above, put my hand in the bag to dig out some goodies, and, being the kind child that I am, I will let you share some.

But first, I recently mentioned that Richard James was looking into Wainwright, and you can find the first results of that here -   Wonderful work mate!

One item there led me into a well known opening trap, confusing C. Moreau with this man

Camille Moriau. I won't say too much here as I think Richard may post something in the near future. A fascinating minor figure in Victorian chess circles, and good enough to be City of London Champion and give blindfold exhibitions. 

I first came across the name many years ago studying Lasker.

Among Lasker's earliest professional engagements was coming to London as one of the attractions of the German Exhibition. He played all comers and gave simultaneous exhibitions. In one of those he had a bit of a disaster, with Moriau being one of those to beat him.

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. Sourced by Tim Harding.

O.K. Let's get to some stuff from the Fiala book. 
He gives some material on Morphy's visit to London in 1859. A lovely article! In there is something that I have to hand.

The Globe. April 20. 1859.

A game and a picture.

Selous Family Archive

Some other material on that visit that I hadn't seen before included this, with apologies for the formatting issues again! Must work out how to sort that stuff out!

The welcome reappearance

of Mr Morphy has thrown

new life into the London chess circles.

On Tuesday evening there was a

brilliant meeting of chess-players at

the St. James's Club. Among those

present were Mr. Evelyn, M. P., Mr.

Morphy, M. A. de Riviere, Mr.

Wormald, Mr. Lowenthal, Mr.

Hampton, Mr. Bames, Mr. Bird, Mr.

Lane, Mr. Burden, and many others of

the metropolitan amateurs of the


"Perhaps the most interesting

games played during the evening were

a couple of excellent games contested

between messrs. Morphy  and

Lowenthal. In the first game

Mr. Morphy had the move, and

defeated his opponent in admirable

style by one of his trenchant Evans's

Gambit attacks. In the second game 

Mr Lowenthal, nothing daunted,

commenced a Ruy Lopez assault and

obtained a capital attack upon his

antagonist's forces. This attack he

prosecuted with the utmost vigour and

accuracy, to the admiration of all the

players present, and finally Mr.

Morphy resigned the game 

complimenting Mr. Lowenthal upon

the force and precision with which he

 had carried through his attack.

On this occasion many other good

games were contested by the well


players above mentioned, and

the play was prolonged with much

interest til a late hour.

The Field. April 16. 1859.

The Games. The first is one of my very favourite Morphy off-hand games.

And the second shows that Lowenthal was no push-over, even for a Morphy.

Morphy - Lowenthal

Next Fiala gives something fascinating, and totally new to me, ( I am not a Morphy scholar) taken from here.

Conway was a pretty fascinating man! You can find a little here -  

Let's give the material, with, again, apologies for the formatting.

Despite all my freedom there was a curious survival in me up 
to my twenty-seventh year of the Methodist dread of card-playing. 
The only indoor game I knew was chess. There was a flourishing 
Chess Club in Cincinnati, and I entered into the matches with 
keen interest. For a time I edited a weekly chess column in 
the Cincinnati Commercial, and wrote an article on Chess which 
Lowell published in the Atlantic Monthly. Whenever in New 
York I hastened to the Chess Club there, and watched the play 
of Lichtenstein, Thompson, Perrin, Marache, Fiske (editor of the 
Chess Monthly), and Colonel Mead, president of the club. This 
was at a time when the wonderful Paul Morphy was exciting 
the world. In July, 1859 I called on him at the Brevoort House, 
New York. He was a rather small man, with a beardless face 
that would have been boyish had it not been for the melancholy 
eyes. He was gentlemanly, and spoke in low tones. It had 
long been out of the question to play with him on even terms ; 
the first-class players generally received the advantage of a 
knight, but being a second-class player I was given a rook. In 
a letter written at the time I mention five games in which I 
was beaten with these odds, but managed (or was permitted) to 
draw the sixth. It is added : 

When one plays with Morphy the sensation is as queer as the 
first electric shock, or first love, or chloroform, or any entirely novel 
experience. As you sit down at the board opposite him, a certain 
sheepishness steals over you, and you cannot rid yourself of an old 
fable in which a lion s skin plays a part. Then you are sure you have 
the advantage ; you seem to be secure you get a rook you are 
ahead two pieces ! three ! ! Gently, as if wafted by a zephyr, the 
pieces glide about the board ; and presently as you are about to win 

the game a soft voice in your ear kindly insinuates, Mate! You

are speechless. Again and again you try ; again and again you are 
sure you must win ; again and again your prodigal antagonist 
leaves his pieces at your mercy ; but his moves are as the steps of 
Fate. Then you are charmed all along, so bewitchingly are you 
beheaded : one had rather be run through by Bayard, you know, 
than spared by a pretender. On the whole, I could only remember 
the Oriental anecdote of one who was taken to the banks of the 
Euphrates, where by a princely host he was led about the magnifi 
cent gardens and bowers, then asked if anything could be more
 beautiful. " Yes," he replied, " the chess-play of El-Zuli." So having 
lately sailed down the Hudson, having explored Staten Island, 
Hoboken, Fort Hamilton, and all the glorious retreats about New 
York, I shall say for ever that one thing is more beautiful than 
them all the chess-play of Paul Morphy. 

This was in July, 1858. I had already received a domestic 
suggestion that it was possible to give too much time to an 
innocent game, and the hint was reinforced by my experience 
with Morphy. I concluded that if, after all the time I had given 
to chess, any man could give a rook and beat me easily, any 
ambition in that direction might as well be renounced. Thence 
forth I played only in vacations or when at sea. 
And the game given.
Moncure Daniel Conway
And to finish. Fialla gives a long article on one of Alekhine's simultaneous exhibitions, in amongst a mass of Alekhine material, including details of his various marriages and so on.
The game that has been found from it is typical Alekhine, and has a really beautiful finish. A nice place to windup this little dip into the chess lucky bag.
Riga Simultaneous Exhibition. 1935. Olimpiu Urcan. Twitter.