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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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Louis Paulsen vs Paul Morphy
1st American Chess Congress (1857), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Nov-03
Four Knights Game: Spanish. Classical Variation (C48)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. Ne5 Re8 7. Nc6 dc6 8. Bc4 b5 9. Be2 Ne4 10. Ne4 Re4 11. Bf3 Re6 12. c3 Qd3 13. b4 Bb6 14. a4 ba4 15. Qa4 Bd7 16. Ra2 Rae8 17. Qa6 17. Qf3!! 18. gf3 Rg6 19. Kh1 Bh3 20. Rd1 Not 20 Rg1 Rxg1+ 21 Kxg1 Re1+ 20… Bg2 21. Kg1 Bf3 22. Kf1 Bg2 23. Kg1 Bh3 24. Kh1 Bf2 25. Qf1 25. Bf1 26. Rf1 Re2 27. Ra1 Rh6 28. d4 Be3
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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