Paul Morphy's Rating>2638

dannyhume
SmyslovFan wrote:

We really don't know what Fischer thought of Morphy. We know what he wrote, but he appeared to be completely disingenuous when he wrote his list. He was making a point of denigrating the great Soviet players while praising western masters of the past. We know this because in other places he criticized some of the very same masters he praised in his list. 

 

Well, that may be correct, and it highlights the fact that everyone, including chess geniuses, have their own biases (for instance, Kasparov claiming Karpov could beat Fischer... regardless of whether or not it is solidly defended, one can easily see a motive for Kasparov making such an argument when the majority of strong players disagree).  

kindaspongey
[COMMENT DELETED]
kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:
... Anderssen even said you might as well retire after one mistake against Morphy and that Morphy had tenacious D ... (“Tenacious D” is American slang for “strong defensive skills” for those who haven’t heard the phrase”). ...

What indication do we have that Anderssen understood 1880s chess?

Are you saying that a universally agreed upon attacking/tactical monster and former unofficial world champion who had played the next two most recent dominating "champions" would have absolutely no insight into the defensive capabilities of other players because chess "changed"?  But I concede, Anderssen was dead in the 1880's.

Did I write "absolutely no"? Did I write "defensive capabilities of other players"? Again, my question was: "What indication do we have that Anderssen understood 1880s chess?" Let me know if you decide that you want to answer that question.

Well, my comment was regarding Anderssen (the attacking/tactical master) commenting that Morphy had strong defensive skills, and you deflected by asking whether Anderssen understood 1880's chess.  And my reply was meant to convey that regardless of whether Anderssen understood 1880's chess, he certainly understood strong defense, because ...

I asked my question because I thought it would be of interest to consider what indication we have that Anderssen understood 1880s chess. If you would rather avoid that subject, we can just make note and move on. At this time, I see no reason for me to comment on Morphy's defensive skills.

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:

… what is your perceived difference then between Morphy's 1857-8 chess and Steinitz' 1880's chess?  ...

Offhand, I can not think of anything to add to what is indicated by these sorts of comments:

"... Wilhelm Steinitz, first world champion, almost single-handedly established the ground-rules for modern positional chess. ..." - IM Craig Pritchett (2011)
"... Generally considered to be the world's strongest player from around 1870 to the early 1890s, Steinitz was by far that era's most profound thinker. He approached chess in the main strategically, revolutionizing our understanding of position and approach to planning, ..." - IM Craig Pritchett (2011)
"... It was due to [Morphy's] principles of development that he had, in most cases, at the outset a better development than his opponent. As soon, however, as these principles of Morphy's had become the common property of all chess players it was difficult to wrest an advantage in an open game. ... the next problem with which players were confronted ... was to discover principles upon which close positions could be dealt with. To have discovered such principles, deeper and more numerous as they were than those relating to development in open positions, is due to Steinitz. ..." - Richard Reti (1923)
"... The analytical work of Steinitz extends over thirty years and is very valuable. In the Field, in the Tribune, in his publication International Chess Magazine and in his book Modern Chess Instructor, one may find his penetrating and profound analysis. The world did not comprehend how much Steinitz had given it ... the chess world did not understand Steinitz, neither his manner of play nor his written word which treated of his 'Modern School.' ... Now let us turn back to Steinitz and demonstrate his revolutionary achievement from his history and from his writings. ..." - Emanuel Lasker (~1925)
"... Underlying [Wilhem Steinitz’s Modern Chess Instructor] is Steinitz’s explanation – and fervent defense – of what he called the 'Modern School.' Its basic tenets: The ultimate objective of chess is to capture the opponent’s king but that should not be the primary goal. Attacks cannot defeat proper defense unless they are founded on some previously acquired positional superiority, such as better development, pawn structure or piece mobility. This was revolutionary at the time. ..." - GM Andy Soltis (2017)
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5856bd64ff7c50433c3803db/t/59d531c4d2b8578104f5e06e/1507144136823/mciexcerpt.pdf
https://www.chess.com/article/view/steinitz-changes-the-chess-world
https://www.chess.com/article/view/steinitz-the-official-world-chess-champion

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey … you seem to imply Morphy as a coffee-house player, but slightly better than the rest ...

If you want to object to something that I actually wrote, I suggest that you quote it.

In this case I made an inference …

An incorrect inference.

... Or is my inference still incorrect?

Still incorrect.

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:

… One more thing... Steinitz certainly revolutionized chess, but as SmyslovFan has pointed out, he learned from Morphy games.  Morphy is often mentioned as a prototypical modern player because he understood things a generation ahead of everyone, and this includes not just with attacking, but also strategy/positional play, development, etc. ...

Have a specific quote of any authority saying that Morphy demonstrated an understanding of 1880s chess?

"... Steinitz ... approached chess in the main strategically, revolutionizing our understanding of position and approach to planning, ..." - IM Craig Pritchett (2011)

I don't quote authority as a primary argument... they are merely someone else's opinions.  If the authority's opinions carry any weight, it is because of the arguments behind them, not "because s/he said so."  Or, in rhetorical speak, "do you have specific criteria by which one authority is considered more reliable than another?" ...

Well, some of them have IM or GM titles. You prefer citing SmyslovFan?

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:

... we already know that Fisher thought Morphy was superior, ...

Extended discussions of Morphy have been written in books by GM Franco, GM Beim, GM Ward, GM Marin, GM Bo Hansen, GM McDonald, Garry Kasparov (with Dmitry Plisetsky), and GM Gormally. Anyone see any of them express the view that we should accept Fischer's conclusion about Morphy?

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:

... Do you know of any authorities who said ... that Steinitz was better than Morphy, ...

Do you have a specific quote of me saying that Steinitz was better than Morphy? I have said, "We don't know what would have happened with an active Morphy during the two (or more) decades after 1857-8 because, for the most part, Morphy chose not to be involved with the serious chess world during the two (or more) decades after 1857-8. We are able to consider decades of post-1873 serious Steinitz chess activity."

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:

... it seems that you are now inferring that the comment "Steinitz revolutionized chess" is equivalent to "Steinitz is better than Morphy"?

I am unable to imagine any reason to believe that it seems that way if you have no quote of me asserting that Steinitz was better than Morphy.

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:

... why did Fischer hold Morphy in that highest regard ...

"Lasker ... didn't understand positional chess." - another Fischer quote from around the same time as his Morphy comments.

Does anyone know why Fischer believed that?

Extended discussions of Morphy have been written in books by GM Franco, GM Beim, GM Ward, GM Marin, GM Bo Hansen, GM McDonald, Garry Kasparov (with Dmitry Plisetsky), and GM Gormally. Anyone see any of them express the view that we should accept Fischer's conclusion about Morphy? There seems to be general agreement that Morphy was, as GM Fine put it, one of the giants of chess history, but that is a long way from saying that he was better than anyone playing today.

... one might argue that Fischer is as good an authority as any of those other GM's on this side of Kasparov ...

So why wouldn't the GMs encourage belief in Fischer? Could it be that they thought assessment of historical figures involves more than an ability to make good moves in one's own games?

kindaspongey
dannyhume wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
dannyhume wrote:

... why did Fischer hold Morphy in that highest regard ...

"Lasker ... didn't understand positional chess." - another Fischer quote from around the same time as his Morphy comments.

Does anyone know why Fischer believed that?

Extended discussions of Morphy have been written in books by GM Franco, GM Beim, GM Ward, GM Marin, GM Bo Hansen, GM McDonald, Garry Kasparov (with Dmitry Plisetsky), and GM Gormally. Anyone see any of them express the view that we should accept Fischer's conclusion about Morphy? There seems to be general agreement that Morphy was, as GM Fine put it, one of the giants of chess history, but that is a long way from saying that he was better than anyone playing today.

... Did any of the GM's you mention above claim that Steinitz was stronger (I am actually asking non-rhetorically since I haven't read their works)?  

I am unaware of any of them expressing disagreement with the idea that we don't know what would have happened with an active Morphy during the two (or more) decades after 1857-8.

kindaspongey
NM darkunorthodox88 wrote:

people take the opinions of top GM's on matters not involving "playing chess at a very high level" a little too serious sometimes.  being a very strong player doesnt necessarily make you an authority on chess figures of the past, or openings they dont play or have studied well, or whether female brains are actually handicapped in visual processing as compared to men and so on.

On the other hand, if one is not a strong player, does it perhaps suggest limitations on one's ability to make an independent judgment that one strong player was playing better than the play of another whose major playing activity was at a different time?

dannyhume

I am enjoying the lively discussion, but have run out of material to contribute, so here is a recap of the last couple hundred posts in this subthread of this thread for the maybe half-dozen of you who might be still be reading this ...

###

Claim: Morphy 1858 was likely a stronger player than Steinitz 1880's for various reasons.

Counter: We don't know, GM's/IM's don't know, kindaspongey doesn't know, nobody knows. Morphy quit, then Steinitz revolutionized chess and dominated for a couple decades, then Morphy was dead. 

###

Fair enough

dannyhume
And for the record, I am a big fan of your
contributions to these forums, kindaspongey [personal insights on lower-level player questions, single sentence challenges to all (rhetorical and socratic), book review links, and the historical quotes], though for many years we have had little common ground regarding Morphy.
dannyhume

I was just minding my own business, trying to learn some basic principles of positional chess, when out of nowhere this passage blindsides me ...

 

"In 1866 [Steinitz] wrested the title from Anderssen, who promptly conceded that Steinitz was even better than Morphy (boldface and these parenthetical italicized words are mine- dannyhume). Yet so bitter was the enmity against Steinitz that even after he held the world championship for 20 years a self-appointed committee of three amateurs claimed that 'Morphy could have given Steinitz pawn and move.' And a noted critic attributed Steinitz's two match victories over Zukertort to the fact that 'Zukertort was not yet Zukertort in 1872' (the date of their first match) 'and was no longer Zukertort in 1886' (the date of their second match). Anti-Semitism undoubtedly was the driving source behind these smears."

 

-Evans, Larry., 2011. New Ideas in Chess. Cardoza Publishing. p.22.

kindaspongey

Larry Evans was not known for historical accuracy in his writing.

Brixed
SmyslovFan wrote:

If you're +2300 FIDE, you should send chess.com your info so you can get a free diamond membership here. The benefits are well worth the minimal amount of energy it takes to do this.

I appreciate the info, though I'm already aware of this. (This is my anonymous account.)

dannyhume wrote:

... You are very strong, appreciate your input thus far on this with your multiple insightful posts.  I will say in spite of the dogmatism some of us are throwing at each other, it is difficult for even experts to agree on things, but I certainly appreciate their insights. We certainly see it with judging chess players.  But even in professional sports, experts often don't agree and have a hard time predicting which player or team will do best, or which prospect will make it successfully through the professional ranks. 

I agree. Morphy is one of those figures that'll likely be argued over for as long as chess remains.

Overall, I agree with Capablanca's opinion (published in Mundial, May 1927), and consider it applicable even today: "... if Morphy were resurrected and were to play immediately only with the knowledge of his time, he would most certainly be defeated by many present-day masters. Nevertheless, it is logical to suppose that he would soon be at the necessary level to compete against the best ..."

Brixed
SmyslovFan wrote:

Morphy was a lightning bolt that illuminated the landscape for a very short time. Steinitz didn't burn as brilliantly, but he codified much of what Morphy was all about. 

Very well said.

kindaspongey

Capablanca did not live to see any of the post-WWII chess world.

"The champions tournament held in 1948 to decide the next world champion ... was won by Mikhail Botvinnik with Vasily Smyslov in second place. ... The Soviet Union would, from that point until its dissolution in 1991, dominate the game at world level. Botvinnik went on ... to become the first Soviet world champion, the beginning of a continuous line of Soviet players to hold the title that was only broken for a few years in the 1970s by Bobby Fischer. ... What made the difference was the system of state sponsorship put in place by the Soviets to train and develop their chess players, ... selecting children ... who showed promise at a young age and sending them to specialist institutions where they were expected to follow strict and intensive training regimes ..." - The History of Chess in Fifty Moves by Bill Price

kindaspongey

"... It was due to [Morphy's] principles of development that he had, in most cases, at the outset a better development than his opponent. As soon, however, as these principles of Morphy's had become the common property of all chess players it was difficult to wrest an advantage in an open game. ... the next problem with which players were confronted ... was to discover principles upon which close positions could be dealt with. To have discovered such principles, deeper and more numerous as they were than those relating to development in open positions, is due to Steinitz. ..." - Richard Reti (1923)