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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 Louis Paulsen
“Morphy’s Law” (game of the day Apr-20-2012)
1st American Chess Congress (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Oct-29
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen-Basman Defense (B40)
1. e4 c5 2. d4 cd4 3. Nf3 e6 4. Nd4 Bc5 5. Nb3 Bb6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. Bf4 O-O 8. Bd6 f5 9. e5 a6 10. Be2 Nbc6 11. O-O Rf7 12. Kh1 f4 13. Ne4 Nf5 14. Bh5 g6 15. Bg4 Ng7 16. Qf3 h5 17. Bh3 Qh4 18. Nf6 Kh8 19. Qe4 Qg5 20. g3 f3 21. Nd2 Bd8 22. Nf3 Qh6 23. Rg1 Bf6 24. ef6 Ne8 25. Bf4 Nf6 26. Qc6 Qf4 27. Qc8 Rc8 28. gf4 Rc2 29. Rac1 Rf2 30. Rc8 Ng8 31. Ne5 Rg7 32. Ng6 Kh7 33. Nf8 Kh6 34. Nd7 Rd7 35. Rcg8 Rf4 36. Be6 Re7
Materials used in research:
Paul Morphy: Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson
The Genious Of Paul Morphy by Chris Ward
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