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rebras 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Capablanca versus Morphy Sure, this is another "What if..." post but this one is interesting to think about. Forget that both players would have to be brought up to date on openings and refutations...they both were so natural, that is basically irrelevent.

My question to you is this: If these two (arguably the two most naturally talented players ever) played each other, in say a twelve game match, who do you think would win? Please remember...forget the need to modernize these two giants.
v_glorioso12 15 ( +1 | -1 )
CAPABLANCA capa would win... i would pull for morphy, but i seriously think capa would win :-( morphy's attacks are usually sporadic and are sometimes unsound....
More: Chess
myway316 37 ( +1 | -1 )
Capablanca would win... ...for 2 reasons. #1. Capa,unlike the usual calibre of Morphy opponent,would not let Morphy seize the initiative,out of pure awe/fright. #2.Morphy rarely got into anything that remotely looked like a level endgame,so his skills in that area would be suspect,whereas you can be sure Capa would head for the ending ASAP. Capa 7,Morphy 4.
zdrak 73 ( +1 | -1 )
"morphy's attacks are usually sporadic and are sometimes unsound.... "

So wrote v_glorioso12, without batting an eyelid. A strong verdict. And now, let's see a verdict written by someone somewhat more informed: Max Euwe, former world champion - who by the way has first hand experience with playing Capablanca, and also researched Morphy's games in depth.

"Morphy is generally recognized only as a combinative player, while in fact his most important victory - that against Anderssen - was due entirely to his better grasp of the position"

"He (Morphy) was an accomplished position player"

"The great secret of Morphy's astounding success lay in his superior grasp of the general requirements of the position"

Sorry, v_glosioso12, not that I don't respect you ... but I'll take Euwe's opinion.
tonlesu 83 ( +1 | -1 )
Capablanca Before his match with Capablanca in 1927, Alekhine made a detailed study of Capa's play. Here are some excerpts. " ...every tactical possibility should be checked most accurately. since miscalculations on his part can by no means be ruled out." On the endgame Alekhine had this to say " he is not an exceptional master of the endgame. that other masters in certain types of endgames surpass him (for example, Rubinstein in rook and pawn endings)"
To sum up, Alekhine's overall conclusion was:" in the opening Capablanca is a powerful force only as a defender: the middlegame is his forte; ,,,in the endgame no first-class master need be afraid of him, only in exceptional cases does he manage to rise above the ordinary."
Using this assessment he defeated Capablanca decisively in their championship match.

From the book "Alexander Alekkhine" by Kotov
peppe_l 28 ( +1 | -1 )
Capa - Morphy 12-0 or 11-1

Sorry Morphy fans

They were players from different eras, Capa had more knowledge and traning against strong opponents. He was superior in all areas, except perhaps in sacrificial piece attacks, but no one was better in stopping those than Capa.
peppe_l 237 ( +1 | -1 )
Tonlesu Those comments were coloured by the hatred between them (as a result of several demands by Capa, mutual insults etc). Later he gave much more positive evaluation of Capa and his chess skills.

Yes Capa had weaknesses, namely a habit to make quick moves too quickly, instead of seeking surprising possibilities by concrete calculation. This happened mostly in winning or superior positions - in difficult positions Capa was a brilliant defender, although thanks to his great talent in prophylactic play he rarely got into difficult positions...In Buenos Aires Capa had to settle for a draw in many games where he had superior position and to give an example for his lazy character (and underestimating his opponent - see below) he lost the first game beause he was blitzing and concentrating on chatting with spectators.

More about the description about match strategy...Alekhine realized his usual style wasnt working against Capa who foresaw his attacks. Also he made an interesting observation - using different openings to exploit the fact that Capa played only few openings wasnt working because whenever Capa was forced to a "new" position in the opening, he became more alert and usually found a good move. So, he played just like Capa - positional chess, only few openings (32 out of 34 games in Buenos Aires were QGD) etc. The difference between them was that Capa was overconfident and too lazy to give his 100% against an opponent who had never managed to beat him before. When he realized he had to try his best chess, it was too late and he failed to find the fighting spirit his opponent had since he moved 1.e4 in game one.

These excerpts are based on free translation from an unfinished game collection book that was found after his death. Surprisingly, he was writing a book about his greatest rival - Capablanca! too bad he never had enough time to finish it. Anyway...

"...Crystal clear handling of opening and middle game combined to an unsurpassed endgame technique..."

"...I dont believe I was stronger than him in 1927. Perhaps the biggest reason for his loss was overestimating his own skills, propably because of his overwhelming victory in New York 1927, and underestimating my skills."

"...In him we lost a brilliant chess genius..."

I do have the entire chapter (from a book) but dont want to spend whole day for typing hehe :-)
tonlesu 62 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe Alekhine's comments were made in 1927 before the feud began. Those comments were objective and not biased by ill feeling between the two.

Of course Capablanca was overestimating his own skills, Alekhine pointed this out in the study I have referred to but I couldn't print the whole study as it is several pages long.

The book about Capablanca that Alekhine was writing, I'm sure it was complementary (it wouldn't have sold otherwise) coupled with the fact that old feuds and animosity seem to fade when one's rival passes away. We often say nice things about a deceased rival.
maximus_pondus 61 ( +1 | -1 )
Morphy fan I'm too big of a Morphy fan to let this one go. Morphy would beat Capablanca in a 12 game match. He developed his pieces so rapidly and attacked so much that Capa wouldn't be able to handle it all. No doubt that Capa was one of the greatest ever but Morphy was better. It's interesting in chessmaster9000 I have Morphy play Capa and everytime Morphy has won. I Understand these moves are not exactly what they would play but they seem very close and pretty realistic to both players. So therefore I believe Morphy would win. EVen Fischer said Morphy was the best ever next to himself.
rebras 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Fischer's statement... Was what I was waiting for...thank you maximus_pondus!
v_glorioso12 84 ( +1 | -1 )
capablanca's strength cannot easily be simulated by a computer program... Morphy's intuition can sometimes be wrong... dont get me wrong, i am a big fan of Morphy, but capablanca would prob. not let morphy steal the initiative. And capa was NOT A PAWN GRABBER, so morphy couldnt sacrifice a pawn in the opening or in any phase of the game to give morphy an attack of any significance, and if morphy did get anything out a pawn sacrifice, capa would somehow dwindle morphy's attack/initiative to almost nothing, and then capablanca would use his extra pawn to destroy morphy, and as myway316 said, "Morphy rarely got into anything that remotely looked like a level endgame,so his skills in that area would be suspect,whereas you can be sure Capa would head for the ending ASAP."

I rest my case...
peppe_l 181 ( +1 | -1 )
Tonlesu The feud had already begun. Capablanca made it very difficult for other players to challenge him (so called London rules) and later went even further by trying to make New York tournament 1927 a candidates tournament - that made Alekhine furious because earlier Capablanca was willing to accept a challenge from any top player who had the money demanded in London rules. It is true that they become even worse enemies later, but in 1927 they were no longer in good terms and it is well known many comments by Alekhine were coloured by his personal feelings and opinions (or his own interests - remember his comments about aryan and jewish chess?). Also doesnt Kotov himself say (in the book you referred to) that there are some SUBJECTIVE opinions in the study about Capablanca?

The point is his study of Capablanca was good, and of course an important factor in winning the match in Buenos Aires 1927. The reason I am critisizing it is that Alekhine went too far - for example:

"In the endgame no first-class master need be afraid of him, only in exceptional cases does he manage to rise above the ordinary."

How on earth Capablanca managed to do so well in endgames against players like Lasker if he was no better than an average endgame player? In fact, why pretty much every chess master considers Capablanca one of the greatest endgame players of all time, except one who believes he was merely average? It is true that Capablanca often made inaccurate moves because he was too confident and too lazy to seek surprising possibilities etc, but to say Capablanca was an average endgame player sounds strange to me...

When he critisizes "chess machine" he is more or less correct, but in some cases his personal feelings against Capablanca are too evident in his words.

zdrak 75 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l, some very good points here, but I feel I have to adress one of them:
"In fact, why pretty much every chess master considers Capablanca one of the greatest endgame players of all time, except one who believes he was merely average?"

Maybe that's why pretty much every chess master lost to Capablanca - and this one (Alekhine) managed to win. Do you see some form of correllation here ?

- Alekhine thinks Capablanca is nothing special
- Everyone else thinks Capablanca is a chess machine

- Alekhine manages to beat Capablanca
- Everyone else loses to Capablanca

Coincidence ? I'd say not. I would give Alekhine's views of Capa a higher weight - just because he managed to prove them empirically.

peppe_l 182 ( +1 | -1 )
rebras "I'm too big of a Morphy fan to let this one go. Morphy would beat Capablanca in a 12 game match."

You believe this because you are a fan of Morphy? :-)

"He developed his pieces so rapidly and attacked so much that Capa wouldn't be able to handle it all."

Attacking play developed a lot since Morphy - the players Capa had to play knew everything about Morphy, Anderssen, LaBourdonnais etc, and also new ideas that werent known in the era of Morphy. Still Capa was able to handle great attackers of his era. Sorry but a straight-forward strategy like "bring your pieces out quickly and go for the king" isnt the way to beat players like Capa...that may work against weak opponents (remember the famous opera game?) but not against great masters who know how to defend - unlike players from Morphy era.

"No doubt that Capa was one of the greatest ever but Morphy was better."

Because he is your favourite? :-)

"It's interesting in chessmaster9000 I have Morphy play Capa and everytime Morphy has won."

All Chessmaster9000 personalities are approx equal in strength, unlike the players they are trying to imitate. Why is Kramnik only 2700+? And why is Morphy 2700+ too? Morphy was best of his era but the truth is his playing wasnt even near to IM (let alone GM) level. Put Morphy to play in US championships today and he will be extremely lucky to win one game...

"I Understand these moves are not exactly what they would play but they seem very close and pretty realistic to both players."

They are not close at all. In fact they have almost nothing to do with the moves of players CM9000 personalities are trying to imitate.

"So therefore I believe Morphy would win. EVen Fischer said Morphy was the best ever next to himself."

He was talking about Morphy best of his era...or perhaps Morphy being the most talented?
peppe_l 72 ( +1 | -1 )
zrak Good points, but remember I was critisizing the comment I quote again here:

"In the endgame no first-class master need be afraid of him, only in exceptional cases does he manage to rise above the ordinary."

I do agree with his comments about "chess machine" - Capablanca wasnt perfect (no one is) and finding his errors and minor weaknesses was an important reason why Alekhine managed to win in Buenos Aires 1927. It is very likely most opponents overestimated Capa and failed to exploit the small mistakes he made (like Alekhine might say, they trusted Capablanca!).

But do you really agree Capablanca was merely an average endgame player? Because that is the part I dont agree with.
zdrak 97 ( +1 | -1 )
Since I am one of the lucky ones that actually read the full article, I should add that Alekhine backed up this statement with a multitude of examples of Capa exhibiting average (and sometimes below average) endgame play.

Now OF COURSE I agree that whatever Alekhine wrote was biased by his personal dislike of Capa. But facts are very stubborn... When you look at some of Capa's endgame displays, it's very hard to believe they were produced by a player better than, say, 2200 USCF.

As an experiment, take the game vs. the same Alekhine in New-York 1924 and analyze the 2nd half of the game with a strong master - don't tell him it's a Capa-Alekhine game. You'll be amazed at how many inaccuracies Capa made in the endgame.

Of course Capa did produce some outstanding endgames, but that was more due to his "clarity of play" - which affects every phase of the game - than due to specific endgame skills.
peppe_l 165 ( +1 | -1 )
... "Since I am one of the lucky ones that actually read the full article, I should add that Alekhine backed up this statement with a multitude of examples of Capa exhibiting average (and sometimes below average) endgame play."

Yes I know, but then again can you name any player who has never played below average (end)games? As I recall Alekhine gave 5 examples of Capa playing poorly in the endgame. But 5 examples arent much IMO.

"Now OF COURSE I agree that whatever Alekhine wrote was biased by his personal dislike of Capa. But facts are very stubborn... When you look at some of Capa's endgame displays, it's very hard to believe they were produced by a player better than, say, 2200 USCF."

Yes but the level of players wasnt so high then anyway, so we have to ask a question : how strong top players then were in the terms of USCF or ELO rating (2200 USCF = approx 2050-2100 ELO)? Surely better than that but how much?

"As an experiment, take the game vs. the same Alekhine in New-York 1924 and analyze the 2nd half of the game with a strong master - don't tell him it's a Capa-Alekhine game. You'll be amazed at how many inaccuracies Capa made in the endgame."

Was that the game where Alekhine had 5 weak pawns in the (rook) endgame but he managed to save a draw thanks to an inaccurate & oversimplifying play by Capablanca?

"Of course Capa did produce some outstanding endgames, but that was more due to his "clarity of play" - which affects every phase of the game - than due to specific endgame skills."

Perhaps, but IMO that is a part of endgame skill nevertheless...


peppe_l 67 ( +1 | -1 )
BTW In Finnish chess newsgroup there was a discussion about the playing strength of players like Capablanca and Lasker...FM Hurme believes they both would be easy prey for, say, GMs even outised of top 100 etc. That sounds obvious of course, but one interesting thing was that John Nunn has analyzed all the games from Karlsbad 1911 tournament and reached a conclusion that the average playing strenght of the fiend was 2119 (!). Surely in 1927 chess players were stronger, but even this piece of information (2119 is naturally just an estimate) does give a hint of how big the difference between old masters and Kaspy, Kram & co really is.
peppe_l 5 ( +1 | -1 )
Correction! The earlier response was to maximus_pondus, not to rebras!

Sorry :-)
rebras 54 ( +1 | -1 )
Morphy This debate is still presumming that Morphy would fail, ultimately because he would be "behind the times" in theory, endgame play, etc. This is a flawed assumption. The Capa-Morphy battle would be very close because, in the long run, natural chess instincts would take over. I believe Morphy would rise to the occasion to the great piece play that Capa would generate and we would see a new level of Morphy brilliance. This is one match that I would pay any amount to go and see!!!
tonlesu 193 ( +1 | -1 )
My original post was in response to the comment that "Morphy very seldom went into the endgame on anything like an equal basis." I think this could be said of Capablanca as well. Let me quote Chernev from his book---Capablanca's best chess endings. "Capablanca was a master in planning the middle game so that he arrived at an endgame to his liking. For example, he preferred bishop to knight and arranged for this balance to be in his favor. Pawn formations arise in his favor because of planning in the early stages of the game." Chernev gave the complete games in order to point out his middlegame mastery.

Peppe, you brought up an interesting point that Alekhine had never won a game from Capablanca in their previous 15 yrs. of competition. What do think Alekhine did differently in this match that,not only resulted in him finally winning a game but, allowed him to win the whole match (kit and kaboodle)? Was it the deep study of every phase of Alekhine's game, something that had, heretofore,

never been done? When Alekhine said there are chinks in Capablanca's armor and proved it---well, the proof is in the pudding!

Your comments on the Karlsbad tournament of 1911 are puzzling. Karlsbad 1911 reads like a who's who of chess; Alekhine, Schlechter, teichmann, Rubinstein, Marshall, Nimzovich, Vidmar, Tartakower, Duras, Spielmann, Burn etc.
Even the tail ender Jaffe had won several tournament games from capablanca, Marshall, Janowski, Spielmann and so forth. I maintain that anyone who can sit down with Capablanca, in a tournament game, and beat him---Is much stronger than 2119. Chessmetics rates Jaffe at 2500.

I would suggest that your Finnish chess group stop debating the strengths of Lasker and Capablanca and do something that they have been very neglectful about in the past---GET THOSE FINNS TO PLAY BETTER CHESS! :-)

calmrolfe 25 ( +1 | -1 )
Morphy I am backing Morphy to win, he was an intuitive chess genius, easily the finest player of the 19th Century, you cannot even say with confidence that Capablance would be in the first 3 in a list of the 20th Century's best players...

Kind regards,

Cal
maximus_pondus 6 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with calmrolfe. Morphy was simply a chess genius.
peppe_l 277 ( +1 | -1 )
tonlesu "Peppe, you brought up an interesting point that Alekhine had never won a game from Capablanca in their previous 15 yrs. of competition. What do think Alekhine did differently in this match that,not only resulted in him finally winning a game but, allowed him to win the whole match (kit and kaboodle)? Was it the deep study of every phase of Alekhine's game, something that had, heretofore"

IMO, first of all he studied Capablanca and his games (not to forget the games of Lasker, Rubinstein etc). As we know Alekhine was a brilliant attacker and tactician, but like his games vs Capa showed, Capa knew how to stop his plans. So, first reason is Alekhine improved his positional & endgame play. The second reason is he found the small weaknesses Capa had, not forgetting the important psychological weaknesses such as laziness in clear positions. Basically I do agree that Alekhine made a brilliant study about Capa, the only reason we have some sort of debate here is the article where he published it was full of comments that merely reflected the bad terms between him and Capa.

Also if you look at the first game where Alekhine finally got his first win vs Capa its good to remember Capa had himself to blame - you dont play blit and concentrate on chatting with spectators in a world championship match :-)

"Your comments on the Karlsbad tournament of 1911 are puzzling. Karlsbad 1911 reads like a who's who of chess; Alekhine, Schlechter, teichmann, Rubinstein, Marshall, Nimzovich, Vidmar, Tartakower, Duras, Spielmann, Burn etc.
Even the tail ender Jaffe had won several tournament games from capablanca, Marshall, Janowski, Spielmann and so forth. I maintain that anyone who can sit down with Capablanca, in a tournament game, and beat him---Is much stronger than 2119. Chessmetics rates Jaffe at 2500."

First of all comments about Karlsbad 1911 werent mine. They were comments by John Nunn, who isnt even a Finn BTW :-)

Talking about Jaffe you completely forget something - Chessmetrics is about RELATIVE playing strenght compared to players of that time. John Nunn was talking about playing strength compared to players of THIS time, and Im sure you agree by using todays standards, Jaffe wasnt playing on GM level...

"I would suggest that your Finnish chess group stop debating the strengths of Lasker and Capablanca and do something that they have been very neglectful about in the past---GET THOSE FINNS TO PLAY BETTER CHESS! :-)"

I havent participated that discussion BTW :-)

We try, but to be honest I dont really care is our best player rated 2500 or 2700...Spend the money for Finnish chess magazine etc instead :-)
tonlesu 98 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe You say Capa's chatting with spectators contributed to his loss. Have you seen photos of the match. The board was completely surrounded by spectators, probably the patrons who were putting up the money for the match. And if he gets up to stretch his legs he is surrounded by people, it would be difficult not to talk. Sorry, but I donr buy it! What he did away from the board had nothing to do with his play.

OK, so the comments about Karlsbad were not yours but you posted them as though they somehow back up your statements. Thats got to be the most foolish thing i've heard, Are you serious that if we brought Alekhine, Nimzovich, Schlechter, Rubinstein, Marshall, Teichmann (and so forth) forward to the present time they would be playing at the 2100 level. Thats the biggest belly laugh ive had for some time! Fischer said if you could bring Morphy forward to the present day---he would still be kicking a**!
Nunn isn't Finnish? well for the lands sake---you can knock me over with a feather.

peppe_l 203 ( +1 | -1 )
tonlesu "You say Capa's chatting with spectators contributed to his loss. Have you seen photos of the match. The board was completely surrounded by spectators, probably the patrons who were putting up the money for the match. And if he gets up to stretch his legs he is surrounded by people, it would be difficult not to talk. Sorry, but I donr buy it! What he did away from the board had nothing to do with his play."

So, if you leave the board and go to talk with spectators it doesnt have any affect on your playing? Sounds strange to me. Are you implying that chatting with spectators is as good way to play as sitting otb and thinking about your moves? Wow, I have to try it myself.

"OK, so the comments about Karlsbad were not yours but you posted them as though they somehow back up your statements."

My statement was the level of players wasnt as good then as it is now, and Im quite sure you agree?

"Thats got to be the most foolish thing i've heard, Are you serious that if we brought Alekhine, Nimzovich, Schlechter, Rubinstein, Marshall, Teichmann (and so forth) forward to the present time they would be playing at the 2100 level."

Please stop distorting my comments. What Nunn claimed was the average rating was (approx) 2119, and as far as I know Alekhine, Nimzowitch, Schlechter, Rubinstein and Marshall were top players of Karlsbad tournament. Indeed 2119 sounds very low but I was merely quoting Nunn, I am not even trying to give any estimates myself.

"Fischer said if you could bring Morphy forward to the present day---he would still be kicking a**!"

I find it strange you dont know better than that - its obvious what Fischer meant was if you could bring Morphy to the present day and give him enough time to learn what present players know plus games vs strong opponents, he WOULD kick a** thanks to his tremendous talent. You can say the same about Philidor, Capablanca, Ruy Lopez etc...or any talented player. Simply have a look at Morphys games - do you really think his opponents played as well as Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand & co?

peppe_l 105 ( +1 | -1 )
The first game Of Buenos Aires 1927 match

Capablanca - Alekhine

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nge2 Nge7 7.0-0 Bf5 8.Bxf5 Nxf5 9.Qd3 Qd7 10.Nd1 0-0 11.Ne3 Nxe3 12.Bxe3 Rfe8 13.Nf4?!

A typical Capa maneuvre, but here 13.Bf4 was better, intending 14.c3, when black has comfortable equality but not more.

13...Bd6 14.Rfe1 Nb4 15.Qb3?

Another inaccuracy, 15.Qd2 Qf5 16.Rec1 and back is better, but white has good hopes of saving the game.

15...Qf5!

At this point Capablanca left the board and went to chat with spectators. When he saw that Alekhine had moved, he came back and made the next move in approx 30 seconds.

16.Rac1?

16.Nd3 (16.Re2? Bxf4) was propably best, then black is better but white is hanging on.

16...Nxc2! 17.Rxc2 Qxf4!

Most likely Capa saw 16...Nxc2! 17.Rxc2, but was expecting 17...Bxf4 when 18.Rc5 wins the pawn back. From here Capa fights hard, but its too late.

18.g3 Qf5 19.Rce2 b6 20.Qb5 h5 21.h4 Re4 22.Bd2 Rxd4 23.Bc3 Rd3 24.Be5 Rd8 25.Bxd6 Rxd6 26.Re5 Qf3 27.Rxh5 Qxh5 28.Re8+ Kh7 29.Qxd3+ Qg6 30.Qd1 Re6 31.Ra8 Re5 32.Rxa7 c5 33.Rd7 Qe6 34.Qd3+ g6 35.Rd8 d4 36.a4 Re1+ 37.Kg2 Qc6+ 38.f3 Re3 39.Qd1 Qe6 40.g4 Re2+ 41.Kh3 Qe3 42.Qh1 Qf4 43.h5 Rf2 0-1

Weak performance by Capablanca, he came back by drawing game 2 as black and winning game 3 in a neat way.

gunnarsamuelsson 57 ( +1 | -1 )
Morphy -Capa Morphy was a much bigger chessgenious..he would lose the first match..of 10 games maybe losing 5 games and winning 1 and 4 draws being surprised by the pussy-approach and new defensive openings ..and also by going for wins when draw was only option not expecting capas pussy approach.When studying the new ideas for 2 months and then coming back after initial surprise he would win comfortably by 2 losses (first 2 games) then he would show his lion-claw with 4 straight wins and 3 draws followed by a last win.
tonlesu 57 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe In the old classical time limits---everyone got up and walked around at times---surely you must know this. Who is going to sit concentrating at a chess board for five hours.

Well let me put it to you this way, if we brought Capablanca, Alekhine and Morphy forward to the present time and put them in the Corus tournament, what do you think their performance rating would be?

No. I don't know what Fischer was thinking. I just know what he said---'Everybody says if we brought Morphy forward to the present time he would be a loser but I'm telling you he would still be kicking butt'.
peppe_l 59 ( +1 | -1 )
... "In the old classical time limits---everyone got up and walked around at times---surely you must know this. Who is going to sit concentrating at a chess board for five hours."

Yes but the point is he made his move in a critical position after only 30 secs of thought...thats laziness and most likely underestimating an opponent who already had much better position.

"Well let me put it to you this way, if we brought Capablanca, Alekhine and Morphy forward to the present time and put them in the Corus tournament, what do you think their performance rating would be?"

Sorry I really dont want to guess...

tonlesu 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Peppe "Sorry I really don't want to guess..." But you brought up this whole silly idea---but I can understand your eagerness to drop it!
a_professional_idiot 37 ( +1 | -1 )
Capa over Morphy One of Morphy's great strengths was that he understood the fundamentals of chess far better than all of his opponents. By Capa's time several chess basics, such as open files and rapid development, are now widely known. No one really knows how good Morphy really is because he was never really tested while Capa regularly played strong(er) opponents.
maximus_pondus 28 ( +1 | -1 )
I like what Tonlesu and Gunnarsamuelsson said. It seems like were the only ppl who really understand how good Morphy was. Morphy would kick butt against anyone today. In fact who would he not beat? Take the current world champ, Kramnik. Morphy would beat up on him good.
r_lawrence 98 ( +1 | -1 )
Morphy .. what the 'greats' said In 1914 Jose Capablanca was told by Amos Burn that he played like Morphy. “The magnificent American master had the most extraordinary brain that anybody has ever had for chess. Technique, strategy, tactics, knowledge which is inconceivable for us; all that was possessed by Morphy fifty-four years ago.”

hmmm ... from Capa's own mouth!

Alexander Alekhine praised Morphy’s deep positional understanding, and Mikhail Botvinnik averred that Morphy’s mastery of open positions was so vast that little new has later been learned about such positions.

“A popularly held theory about Paul Morphy,” wrote Fischer, “is that if he returned to the chess world today and played our best contemporary players, he would come out the loser. Nothing is further from the truth. In a set match, Morphy would beat anybody alive today"

peppe_l 210 ( +1 | -1 )
... "But you brought up this whole silly idea---but I can understand your eagerness to drop it!"

Sorry but I cant understand your comment. my "idea" was that the level of chess players was lower back then and that is unquestionably true. It seems for some strange reason you believe not giving any estimates of their performance ratings is dropping out...how could I estimate their performance in a tournament where they havent played? Based on games that dont exist? Surely you cant compare this to Karlsbad 1911. Can _you_ give an estimate of their performance? All the estimates about players level in the terms of ELO rating were either by John Nunn or Jeff Sonas (it was you who failed to realize that Chessmetrics is about relative ratings compared to Jaffes opponents and Nunns was about 1911 players compared to players of this day), Nunn mentioned by me, Sonas mentioned by you. Nevertheless, since the discussion has degenerated to this level, then yes, I am eager to drop it.

Generally, if people believe there is no difference between the level of top players today and 19th century, thats fine. To me the famous opera game is beautiful even if Morphys opponents were propably 1200-1300 players. Both Morphy and Capa played phenomenal chess considering how little they knew, but...

The truth is since Morphy players have found so much new about chess - Steinitz and his principles of positional play, hypermodern players like Reti...the players of present day simply know more, practise more and have more experience of games vs strong opponents. However, if someone wants to believe Morphy could crush Kasparov in same way he crushed opponents of his time...thats fine. Open with kings pawn, bring the pieces out fast and go for the king. Surely Kasparov will be mated in 20 moves, if not even faster.

From now on, I will think twice before participating any discussions that are about

A) Paul Morphy

B) Bobby Fischer

:-)
tonlesu 6 ( +1 | -1 )
Sir, your glib,patronizing attitude is a real turn-off.

Bye
r_lawrence 35 ( +1 | -1 )
Peppe .. you said, "the level of chess players was lower back then and that is unquestionably true. "

I question it as far as Morphy is concerned. The feeling that he would be superior even today was expressed by much greater players then you or I.

Also ... I thought the original point was natural ability and genius as oppossed to 100 years of new chess theory?
peppe_l 260 ( +1 | -1 )
... "I question it as far as Morphy is concerned. The feeling that he would be superior even today was expressed by much greater players then you or I."

Once again - if he had a chance to gain the knowledge and experience players today have. For some reason Morphy is one of the players who are surrounded by myths and beliefs, but any analysis of his games prove that the level wasnt even close to the games of Kasparov, Kramnik & co. Many of his piece attacks and combinations were very good even by todays standards, but the truth is most of them occurred only because his opponents allowed positions where they occurred...for example by accepting his gambits instead of equalizing easily by giving the material back, like players do today. IMO that was Morphys greatest advantage compared to his peers, an ability to CREATE positions where mating combinations were possible (nowadays players rarely allow such positions because they know its not a good thing to fall back in development etc...that is the reason why there are so few direct piece-attack wins in top games nowadays). Also Morphy had an advantage in strategy, defense and endgames compared to his peers, who were mostly crazy attackers. Did you knew many folks back then considered Morphy a boring player (compared to Anderssen, LaBourdonnais etc)? Back then everything that wasnt attacking the king or sacrificing was considered boring...perhaps that is why so many people like games from that time? :-)

"Also ... I thought the original point was natural ability and genius as oppossed to 100 years of new chess theory?"

According to the first post of the thread - no. But I agree, thats what it SHOULD be about. Morphy was a great chess genius and at least to me his games are true artistry. I know they arent as well played as Kasparovs games (and especially his opponents were almost patzers compared to todays top players), but I still like them and have lots of respect for a true chess genius he was. Read what I wrote about the famous opera game - when I first saw it, I loved it! And you know what, even though I later realized his opponents were semi-beginners, I still loved the game.

Why on earth so many Morphy & Fischer fans take it personally whenever someone questions their belief about their favourite player being the best ever by all standards? They both were clearly best of their time, isnt that enough?
peppe_l 17 ( +1 | -1 )
tonlesu "Sir, your glib,patronizing attitude is a real turn-off."

Im honestly sorry if you dont like my attitude. Nevertheless, I suggest you to go back and read your own comments too...

myway316 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry,Pondus... ...but Morphy wouldn't get a chance to beat up on Kramnik,simply because Kramnik would duck him,just like he's been running from Kasparov these 2 years past.
myway316 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry,Pondus... ...but Morphy wouldn't get a chance to beat up on Kramnik,simply because Kramnik would duck him,just like he's been running from Kasparov these 2 years past.
maximus_pondus 10 ( +1 | -1 )
Haha You said it. Kramnik has been ducking Kasparov, and I love your choice of words the duck.
peppe_l 14 ( +1 | -1 )
As i recall Kramnik beat Kaspy in a match? Is that ducking? The problem is Kaspy was demanding a rematch - something he has always been against...

tonlesu 2 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe You are an expert on ducking!
peppe_l 36 ( +1 | -1 )
If you Feel its necessary to insult people who disagree with you, fine. Pls dont participate discussions if you cant stand different opinions. Me, myway316 and maximus_pondus were discussing about Kramnik, and as far as I know I dont have anything to do with his title matches against Kasparov, so instead of clumsy insults, pls give us something worth reading.

calmrolfe 47 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe "For some reason Morphy is one of the players who are surrounded by myths and beliefs, but any analysis of his games prove that the level wasnt even close to the games of Kasparov, Kramnik & co."

But surely, Fischer himself analysed Morphy's games and came to the conclusion that if Morphy came back to life he would beat any of the modern GM's. Are you seriously trying to tell us that your analysis of Morphy's games is better than Fischers ? !!

Kind regards,

Cal
peppe_l 188 ( +1 | -1 )
calmrolfe Once again - IMO what Fischer meant was if Morphy would come back to life and studied what todays top players know...not to forget gaining the experience they have.

Also, you say...

"But surely, Fischer himself analysed Morphy's games and came to the conclusion that if Morphy came back to life he would beat any of the modern GM's. Are you seriously trying to tell us that your analysis of Morphy's games is better than Fischers ? !!"

This is just an assumption - where did he say that he analyzed Morphys games and compared them to the games of current top players? Certainly if he had said something like "I analyzed Morphys games and compared them to games of me, Spassky, Karpov and others, and I found out his games represent much higher level of chess", then it would be different. Or perhaps not? There are so many openings, strategies. methods etc Morphys opponents werent aware of. How can anyone (even Fischer) know how Morphy would refute Kasparovs Sicilian, beat Kramnik in closed positions or outplay Karpov in endgames?

And before anyone points this out - yes it is true I cant prove what Fischer meant, but on the other hand no one can because he simply wasnt specific enough. Also considering all the comments Fischer has given in the past, I dont want to take everything he says literally :-)

Anyway, I thought it was generally known that the level of chess players has been higher decade after decade - considering the amount of information, competition, study etc, isnt it obvious? Surprisingly many people dont believe that is the case (with Morphy). I find it strange, but since everyone is entitled of an own opinion, I suppose its good thing that people have different opinions. This conversation would be quite boring otherwise :-)
a_professional_idiot 37 ( +1 | -1 )
Morphy's games Of course an analysis of Morphy's games showed he would lose to most modern GMs. This is because he never had to play against any modern GMs. Anyone who has played in real life knows that your play level often varies depending on who your facing. Morphy was never truly tested to show just how strong a player he was.
tonlesu 19 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe To get right to the point---You do consider your analysis of morphy superior to Fischer! Regardless of Fischer's mental condition, I'll take his opinion (regarding chess) over yours---IN A HEARTBEAT!!!
peppe_l 99 ( +1 | -1 )
Calm down You seem almost like obsessed to put words in my mouth in order to critisize me...

Your comment is untrue since I never talked anything about Fischers analysis. In fact - I never talked about my analysis either, so no matter how much you try to twist my words, I have never claimed I consider my analysis superior to Fischers. I simply pointed out it is not clear to me what Fischer meant. If its clear to you - fine, then we just have to disagree.

Look, if you want to discuss about the subject, please do. We had a good exchange of opinions earlier and even though we disagreed in many issues, it was interesting to read your posts. But I cant help wondering, do you always go for clumsy insults ("expert on ducking" etc) at some point? I mean this is just a game and Morphy is just your favourite player, not your god, so take it easy...

If you decide to reply, pls let your first priority be a good discussion, not "how can I find a way to mock or annoy peppe_l" :-)

tonlesu 46 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe You say how did Fischer know how Morphy would handle Kasparov's sicilian, Kramnik closed game or Karpov's endgame. I don't pretend to understand, I'll just say ---I'm going with Fischer!

For your information, when Fischer made that statement about Morphy in the early 60's, Kasparov and Kramnik were still molecules floating around in their daddy's gonads and Karpov was maybe a 3rd or 4th grader.

Who said Morphy is my favorite player, are you psychic too?