Archive for the ‘Paul Morphy’ Category

Pawn Sacrifice Special Lesson: Fischer Channels Morphy

September 21, 2015

To celebrate the release of the movie Pawn Sacrifice, I have decided to put the spotlight on Bobby Fischer’s games in many of my group chess lessons. Below, I’ve attached my notes to the Fischer game that I presented this last Saturday at Achiever Institute in Fremont. If you missed this lesson there, I will be delivering a repeat performance at Achievements Academy in Dublin on Sunday, September 27th. Pawn Sacrifice is currently in theaters across the country.

Bobby Fischer playing a simul in 1964.

Bobby Fischer playing a simul in 1964.

[Event “Bobby Fischer’s Simultaneous Exhibition Tour”]
[Site “Chicago”]
[Date “1964.3.23”]
[Round “”]
[White “Fischer Robert J (USA)”]
[Black “Rouse T.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C57”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ TWO KNIGHTS’ def.,C57] Fischer Robert J (USA) +6 =0 -2}

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 {?} {This moves just asks for trouble. Much better is the 5… Na5 line where black gives a pawn to gain the initiative.}
( 5…Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 Nd5 9.Nf3 Bd6 10.O-O Nf4
11.Re1 Nxd3 12.cxd3 O-O 13.Nc3 Re8 14.h3 c5 15.b3 Ba6 16.Ba3
Bxd3 17.Ne4 Bxe4 18.Rxe4 f5 19.Ra4 e4 20.Nh2 Nc6 21.Rc1 Ne5 22.d4
Nd3 23.dxc5 Bf4 24.Rc2 e3 25.f3 {…0-1, Short Nigel D (ENG) 2698 – Kasparov Garry (RUS) 2812 , Leuven 10/ 9/2011 Match (blitz)})


Position after 6. d4.

Position after 6. d4.

{This is the Lolli Variation. White’s other tasty choice is known as the Fried Liver Attack and continues:}
( 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 ) 

6… exd4 

{Black’s most common move but certainly not the best. Other options include:} 
( 6…Be7 7.Nxf7 Kxf7 8.Qf3+ ) ( 6…Be6 7.O-O Qd7 8.Re1 )
( 6…Nxd4 7.c3 f6 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 fxg5 11.O-O
Bf5 {is black’s best bet.} )

7.O-O Be7

Position after 7... Be7.

Position after 7… Be7.

( 7…Ne5 8.Re1 f6 9.Qxd4
c6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.Bxd5 cxd5 12.Qxd5 Bd7 13.Qxd6 Kf7 14.Rxe5 fxe5
15.Nxe5+ Ke8 16.Bg5 Qc8 17.Qe7# {1-0, Holes Michal (CZE) 1882 – Stransky Pavel, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) 2008.04.30})

( 7…f6 8.Re1+ Be7 9.Qf3 Ncb4 10.c3 Nc2 11.Bxd5 Nxe1 12.Qh5+
g6 13.Bf7+ Kd7 14.Qg4+ Kd6 15.Ne6 Qd7 16.Bf4+ Kc6 17.Nxd4+ Kb6
18.Qe2 Rf8 19.Be6 Qe8 20.Na3 Bxe6 21.Nxe6 Bxa3 22.bxa3 Nxg2 23.Bxc7+
Kc6 24.Qe4+ Kb5 25.Rb1+ Ka6 26.Nc5# {1-0 Chris Torres – Iddo Zohar, Cupertino 2012.})

8.Nxf7 {and now it starts to look like a Fried Liver except that white is already castled.}

8… Kxf7 9.Qf3+ {Developing with threats just as in the Fried Liver Attack.}

9… Ke6

Position after 9... Ke6.

Position after 9… Ke6.

( 9…Ke8 10.Bxd5 Rf8 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.Qxc6+ Bd7 13.Qd5 Rf7
14.Qxd4 Bg5 15.Qe4+ Be7 16.Bg5 Kf8 17.Bxe7+ Rxe7 18.Qxh7 Kf7
19.Qh5+ Kg8 20.Nc3 Bc6 21.Rfe1 Rf7 22.Re2 Qd4 23.Rae1 Raf8 24.Rf1
Bd7 25.Qg5 Bc8 26.Qe3 Qd6 27.Rd2 Qg6 28.f3 Bb7 29.Qd3 {…1/2-1/2, Krebs Caroline 998 – Hoffmann Paul (GER) 2338 , Hanau 3/22/2008 Ch Hessen (Gr. F)})

10.Re1+ {Bobby Fischer plays Re1 where Paul Morphy had previously played Nc3. Of course, both lines win.}
( 10.Nc3 dxc3 11.Re1+ Ne5 12.Bf4 Bf6 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.Rxe5+ Kxe5
15.Re1+ Kd4 16.Bxd5 Re8 17.Qd3+ Kc5 18.b4+ Kxb4 19.Qd4+ {1-0, Morphy Paul 2680 – Amateur1, New Orleans 1858 Simultan (blindfold)})

Ne5 {Now both of black’s knights are pinned.}

11.Bf4 {Fischer adds more pressure to the pinned knight.}

11… Bf6

12.Nc3 {!} {And more pressure to the other pinned knight as well.}

Position after 12. Nc3!

Position after 12. Nc3!

12… c6 {Taking on c3 is also bad:} ( 12…dxc3 13.Rxe5+ Bxe5 14.Re1
Kf7 15.Rxe5 Re8 16.Bg5+ )

13.Rxe5+ {!} {Strong chess players love to sac a rook like this. Especially if we can reload the gun with the other rook.}

13… Kf7 {Had black cpatured the rook play could have continued:}
( 13…Bxe5 14.Re1 Rf8 15.Nxd5 Rf5 16.Ne3+ Kd7 17.Nxf5 Bxf4 18.Qxf4
Qf8 19.Re4 c5 20.Re6 Kd8 21.Rd6+ Bd7 22.Bb5 Qe8 23.Rxd7+ Qxd7
24.Bxd7 Kxd7 25.Qd6+ Kc8 26.Ne7# )

14.Nxd5 {!}

Position after 14. Nxd5!

Position after 14. Nxd5!

14… Be6
( 14…cxd5 15.Rxd5 {!} )

15.Rxe6 {!}

Position after 15. Rxe6!

Position after 15. Rxe6!

15… Kxe6 {Black has other options but they also lead to a checkmate for Fischer.}
( 15…cxd5 16.Bxd5 Qd7 17.Qh5+ g6 18.Re4+ Qxd5 19.Qxd5+ Kg7
20.Qxb7+ Kg8 21.Bh6 Rf8 22.Qb3+ Rf7 23.Re8# ) ( 15…b5 16.Qh5+
g6 17.Rxf6+ Qxf6 18.Nxf6+ bxc4 19.Qa5 Rhc8 20.Ng4 Re8 21.Nh6+
Kf6 22.Ng8+ Rxg8 23.Bg5+ Ke6 24.Re1+ Kd7 25.Re7+ Kd6 26.Qe5# )

16.Nxf6+ Ke7 17.Re1+ Kf8 18.Qa3+ {And the only option left is 18… c5 followed by 19. Qxc5 Qe7 20. Qxe7#}1-0

Position after 18. Qa3+

Position after 18. Qa3+

News About the Chess Scene in New Orleans

June 26, 2014

I came across nice article about the NOLA Chess Club and its efforts in Paul Morphy’s hometown.

Chess Club Brings Love of Game to Uptown New Orleans

New Orleans is a city that often brings people together. Our music, cuisine and even our openness to a good conversation all act as binding forces among residents and visitors from all walks of life. The game of chess has historically served as one of these forces, uniting both rich and poor, novice and expert. Over the past decade, the game’s prevalence and reputation have slowly dwindled in New Orleans. In Uptown, however, one organization is working to change this.

The NOLA Chess Club meets every Sunday at noon…

Happy New Year: The Best of my Chess Musings for 2013

January 1, 2014

As I look back on the past 12-months, I can say it has been quite a year for chess! With a new World Chess Champion and business for my nonprofit booming, I anticipate another fun and exciting year in 2014. To end 2013, I have chosen to recap my most popular chess posts of this past year.

2013 was a Great Year for Chess!

2013 was a Great Year for Chess!

So enjoy this trip down memory lane and feel free to pass along your own highlights from 2013. I wish you a Happy New Year and I look forward to exploring chess with you in 2014!


January: Being selected for the USA vs Russia Correspondence Chess Match.


February: Naming of the Torres Chess and Music Academy All Star Team


March: My Winter report on Scholastic Chess in California


April: MSJE Wins the National Championship

The National Champions from MSJE

The National Champions from MSJE



May: 10 Reasons to Attend the TCAMA  Summer Chess Camp in Fremont


June: The Mission San Jose Elementary School Chess Camp is the Perfect Choice for Parents


July: The Czech is in the Mail


August: Great News for Bay Area Chess


September: Would Paul Morphy be Competitive with the Grandmasters of Today?

Paul Morphy in 1858

Paul Morphy in 1858


October: What is the Best Sacrifice in the History of Chess?


November: The World Chess Championship Match Between Anand and Carlsen

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of


December: Hopefully this very post. Happy New Year!

Why You Should Care About the Upcoming World Chess Championship Match

November 6, 2013
FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2013

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2013

On November 9, 2013 the world is going to stop. Billions of people around the globe will be watching live as two titans clash in what may be the greatest chess match ever played. Viswanathan Anand, the Pride of India, will be taking on the charismatic “Mozart of Chess,” Magnus Carlsen.  By the end of November, the player who utterly destroys his opponent will be crowned “The King of Chess.”

Viswanathan Anand at the chess board.

Viswanathan Anand at the chess board.

Viswanathan Anand is more than a World Chess Champion. He is the greatest sportsmen ever produced from the second most populous country in the world. “Vishy,” as his friends call him, became India’s first grandmaster in 1988. Anand was also first to receive the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1992. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor. Viswanathan Anand has also won the coveted Chess Oscar a total of six times! Indeed, historians tell us that chess has its roots in ancient India, but it was not until Viswanathan Anand became World Champion that chess took a hold of the sub-continent’s imagination.

The charismatic "Mozart of Chess."

The charismatic “Mozart of Chess.”

Many consider Magnus Carlsen to be for chess, what Mozart was for music. In the long and distinguished history of chess prodigies, Magnus may be the greatest of them all. Magnus Carlsen, who started chess at the age of five, became a chess Grand Master at thirteen and the number one rated player in the world before the age of twenty. A short while later, Carlsen established the highest rating ever in the game of chess and in doing so surpassed his former teacher, Garry Kasparov. Often mentioned in the same class as Paul Morphy, Jose Raul Capablanca and Bobby Fischer, Magnus is missing only the title of World Champion to establish his residency on Mount Olympus.

Throughout human history, there have been certain events which demonstrate the greatness of human achievement. The Hammurabi Code of 1750 B.C., the dawn of Democracy in 594 B.C., The Wright Brothers taking flight in 1903 are important events on the timeline comparable to what, I believe, will result from the FIDE World Chess Championship of 2013. Chess is about to become “cool” again and our world may never be the same.

Don’t miss the event:

The Official Site for the Anand-Carlsen World Chess Championship Match of 2013

Watch live on you Android device.

Watch live on your iphone or ipad.

Get Norway’s perspective on the Anand-Carlsen World Chess Championship Match of 2013

See what India feels about Anand’s play against Carlsen.

Blogs covering the 2013 World Chess Championship:

World Chess Championship Blog

Susan Polgar’s Blog

Alexandra Kosteniuk’s Blog

Chris Torres’ Blog



My answer to Would Paul Morphy in his short prime be competitive with the Grandmasters of today?

September 29, 2013

From Quora


Without question, Paul Morphy was the greatest player of his time. His brief career in chess represents a golden age for our pastime and his four hundred or so games still serve as an instruction manual for the chess prodiogies of today. During his prime, Paul Morphy advanced the science of chess and captured the world’s attention by making it appear as art. Without the advancements made by Morphy, the modern era of chess understanding could have been delayed for, at best, decades and perhaps even as long as a century.

On today’s standards, Paul Morphy’s chess games feature old fashioned opening play that allow modern analysts ample opportunities to feel superior by reciting well known refutations. The middle games that resulted from Paul Morphy’s opening lines seem to lack the subtleties in strategy that are synonymous with modern Grandmaster chess.   However, despite these perceived flaws in his play, Paul Morphy won with astonishing regularity that is beyond compare to any top player record in the 21st century.

What if Paul Morphy had been reborn in the year 1993? At our current date, Paul Morphy would be in his prime but how good would he be on today’s standards?  The answer is seemingly very good if not the best.

As a child chess prodigy born in 1993, Paul Morphy would have had easy access to the greatest chess books written in the 20th century, computer databases such as chessbase , intuitive tactical training software  and regular practice on the Internet Chess Club. Having been born into a wealthy family, Paul Morphy would have had the best chess coaching available and mastered all of the contributions made by his great predecessors at an early age. Furthermore, the late 20th century saw many improvements to the structure and size of scholastic chess in the United States and Paul Morphy would have greatly benefitted from the regular opportunities to play championship chess that today’s top scholastic chess players attend.  The end result of all these factors would have made Paul Morphy much stronger much faster than in his previous life.

By the year 2013, I feel quite comfortable in stating that our modernized Morphy would definitely be one of the top Grandmasters in world. Indeed, if history were to repeat itself, Paul Morphy would become widely recognized as the best chess player in the world before ending his chess career to pursue greater challenges in the court room. Despite only having played top level chess for a couple years, Modern Morphy would leave the 21’st century chess enthusiasts with a body of work which would take us the remainder of the century to fully decode and learn from.

Paul Morphy’s talent and determination at chess would enable him to become the top chess player in the world of 1858 or 2013. In fact, it is my firm belief that regardless of what era Paul Morphy was born into, his destiny was to become the greatest chess player ever.

I leave the skeptical reader with some quotes on Morphy

from the greatest chess minds ever:

“[I play in] the style of Morphy, they say, and if it is true that the goddess of fortune has endowed me with his talent, the result [of the match with Emanuel Lasker] will not be in doubt. The magnificent American master had the most extraordinary brain that anybody has ever had for chess. Technique, strategy, tactics, knowledge which is inconceivable for us; all that was possessed by Morphy fifty-four years ago.” ~ Capablanca

“How much more vivid, more rich does the figure of Morphy appear before us, how much clearer does the secret of his success and charm become, if we transfer ourselves in our thoughts to that era when he lived and created, if we take the trouble to study, only a little, his contemporaries! Then…in London and in particular in Paris, where the traditions of Philidor were still alive, where the immortal creations of La Bourdonnais and McDonnell were still in the memory, at that time, finally, when Anderssen was alive, and with brilliance alone it was hardly possible to surprise anyone. The strength, the invincible strength of Morphy- this was the reason for his success and the guarantee of his immortality!” ~ Alekhine

“A popularly held theory about Paul Morphy is that if he returned to the chess world today and played our best contemporary players, he would come out the loser. Nothing is further from the truth. In a set match, Morphy would beat anybody alive today… Morphy was perhaps the most accurate chess player who ever lived. He had complete sight of the board and never blundered, in spite of the fact that he played quite rapidly, rarely taking more than five minutes to decide a move. Perhaps his only weakness was in closed games like the Dutch Defense. But even then, he was usually victorious because of his resourcefulness.” ~Fischer


Paul Morphy’s Christmas Miracle

December 26, 2012
Position after 20...Nd5?White to move and win.

Position after 20…Nd5?
White to move and win.

When Adolf Anderssen arrived in Paris on December 15, 1858, Paul Morphy was gravely ill. Doctors were treating his influenza with leeches and blood-letting. Despite Morphy being too weak to stand from his bed, the two strongest chess players in the world decided to play a chess match as this encounter would likely be their last. No money was at stake, only honor. While very ill, Morphy outplayed Anderssen and eventually recovered his health. Below is game 7, “The Christmas Miracle”:

[Event “Anderssen-Morphy”]

[Site “Paris FRA”]

[Date “1858.12.25”]

[Round “7”]

[White “Paul Morphy”]

[Black “Adolf Anderssen”]

[Result “1-0”]

[ECO “B01”]

[Opening “Scandinavian”]

[Variation “Anderssen Counterattack, Collijn Variation”]

1. e4 {Notes by Chris Torres.} d5 {Anderssen, perhaps wisely, avoids 1 e4 e5 against which his opponent had a reputation of superior knowledge. Instead black chooses the Scandinavian Defence.} 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 {On a5 the black queen is hard for white to attack and if white plays d4 will be pinning the knight on c3.} 4. d4 {Black’s most aggressive reply and a specialty of Adolf Anderssen.} e5 5. dxe5 Qxe5+ 6. Be2 {Neither man wanted to trade Queens on e2.} Bb4 7. Nf3 {Paul Morphy prefers sacrificing a pawn to obtain a more speedy development of his pieces. Of course his pawn sacrifice is correct.} Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Qxc3+ 9. Bd2 Qc5 10. Rb1 {Now we can clearly see Morphy’s lead in development.} Nc6 11. O-O Nf6 12. Bf4 {I would have played Bg5. But I am not the greatest attacking chess player who has ever lived.} O-O {Anderssen makes a wise decision not to bother with attempting to defend the c pawn. Doing so would have resulted in too much initiative for white’s attack.} 13. Bxc7 Nd4 14. Qxd4 Qxc7 15. Bd3 Bg4 {That pins nothing. Better would have been rook to e8.} 16. Ng5 Rfd8 17. Qb4 Bc8 {I can not think of any other way of saving the pawn on b7. If Anderssen plays …b6, Morphy could have swiped the h pawn with the knight. Perhaps best was kicking the knight away with …h6.} 18. Rfe1 a5 19. Qe7 {Always be suspicious when Morphy is willing to trade queens.} Qxe7 20. Rxe7 Nd5? {Adolf Anderssen makes a serious mistake. Nd5 may look as though it forces Morphy’s rook to leave the seventh rank but this is not the case. Better was …Rd7.} 21. Bxh7+! {Paul Morphy delivers a very instructive combination and a true Christmas miracle.} Kh8 22. Rxf7 Nc3 23. Re1 Nxa2 24. Rf4 Ra6 25. Bd3 1-0

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