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   A.J.'s  'Paul Morphy'  Web Page   

  The Angel-Fire Logo. (af_logo_156.gif,  01 KB)

  The picture of the book on Morphy by Chris Ward. (Click on the picture for more info!)

(If you would like to see a few more pics of this player, click  here.  Or  here.) 


This web page will be my little   "Paul Morphy Central."   It will have two sections. The first will be a list of all the relevant web sites that have MAJOR P. Morphy content, (Games and/or articles about this great player.); and the second section will contain a list of games and links. I will endeavor to "scrub the web" on this one. (Many of the games will be annotated by yours truly, but not all the games will be by me. If I can find a significant source of games, I will list them.)


 First, I will give you a few biographies. 


MORPHY,  Paul Charles , (183784) - American chess player, born in New Orleans, LA. 
At 10 he learned the game and at 21 was acknowledged as the greatest player in the world. Not only was Morphy possessed of a phenomenal memory, which he demonstrated in astounding feats of simultaneous blindfold play, but his style of play was in direct contrast to that of his time. He was a master of the open game, in which center pawns are exchanged, open files are utilized, and rapid development of the pieces is demanded. D. Harrwitz, J. Löwenthal, and Adolph Anderssen were among the many who succumbed to his crushing combinations. After 1859, when he had returned to New Orleans from world triumphs, mental instability ended his chess play. (From an on-line encyclopedia.) 


Paul Morphy - 'The Pride and Sorrow of Chess' 
For a brief moment he appeared on the chess scene and brilliantly defeated the world's leading players. In the flower of his youth he withdrew from the game if not indeed from life itself, and died at the end of a long decline."  From the book, "The Encyclopedia of Chess," by Anne Sunnucks.  (Page # 310.)
(Her write-up on this great player extends many pages, I do not intend to reproduce all of that here.) 


Paul Morphy - Perhaps the greatest player who ever lived, statistically 'the gap' that separated him from his generation was larger than any other player in the history of the game of chess. He learned the game when he was very young, (4-5) and he demonstrated a remarkable proclivity for the game at a very tender age, indeed he was beating his Uncle Ernst at age 6 or 7 years old. (All the more remarkable, as his Uncle may have been one of the top players in the country!) He played several players, some of whom were among the strongest amateur players in the country - when he was just a lad (before age 10) and trounced them thoroughly. (This is all documented in David Lawson's book.)  

Morphy was also a gifted student, who took highly accelerated courses, he was doing university level math before age 10. 
("He was an apt pupil, gifted with a fine memory; and fond of drama and music." - A. Sunnucks.) 
Lawson noted that he, "received many awards and premiums for his studies in MANY subjects." 
He had a prodigious memory - indeed it was rumored to be photographic. His lifelong companion said he NEVER forgot a game of chess, he could instantly re-create an entire game from an event, even if it wasn't his own. All it took was to glance at the game every 5-10 moves! (Morphy committed the ENTIRE LAW CODE OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA  ...  TO MEMORY!!!!!!  The only person to ever accomplish such a feat, that I know of.) 

Paul Morphy finished his studies before he was 18, and passed the Bar Exam the following year. As he was too young to practice law, (The legal age for this was then 21, although most firms would not hire you until you were much older.); so he turned his attention to chess. He traveled to New York, and played in a chess congress there. He was vastly superior to ALL American players, this was completely unquestioned. (Later he would play a match - AT KNIGHT ODDS - against the #2 or # 3 American player ... and WIN!!!)

Morphy then proceeded to Europe, where he proved he was much better than all the other players there. Even A. Anderssen, whom in my opinion belongs in the best 100 players ever - was unable to provide much of a challenge to Morphy. The only player of any note that he did not play, was Howard Staunton. This is because it was clearly evident he was the superior player and Staunton ducked any head-on confrontation.

He returned home to the U.S. to a hero's welcome. Accolades of the highest honour were bestowed upon him. Parties and parades were thrown on his behalf. Artists put his likeness on statues, coins, paintings, and virtually anything else you can think of. Instead of being honored by all the attention, he seemed rather embarrassed by it all. Perhaps he did not realize what he had done ... or why it was so important. (AT THAT TIME ... virtually everything in the America's - economy, art, social status, virtually anything else - were considered to GREATLY inferior  to anything "on the continent."  [From, "The Old World."]  Morphy was the first American to prove he was equal {or superior!} to The Europeans at anything!!!) 

Paul Morphy returned home to New Orleans to try to resume a normal life, but this seemed impossible. His notoriety made law practise, or even a normal life impossible. (He was reportedly jilted by the woman he loved, she would not deign, "to marry a mere chess-player.")  Soon the country was engulfed in the Civil War, even Paul Morphy was not to escape the horrific impact this event had on our nation.

After the war, he became something of a recluse. He was supported by his family and friends - he had no real income of his own. (He lived in his mother's home.) Publicly, he detested the mere mention of chess - privately he demonstrated he still had the talent, if he was inclined to play. Indeed, he seemed to enjoy talking about 'old times' with his life-long friend and companion, Charles Maurian. He still attended theatre and opera in the area also. His problems grew much worse as time progressed. 

In the end, Morphy was consumed with paranoia and delusions of persecution. His health was also affected, his sister later wrote she was concerned he was not eating properly. His cause of death is not 100% certain, although it is thought he died of a stroke ... perhaps brought on by the  'rigours of a hardy walk'  on a very hot Louisiana afternoon, and then almost immediately afterwards - immersing himself in a cool bath.

Every American, and especially every chess-player, should remember and respect Paul Morphy. He is easily one of the greatest of all chess players from this land. Only H.N. Pillsbury and Bobby Fischer are worthy of the recognition and being on, 'the same rung of the ladder,' as this great player.
 - LIFE Master A.J. Goldsby I  


Paul Morphy 
(from the  "Hall of Fame"  bio) 

Paul Morphy (1837-1884), is called the " pride and sorrow of chess." He became the best player in the world and could have become recognized the first true world champion, but he retired at the peak of his powers after an active career of only two years.

Paul Morphy was a life-long resident of New Orleans. His father was a prominent man who served as both Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice of Louisiana, and his uncle Ernest was one of the best-known chess analysts in the United States. When Paul was only eight years of age, he witnessed the first US Championship contest ever held, a match won by Charles Stanley of New York over a New Orleans master named Rousseau. That historic match was held in New Orleans.

Most of Paul Morphy's early chess development came in practice against relatives and local players, but he burst into national fame by winning the First American Chess Congress in 1857. His victory there made him the second US champion in history. Paul Morphy then traveled to Europe for the express purpose of challenging the best players in the world. In a series of matches, he easily defeated the best players of the continent. Although he was frustrated in his efforts to arrange a match against the long-time English champion, Howard Staunton, no one seriously doubted that he would have defeated Staunton by an overwhelming score. Morphy's style of play was as spectacular as his results; in many of his games, he won by brilliant sacrifices that still amaze and entertain players today.

When Paul Morphy returned to the US, he was acclaimed a national hero. Even among the millions of Americans who did not play chess, he was viewed as having brought world-wide honor to the United States. Baseball clubs and cigars were named after him.

Inexplicably, however, Morphy did not play serious chess again. The secession of his state disrupted Morphy's life, as he opposed secession, and he became a reclusive individual in later life. However, chess players all around the world continue to revere Paul Morphy today as one of the greatest and most brilliant players in history.

Below is my section of links to sites with information on Paul Morphy. I have spent about 50 hours perusing the web and tried to get a few of the better and different sites for you. However, you can always fire up your web browser and enter in, "Paul Morphy," and then click -  SEARCH!  Happy hunting! (I found over 5000 matches!)  Keep you busy, eh? 

Another good tip? Go to   and search in the  <book section>  under Paul Morphy. 
Lots of matches, too! 

NOTE:  I checked these links today, I had several e-mails about non-functioning links. However, constantly checking links is not something that I care to do. Further - with the advent and advances of search engines like "Google," it really is not necessary. If a link does not work, simply move on to the next one. (Rest assured - that the first day that I first posted all of these links, they worked. Thursday; May 26th, 2005.) 

  Chess Sites with articles or write-ups on Morphy  

  Chess Sites with games of Paul Morphy  
 (Check the section above for sites with games, also!)

A few of Morphy's Best games, carefully annotated (by me) and posted on my various websites.  
 (Some are in java-script replay form, others are just plain text.)  


Here is a list of the books that I own on Paul Morphy.  

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This page was last updated on 10/18/13 .

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  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I, Copyright (c), 1985-2012.  
Copyright © A.J. Goldsby, 2013All rights reserved.