Chess Terms
Chess Terms
Opera Game

Opera Game

Opera Game? Is that some kind of opening variation or a chess variant? No, the Opera Game refers to a magnificent game played by Paul Morphy!

Here is what you need to know about the Opera Game:

What Is The Opera Game?

The Opera Game (also known as the Opera House Game) is one of the most famous chess games of all time—some think it is the most famous one ever. It is also considered to be Paul Morphy's best game.

Opera game
Paul Morphy in 1859. Photo: Wikimedia.

The game was played in 1858 in an opera house in Paris. The American attacking genius had the white pieces and played against two noblemen who consulted with each other to play the black pieces. Morphy's opponents were Duke Karl II of Brunswick and the French aristocrat Count Isouard de Vauvenargues.

Why Is The Opera Game Important?

The Opera Game is important because it is one of the best illustrations of attacking chess. The staff has voted this game as the number-two greatest chess game of all time.

Opera game
The Opera Game is considered one of the greatest games of all time.

Morphy shows how important the roles of development, time, sacrifices, and combinations are in this game. It is for these reasons (and more) that many chess coaches show this game to their students. The game has stood the test of time, and it remains a popular topic for books, articles, videos, and other chess literature even today (despite being played over 150 years ago).

The Opera Game

Now that you know what the Opera Game is and why it is important, it is time to take a look at this beautiful game where Morphy throws everything including the proverbial "kitchen sink" at his opponents. Here it is, with brief annotations by another American chess legend, GM Bobby Fischer:


You now know what the Opera Game is, why it is important, and more! Check out this great video by GM Simon Williams for more information about the Opera Game.

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