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In the case of the match against Showalter's wife, Lasker most certainly threw it in a gentlemanly gesture. I agree a master would win with Knight odds against a World Champion caliber player, but Mrs. Showalter was no master.
Fischer did make the claim about giving Knight odds to women players, but at the time he said it the only women masters were Soviets. The US Women's Champions in those days were typically rated in the 1850-2150 range.
Fischer also wrote that "In a set match, he [Morphy] could beat any player alive today." It was in the short-lived Australian quarterly Chess World, now a collector's item like his King's Gambit "bust" in American Chess Quarterly of similar vintage. It is worthy of note that the article was Fischer's top ten players of all time, and he didn't include himself on the list, so even in 1964 we might wonder if he meant "besides me."
To me the most remarkable thing about Morphy is the casual approach he had to the game. He was a social player, the local offhand champion but never a serious competitor until he passed the bar exam at age 18, but could not join the bar in Louisiana until he was 21, which led to his chess excursions first to New York and then to Europe - he was killing time. He had access to only a couple of chess books, and was only able to play a master-level player on a couple of occasions before the American Congress, yet he dominated.
And in Europe, he dominated again. Throughout, in the age before any time limits, he rarely took more than one minute on a move, and would read while long-thinking opponents sat for long periods.
The only purse he won was from Anderssen, who insisted upon the standard stake for their match. Knowing it to have come from his opponent's own pocket, he had it secretly returned to Mrs. Anderssen. He detested being called a "chessplayer" as almost an insult.
So to Morphy it was a hobby, yet he dominated the world.
As Notlesu pointed out, in this case correctly, Adolph Anderssen never married, so the story about Morphy "secretly returning the purse to Mrs. Anderssen" could not be true. But as a general point, I think you are right that Morphy detested the idea of being a professional chess player, and rejected such a career even if it was available.
If say a lawyer goes bankrupt, weren't they still a professional lawyer until they crashed and burned?
I guess so, but if they never made any significant amount of money from law profession to begin with then I think not. Just because someone did not happen to have another reasonable source of income, and once in a while made a few dimes from chess, does not make them chess professionals unless one is really prepared to stretch the concept.
Atos, I get the distinct impression that you think Morphy never made a significant amount of money from chess. In Aug 1859 thru Aug 1860 he wrote a chess column for the New York Ledger. He was paid $3,000 for the column. That $80,000 in todays money---do you consider that significant?
I wasn't directly talking about Morphy. It may be that Morphy made some money from chess, but he was from a rich family so he probably wouldn't have considered that a significant amount of money. There was also the issue of him / his family/ social milieu considering chess as a kind of gambling, and feeling a disgust toward making a living from it. Between it having been practically difficult to make a regular / significant income from chess, and it having been considered unacceptable in the higher social circles, I still find it hard believe that there were really chess professionals then.
Atos, you're babbling---talking follishly. Adios!
You refuse to consider a distinction between making some money from an activity and being a professional in it. As for babbling, I must have followed your example. A person so convinced that they know everything, so fond of listening to themselves, and so devoid of debating culture is rarely encountered even on the Internet.
Partly there is a battle of sematics going on here. Professional has more than one meaning. When we talk about sports, a professonal (vs. an amature) is one that takes any kind of money for playing the sport. Another meaning of professional is following a caree path.
In part it is a matter of how these people perceived / described themselves. Morphy may have made some money from chess but he strenuously objected to being described as a (professional) chess player. Steinitz was the first one who openly proclaimed that he did want to make a living from playing chess.
his rating is at least 358 points higher than Eugene Rousseau
at least 226 points higher than Louis Paulsen
at least 412 points higher than George Hammond
at least 457 points higher than John William Schutten
at least 320 points higher than Henry Edward Bird
and finally at least 257 points higher than Adolf Anderson..
I'm curious as to how these numbers were determined. I think Morphy was one of the best player the game has ever seen but determining ratings for older players (before) the rating system was introduced is somewhat controversial; arguments usually start after such declaration.
I "determined" these numbers from this information...
Eugene Rousseau - +45−5=0
Louis Paulsen - 9.5/12
George Hammond - 15/16
John William Schutten - 23/24
Henry Edward Bird - 10.5/12
Adolf Anderson 14/17
117/131 or 89%
im kinda convinced I just wanted you to show proof of your information.
I understand he had great results over his contemporaries, but what are the strengths of those players you listed? I thought that the amount of points someone earned from winning a game is due to their opponent's rating compared to theirs. Thus a 2300 beating a 1300 will not earn much point(s) or any at all. Now, I am not saying the players you listed are 1300s because I don't know, although I am sure they are not 1300. So I guess the next question is how were the ratings of his opponents determined?
Mrs. Anderssen does not necessarily mean his wife. I'm not sure about the story, I'm just saying.
I think there is no way to find his real rating, because he didnt play with today's masters, so u can take a guess but this math doesnt make sense.
So Fischer did say that, that's interesting. His ranking Morphy as #1 I never took seriously, but then again Fischer changed his mind 40 years later. If he meant in those 40 years opening theory had advanced too much or not... it doesn't change my opinion either way
I sure don't make a habit of reading your posts.
When I started my thread
this is what I actually wanted to try and figure out.
Looking at numbers of players, I think there is a statistical method of estimating the average strenght of the (say) top twenty players of that time.
If there are 20m players today, which includes 200 2600+ players, how many 2600+ players were there in the 1860 pool of 100,000 players?
I thought for a moment that you had something to say, but I'll know better next time.
Here's what Capablanca had to say on the subject (echoes what people already said earlier):
"It is often said that Morphy is the strongest player there has ever been. In our judgment such assertions are absurd, since not only do they lack any basis but it is in any case impossible to prove them. All that would be possible is to make comparisons on the basis of his matches, and according to the strength of his opponents. If we made such comparisons, the result would be disastrous for the assertions of the admirers of the great master of the past."
"Concerning an oft-repeated declaration by a large number of admirers, who believe that Morphy would beat all today’s players, as we have already said, this has no foundation. On the other hand, 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, but there is no way of knowing exactly how successful he would be."
The whole article is here http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/capablanca3.html
He has great respect for Morphy, as should anyone who loves chess, but seems to be of the opinion that the "how strong would he be today" question is idle and useless.
This is a good link.
Notlesu, please try to rein in your hysteria to some extent. I did write "if" because I didn't have time to check the exact date Fischer's statement was made. I have other things to do except wading through your muddled posts. If Fischer was so well informed about women players, had he not heard about Gaprindashvily (who had already qualified as the challenger) in the beginning of 1962. ?
You are not saying which "Lazarevich" was meant; if it was Milunka Lazarević, she was Yugoslav not Soviet. Maybe you should brush up on your geography and history, not mentioning logic.
You must be one of those guys who still play without a Queen, Rook, and a couple of minor pieces.
I'd been away on a trip to the gorgeous and fascinating city of Savannah, Ga. all this week and unfortunately missed reading some of the insightful and congenial postings in my absence.
A slight correction to someone's previous posting:
ChessWorld was not an Australian magazine. ChessWorld was very much American, with all three issues published in NYC by Frank Brady, who later authored "Bobby Fischer: profile of a prodigy." Strangely enough, since this discussion has focused partly on Fischer's printed opinion of Morphy, it should be noted that Fischer's article, "The Ten Greatest Masters in History," appeared in the first issue of ChessWorld. Also in that issue there were articles by Pal Benko and Alexander Kotov, an article by Paul Leith on "Shakespeare's Checkmate," one by Jerome Tarshis on "How the Blind Play Chess," one by Irving Chernov on "Chess Curios," but most intersting, a very extensive article by a chess collector named David Lawson on Paul Morphy - so extensive was that article that it formed the very basis of Lawson's book twelve years later called "Paul Morphy, The Pride and Sorrow of Chess." The cover of issue one can be seen here: http://www.edochess.ca/batgirl/CHESSWORLD.html .
Speaking of Frank Brady:
In "Bobby Fischer: profile of a prodigy," Frank Brady wrote on the subject "Of course, to make an unforgettable impact on established chess is one of Bobby's sacred missions. In the first issue of ChessWorld he authored a piece called "The Ten Greatest Masters in History," which included Tal and Spassky and left out Botvinnik and - unpardonable outrage! - Emanuel Lasker, who was named as the greatest ever by Tal, Korchnoi and Robert Bryne in a poll of the leading players of the day taken sometime after Fischer's list appeared. A Dutch magazine, Elsevier, that summer picker up articles by Botvinnik, Euwe, and Kotov, all denouncing Bobby's omissions. He hadn't included himself among the Greatest Masters, either, but that fooled nobody. When he had preciously written that "in a set match . . . [Paul Morphy] would beat anyone alive today," I'd asked him if that included himself. 'Oh, no,' he replied, with an embarrassed smile. "I didn't include myself on the list.'"
Here, Brady commented on Ginzburg's Harper's Magazine interview with Fischer (some of the text is abbreviated, but the context is fully intact): Another event took place in August 1961 that blemished Bobby's public chess image. Writer-editor, Ralph Ginzburg arranged for an interview-in-depth with Fischer, which appeared in Harper's Magazine the following January. Mr. Ginzburg succeeded in getting Bobby to open up to an unprecedented extent, and the result was disastrous or pathetic or funny, depending on your point of view. Although not written in malice... Bobby is depicted as a monster of egotism, scornful of everything outside himself and the game, while understanding nothing of what he scorns. As the image develops, we see a callow arriviste who, in attempting to delineate his notions of, and pretensions to "class," convicts himself to an increasingly hopeless vulgarity.. The interview was partially tape-recorded and much in it rings true, yet many of us have trouble recognizing the Fischer we knew in this article. ...For a while, he couldn't even stand to hear the name Ginzburg, and when I once bought it up in passing he screamed: "I don;t want to talk about it! Don't mention Ginzburg's name to me!"When he commented on the interview, he claimed emphatically that much in it had been twisted, distorted and taken out of context. Ginzburg says on the other hand that he toned it down. Both claims may be true though the latter is less convincing.
There are no indications that Lasker threw his match, or even used kid gloves, with Nellie Showalter and every indication that he was surprised by her strong play. Lasker had just beaten Nellie's husband, Jackson Whipps Showalter in 1893, after which Lasker claimed Mr. Showalter was the strongest opponent he'd ever faced. Showalter, at that time, was generally held to be the US Champion. Nellie eventually became, in essense, the first US women's champion, though not in any official sense. In an 1894 interview, Nellie stressed: "When I first came to New York I played with Mr. Lasker a match of five games up. He gave the odds of a knight and I beat him five to two. Lasker had beaten everybody in Germany and England, then he came and beat my husband, and his astonishment, he said, was great that I could whip him with the odds he gave me."
Em. Lasker, on the other hand, claimed, perhaps tongue-in-cheek: "At the critical juncture in the games, Mrs. Showalter would smile coyly, and then flash a bit of ankle. I was extremely flustered by such antics. When I complained to Mr. Showalter, he just guffawed and said, 'My Nellie is such a card! Have a cigar'."
Even before her match with Harriet Worrall, it seems that Nellie was considered the premier American woman chess player. American Chess Magazine in 1894 wrote:Mrs. Showalter, the wife of the present American champion, whose portrait we give, is the present lady champion, and although only twenty-two, has signalized herself by beating Lasker in a match at the odds of a Knight by five to two games. In a subsequent match at Kokomo, Ind., she easily defeated Mr. C. O. Jackson, drawing the first game and winning the next three games right off. She also won a majority of games of Mr. Arthur Peter, who took first prize in the " Free-for-all " Tourney at Kokomo. She has now been challenged by Miss Worrall ; but at present holds the title of " queen of chess," abdicated by Mrs. Gilbert, of Hartford, Conn., who once immortalized herself in the Correspondence Match America vs. England by announcing a mate in twenty-three moves in one game, and also a mate in eighteen in the other companion game, to her astonished opponent across the Atlantic.
Here's a couple interesting articles touching on Nellie Showalter:Evening bulletin (Maysville, Ky. : 1887): March 18, 1896Mrs. Nellie Marshall Showalter is perhaps the most accomplished woman chessplayer in the world. She was born at Donerail, Fayette County, in 1872, and is directly descended from Chief Justice Marshall, of tho United States Supreme Court. She was educated in her native State, and in 1887 married Jackson W. Showaltor, an ex-Mason Countian, who taught her to play chess. She has played many brilliant games, and will undoubtedly achieve still higher distinction in this particular field, says Leslie's Weekly.Mrs. Showalter is a Southern belle, with a petite figure and a charming manner. She is at present in Kentucky, but. expects to go East in a few weeks for the purpose of tuning part in the international chess match by cable which will be contested in April between the women of England and America.BMC 1894She is only 22 years of age and was married to him [Jackson Whipps Showalter] at 16. Soon after this event her husband taught her the moves, and then gave her the odds of the queen; but she progressed so rapidly that he cannot now give her the knight, and she has won two games of Mr Lasker at that odds. Not long ago, at Kokomo, Indiana, she played four games on even terms with Mr Jackson, the champion of that State, with the result that she won three and the other was drawn.
More about Nellie Showalter and Harriet Worrell here.
Batgirl, let me clue you in somewhat on the Ginzberg-Fischer interview.
Oh, you read the interview. How interesting.
@notlesu, I think you're conflating two people: Ralph Ginzburg did indeed publish EROS and Avante Garde but the Beat poet who wrote Howl was Allen Ginsberg