Paul Morphy VS The Duke and The Count


I have always been a fan of the American Chess Master Paul Morphy.  Being from the same general area where he was born and lived, I have traveled on Morphy Avenue many times.  I also taught a summer course in the college where Morphy  attended classes and graduated.  In an interview, Bobby Fischer said about Paul Morphy, “I think everyone agrees he was probably the greatest of them all.”  Fischer named Morphy in the top 10 greatest chess players of all time and “the most accurate chess player who ever lived.”    
The chess game played in 1858 at an opera house in Paris between the American chess master Paul Morphy and two strong amateurs, the German noble Duke Karl of Brunswick and the French aristocrat Count Isouard, is among the most famous chess games. Duke Karl and Count Isouard consulted together, playing as partners against Morphy. The game is often used by chess instructors to demonstrate the importance of rapid development of one's pieces, the value of sacrifices in mating combinations, and other lessons.  It’s even listed in one of my favorite chess books “How Not To Play Chess” by Eugene A. Zosko-Borovsky.
White: Paul Morphy   Black: Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard   
Paris 1858


I've learned the Qf3 -> Qb3 trick from this game, and won countless games with it...


This is by far the most-published chess game of all time.


And it is great everytime again :-)


The legend of the game is disputed, but seems compatible with what is known of Morphy's character and his attitude to the game. 

The story goes that Morphy was invited to attend the opera in the Duke's box, which were among the very best seats in the house.  It was certainly his chess notoreity which won him the invitation, but it was to be a night at the opera - in Paris, with a prime view, being the toast of society, all of which must have been most intoxicating for an educated young man from New Orleans.  It is said that Morphy was introduced to Count Isouard in the box, who then produced a set just as the overture began, much to the American's chagrin.

The Duke, as host, wished to see his famous guest play, too, and arranged to consult with Isouard, but placed Morphy with his back to the stage.  Morphy wanted to get the game over quickly so he would not miss any of the performance - and the rest is chess history.


Between his defeat of Harrwitz in the beginning of October (even during his match, since Edge cites Morphy's initial loses due to his late hours) and the arrival of Anderssen towards the end of December, Paul Morphy had a busy social calendar.  He played the Duke of Brunswick quite frequently, as well as Count Isouard de Vauvenargue and the Count Casabianca in his many soirées with Mme. Regnault Jean D'Angely and Princess Murat (whose uncle , Achille, married the sister of Prince Dadian of Mingrelia) and other notables. They also possibly conducted several games at the Théâtre-Italien (see Morphy and Music). Neither the Duke not the Count were hacks, but Morphy was far beyond them.


Thank you for the link to Morphy and music