Paul Morphy vs Jacob Loewenthal / Game 6

By National Life Master Loal Davis

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Paul Morphy / Jacob Lowenthal

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London 1858 / Match Game 6

Paul Morphy versus Jacob Loewenthal

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1. e4 c5 2. d4

Morphy’s favorite move against the Sicilian.

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cxd4 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. O-O d5 8. exd5 cxd5 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Qxd7

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It looks like Black isn’t doing too badly. As a matter of fact, put Black’s e5 Pawn on e6 and he’s looking pretty good. Appearances can be deceiving; in this case Black’s center is not secure and comes under pressure/fire in the next few moves.

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11. Re1 Bd6 12. Nc3 e4

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A rather transparent trap; hoping White will take on d5 ultimately exposing his Queen to a capture after Bxh2+.

12… d4 13. Qxd4 is not playable.

12… Qc6 13. Bg5 again the wobbliness of Black’s center is exposed.

12… Qe6 13. Bg5 Bb4 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nxd5 O-O-O 16. c4 Bxe1 17. Qxe1

may be best – although White is better here, there are some fighting chances for Black.

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13. Bg5 Ng4

13… Bb4 This pin again fails. 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nxd5 and Black is destroyed.

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14. Qxd5

Very/Very good. Theoretically a central Pawn is more valuable than a Pawn on the side (h2), but more importantly the last remnants of Black’s center are in ruins.

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Bxh2+ 15. Kh1 Qxd5 16. Nxd5 O-O 17. f3

Deflection.  That Bishop on h2 is not a happy camper.

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exf3 18. gxf3 Ne5 19. Re3

No forks for Black. The Bishop is still caught.

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f6 20. Kxh2 Rad8

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A try; hoping to get this Rook to d2.

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21. Rxe5

No cigar. This nicely liquidates into a clearly winning ending.

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fxg5 22. Kg3 h6 23. c4 Rf7 24. Rae1 Kf8 25. c5 g6 26. c6 Rc8 27. c7 Rcxc7 28. Re8+

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Accurately played. Taking the Rook immediately allows resistance, while this check allows White to remove Black’s last piece by exchanging.

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Kg7 29. Nxc7

Either Re7+ is coming and with it the exchange of Black’s last Rook. Morphy makes it all look so simple; well maybe it is, but for many perhaps not so easy.

1-0

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Adolf Anderssen:

“I consider Mr. Morphy the finest chess player who ever existed. He is far superior to any now living, and would doubtless have beaten Labourdonnais himself. In all his games with me, he has not only played, in every instance, the exact move, but the most exact. He never makes a mistake; but, if his adversary commits the slightest error, he is lost.”

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Emanuel Lasker:

“Paul Morphy was the greatest chess player that ever lived…no one ever was so far superior to the players of his time.”

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Mikhail Botvinik:

“To this day Morphy is an unsurpassed master of the open games. Just how great was his significance is evident from the fact that after Morphy nothing substantially new has been created in this field. Every player- from beginner to master- should in this praxis return again and again to the games of the American genius.”

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Robert Fischer:

“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.”

“Morphy was probably the greatest genius of them all.”

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For Annotated PGN File – See Comments.

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One Comment

  1. [Event “London m”]
    [Site “London”]
    [Date “1858.07.19”]
    [Round “6”]
    [White “Paul Morphy”]
    [Black “Johann Jacob Loewenthal”]
    [Result “1-0”]
    [ECO “B21”]
    [Annotator “Loal Davis”]
    [PlyCount “57”]
    [EventDate “1858.??.??”]

    1. e4 c5 2. d4 {Morphy’s favorite move against the Sicilian.} cxd4 3. Nf3 Nc6
    4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. O-O d5 8. exd5 cxd5 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Qxd7 {It looks like Black isn’t doing too badly. As a matter of fact, put Black’s e5 Pawn on e6 and he’s looking pretty good. Appearances can be deceiving; in this case Black’s center is not secure and comes under pressure/fire in the next few moves.} 11. Re1 Bd6 12. Nc3 e4 {A rather transparent trap; hoping White will take on d5 ultimately exposing his Queen to a capture after Bxh2+.} (12… d4 13. Qxd4 {is not playable.}) (12… Qc6 13. Bg5 {again the wobbliness of Black’s center is exposed.}) (12… Qe6 13. Bg5 Bb4 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nxd5 O-O-O 16. c4 Bxe1 17. Qxe1 {may be best – although White is better here, there are some fighting chances for Black.}) 13. Bg5 Ng4 (13… Bb4 { This pin again fails.} 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nxd5 {and Black is destroyed.}) 14. Qxd5 {Very/Very good. Theoretically a central Pawn is more valuable than a Pawn on the side (h2), but more importantly the last remnants of Black’s center are in ruins.} Bxh2+ 15. Kh1 Qxd5 16. Nxd5 O-O 17. f3 {Deflection. That Bishop on h2 is not a happy camper.} exf3 18. gxf3 Ne5 19. Re3 {No forks for Black. The Bishop is still caught.} f6 20. Kxh2 Rad8 {A try; hoping to get this Rook to d2.} 21. Rxe5 {No cigar. This nicely liquidates into a clearly winning ending.} fxg5 22. Kg3 h6 23. c4 Rf7 24. Rae1 Kf8 25. c5 g6 26. c6 Rc8 27. c7 Rcxc7 28. Re8+ {Accurately played. Taking the Rook immediately allows resistance, while this check allows White to remove Black’s last piece by exchanging.} Kg7 29. Nxc7 {Either Re7+ is coming and with it the exchange of Black’s last Rook. Morphy makes it all look so simple; well maybe it is, but for many perhaps not so easy.} 1-0

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