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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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Johann Jacob Loewenthal vs Paul Morphy
London (1859), London ENG, Apr-13
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense (C78)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. c3 d6 8. d4 ed4 9. cd4 Bb6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Nc3 Ne7 12. Re1 h6 13. Bh4 g5 14. Bg3 Kf8 15. Qd3 c5 16. e5 de5 17. Be5 Kg7 18. Ne4 Be4 19. Qe4 Ng6 20. Qb7 Ra7 21. Qc6 c4 22. Bc2 Bc7 23. Rad1 Qe7 24. Bg6 Kg6 25. d5 Be5 26. Ne5 Kg7 27. Ng6 Qd8 28. Nh8 Kh8 29. d6 Kg7 30. a4 Rd7 31. ab5 ab5 32. Qb5 Rd6 33. Rd6 Qd6 34. Qc4 h5 35. h3 Nd7 36. Re3 Ne5 37. Re5 Qe5 38. Qc3…
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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