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Paul Morphy vs Duke Karl and Count Isouard

Philidor Defense

In this chess lesson we analyze  a game where Morphy plays Duke Karl and Count Isouard in the Opera in Paris and demolishes the philidor defense. The game ends in one of Morphy’s most famous miniatures and a truly magnificent game.

Video Analysis

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jQuery(document).ready(function($) { var selector = '#' + "rpbchessboard-6476076703432-1" + ' .rpbchessboard-chessgameAnchor'; RPBChessboard.renderPGN($(selector), {"pgn":"[Event \"Paris\"] [Site \"Paris FRA\"] [Date \"1858.??.??\"] [Round \"?\"] [White \"Paul Morphy\"] [Black \"Duke Karl \/ Count Isouard\"] [Result \"1-0\"] [ECO \"C41\"] [Annotator \"Mac\"] [PlyCount \"33\"] [EventDate \"1858.??.??\"] [SourceDate \"2014.01.17\"] {Some people consider this to be the most famous chess game of all time. It is certainly Paul Morphy’s most well known. It’s been shown in endless articles, classes, and lessons because of it’s amazing qualities and near perfect play from Morphy. There is no better game for showing the value of quick development and attacking an uncastled king! Another interesting feature of the game is that Paul Morphy was playing against a duo of opponents. The game took place at an opera while the performance was going on which led Morhpy to want to win in as fast as possible. He managed to do it and in the process created one of the most famous games ever played.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 {[#] [%cal Rd4e5,Rf3e5,Yd6e5]} Bg4 $2 {[%cal Rg4d1]} (3... exd4 {This is the modern way to handle the opening. It’s considered the best move although black is still struggling to equalize.} 4. Nxd4 (4. Qxd4 {This is also a reasonable capture here.} Nc6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. Bxc6 Bxc6 {[%csl Gd4] This is the idea from white’s point of view. White would like to develop rapidly and keep the queen posted in the center.})) (3... Nd7 4. Bc4 c6 $1 {This move is the only way for black not to end up with a serious disadvantage here. White has a pleasant space advantage in the center and a slightly better position.}) 4. dxe5 Bxf3 $6 {The problem with this move is that it leads to massive development advantage for White and also gives white an unopposed light-squared bishop with an open center.} (4... Nd7 {The computer prefers playing this position in gambit style for Black. White would still have an advantage but would not be able to create a quick attack like the game continuation.}) (4... dxe5 $2 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 6. Nxe5 {[%cal Re5f7,Re5g4] This is white’s idea behind 4. dxe5.}) 5. Qxf3 $1 (5. gxf3 $5 {This also leads to a very big advantage for white.} Nc6 6. exd6 Bxd6 7. Nc3) 5... dxe5 {[%csl Ra8,Rb8,Rd8,Rf8,Rg8,Rh8]} 6. Bc4 $1 {[%csl Gc4,Gf3] [%cal Gf3f7,Gc4f7]} Nf6 $2 {[#][%csl Rb7,Rf7] This natural move helps white’s cause because it allows a powerful followup.} (6... Qf6 $1 {This is better compared to Nf6 but black is still much worse after…} 7. Qb3 Nd7 8. Qxb7) 7. Qb3 {[#][%cal Rc4f7,Rb3b7]} Qe7 {[%cal Ye7b4,Yb3b7]} 8. Nc3 (8. Bxf7+ $5 {[%csl Yb4][%cal Ye7b4] This was also a very interesting idea, which is based on a deflection.} Qxf7 9. Qxb7 {[%csl Ra8,Yb4][%cal Yf7b3]} Bc5 $1 {In many books I read growing up as a child, Qxa8 was mentioned here and some said it was good, some said it was bad. It turns out white should forget about taking on a8 and just play Qc8+ here instead with a large advantage, although more complicated position to handle compared to the game.} 10. Qc8+ $1 (10. Qxa8 O-O $132) 10... Ke7 11. Qxh8) (8. Qxb7 $5 {This would have been a perfectly good response but due to the fact that Morphy did not want to play a drawn out game, he went for the more direct and active continuation Nc3.} Qb4+ 9. Qxb4 Bxb4+ 10. c3 { White has a healthy extra pawn and bishop pair advantage. Altogether enough to have a winning advantage here.}) 8... c6 {[%cal Ye7b7]} 9. Bg5 {[%cal Rg5e7]} b5 $2 10. Nxb5 cxb5 (10... Qb4+ $1 {Black would be losing here but could at least avoid the total disaster which happens in the game.}) 11. Bxb5+ Nbd7 { [#][%cal Rb5e8,Rg5e7] Black has no choice but to enter the second deadly pin. White efficiently finishes off black’s poorly placed king.} 12. O-O-O $1 { [%csl Gc1][%cal Rd1d7] Making the most out of every move. With this move, Morphy develops his queen’s rook to the best square and safens his king at the same time. The only piece that is not in the action is the rook on h1 but Morphy will find the most efficient way for it to enter the game as well.} Rd8 {[%csl Rh1]} 13. Rxd7 $1 Rxd7 {[%csl Rh1]} 14. Rd1 {[%csl Gd1][%cal Gd1d7]} Qe6 15. Bxd7+ Nxd7 $2 {[#][%csl Rd8,Re7,Re8]} 16. Qb8+ $3 Nxb8 17. Rd8# {Another dazzling performance from Morphy. This game illustrates all the fundamentals of chess perfectly. Morphy only moved two center pawns, spent the rest of the game developing rapidly, and quickly launched an attack when his opponents wasted too much time.} 1-0","nboSquareSize":50,"idoSquareSize":50,"nboCoordinateVisible":true,"idoCoordinateVisible":true,"nboColorset":"greenvintage","idoColorset":"greenvintage","nboPieceset":"new-set-mac","idoPieceset":"new-set-mac","nboAnimated":true,"nboMoveArrowVisible":false,"nboMoveArrowColor":"b","pieceSymbols":"native","navigationBoard":"frame","withFlipButton":true,"withDownloadButton":true}); });

Paul Morphy vs Duke Karl & Count Isuard

Philidor Defense

Bobby Fischer once said that no one could play the open games as well as Paul Morphy. He certainly has a point. In this game, we analyze Paul Morphy’s most famous win and arguably the most famous chess game ever played, the Opera Game. This legendary game was played between Morphy and two high status noblemen from Europe, Duke Karl II of Brunswick and Count Isouard. They were strong amateurs and the game was played during the opera “Norma” by Bellini. It is said that Morphy was in such a rush to win the game in order to see the show that it led him to play as forcefully as possible to win the game. No matter what the reason, we are lucky to have such a game to witness.

Free Chess Lesson Morphy Vs Karl & Isouard
Paul Morphy
Duke Karl & Count Isouard
Philidors Defense

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