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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 11, Aug-12
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Szen Variation (B44)
1. e4 c5 2. d4 cd4 3. Nf3 e6 4. Nd4 Nc6 5. Nb5 a6 6. Nd6 Bd6 7. Qd6 Qe7 8. Qg3 Nf6 9. Nc3 d5 10. e5 Nh5 11. Qf3 g6 12. g4 Ne5 13. Qe2 Ng4 14. Qg4 e5 15. Qa4 Bd7 16. Qb3 d4 17. Qb7 O-O 18. Nd5 Qd6 19. Bg2 e4 20. c4 f5 21. Qb4 Qe5 22. Qe7 Be6 23. Qc7 Qg7 24. Qg7 Ng7 25. Nb6 Rab8 26. c5 Nh5 27. b4 Kf7 28. O-O g5 29. Rd1 Rfd8 30. Bg5 Rg8 31. h4 Rg6 32. Rd4 Rbg8 33. Nd7 Rg5 34. hg5 Rg5 35. Kh2 Nf4 36. Bf1 Rh5 37. Kg3 Nd5 38. f4 ef3 39. Ne5 Kf6 40. Nf3 Rh6 41. Re1 Rg6 42. Kf2 Nc3 43. Bd3 Bd5 44. Bf5 Rg7 45. Rf4
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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