Paul Morphy was an American chess player and legend. He was considered to be the strongest player in his era. He was often considered an unofficial World chess champion.
One of the most celebrated and collected games for enthusiastic chess players is the short and sweet "Opera game" of Paul Morphy. This course looks at other fairly short Paul Morphy games generally all 25 moves or less and tries to extract maximum instructive value from each game covered.
Bobby Fischer (the 11th World chess champion) considered him one of the most accurate chess players ever. And Fischer took a major influence from both Paul Morphy and Jose Raul Capablanca for his playing style.
José Raúl Capablanca (3rd world chess champion) said of Morphy:
"The magnificent American master had the most extraordinary brain that anybody has ever had for chess. Technique, strategy, tactics, knowledge which is inconceivable for us; all that was possessed by Morphy fifty-four years ago."
Wilhelm Steinitz - the first official World chess champion said of Morphy:
"When it is so freely asserted that Morphy's style was all genius and inspiration. Morphy possessed the most profound book knowledge of any master of his time, and never introduced a single novelty, whereas since his day the books have had to study the players."
Mikhail Botvinnik (the 6th World Chess champion) said of Morphy:
"In the handling of open positions, nothing new has been found after Morphy!"
Garry Kasparov (13th World champion), Viswanathan Anand (15th World champion), and Max Euwe (5th World champion) argued that Morphy was far ahead of his time. In this regard, Euwe described Morphy as "a chess genius in the most complete sense of the term.
Key principles that a chess beginner can learn from Morphy fall into several broad categories:
The fast development of pieces
Good control of the Center
Opening up lines of attack
Past World Chess champions Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, and Max Euwe have often argued that Morphy was far ahead of his time.
Romantic School of Chess
Paul Morphy is often regarded as one of the leading examples of chess's "Romantic school". This school focused on 1.e4 openings and often featured impressive tactical and attacking play. Opponents were often checkmated rapidly within 30 moves or less.
Paul Morphy could also play a strong positional game when needed. But Paul Morphy was far stronger in chess's more "open games" which allowed his tactical genius to shine through more.
He can be considered the first "modern" player as he often played open games to a very high engine accuracy comparable to modern players. He played quickly in a time when there was no time control used and often took less than one hour to play all of his moves. So in this respect, he is a little bit like Vishy Anand. His opponents by contrast took 7 to 8 times longer quite often.
Morphy's Gambit Openings
Morphy was keen on playing the King's gambit as well as the Evans gambit when playing with the White pieces.