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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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Johann Jacob Loewenthal vs Paul Morphy
Morphy – Loewenthal (1858), London ENG, rd 13, Aug-19
Russian Game: Classical Attack. Jaenisch Variation (C42)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Ne5 d6 4. Nf3 Ne4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O Nc6 8. c4 Be6 9. cd5 Bd5 10. Nc3 Nc3 11. bc3 O-O 12. Bf4 Bd6 13. Bd6 Qd6 14. Ng5 f5 15. c4 Bg2 16. Kg2 Qg6 17. f4 h6 18. d5 Nd8 19. h4 hg5 20. hg5 Nf7 21. Qf3 Nh6 22. Qg3 Nf7 23. c5 Rad8 24. Bc4 b5 25. Bb3 a5 26. Rae1 Rfe8 27. Re6 Re6 28. de6 Kf8 29. ef7 a4 30. Rd1 Rd1 31. Bd1 Qc6 32. Bf3 Qc5 33. g6 Qd6 34. Qg5 Qd2 35. Kh3 Qd3 36. Qh5 Ke7 37. Qh4 Kd7 38. Kg3 Qd6 39. Qh8 Qg6 40. Kf2 Qf7 41. a3 Qe7 42. Kg3 Qe1 43. Kg2 Qd2 44. Kg3 Qe1
Materials used in research:
Paul Morphy: Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson
The Genius Of Paul Morphy by Chris Ward
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