27 November 2013

Morphy Defense: First Book Lines

Before Paul Morphy played 3...a6 in response to Adolf Anderssen's Spanish Opening, or Ruy Lopez, published analysis had appeared in Handbuch des Schachspiels (Berlin, 1852).

The Handbuch, often called the German Handbook in English publications set the standard for opening reference in the nineteenth century and was still in use well into the twentieth century. It went through eight editions: 1843, 1852, 1858, 1864, 1874, 1880, 1891, and 1912-1916. It's first editor, Paul Rudolf von Bilguer (1815-1840) died before the first edition was published. Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-1899) saw the first five editions through publication, retaining Bilguer's name as editor.

The 1852 edition was the first to include what would come to be known as the Morphy Defense. The lines presented in the Handbuch (1852) are reproduced here. There are two notes to line 3 that I have not yet translated, but that I may add later.

After 3...a6
Line 1.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6* 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.Nxe5 Qd4 6.f4** Qxe4+ =

Line 2.

-- -- -- -- 5.0–0 Bd6 6.d4 exd4 7.Qxd4 f6 8.Re1 Ne7 9.e5 fxe5 10.Nxe5 0–0 11.Bg5*** Qe8 12.Nc4 Nf5

White to move

13.Rxe8 Nxd4 14.Rxf8+ Kxf8 15.Nxd6 Nxc2 16.Nxc8 Rxc8 17.Na3 Nxa1 =/+

Line 3.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 13.Qc3 Qg6 14.Nxd6 cxd6 =

Line 4.

White to move
Position for Lines 4 and 5

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 12.Nd2 Nf5 13.Qc3 Qh5 =

Line 5.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nd2 Be6 =

Line 6.

[1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6] 4.Ba4 Bc5 5.c3 b5 6.Bb3

After 6.Bb3 in Lines 6 and 7
6...d6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.Bd5 Nge7 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Be3 Bxf3 12.gxf3 =

Line 7.

6...Qe7 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.0–0 Nf6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Bg5 d6 12.Qd3 Bd7 =

Line 8.

-- -- -- - 4...Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.d4 Bb6 +/=

White to move

*This move, described by Anonimo Modenese [that is, Domenico Ercole del Rio; see "Morphy Defense: Early History"] could possibly occur. But if White would take Nc6 immediately, Black then will be a bit better developed with 3. Ng8 to f6 instead a7 to a6 because of his threat towards e4.

** White also can play the knight to d3, f3, or g4 with the same result.

*** Reference to Cozio ending here with the remark that White has a beautiful game. The game, however, as shown in the following lines is not unfavorable for Black.

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