Lessons from Morphy

  Morphy is probably the best player for the beginning player to study. Alas there are precious few games to go on, for he lived before the growth in international tournaments and was denied a match by Staunton.

 

  Morphy more or less perfected the art of winning in open games: smooth, fast development, opening up lines for the attack, dynamic piece play throughout the game, ruthless cashing in of advantages, wonderfully imaginative combination play. Even against inferior opposition he plays with great energy and balance.

 


(249) morphy - duke/count [C41]

Model game 3.1: paris Model game 3.1: paris, 1858

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5

 

 

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|rn-qkbnr|
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  Morphy had many contemporaries who could attack as well as he, but more than anyone Morphy knew how to create an attack out of the opening through accurate play. Here he already has a development advantage and the two bishops.

6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 keeping the initiative going 7...Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5

 

 

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  White needs only two more moves to complete his development - breathtakingly efficient work.

9...b5 just the wrong sort of move 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0-0-0

  Black's pieces are treading on each other's toes.

12...Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1

 

 

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  a nicely-coordinated crossfire of pins

14...Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+ apparently dramatic...

16...Nxb8 17.Rd8#

  this masterpiece of economic development and slashing attack has become rightly famous; the final position is very neat 1-0

 


(250) morphy - meek [A43]

Model game 3.2: new orleans Model game 3.2: new orleans, 1857

1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.f4 d6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.fxe5 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 dxe5

 

 

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|rn-qkbnr|
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|+-pPp-+-|
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  White has a development advantage and a passed d-pawn, all in seven moves!

8.Bb5+ Nd7 9.Nc3 Ngf6 10.Bg5 Be7 11.d6

 

 

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|r+-qk+-r|
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|R-+-K-+R|
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  a decoy

11...Bxd6 12.0-0-0 1-0

  Very deft.


(251) morphy - medley [C39]

Model game 3.3: london Model game 3.3: london, 1858

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bd6 8.d4 Nh5 9.Nc3 Bf5 10.Ne2 Qf6 11.Nxf4 Ng3

 

 

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|R-BQK-+R|
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  a confused picture, where White's central hold is perhaps more secure

12.Nh5 Nxh5 13.Bg5 Bb4+ [13...Qg7] 14.c3 Qd6

 

 

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|R-+QK-+R|
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  White is offered material...

15.0-0 ...but completing development is more important

15...Ng7 16.Rxf5 Nxf5 17.Qxg4 Ne7 18.Re1

 

 

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  the last White piece enters the fight, and Black faces early defeat

18...h5 19.Qf3 Rh7

 

 

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  Well, White's pieces are well-placed, but how to push Black over the edge?

20.Bb5+ c6 21.dxc6 bxc6 22.Nxc6 Nbxc6 23.Bxc6+

 

 

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  the White force is perfectly coordinated and Black is helpless to defend all his pieces 1-0

 


(252) bird - morphy [C41]

Model game 3.4: london Model game 3.4: london, 1858

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bd6 9.Nh5 0-0 10.Qd2 Qe8 11.g4

 

 

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|rnb+qrk+|
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|PPPQ-P-P|
|R-+-KB+R|
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  White is pushing his luck

11...Nxg4 12.Nxg4 Qxh5 13.Ne5 Nc6

  Black is achieving his usual brisk development

14.Be2 Qh3 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.Be3 Rb8 17.0-0-0

 

 

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|-rb+-rk+|
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  not an easy decision

17...Rxf2 bold but probably too optimistic

18.Bxf2 Qa3 the point 19.c3 Qxa2 20.b4 Qa1+ 21.Kc2 Qa4+ 22.Kb2 Bxb4 23.cxb4 Rxb4+ 24.Qxb4 Qxb4+ 25.Kc2

 

 

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|-+b+-+k+|
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  Black has some material back, and his initiative persists

25...e3 a clearance sacrifice

26.Bxe3 Bf5+ 27.Rd3 Qc4+ 28.Kd2 Qa2+ 29.Kd1 Qb1+ White is in an insoluble muddle 0-1

Chess Quotes

"I hate anyone who beats me."
— -- LISA LANE