Archive for the ‘Paul Morphy’ Category

My Favorite #Chess Games: The Opera House Game

June 12, 2018

The Opera House Game is perhaps the most famous chess game to have ever been played. It’s title is derived from the fact that the great American chess master Paul Morphy defeated the Duke Karl of Brunswick and the Count Isouard while all the parties involved were watching Norma being performed from the box seats at the Paris Opera House. I show this game several times a year to demonstrate the art of attacking in chess. Included below the game are my lesson notes.

 

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The Opera House Game

 

[Event “The Opera House Game”]
[Site “Paris (France)”]
[Date “1858”]
[Round “”]
[White “Morphy Paul”]
[Black “Duke Karl of Brunswick and the Count Isouard”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C41”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “”]

{[ PHILIDOR’S def.,C41] Morphy Paul +8 =1 -1 Duke Karl Count Isouard +0 =0 -1 Morphy Paul-Duke Karl Count Isouard +1 =0 -0}
1.e4 {Paul Morphy’s favorite way to start a game.} e5 2.Nf3 {Knights before bishops.}
d6 {Philidor’s Defense was quite popular during the time of Paul Morphy’s European
adventures and he was quite adept with either color of it.} {%08DA}
3.d4 {Paul Morphy choses to place a second pawn in the center. Of course, developing
a second piece with a move like Bc4 is also good.} Bg4 {?!} {
A questionable choice for black. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to bring
out a knight before the bishop. Here black could have played Nf6 or Nd7. Also
fine is exchanging pawns with exd4. Below are sample games for each move.}
( 3…exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 d5 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bg2 O-O 9.Nxd5
Bc5 10.c3 c6 11.Ne3 Nxe5 12.O-O Re8 13.b4 Bb6 14.a4 a5 15.Bb2
Na6 16.bxa5 Bxa5 17.Qc2 Qf6 18.Rad1 Qg6 19.Be4 Qh5 20.c4 Nc5
21.Bg2 Bh3 22.f4 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 {…0-1, Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2837 – Mamedyarov Shakhriyar (AZE) 2726 , Astana 7/10/2012 Ch World (blitz) (final)}
) ( 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O {?} ( 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Ng5+
$40 ) O-O 7.Qe2 c6 8.Bg5 ( {‘better is’} 8.a4 {‘better is’} )
h6 9.Bh4 Nh5 10.Bg3 Nxg3 11.hxg3 b5 12.Bd3 a6 13.a4 Bb7 14.Rad1
Qc7 15.axb5 axb5 16.g4 Rfe8 17.d5 b4 18.dxc6 Bxc6 19.Nb1 Nc5
20.Nbd2 Qc8 21.Bc4 g6 ( 21…Qxg4 22.Bxf7+ {!} $18 ) 22.g3 Kg7
23.Nh2 Bg5 24.f3 Qc7 25.Rfe1 Rh8 26.Ndf1 h5 27.gxh5 Rxh5 28.Bd5
Rah8 29.Bxc6 Qxc6 30.Qc4 Qb6 31.Kg2 Ne6 32.Re2 Nd4 33.Ree1 Qb7
{!} 34.Rxd4 ( 34.c3 bxc3 35.bxc3 ( 35.Qxc3 Rc8 $41 ) Qb2+ $19 )
exd4 35.Ng4 ( 35.Qxd4+ Bf6 36.Qxd6 Rd8 ) Qb6 36.f4 Be7 37.Rd1
f5 38.Nf2 fxe4 39.Qxd4+ Qxd4 40.Rxd4 d5 41.g4 Bc5 {!} 42.Rd1
Rh4 43.Rxd5 Bxf2 44.Kxf2 Rxg4 45.Ke3 Rc8 46.Kxe4 Rc4+ 47.Kd3
Rcxf4 48.Ne3 Rg3 49.Re5 Kf6 50.Re8 Kf7 51.Re5 Rf6 52.c4 b3 53.Ke4
Re6 54.Rxe6 Kxe6 55.Nd5 g5 {0-1, Teichmann Richard (GER) – Nimzowitsch Aaron, San Sebastian 1911 It}
) ( 3…Nd7 4.Bc4 c6 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Be3 Be7 7.Nc3 Qc7 {‘better is’ Ng8-f6, 0-0, Rf8-e8}
8.a4 Nc5 9.b4 {?} ( {‘better is’} 9.Ng5 {‘better is’} Nh6 10.h3
{!} {=} ) Ne6 10.Rb1 Nf6 11.O-O O-O 12.Ne1 ( 12.Ba2 {!?} )
( 12.Be2 {!?} {(B) Alekhin} ) b5 {!} 13.Bb3 a5 14.axb5
( 14.bxa5 b4 15.Ne2 Qxa5 $17 ) axb4 {} $17 {} 15.b6 Qb7 16.Ne2
c5 17.c3 {!} Bd7 ( 17…Nxe4 {?!} 18.cxb4 cxb4 19.Nc2 {=} ) 18.cxb4
cxb4 19.Ng3 Nc5 20.Bc4 Ncxe4 21.Nxe4 Nxe4 22.Bd5 ( 22.Qd5 $13
Bc6 ( 22…Qxd5 23.Bxd5 Nc3 24.Bxa8 Nxb1 25.Be4 ) 23.Qxe5 Bd6
24.Qf5 Rae8 {} ) Bc6 23.Bxc6 Qxc6 24.Qh5 Nc3 $18 25.Rb2 Qb5 {!}
26.Nf3 ( 26.g3 Ra1 $18 ) Ne2+ 27.Rxe2 Qxe2 28.Qxe5 Bf6 29.Qc5
b3 30.Bf4 Rfe8 {!} 31.b7 Qxf1+ 32.Kxf1 Ra1+ 33.Bc1 b2 {0-1, Von Bardeleben Kurt (GER) – Alekhine Alexander A (RUS), Dusseldorf 1908 It}
) 4.dxe5 {Paul Morphy aims to punish his opponents’ last move.}
Bxf3 {Practically forced because otherwise:} ( 4…dxe5 5.Qxd8+
Kxd8 6.Nxe5 Be6 {and black is a pawn down and has lost their right to castle.}
) 5.Qxf3 {It is fine for Morphy to develop his queen to f3 as it does not block the
already exchanged knight that originated on g1. However, this didn’t stop
Steinitz from criticizing Morphy play here. Steinitz, who enjoyed finding
“mistakes” in Morphy’s games suggested the following:}
( 5.gxf3 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.f4 Nf6 8.fxe5 Nxe4 9.Bg2 Nc5 10.b4
{This is obviously good for white but history prefers Morphy’s method.}
) {%09DB} dxe5 {An interesting position where both sides have one pawn in the center and active queens.} {%09DB}
6.Bc4 {White develops with a Scholar’s Mate style threat. However, here Morphy’s
success is not dependent on poor play from his opponent as is the case with the actual Scholar’s Mate.}
Nf6 7.Qb3 {!} {A very powerful move which threatens both the pawn on b7 and the belly-button.}
Qe7 {The Duke and the Count wisely decide to defend the pawn that is attached to their king safety.}
8.Nc3 {Paul Morphy had three good choices here. The butcher’s choice would be to play
“8. Qxb7 Qb4+ 9. Qxb4 Bxb4” and grind out a long endgame victory. A robot could
evaluate 8. Bxf7+ as best and win in a cold fashion. However, it took Paul
Morphy to recognize that 8. Nc3 was the only move with potential to make the game a true artistic masterpiece.}
( 8.Qxb7 Qb4+ 9.Qxb4 Bxb4+ 10.Bd2 Bxd2+ 11.Nxd2 O-O 12.f3 Nc6
13.c3 Rab8 14.O-O-O Na5 15.Be2 h6 16.Nc4 Nxc4 17.Bxc4 Rb6 18.Rd2
Rc6 19.Bb3 a5 20.Rhd1 a4 21.Bxa4 Ra6 22.Bb3 c5 23.Rd8 Ne8 24.R1d7
Rf6 25.Bc4 g6 26.a4 Ng7 27.a5 Nh5 {…1-0, Kunte Abhijit (IND) 2517 – Akshay Vijayan (IND) 1766 , Jalgaon 11/23/2010 It (open)}
) ( 8.Bxf7+ Qxf7 9.Qxb7 Bc5 10.O-O O-O 11.Qxa8 c6 12.Nc3 Qc7
13.Nd5 cxd5 14.exd5 Qb6 15.Be3 Ng4 16.Bxc5 Qxc5 17.b4 Qb6 18.c4
Na6 19.Qc6 Qxc6 20.dxc6 Nxb4 21.h3 Nf6 22.c7 Rc8 23.Rab1 Na6
24.Rb7 Rxc7 25.Rxc7 Nxc7 26.Rb1 a6 27.Rb7 Nfe8 28.f3 Kf7 29.Kf2
Ke7 30.Ke3 Kd7 31.Rb2 Kc6 32.Kd3 Ne6 33.Rc2 Nd6 34.Rb2 Nc5+ 35.Ke2
Nxc4 36.Rb8 Kd5 37.Rd8+ Nd6 38.Rg8 Nf5 39.g4 Nd4+ 40.Ke3 Nde6
41.h4 h6 42.Rb8 Kc4 43.Rb6 Nf4 44.Kf2 a5 45.Rb8 Ncd3+ 46.Kg3
Kd4 47.Ra8 Ke3 48.Rxa5 Ne2+ 49.Kg2 Ne1+ 50.Kf1 Nxf3 51.Ra3+ Kf4
52.Kxe2 Nxh4 53.Ra4+ Kg3 54.Rb4 Ng6 55.Rb7 Nf4+ 56.Ke3 Nd5+ 57.Kd3
Kxg4 58.Rxg7+ Kf5 59.a4 e4+ 60.Kd4 Nb4 61.Rf7+ Ke6 62.Rh7 Kf5
63.Rxh6 Nc2+ 64.Kc3 Ne3 65.a5 Kf4 66.a6 Ng4 67.Rh4 e3 68.Kd3
{1-0, Moeller Stefan – Hertel-Mach Frank, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 12/11/2005 Landesliga 2005/06}
) c6 {Now the black queen defends her pawn on b7. Additionally, the pawn on c6 guards
d5 and b5 from being accessed by Morphy’s knight, bishop or queen.
Unfortunately, it is also another slow pawn move for black which gives Morphy
an opportunity to add to his lead in development.} 9.Bg5 {
Momentarily stopped on the queenside, Morphy deploys another piece. Now he has
four pieces in the game versus a pinned knight and an oddly placed queen.}
b5 {?} {This is overly ambitious. Even players well below Morphy’s level would not
hesitate to sacrifice the knight for two pawns and the check.}
( 9…Na6 {Is an improvement over the move the Duke and the Count played.}
10.Bxa6 bxa6 11.O-O Qb4 {Black has prospects to enter a difficult endgame against white.}
) {%09DB} 10.Nxb5 {Of course Paul Morphy does not retreat his bishop.} {%09DB}
cxb5 11.Bxb5+ {The Queen could also capture on b5 with check but why use a $9 piece to do the work of a $3 piece?}
Nbd7 {The Duke and the Count must block with the knight as stepping into the open file with the king would be suicide.}
( 11…Kd8 12.O-O-O+ Kc8 13.Rd3 ) 12.O-O-O {Castling queenside adds the rook’s power to the pinned knight on d7.} {%08DA}
Rd8 {The Duke and Count place the rook on d8 because Knight on f6 and Queen on e7
are not really defending d7. Black’s King is in full turtle mode.}
13.Rxd7 {!} {Paul Morphy fires the cannon for the first time!}
Rxd7 {The only logical response.} 14.Rd1 {Paul Morphy takes advantage of the fact that Black’s rook on d7 is pinned and reloads the cannon.} {%08DA}
Qe6 {This move does a lot of good things for black. First, it threatens to trade
queens and thus take the heat off of the black king. Second, it unpins the
knight on f6 while still having the queen defend the rook on d7. Thirdly, it
creates a roadway for the bishop on f8 and thus gives the black king an escape
rout by castling. Unfortunately for the Duke and the Count, it does not work.}
15.Bxd7+ {!} {The start of a beautiful combination.} Nxd7 {%08DA}
16.Qb8+ {!!} {The shot heard round the world.} Nxb8 17.Rd8# {Paul Morphy only has the bishop and the rook but in the end, that was all that he needed.}
1-0

 

 

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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)})

6.d4

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…

http://blog.nola.com/new_orleans/2014/06/chess_club_brings_love_of_game.html

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 http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/)

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/)

 

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

Chessdom

 

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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