Greatest Chess Game Ever Played



Opera House game
Immortal Game
Evergreen Game

Thumbnail from page 103 of Šachový slabikář by I. Veselá and J. Veselý (Prague, 1991)

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This is the story of the birth of modern chess – when the possibilities of chess as an art, a science and a sport all converged.
The point of convergence was a young boy from Louisiana named Paul Morphy. At a time when America was seen as a backwoods nation with little cultural history and even less intellectual impetus, at a time when chess was considered the exclusive property of a few European countries, at a time when the game was played successfully by a handful of men wizened by years, Paul Morphy, in the brief span of 19 months and with seemingly little effort, defeated conclusively every player he met.
While today few non chess players even know his name, he was one of the most famous celebrities of his time and within the hallowed halls of the chess playing community he is considered by some as the greatest chess player of all time.
But this diminutive, unassuming boy rose to fame almost out of nowhere and once he secured his place in history, he retired back into that hazy unknown, shunning the public eye, never again to play serious chess. Not only was he one of great practitioners of the game, but also one of it’s greatest enigmas. He’s been given the sobriquet, The Pride and Sorrow of Chess.

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Paul Morphy vs Daniel Harrwitz
Morphy – Harrwitz (1858), Paris FRA, rd 8, Oct-04
Philidor Defense: General (C41)

Paul Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard
“A Night at the Opera” (game of the day Dec-02-2007)
Paris (1858), Paris FRA
Philidor Defense: General (C41)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5 b5 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.O-O-O Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+ Nxb8 17.Rd8#

00:00 Hello Everyone
01:25 Important History Stuff!
11:20 Game Starts
15:20 Pause The Video!
18:15 Contributions

Materials used in research:
Paul Morphy: Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson
The Genius Of Paul Morphy by Chris Ward

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37 comments

  1. Would it have been worthwhile to examine the line that follows if black plays 14. … Qb4? I guess not. After White exchanges queens, he can exchange the knight for his bishop and then win the rook. The game is still lost for black, but he forestalls the inevitable with this line.

  2. The best player of his time agains two amateurs, and this is called the greatest Chess game?? Quite honestly, this game impresses me as much as seeing FC Barcelona pound on a team of overweight celebrities with dazzling dribbles and combinations that they would never be able to do against another top team

  3. Was reading that Morphy while in Europe met the Queen of England and France. Sounds like he did more in the 3 years of playing chess than many people in their lives.

  4. I was lucky to grow up in the magical city of New Orleans, so Morphy has always been a hero of mine. He just wanted to watch the opera, dammit. So he mated those fools as quickly as he could.

  5. @ agadmator 11:25 prvi potez (First move at 11:25). Pa Antiša šta da ti kažem. Jebeš mi prase ako nisi pretjerao. Dvije trećine klipa ne počinješ partiju, pa to mogu izdržati rijetki šahisti koji te prate pogotovo ako umeš u obzir da su danas većinom cugeraši. Imaj to ubuduće na umu. Dao sam ti lajk jer cijenim tvoj trud i rad, ali ubuduće ću ti početi udarati dis pa ti gledaj ( koji muzički žargon dis = snizilica 😉 ).

  6. Staunton was just a bighead with very low quality games. It's no surprise that he didn't want to face Morphy. I admire Anderssen the most, he was a breath of fresh air to the chess world at that time.

  7. Thank you for the interesting bit of history of Morphy and the brilliant game also, which I didn't know. Glad I could find this genius move of Queen sacrifice. Thanks !

  8. Hi, please reduce the length of the preamble… Inasmuch as the history may be mildly amusing, we are here for the chess.

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