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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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Paul Morphy vs Louis Paulsen
1st American Chess Congress (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Nov-02
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen-Basman Defense (B40)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd4 4. Nd4 Bc5 5. Nb3 Bb6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Bf4 e5 8. Bg3 Nge7 9. Bc4 O-O 10. Nb5 a6 11. Nd6 Bc7 12. a4 Ng6 13. Qd2 Qf6 14. Rd1 Nf4 15. O-O h5 16. Nc8 Rac8 17. Qd7 Nd4 18. Nd4 ed4 19. Qf5 Qf5 20. ef5 Be5 21. Bf4 Bf4 22. Rd4 Be5 23. Re4 Bb2 24. Rb1 Rfd8 25. g3 Rd4 26. Bd3 Re4 27. Be4 Rc4 28. Bb7 Rc2 29. Ba6 Bd4 30. Rf1 Ra2 31. Bb5 Kh7 32. Bc4 Ra4 33. Bf7 h4 34. Kg2 Ra1 35. Bg6 Kg8 36. Ra1 Ba1
Materials used in research:
Paul Morphy: Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson
The Genious Of Paul Morphy by Chris Ward
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