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This is the story of the birth of modern chess – when the possibilities of chess as an art, a science and a sport all converged.
The point of convergence was a young boy from Louisiana named Paul Morphy. At a time when America was seen as a backwoods nation with little cultural history and even less intellectual impetus, at a time when chess was considered the exclusive property of a few European countries, at a time when the game was played successfully by a handful of men wizened by years, Paul Morphy, in the brief span of 19 months and with seemingly little effort, defeated conclusively every player he met.
While today few non chess players even know his name, he was one of the most famous celebrities of his time and within the hallowed halls of the chess playing community he is considered by some as the greatest chess player of all time.
But this diminutive, unassuming boy rose to fame almost out of nowhere and once he secured his place in history, he retired back into that hazy unknown, shunning the public eye, never again to play serious chess. Not only was he one of great practitioners of the game, but also one of it’s greatest enigmas. He’s been given the sobriquet, The Pride and Sorrow of Chess.
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Paul Morphy vs Johann Jacob Loewenthal
Morphy – Loewenthal (1858), London ENG, rd 4, Jul-23
King’s Gambit: Declined. Classical Variation General (C30)
1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. c3 Bg4 5. Be2 Bf3 6. Bf3 Nc6 7. b4 Bb6 8. b5 Nce7 9. d4 ef4 10. Bf4 Ng6 11. Be3 Nf6 12. Nd2 O-O 13. O-O h6 14. a4 c6 15. Qe2 Re8 16. Qd3 d5 17. e5 Nd7 18. Bh5 Re6 19. a5 Bc7 20. Rf7 Kf7 21. Qf5 Ke7 22. Bg6 Qg8 23. Bf2 Ne5 24. de5 Rf8 25. Bc5 Kd8 26. Bf8 Re5 27. Qf2 Qe6 28. b6 ab6 29. ab6 Qg6 30. bc7 Kc7 31. Rb1
Materials used in research:
Paul Morphy: Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson
The Genius Of Paul Morphy by Chris Ward
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