13 May 2015

Trapped in a Castle

During the War Between the States, often called the Civil War in the United States, Paul Morphy returned to Paris for a visit. While there, he played a few games of chess. One of his games against Jules Arnous de Riviere did not start particularly well. Morphy seized the initiative for the cost of a pawn, but only a tactical oversight by his opponent gave him the edge that he needed.

Black to move
After 14.O-O

Morphy had Black.

14...Bxh2+ 15.Kxh2 f4

Morphy sacrificed a second pawn.

16.Qxe4 Ng5 17.Qd4?

Black has little to show for the two pawns after 17.Qd3.

Black to move

Here the game reached position 178 in GM-RAM: Essential Grandmaster Knowledge (2000) by Rashid Ziyatdinov. This position may be the sole reason this game is worth remembering.


Down two pawns, Morphy sacrificed a knight.

18.gxf3 Qh4

White king is in danger, trapped in his own fortress.

19.Rh1 Bxh3< The only winning move. Indeed, the only move that does not leave Black worse. 20.Bd2 Rf6

White to move

White has no defense against Rg6 and Bf1.

21.Bxf4 Rxf4 0-1

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