10 May 2019

Paul Morphy, Editor

In the previous post in this series, Five Volumes of 'Chess Monthly', I wrote,

Both title pages [1857, v01; 1858, v02] mention Paul Morphy and D.W. Fiske as editors (plus 'Problem Department by E.B. Cook'), although the handwritten page [1857, v01] indicates that Morphy's name was added later. [...] It's not clear what role he actually played in the publication of Chess Monthly. I'll tackle that another time.

I found a review of v02 at Chess Book Chats: The Chess Monthly by Morphy and Fiske (May 2018; part 1/2). It said,

This is the second volume, for the year 1858, with Paul Morphy named as co-editor, although he had spent the second half of the year in Europe; and the whole volume is largely a tribute to Morphy with extensive reports of his exploits both at home and abroad. Of the 97 games included in this volume, the great majority are by Morphy, starting with games from the First American Chess Congress, held in New York in October and November 1857, and ending with many of his astonishing performances in England and France.

That makes sense, although 'great majority [of games] are by Morphy', might be an exaggeration. Quibbles aside, here is an extract of the Morphy entries from the general indices of the first two volumes of 'Chess Monthly'.

Top: 1857, v01 • Bottom: 1858, v02

The top entry (1857) lists four Morphy games starting on p.368. All of the games were given without notes. The bottom entry (1858) lists four Morphy games starting on p.15. Here is a list of the games, including two games sandwiched between the Morphy games (all links to Chessgames.com):-

The first game, Paulsen - Morphy (p.15), is the famous game where Morphy sacrificed his Queen for a Bishop. It has a page and a half of notes. The other three Morphy games have a half-page of notes. The first page of the edition where the games appeared (January 1958) said,

The Book of the [1st American Chess] Congress will hardly be ready before Spring. This delay is occasioned in part by the desire of the Editor to make the Historical Sketch of American Chess as complete as possible. The notes to the games will be chiefly by Mr. Morphy.

Were the notes to the Morphy games taken from the draft of the book? I'll look at that another time. If four of the six games in the game section were by Morphy, what about the other two? The second game, Montgomery - Paulsen (p.18), would also be found in the book of the congress. The third game appears to be missing from the databases; at least I couldn't find it during a few minutes of searching. Curious about the game, I entered the moves myself:-

[Event "Consultation Game"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Date "1857.06.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Viscount Casabianca / Count Isouard"]
[Black "Duke of Brunswick / Harrwitz"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Source "Chess_Monthly (v02; 1858; p.19)"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 g6 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Bg7 8.Nde2 Nge7 9.O-O f5 10.exf5 Nxf5 11.Bd3 O-O 12.Bxf5 Rxf5 13.Ng3 Rf7 14.Nce4 d5 15.Nc5 Qe7 16.Nd3 e5 17.Re1 Be6 18.f3 Raf8 19.c3 h5 20.Be3 d4 21.cxd4 exd4 22.Bf2 h4 23.Ne2 h3 24.Bg3 Bh6 25.f4 hxg2 26.Nf2 Bg7 27.Ne4 Bd5 28.Ng5 Rf5 29.Rc1 Qd8 30.Rc5 d3 31.Qxd3 Qxg5 32.Rd1 Nb4 33.Qd2 Qg4 34.Re1 Re8 35.Qxb4 Rxe2 36.Rxd5 Rxd5 37.Qc4 Bd4+ 38.Bf2 Bxf2# 0-1

Its main point of interest appears to be the Queen sacrifice on move 31. Next stop: The Book of the 1st American Chess Congress.

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