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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 12, Aug-14
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. ed5 ed5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Be6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Ne5 Qb6 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. f4 Be5 11. fe5 Ng4 12. Qd2 Ne3 13. Qe3 Qb2 14. Ne2 Qa3 15. Nf4 Qe7 16. Rab1 O-O-O 17. Be2 Nb6 18. Qb3 Rd7 19. Nd3 Nc4 20. Nc5 Rc7 21. Qa4 b6 22. Bc4 bc5 23. Ba6 Kd7 24. Bb7 Rd8 25. Bc6
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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