Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Morphy – Allies, Paris 1858

The story goes that the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard invited Morphy to the opera one night and then asked him to play a game of chess, which the courteous Morphy could hardly refuse. Then they seated him with his back to the stage. Morphy, who wanted to watch the show, demolished them in record time.

Morphy – Allies
Paris, 1858

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6

A defense recommended by Phi­l­idor, but the point of it is to retain a pawn on e5 at all costs. If Black plans to exchange pawns, he's cramping himself and gaining nothing in return.

3. d4 Bg4?! 4. dxe5 Bxf3

The pin was not a true defense of the e5 pawn, for if 4. ... dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 6. Nxe5.

5. Qxf3 dxe5 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. Qb3 Qe7

White’s seventh move attacked both f7 and b7; now Black would answer 8. Qxb7 with 8. ... Qb4+, saving the Rook on a8. Morphy wants more than an extra pawn in an endgame ...
8. Nc3 c6 9. Bg5 b5 10. Nxb5 cxb5 11. Bxb5+ Nbd7 12. 0-0-0 Rd8

Now the Black Kingside is hopelessly tied up, and White needs only the bring his last piece (the Rook at h1) into play.

13. Rxd7 Rxd7 14. Rd1 Qe6

Defending the Rook on d7 again by breaking the pin on the Knight at f6. Now White would win eventually by trading Queens and recapturing his piece on d7, but he has a better idea ...


15. Bxd7+ Nxd7 16. Qb8+! Nxb8 17. Rd8 mate

While many of Black's moves may look naive to modern eyes, it is amusing to note that Edward Lasker mentioned that he won the same game at least twice in simuls.

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