Perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived, Paul Morphy would beat anybody today in a set match. He had complete sight of the board and seldom blundered even though he moved quite rapidly. “I’ve played over hundreds of his games and I am continually surprised and entertained by his ingenuity,” said World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer with reference to Morphy.
There’s a lull in serious chess grandmaster competitions in the international arena and inactivity on the local chess front, so this column takes the opportunity to bring readers some information about the inimitable Paul Morphy. He entered the world in June1837 and soon after became a chess prodigy. At family gatherings, Paul observed his father and uncle playing chess. At age nine, he was considered one of the finest players in New Orleans, his birthplace. At 12, Paul defeated the visiting Hungarian chess master Johann Lowenthal in a 3-game match. He received his law degree at age 20, but was too young to practise. With free time on his hands, Paul entered the First American Chess Congress in New York City in which the cream of American chess participated. There was Alexander Meek and Louis Paulsen, two of the strongest players of the day. Paul won the tournament. (To be continued)