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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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Daniel Harrwitz vs Paul Morphy
Casual game (1858), Paris FRA, Sep-04
King’s Gambit: Accepted. Kieseritsky Gambit Anderssen Defense (C39)
1. e4 e5 2. f4 ef4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Bc4 d5 7. ed5 Bd6 8. d4 Nh5 9. Bb5 c6 10. dc6 O-O 11. cb7 Bb7 12. Qg4 Ng7 13. Bf4 Qb6 14. Nc3 Be5 15. Be5 f6 16. Bg3 Na6 17. O-O Rad8 18. Rad1 Kh8 19. Ba6 Ba6 20. Rfe1 Bc8 21. Qf3 Bb7 22. Qd3 Rd7 23. Qb5 Qd8 24. d5 Nf5 25. Bf2 Rg8 26. Qd3 Rdg7 27. Qf5 Rg2 28. Kf1 Ba6 29. Ne2 Qd6 30. Rd3 Bd3 31. cd3 Rh2 32. Nf4 Rh1 33. Ke2 Rh2 34. Ne6 Rg6 35. Rc1 Qb8 36. b3 Rgg2 37. Qf6 Kg8 38. Ke3 Rh3 39. Ke2 Rf2 40. Qf2 Rh2 41. Rg1 Kh8 42. Rg2 Qe5 43. Kf3 Qd5 44. Kg3 Rg2 45. Qg2 Qe6 46. Qa8 Kg7 47. Qa7
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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