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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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John Owen vs Paul Morphy
Odds match (1858) (unorthodox), London ENG, rd 5, Aug-??
Chess variants (000)
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Bd3 g6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 Nc6 6. O-O Qb6 7. ed5 ed5 8. Re1 Be7 9. Ng5 Nf6 10. Nh7 Rh7 11. Bg6 Rf7 12. Bg5 Bg4 13. Qc2 Kf8 14. Bf7 Kf7 15. h3 Bh5 16. Bf6 Bg6 17. Qe2 Bf6 18. Qe6 Kg7 19. Qd7 Kh8 20. Qd6 Kg7 21. Nd2 cd4 22. Nf3 Ne5 23. Qa3 Nf3 24. gf3 dc3 25. bc3 Rg8 26. Re3 Kh8 27. Kh1 d4 28. cd4 Bd4 29. Rae1 Be3 30. Re3 Qb1 31. Kh2 Be4 32. Qc3 Rg7 33. Re1 Qb6 34. Re3 Qd6 35. Kh1 Bf3 36. Rf3 Qd1 37. Kh2 Qg1
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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