An All Morphy Masterpiece

A photograph of Alonzo Morphy (Paul Morphy’s father.)

The famous Checkmate by Castling Game!

[Event “Friendly Game”]
[Site “New Orleans (USA)”]
[Date “1850”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Morphy, Paul”]
[Black “Morphy, Alonzo”]
[Result “1-0”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/1NBQKBNR w Kkq – 0 1”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1. e4 {At the age of 13, Paul was already a much stronger player than his father Alonzo. So, to keep things interesting, Paul played this game with only one rook.}

Position after 1. e4

1… e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bc4 {A young Paul Morphy was a fan of the Italian Game.}

Position after 3. Bc4

3… Nf6

4. Ng5 d5

5. exd5 Nxd5

6. Nxf7 {The famous Fried Liver Attack!}

Position after 6. Nxf7

6… Kxf7

7. Qf3+ {Paul Morphy develops his queen by simultaneously
attacking the exposed king on f7 and the pinned knight on d5.}

7… Ke6

8. Nc3 {Again, developing with threats against the pinned knight.}

8… Nd4!? {What is normally considered a mistake, instead raises eyebrows when played at rook’s odds.}

Position after 8… Nd4

9. Bxd5+ Kd6

10. Qf7 {Threatening Ne4#!}

Position after 10. Qf7

10… Be6 {Alonzo Morphy makes a crucial mistake. Better was:} (10. .. Qe7 11. Ne4+ Kd7 12. Nc5+ Kd8 {and Paul Morphy is forced to start trading pieces.})

11. Bxe6 {Sometimes the only reasonable response to the fork is to eat off of it.}

11… Nxe6

12. Ne4+ Kd5

13. c4+ {Throwing the kitchen sink at black’s king is preferable to agreeing to a draw by repetition (Nc3+ kd6 Ne4+.)}

Position after 13. c4+

13… Kxe4

14. Qxe6 Qd4?? {The move that seals the deal. What looks to be a strong move for the queen in actuality steals the king’s escape route. If only Alonzo had played Kd3 instead. But then we never would enjoyed this game’s spectacular finish.}

Position after 14… Qd4

15. Qg4+ Kd3

16. Qe2+ {Attacking the king and his escape route on c4.}

16… Kc2

17. d3+ {A cute little discovered check keeps black’s king on the run.}

Position after 17. d3+

17… Kxc1 {Of course with perfect play, black could have survived longer. However, the opportunity to be checkmated by O-O doesn’t occur very often.} (17. .. Kb1 18. O-O Bc5 19. Be3+ Kxa2 20. Bxd4 Bxd4 21. Qc2 b5 22. b4+ Ka3 23. Rb1 bxc4 24. dxc4 Bb2 25. Qxb2+ Ka4 26. Ra1#)

Position after 17… Kxc1

18. O-O#

Position after 18. 0-0#, Mate

Below is the whole game animated:

 

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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