Paul Morphy / Birthday June 22 / Annotation

by National Life Master Loal Davis

morphy

It was said that Morphy had the face of a young girl in her teens, but a friend of mine (Derrick Bartotto) recently said, “Paul Morphy was “The Man”.  He makes it look so simple.   Phillip Sergent said in his book “Morphy’s Games Of Chess” (a must read/get by the way) that the following game is of a style that Morphy seldom allowed himself to be drawn into.  I think what this means is that Sergent himself would prefer sweeping/smashing tactics from the get-go.  This game is not in the swashbuckling style that you may be used to seeing from Morphy, but in my opinion it is one of his best; it was also played towards the conclusion of Morphy’s European tour just before returning to the U.S.  It was therefore played when Paul had been honed and perfected in the crucible of grandmaster battles; his game was at its peak.

For biographical details see the link –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Morphy

 

Augustus Mongrediend versus Paul Morphy – Paris Match 1859

Game 3 / Dutch Defense

1. d4 e6

An interesting sidestep of the Staunton Gambit 1. d4 f5 2. e4 which is rather surprising; the gambit was in its infancy and I’m sure Morphy would have had little or no problem confronting it. However if you “dread” this gambit line, the text is one way of avoiding it, if you want to “risk” the possibility of entering a French. From what I can determine, Morphy played the Dutch five times in his lifetime, and against very strong opposition.  With this line-up he notched four wins and a single draw. This game is the only game where he played this first move; in the others it was f5 right out of the gate.

2. c4 f5 3. f4 Nf6 4. a3 a5 5. Nc3 b6 6. Nf3 Bb7 7. e3 Be7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O h6 10. b3 d6 11. Bb2 Nbd7

board1

Very nice square control; Black has e4 and takes e5 away from White.

12. Rc1 Kh7 13. Bd3 g6 14. h3 Qe8 15. Qe1 Ne4

White will not get in the liberating e4 move.

16. Bxe4 fxe4 17. Nd2 Nf6 18. Kh2 Qd7 19. Rg1 d5

A very nice hybrid of the Classical and Stonewall Dutch.

20. Rc2 g5

Black is solid but wants, should White capture, an open f file, open ‘h’ file, and an open dark diagonal to the King.

21. Nf1 gxf4 22. exf4 Bd6 23. g3

This probing/sofening-up process has weakened the White squares around Mongredien’s King. Black begins to invade there as well 

c6

but first he secures the center and keeps a Knight out of b5. This last move completes the Stonewall formation. However don’t forget that the light squared Bishop can enter the game via a6, c8, or still on the long diagonal.

24. Ne3 Rg8 25. Rcg2 Raf8 26. Ne2 Bc8

board2

Probing h3, but notice the superb harmony of getting the Rooks into the game before this Bishop might cut off a Rook.

27. g4 

Bolsters the White squares, but weakens the Black.

Qc7

So Morphy goes back to needling dark squares; superb positional play here.

28. Rf2 Ne8 29. Qf1 Rf7 30. Kh1 Rgf8 31. Ng2 Ba6

Yet another target; this Bishop is a monster. Just watch it as the game continues.

32. Qc1 Qe7 33. Ng3 Ng7 34. Re1 c5

The fluid wall is expanding.

35. Ne2 Bb7

Back to the death grip. Take a look at White’s King in relationship to this Bishop.

36. cxd5 exd5 37. f5 Ne6 38. Ngf4 Nxf4 39. Nxf4 Rc8 40. Qe3 cxd4 41. Bxd4 Bxa3 42. Bxb6 Bb4 43. Rd1 Rc3 44. Qd4 Qh4 45. Rg1 Rg7

There’s nothing wrong with grabbing the b Pawn, but I don’t think Paul is interested in Pawns.

46. Qe5 Re7 47. Qd4 Bd6 ! !

board3

Very nice; the Knight is the defender of h3.

48. Qxc3

The taking of this Rook, defending h3 has been well taken into account.

d4 !

board4

Oh – Oh – Here comes the death knell on the long diagonal.

49. Qxd4

(49. Qg3 Qxg3 50. Rxg3 e3+ 51. Rff3 (51. Kg1 exf2+ 52. Kxf2 Bxf4) 51… Bxf4)

49… Bxf4 50. Kg2 e3+

A stunning masterpiece; one of Morphy’s best games.

(50… e3+ 51. Rf3 Qf2+ 52. Kh1 Qh2#)

0-1

 

 

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One Comment

  1. [Event “Paris m1”][Site “Paris”][Date “1859.??.??”][Round “3”][White “Mongredien, Augustus”][Black “Morphy, Paul”][Result “0-1”][ECO “A84”][PlyCount “100”][EventDate “1859.02.??”][EventRounds “8”][EventCountry “FRA”][Source “ChessBase”][SourceDate “2001.11.25”]1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. f4 Nf6 4. a3 a5 5. Nc3 b6 6. Nf3 Bb7 7. e3 Be7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O h6 10. b3 d6 11. Bb2 Nbd7 12. Rc1 Kh7 13. Bd3 g6 14. h3 Qe8 15. Qe1 Ne4 16. Bxe4 fxe4 17. Nd2 Nf6 18. Kh2 Qd7 19. Rg1 d5 20. Rc2 g5 21. Nf1 gxf4 22. exf4 Bd6 23. g3 c6 24. Ne3 Rg8 25. Rcg2 Raf8 26. Ne2 Bc8 27. g4 Qc7 28. Rf2 Ne8 29. Qf1 Rf7 30. Kh1 Rgf8 31. Ng2 Ba6 32. Qc1 Qe7 33. Ng3 Ng7 34. Re1 c5 35. Ne2 Bb7 36. cxd5 exd5 37. f5 Ne6 38. Ngf4 Nxf4 39. Nxf4 Rc8 40. Qe3 cxd4 41. Bxd4 Bxa3 42. Bxb6 Bb4 43. Rd1 Rc3 44. Qd4 Qh4 45. Rg1 Rg7 46. Qe5 Re7 47. Qd4 Bd6 48. Qxc3 d4 49. Qxd4 Bxf4 50. Kg2 e3+ 0-1

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