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  A great little game ... by Paul Morphy 

This was an interesting game by Morphy that I remember playing over when I was only about 12 or 13 years old. I annotated it a very long time ago for a state chess publication here in the south. I re-did those annotations in 2003, after getting Ward's book on Morphy. I decided to revise that work and post it. (The end of July, 2005.) 











 Paul Morphy (2400) - Eugene Rousseau (2000) 
[C39]
A casual game
 New Orleans, LA / USA / 1849. 


An interesting short-game/miniature. (The ratings are only simple estimates, no reliable rating system existed at the time that this game was played. I should point out, that - at one time - E. Rousseau was considered to be one of the strongest players in all of America.)

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1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ng5!? ,   
A wild and woolly line ... that is no longer in use today. (White is basically forced into making an unsound piece sacrifice.)  
[ The Allagaier Gambit. ]  

     [ Better is: >/= 5.Ne5!?, {"comp"} "The Kieseritzsky Gambit." (See any standard reference work.) ]   

5...h6!? 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qxg4!? ,  
Condemned by some pundits - and also frowned upon by theory - but it looks like a perfectly reasonable move (to me) in this position. 
{It is also the first choice of several different computer programs.}  

     [ Theory currently prefers:  7.d4 ,  as being superior to the text line. ]  

7...Qf6?
Just a bad and unnecessary play with the Queen ... so typical of the chess play of that era.   

     [ Better is: >/= 7...Nf68.Qxf4 Bd6;  "/+"  which clearly favors Black.  
       (Several postal games clearly show that Black generally wins from this particular position.) ]  

8.Bc4+ Ke7 9.Nc3 c6 ;   
Other than Black's one Queen move, all the moves thus far have been ... more-or-less ... fairly decent and relatively reasonable.  

10.e5!? , (hmmm)  
Rather than wait, Morphy sacrifices a Pawn here.  

     [ Probably better was:  10.d4!? ,  ('!')  with good play for the material. 
       (GM Chris Ward calls this a viable, "dynamic alternative.") ]  

 

10...Qxe5+ 11.Kd1 Kd8!? ;   
Not terrible - but this is definitely inferior to the obvious move of ...Knight-to-f6. 
(Which is far better than the move actually played.)   

Ward gives this move a whole question mark ... this definitely appears a bit extreme to me.  

12.Re1 Qc5!? ; (Probably - '?')   
This LOOKS like a reasonable move, at least at a first, very casual glance. {But it is actually a mistake.}  

     [ A really big improvement was:  >/= 12...d6!13.Qf3 Qg7! ;  "/+"  which obviously favors Black. (Maybe "-/+") ]  

13.Bxg8 d5?! ;  (Really - '?' or '??') 
This appears to be a VERY plausible move ... however it is refuted in an extremely spectacular fashion!!!   

 

morph_mor-ros_diag01.gif, 08 KB

 

You might think, after at least a quick glance at this position, that Black is doing OK here. However, appearances are deceiving!   

     [ Much better than the game would have been the continuation:  >/= 13...d6! ; 14.Qg6!? ,  
       There are several playable moves in this position for White ... but not any choices that I would   
       want to brag or write home about. (14.Be6 is {also} a plausible alternative.)   

         ( Much worse would be: </=  14.Re8+?! Kxe8 ; 15.Qxc8+ Ke7 ; 16.Qxb7+!? Nd7 ;   
            17.Qxa8? Qg1+ ;  and Black has a winning attack. )  

       14...Kc7;  "~"  when - almost surprisingly - Black is probably OK in this position. ]   

 

14.Re8+!! Kxe8 15.Qxc8+ Ke7[];   
Black's only legal move.  

16.Nxd5+! , (Maybe - '!!')   
Another shocker ... one can only wonder what poor Rousseau was feeling at this point in the game.  

     [ Most students choose the vastly inferior continuation of: 16.Qxb7+!? ,  (Really - '?')   
       for White in this position. (But Black responds with ...Nd7; and if White grabs the Rook   
       on a8, then Black will have a winning attack.) ]   

16...Kd6 ; ('?')   
Suicide ... but Black may have missed Morphy's very sneaky reply.   

     [ The box says that the {very ugly} move of  (>/=)  16...Qxd5 ;  is forced {for Black} in this position. 
       (Most of my students say they would rather resign than play such a move!) ]   

17.Qc7# ,   
This is not a perfect game ... but definitely a highly entertaining one!! 
(Almost unbelievably ... Paul Morphy was no more than 12 years old when this miniature was played!!!)  

GM Chris Ward spends three whole pages annotating and analyzing this game in his excellent book: 
"The Genius of Paul Morphy." My notes are much inferior to his, and it is my hope that - if you really 
enjoyed this game - you would try to obtain a copy of this excellent book.  

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2004; (and also 2005). All rights reserved.  

 

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  Page last updated:   Saturday;  July 30th, 2005.   Last edit/save on:  12/27/2005 .    (Game code and analysis ... initially generated with ChessBase 9.0)  


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