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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 7, Jul-29
Philidor Defense: Exchange Variation (C41)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 ed4 4. Qd4 Be6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. Rd1 Be7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O b5 11. a3 Ne5 12. Nd4 c5 13. Ne6 fe6 14. f4 Ng6 15. Bf3 Rb8 16. Qe2 Qc7 17. h4 Nh4 18. Bg4 Ng4 19. Qg4 Qc8 20. g3 Ng6 21. Rf2 Rf6 22. Rdf1 b4 23. ab4 cb4 24. Na4 Qc6 25. b3 Qe4 26. Ba7 Rbf8 27. Re2 Qb7 28. Bf2 Nf4
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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