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Tag: Morphy

Chess Combination by Paul Morphy

by on Aug.25, 2015, under Chess

The American chess master Paul Morphy (1837-1884) was regarded by many as the greatest chess player in the world, during his tour of Europe in 1858, and at that time some even called him the greatest player in history.

The position below is from near the end of a game played in 1859 in New York, between Morphy (white) and James Thompson (black). What move would you make, if you had the white pieces?

Morthy versus Thompson 1859

In the above position, white to move and win (Do you see the solution?)

If you tried to find a winning move but failed, would you like a hint? Notice that the black king has nowhere to move. If white can check that king, with no legal reply possible, it will be checkmate. But that takes more than one move.

There is a mating pattern with two bishops, a pattern that comes up rarely, but masters recognize it. If it weren’t for the black pawn at b7, the bishop at c4 could move to a6, winning the game for white, for that bishop would be checkmating the black king. Here’s the hint: Can white force that pawn at b7 to be removed from that square?

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white wins this chess game

White has just moved Qc6+! which forces checkmate

Black is now practically forced to capture the white queen, unless resignation is chosen, for moving the black bishop from b6 to c7 allows white to get a checkmate by capturing that bishop with the white queen. But why would anybody sacrifice a queen in this position? When black moves b7xc6, it removes that pawn from the b7 square, allowing white to checkmate the black king from another angle as follows:

Black moved bxc6

White now can checkmate the black king in one move

Take a look at the final position:

White moved Ba6# with mate

The sacrifice of the queen, by Paul Morphy, made possible this checkmate.

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A Chess Puzzle

Consider the chess puzzle below, a problem not for beginners but ideal for lower-rated tournament players

For the Early Chess Beginner to Win

If you know the chess rules but little more, and want to win a game, the book you now read is for you.

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