Paul Morphy
by Bill Wall

Paul Morphy
In 1753, Paul Morphy's great-grandfather, Michael Murphy (died in 1800), born in Ireland, moved from Ireland to Madrid, Spain. Later, he moved to Malaga, Spain. He changed his name to Morphy while living in Spain to accommodate to the Castilian pronunciation.

The Morphy coat of arms is made up of a quarterly argent (divided into four parts with a tincture of silver) and gules (colors — in this case, red) with four lions interchanged in each quadrant. Above the quarterly argent is another lion holding a wheat sheaf. The description of the heraldic device said "Morphy, alias Murphy, alias Omurphu. (source: Arthur & Kernion, "Morphy Family,"Old Families of Louisiana, 2009, p. 55)

Michael Morphy married Maria Porro (died in 1813). They had two sons and five daughters. One of the sons, Don Diego, born in Malaga in 1765, was Paul Morphy's grandfather.

In 1789, Diego Morphy moved to the island of San Domingo (the former name of Hispaniola, then Haiti) and married Maria Mollie (Molly) Creagh (1760-1797).

In 1790, Diego had a son, Diego Morphy, Jr.

In November 1791, Michael Murphy (Morphy), a Spanish citizen, applied for appointment as consul at Malaga.

In 1793, Michael Murphy (Morphy) became the United States Consul to Malaga, Spain, appointed by Thomas Jefferson, who was Secretary of State under George Washington. Michael Murphy was consul from 1793 to 1799. He collected information as to how indemnity for depredations on U.S. commerce, and how the release of American sailors sold into slavery by the pirates of Algiers could be secured.

In 1793, there was a slave revolt in San Domingo. Diego hid his son in a basket, dressed his wife as a market vendor, and had them sent to Philadelphia on an English ship. Later, Diego escaped to Charleston, South Carolina. He got his family back and they settled on King Street, then later moved to Meeting Street.

In 1795, Don Diego became Spanish consul to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

On September 19, 1797, Mollie Creagh Morphy died in Charleston, South Carolina..

In 1797, Don Diego Morphy, Sr., married Louisa Piere. From his second marriage, Don Diego had 2 sons and 3 daughters. The oldest son, Alonzo Michael Morphy (1798-1856), born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1798, was Paul Morphy's father. The younger son, Ernest, was born on November 22, 1807 in Charleston, SC. Ernest died on March 7, 1874.

In 1803, San Domingo became Haiti.

On November 22, 1807, Ernest Morphy (1807-1874), the uncle of Paul Morphy, was born in Charleston, SC. He was also a distinguished chess player.

In 1809, Don Diego was appointed Spanish consul to New Orleans and moved there.

In 1811, the College d'Orleans (College of New Orleans) was Louisiana's first institution of higher learning. It operated until 1826.

On April 30, 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state.

In 1814, Don Diego Morphy, Sr., died in New Orleans. Upon his death, Diego, Jr., took over as Spanish consul to New Orleans, which he held until 1818. He then devoted himself to teaching Spanish and making translations. He wrote a book on Spanish idioms and a dictionary of the French, Spanish, and English languages.

In 1816, Alonzo Morphy attended the French College d'Orleans, formerly located in the Fauborg Marigny district of New Orleans, near the French Quarter. He studied law and studied under Edward Livingston (1764-1836), an American jurist and statesman who served as U.S. Secretary of State from 1831 to 1833. He graduated from there in 1819.

On January 7, 1819, Alonzo Morphy was admitted to practice law. He established a law practice at 61 Toulouse Street in New Orleans.

Alonzo was elected to the House of Representatives and was a congressman from 1825 to 1829. In 1829, he was attorney general for Louisiana. From 1839 to 1846, he was a Supreme Court justice for Louisiana. He was also regent of the New Orleans Public Schools, administrator of the Charity Hospital, and director of the Bank of Louisiana.

On February 21, 1829, Alonzo married Louise Therese Felicite Thelcide Le Carpentier (familiarly known as Telcide). He entered the marriage with $16,000 worth of property that included 6 slaves. His future wife came into the marriage with $4,000 given to her by her father. Her father was Joseph Esau Le Carpentier (1780-1850?) and her mother was Modeste Blache (1784-1840). Joseph was a slave auctioneer.

Telcide was renowned in the salons of New Orleans as a brilliant pianist and musician. Paul Morphy's sister, Helena, was a good musician. (source: Sergeant, Morphy's Games of Chess, p. 2)

From 1829 to 1841, Alonzo Morphy and his family lived at 1113 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It is the house that Paul Morphy was born in. The house was later occupied by Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (1818-1893), the famous Confederate General. He only resided there during the winter of 1866-67 with his son in a rented room. It was later owned by author Francis Parkinson Keyes (1885-1970). The street was dominated by the Ursuline Convent on the river side.

Paul Morphy was born at the Chartres Street residence on June 22, 1837 in New Orleans.

He had two sisters, Malvina Modesta Sybrandt (1830-1894) and Helena (1839-1900?), and a brother, Edward (1834- 1900?). His father's nationality was Spanish, but he was of Irish origin and was born in Charleston, SC. His mother was Louise-Therese-Felicite-Thelcide Morphy (1810?-1885) was French Creole. Paul Morphy's father, Alonzo Michael Morphy (1798-1856) was a Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Paul Morphy's uncle, Ernest Morphy, was known as a strong chess player.

In 1838, the New Orleans Chess Club was formed.  The Secretary of the Club was Ernest Morphy (1807-1874).  They met in a room formerly occupied by the District Court, Merchants' Exchange.  The club lasted less than two years.

On August 31, 1839, Alonzo Morphy was appointed as a Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court by Governor Andre Roman (1795-1866). Alonzo Morphy held that office until March 19, 1846.

In 1840, when Paul Morphy was 4 years old, be began to read and write.

In 1841, New Orleans launched the first public school system in Louisiana.

In 1841, the Morphy family moved to 89 Royal Street (later re-numbered to 417 Royal Street) in New Orleans. The house remained in the Morphy family until the death of Malvina and John Sybrandt in 1894. Malvina died on June 13, 1894 at the age of 64. John Sybrandt died on September 21, 1894 at the age of 72. The Morphy mansion is today the site of Brennan's, a famous New Orleans Creole restaurant in the French Quarter. It was established in 1946. There is a plaque remembering Paul Morphy near the front door.

The Morphy house on Royal Street was the first American bank in Louisiana. In 1805, it was the first financial institution created in New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase. A secret underground passage-way connected the bank with the home of the President of the bank (source: "The Morphy Family," Our Folder, 1921, p. 22). The house later became a cheap rooming house, then a cheap hotel.

On May 8, 1841, Ernest Morphy, Secretary of the New Orleans Chess Club, announced a meeting of the club at the Merchants' Exchange in New Orleans.  (source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 8, 1841) 

Paul Morphy seemed to learn chess on his own while watching others play. During one summer afternoon, after watching a long game between his father, Alonzo, and his uncle, Ernest, Paul surprised them by stating that Ernest should have won. The two had just agreed to a draw. Paul proved his claim by setting up the pieces and demonstrating the won his uncle had missed.

Paul later played chess against his grandfather, Joseph Le Carpentier and his uncle, Charles Le Carpentier. Paul's older brother, Edward (Edouard), played some chess, but later lost interest.

On December 27, 1845, Charles Henry Stanley (1819-1901) defeated Eugene Rousseau (1810-1870), a bank clerk, in New Orleans - 15 wins, 8 losses, 8 draws.  It was the first US chess championship (although the term "US Chess Champion" did not exist at the time).  The match was for $500.  This was the first organized chess event in the U.S.  The match took place at the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans.  Rousseau's second in the match was Ernest Morphy, who took his 8-year-old nephew, Paul Morphy, to the match. (source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, Dec 27, 1845 and Bell's Life, Feb 15, 1846) 

From the age of 8 Paul played hundreds of games against the best players in New Orleans. By the time he was 13 he was the best chess player in New Orleans and one of the best players in America.

In December 1846, Major General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was in New Orleans for five days and wanted to play some chess with a strong local player. After dinner, his opponent was brought in. It was 9-year-old Paul Morphy. Paul supposedly beat the general twice that evening. Winfield Scott served on active duty as a general longer than any other man in American history, from 1807 to 1861.

The problem with the account is that General Winfield Scott was in New Orleans under arrest. Major General Gideon Pillow (1806-1878) had him arrested in Mexico. Scott was being transferred to Washington, D. C. to stand trial. Scott later had Pillow arrested on charges of insubordination and violating regulations.

However, other sources say that General Winfield Scott was on his way to Mexico to take command of the American Army and stopped in New Orleans. He asked to play a game of chess with someone, when they brought in 9-year-old Paul Morphy. They played two chess games and Paul won both games quickly. Scott supposedly rose from the table and indignantly left the room without even congratulating Paul.

Paul Morphy attended Jefferson Academy (53 Royal Street), a private school, near his home on 89 Royal Street, in his early years. The Academy is now Broussard's Restaurant on 819 Rue Conti. Paul preferred reading and writing and avoided school sports and all other kinds of physical activity. (source: Dizikes, "Paul Morphy Against the World," Sportsmen and Gamesmen, 2002, p. 160)

In 1848, Paul Morphy defeated his father, Alonzo.  It was Paul Morphy's first recorded chess game.

On June 22, 1849, Paul Morphy, on his 12th birthday, beat his uncle, Ernest Morphy, in his first blindfold game.

On September 28, 1849, Paul Morphy, age 12, defeated Eugene Rousseau in a chess game. During the years 1849 and 1850, Paul played 50 games of chess against Rousseau, winning nine-tenths. (source: Frere, Morphy's Games of Chess, 1859, p. 4)

On October 28, 1849, Morphy defeated Eugene Rousseau in a chess game in 23 moves. The game was later sent for publication in the chess magazine La Regence.

Paul Morphy — Eugene Rousseau, New Orleans, Oct 28, 1849 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d3 Nf6 5.O-O d6 6.Ng5 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nc3 Nce7 9.Qf3 c6 10.Nce4 fxe4 11.Qf7+ Kd7 12.Qe6+ Kc7 13.Qxe5+ Qd6 14.Qxd6+ Kxd6 15.Nf7+ Ke6 16.Nxh8 exd3 17.cxd3 Kf6 18.b4 Be6 19.Re1 Bg8 20.Bb2+ Kg5 21.Re5+ Kh6 22.Bc1+ g5 23.Rxg5 1-0

On October 31, 1849, Ernest Morphy sent a letter and a chess game (see above game) of his nephew, Paul Morphy to Lionel  Kieseritzky (1806-1853) in Paris, editor of the chess magazine La Regence.  The letter read:

"I send you herewith a game of chess played on the 28th instant between M. R------ and the young Paul Morphy, my nephew, who is only twelve. This child has never opened a work on chess; he has learnt the game himself by following the parties played between members of his family. In the openings he makes the right moves as if by inspiration; and it is astonishing to note the precision of his calculations in the middle and end game. When seated before the chessboard, his face betrays no agitation even in the most critical positions; in such cases he generally whistles an air through his teeth and patiently seeks for the combination to get him out of trouble. Further, he plays three or four severe enough games every Sunday (the only day on which his father allows him to play) without showing the least fatigue." The game was published in La Regence in January 1851.

In 1849, Morphy played chess against James McConnell (1829-1914). He was a friend of Paul Morphy in New Orleans and became a successful lawyer.

In May 1850, the Hungarian master Johann Jacob Löwenthal (Loewenthal) (1810-1876) visited New Orleans. Löwenthal and another Hungarian, Colonel Pragay, traveled to New Orleans on May 10, 1850, carrying with them a letter of introduction to Eugene Rousseau. On arriving in New Orleans, Löwenthal became ill. He later recovered and called on Eugene Rousseau, where he learned about Paul Morphy. He asked to meet the boy and play a few games of chess with him.

Löwenthal played 12-year-old Paul Morphy three games (Löwenthal only remembered one or two games), and Paul won all three games from Löwenthal. Some sources, such as Ballou's Pictorial and a Paul Morphy article in the New York Times, September 3, 1899, say that one game was drawn. Löwenthal altered an ending to make it look like a draw. One game was played on May 22, another game was played on May 25, and the final game was played May 27, 1850. When Löwenthal lost, he threw his arms around Paul and said he would become the greatest player ever known. Löwenthal then tried to convince Paul's father to send the boy for further chess perfection to England. Instead, his father enrolled him in St. Joseph's College.

Löwenthal then returned to Cincinnati, where he set up a smoking and chess divan. Löwenthal later wrote that at the time when playing Morphy, he was "depressed in mind and suffering in body, and was also prostrated by the climate." (source: Loewenthal, Morphy's Games of Chess, 1869, p. 4)

On June 22, 1850, Paul turned 13 and would soon enter college.

On December 3, 1850, at the age of 13, Paul became a student of St. Joseph's College (Spring Hill College) at Spring Hill on Dauphin Street, near Mobile, Alabama, 145 miles from New Orleans. He was part of a student body of 210. His older brother, Edward, age 16, also enrolled at this time. Paul Morphy did not bring any chess book or chess set to college.

Spring Hill College was Alabama's oldest institution of higher learning, established in 1830. It was the first Catholic college in the South. It was the third oldest Jesuit college and the fifth oldest Catholic college in the United States.

In January 1851, Paul Morphy's first published game (see above game) appeared in La Regence, published by Kieseritsky.

As a freshman in college, Paul was elected vice president of the Thespian Society acted regularly in the school plays. In 1851, he played the role of Charles in the Comedie Francais, Gregiore during the commencement exercises. Paul Morphy also took up fencing at his father's insistence. It was his only physical activity.

In October 1851, Paul Morphy was given first prize for Good Conduct at Spring Hill College. (source: The Times-Picayune, Oct 17, 1851) He also took first premiums in his class for Latin, Greek, and English. He took second premiums in Christian Doctrine, French, and Arithmetic.

In 1852, Morphy played the role of Portia in The Merchant of Venice. His brother, Edward, played the part of Shylock.

In October 1852, Paul Morphy won the highest award for Good Conduct at Spring Hill College.

On October 20, 1852, Paul Morphy played a chess game against James McConnell (1829-1914). The game was later published in the New York Clipper on July 26, 1856. McConnell was a friend of Morphy's. Morphy gave his book The Chess Tournament: London 1851, published by Howard Staunton, to McConnell. Morphy had played over all the games and the book had numerous marginal notes in Morphy's handwriting by which he expressed his opinion o f the games and certain moves. Morphy also made a comment on Staunton's chess play by writing on the title page to make the authorship read like this: "By H. Staunton, Esq., author of the Handbook of Chess, Chess-Players Companion, etc (and some devilish bad games)." (source: "the Life of Paul Morphy," Evening Gazette (Cedar Rapids), Dec 29, 1900, p. 1)

In 1852, Paul Morphy taught Charles Amedee Maurian (1838-1912) how to play chess. He was the closest and life-long friend of Paul Morphy. They attended Spring Hill College together where Morphy taught Maurian how to play chess. In 1854, he defeated Paul Morphy in a match in New Orleans (+6-5=1), but at various piece odds. In 1858, he lost a match to Paul Morphy (+1-2=0). From 1858 to 1860, Maurian edited the chess column in the New Orleans Delta. In October 1862, Maurian and Morphy sailed to Cuba on a Spanish steamboat, with the ultimate destination of Paris in 1863. In 1869, he lost a match to Paul Morphy (+2-6=0) at knight odds. Altogether, there are 75 known games between Maurian and Paul Morphy. From 1883 to 1890, he co-edited the chess column in the Times-Democrat. He moved to Paris in 1890. He died on December 2, 1912.

In the summer of 1853, Paul Morphy played a few chess games with some of his classmates.

In 1853, Paul Morphy played a blindfold chess game against Jesuit Father Domique Beaudequin (1827-1909) at Spring Hill College, according to one of Morphy's contemporaries at Spring Hill Collge, Mr. W. G. Boylan of New Orleans. (source: American Chess Bulletin, 1911, p. 259)

In 1854, the earliest known photograph of Paul Morphy was taken.

In 1854, Paul Morphy took an interest in astronomy.  While at Spring Hill College, he was a member of the Philomathic Society (an association of persons who love sciences) and delivered an astronomy lecture on the discovery of Neptune, which occurred in 1846 by astronomer Johann Galle (1812-1910) in Berlin. Paul's older brother, Edward, was the Philomathic Society's secretary and vice president.

By 1854, Paul Morphy, while at Spring Hill College, became proficient in literature, math, science, music, the arts, and was marked competent in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, German, and English. He was also a good speaker and actor.

For his Bachelor's Degree thesis, Morphy argued against the notion of "forcible secession" in a political upheaval or cause of war.

On October 10, 1854, at the age of 17, Paul Morphy was awarded the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree at Spring Hill College. He was one of 5 students that graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree during this period. (source: The Times-Picayune, Oct 14, 1854)

In 1854-1855, Paul stayed at Spring Hill College, studying mathematics and philosophy. In October 1855, he was awarded a Master of Arts (A.M.) degree with the highest honors ever bestowed by the school His commencement address was entitled, "The Political Creed of the Age." The only other person who received a Master of Arts in 1855 was Paul Morphy's sometime chess opponent, Louis Landry.

After graduation from Spring Hill College, Paul's older brother, Edward, became a cotton broker and, later, the director of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange.

On March 1, 1855, Paul traveled 12 miles from his school into Mobile, Alabama a few times. During one of these visits, he played three games with Judge Alexander Beaufort Meek (1814-1865), who was serving as judge of the probate court there. He later became the President of the American Chess Congress in 1857. Morphy won all three games. On the same day, he beat Dr. Ayres of Alabama in two games. (source: Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, July 2, 1859, p. 1)

In November 1855, after graduating from Spring Hill College, Paul Morphy enrolled at the Law School at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.

On June 10, 1856, Ernest Morphy sent a chess game and the only known chess problem (a mate in two moves) that Paul Morphy created, to the New York Clipper.

On June 28, 1856, Paul Morphy's (1837-1884) only chess problem was published on page 78 in the New York Clipper.  Morphy composed the problem in 1849. 

On August 30, 1856, Ernest Morphy took out an advertisement in Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, entitled, "Chess Challenge Extraordinary." He challenged anybody in the United States to come to New Orleans and play Paul Morphy, age 19, in a stakes match at $300 a side. There were no takers.

Alonzo Morphy received a cut above the eye from a Panama hat worn by a friend. He had turned to speak to his friend, and the brim of the hat cut his eye. The cut led to congestion of the brain.

On the morning of November 22, 1856, Alonzo Morphy age 58, Paul Morphy's father, died in New Orleans (source: The Times-Picayune, Nov 23, 1856). He was a lawyer who was Attorney General of Louisiana from 1828 to 1830, and a Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1839 to 1846.  Alonzo left an estate of $146,162.54 (over $3 million in today's currency) and owned two female slaves (worth $1,700 according to the inventory of Alonzo's estate). He originally had 6 slaves. His heirs were his wife and four children.

On November 23, 1856, Alonzo Morphy's funeral was held at his residence on Royal Street. The funeral was said to be one of the largest ever held in New Orleans.

In 1857, the New Orleans Chess Club was re-formed.  It previously existed from 1838 to 1841. Paul Morphy was its President and Charles Amedee Maurian was its Secretary.

In 1857, Daniel Willard Fiske (1811-1904) edited the short-lived The Chess Monthly (co-edited by Paul Morphy).  Fiske was also an author, librarian, diplomat, and businessman.

In January 1857, Paul Morphy played four chess games with Judge Meek, winning them all.

On April 7, 1857, at the age of 20, he received a Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.) degree from the University of Louisiana. He spoke English, French, Spanish, and German fluently. He was not yet of legal age (age 21) to practice law, but was admitted to the bar with the qualification that he could not practice law until he reached 21 (June 22, 1858). It was said that he had memorized nearly the entire Louisiana Civil Code in preparation for his degree. (source: Buck, Paul Morphy, His Later Life, 1902, p. 7)

In April 1857, Paul Morphy received an invitation from the New York Chess Club to participate in the First American Chess Congress in New York, to be held in October 1857. The purpose of the Congress was "of ascertaining the feasibility and propriety of a general assemblage of the chess players resident in America." The Congress consisted of three separate tournaments: the Grand Tournament, the Minor Tournament, and the Problem Tournament. At first, he declined because of his father's death, but at the urging of his uncle Ernest, he decided to play in the event. He felt it would be selfish of him to leave, at least before the period of mourning was over.

By this time, Paul Morphy had played some one hundred chess games with his uncle, Ernest. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep 25, 1858)

At the time, Morphy owned only two chess books: Chess Studies published by Horwitz and Kling in 1851, and The Chess Tournament: London 1851 published by Staunton in 1852. He borrowed two chess books from Maurian: Chess Player's Handbook and Companion, by Staunton, and Treatise on the Game of Chess by Lewis. He also had copies the French chess magazine, La Regence, edited by Lionel Kieseritzky. However, Morphy knew by heart hundreds of games by the European masters.

Morphy was able to memorize almost all the contents of chess literature that he read. In the book he owned, The Chess Tournament: London 1851 by Staunton, Morphy wrote on the front page next to Staunton's name, "and author of some abominable games." He later gave that book away as a gift. (source: Dietze, Chess Phenomenon Paul Morphy, 2016, p. 15)

When the telegram announcing that Paul Morphy was leaving New Orleans for the Congress reached New York, Louis Paulsen (1833-1891) declared that the first prize would fall on him. Paulsen was the second strongest chess player in America after Morphy. Paulsen was a German immigrant who lived in Dubuque, Iowa, and growing potatoes. Judge Meek also informed the members of the New York Chess Club that Morphy would carry off the first prize in the tournament. One member shot back, "Because he beats you, Judge, you think he must necessarily beat everyone else." (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep 25, 1858)

On September 23, 1857, Morphy left New Orleans aboard the steamer Benjamin Franklin and arrived in Cincinnati a few days later. He then took a train from Cincinnati to New York City, arriving on October 4, 1857. It was 11 days of travel for Morphy to get from New Orleans to New York. While in New York for the First American Chess Congress, Morphy stayed at the St. Nicholas Hotel. Prior to this trip, Paul had never traveled any further from New Orleans than Mobile, Alabama for school.

For the 1857 American Chess Congress, the top 16 players in America were invited. Besides Morphy, the players included William S. Allison, Samuel R. Calthrop, Daniel Willard Fiske, William Fuller, Hiram Kennicott, Huburt Knott, Theodor Lichtenhein, Napoleon Marache, Judge Alexander Meek, Hardman P. Montgomery, Louis Paulsen, Frederick Perrin, Dr. Benjamin I. Raphael, Charles Henry Stanley, and James Thompson.

On October 5, 1857, before the Grand Tournament started, the New York Chess Club, located at 19 East 12th Street in Manhattan, was open for a casual meeting of the players and the pairings. Morphy played and defeated Frederick Perrin (1815-1889), the secretary of the New York Club. As the second game began between the two, Charles Stanley (1819-1901) entered the club. Perrin gave up his seat so that Stanley could play Morphy a game. Morphy won four games in a row against Stanley.

On October 6, 1857, at 11 am, the Congress started at the rented Descombes Rooms at 764 Broadway in New York (which later became the Wanamaker's Department Store at Broadway and 9th Street). The New York Chess Club was too small for the event. A lottery was held for the pairing and the colors. The congress ran through November 10.

After the first round, Morphy and Paulsen both had some time to spare waiting for the others to finish. Morphy had defeated Thompson 3-0, and Paulsen defeated Calthrop 3-0.

On October 10, Paulsen gave a four-board blindfold exhibition. Morphy was one of his opponents who also played blindfolded against Paulsen. The organizers of the Committee on Management charged spectators $1 to watch the exhibition. Before it stated, the main hall of Descombes Rooms was standing room only. Morphy won. Paulsen drew one (against Denis Julien) other and won two games (against C. Shultz and W. Fuller).

On October 17, the entire Congress was treated to dinner at Denis Julien's St Denis Hotel, located on the corner of Broadway and 11th Street, sponsored by the New York Chess Club . The dinner carried a chess theme and named its bill of fare after chess players. Huge cakes in the shapes of chessboards, as well as kings, queens and knights in jelly, and bishops, rooks and pawns in cream, adorned the tables. There were statues of Benjamin Franklin carved out of ice, and a confectionary castle to Caïssa (goddess of chess) and a monument to Andre Danican Philidor. As the note to the Congress explained, "It's needless to state how much better the Côtelettes d'Angeau à la Bilguer tasted than simple lambchops."

Morphy easily defeated them all and won the event on November 10, 1857. Morphy defeated Thompson 3-0, Meek 3-0, Lichtenhein 3 wins and 1 draw, and Paulsen 5 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws. Morphy won 14 games, lost 1 game, and drew three games.

On November 10, 1857, the first American Chess congress ended. It was won by Paul Morphy, followed by Paulsen for 2nd place, then Lichtenheim for 3rd place, then Raphael for 4th place. William Homer of Brooklyn won the Minor Tourney. 

On November 11, 1857, there was an awards ceremony for the congress. Morphy refused the $300 first place money, (over $6,000 in today's currency), although it was announced before the tournament was over that the prizes would not be given in hard dollars. Instead, he accepted a silver pitcher, four goblets, and a silver tray. The tray was manufactured by Ball, Black & Co. of New York. The plate was inscribed, "This service of plate was presented to Paul Morphy as the Victor in the Grand Tournament at the first Congress of the American National Chess association, New York, 1857." It was valued at $300. Paulsen received a gold shield and eagle.  (source: New York Tribune, Nov 12, 1857, New York Times, Nov 13, 1857, The Chess Monthly, vol 1, 1857, p. 348) 

During the congress, Matthew Brady (1822-1896), or one of his assistants, took several photographs of the chess players, including Paul Morphy.

After the Congress, Morphy played several causal games with several players. He played Charles Stanley in a match whom Morphy played with the odds of a pawn and move. The stakes were set at $100 a side. Morphy won with 4 wins and a draw. Stanley resigned the match. Morphy then sent the $100 to Stanley's wife, who needed the money for her and her children. It was feared that if the money was given to Stanley himself, he would have used the money on his drinking habit. Mrs. Stanley was pregnant at the time.

In 1857, Paul Morphy defeated John Schulten (1821-1875) in a match in New York with 23 wins, 1 loss, and no draws. 

After Morphy's victory at New York, some suggested that a European master should come to America to play him. When the British master Howard Staunton (1810-1874) heard this (Staunton was considered the best player in the world), he wrote in his weekly paper column, "The best players of Europe are not chess professionals, but have other and more serious things to occupy their minds with." Morphy's friends in New Orleans did send a challenge to Staunton to come to America, but Staunton rejected it. He did say that if Morphy came to Europe, he would find him (Staunton) ready.

While in New York, Paul was offered to co-edit the Chess Monthly, edited by Daniel Fiske (1831-1904). Morphy was to provide annotated games.

In December 1857, Charles Stanley's daughter was born.  She was named Pauline after Paul Morphy. 

On December 6, 1857, Morphy visited Eugene Cook (1830-1915) in Hoboken, New Jersey. Cook was confined to his house most of the time because he was an invalid. Morphy was accompanied by Frederick Perrin, W.J.A. Fuller, and Daniel Fiske. While there, Perrin, Fuller, and Fiske played a consultation game with Morphy, which they won.

On December 17, 1857, Morphy left New York and reached New Orleans at the end of the month.

While in New York, Morphy played 94 even games, winning 85, losing 4, and drawing 8. He played 159 games at odds, winning 104, losing 36, and drawing 19. He played 3 blindfold games, winning 2 and drawing 1. He lost one consultation game, Morphy vs. Fiske and Fuller and Perrin.

After Paul returned to New Orleans, he spent a lot of time at the New Orleans Chess Club and played several blindfold games simultaneously against other players.

In January 1858, Morphy gave a 2-board blindfold exhibition at the New Orleans Chess Club.

In January 1858, Paul Morphy was chosen president of the Chess Club of New Orleans, headquartered at the Mercantile Library.  (source: New York Times, Jan 20, 1858)  He gave blindfolded simultaneous exhibitions at the club and gave the most careful attention to directing it.

During this period, Paul went to the opera as much as he could in New Orleans and took up fencing again.

In February 1858, a committee of the New Orleans Chess Club sent Howard Staunton a challenged for a match to be played between himself and Paul Morphy for $5,000 a side (over $800,000 in today's money) in New Orleans. Staunton would be reimbursed $1,000 for his traveling expenses. The winner of the first 11 games would be declared the victor. Staunton declined the invitation on the ground of the distance. The New Orleans Chess Club sent this letter to Staunton without ever consulting or negotiating with Paul Morphy first. Morphy afterward decided to visit England and the continent, instead.

In 1858, a chess club was formed in Quincy, Illinois. One of its members was Ernest Morphy, the uncle of Paul Morphy.

In 1858, the Morphy Chess Club was formed in Petersburg, Virginia in honor of Paul Morphy.

On March 9, 1858, Paul Morphy wrote a letter to his friend Daniel Fiske in which he referred to a possible match with Howard Staunton (1810-1874). There was a challenge for the stake of $5,000.

On March 31, 1858, he gave a 7 board simul at the New Orleans Chess Club, winning 6 and losing 1.

In April 1858, Morphy gave a 7 board simul at the New Orleans Chess Club.

On April 4, 1858, Staunton wrote a letter back to the New Orleans Chess Club, decking their invitation. He wrote that professional duties compelled him to abandon chess for a while.

On April 30, 1858, Sam Loyd re-published Morphy's only known chess problem in the New York Musical World.

In May 1858, he gave an 8 board simul at the New Orleans Chess Club.

Paul was invited to attend the international chess tournament to be held in Birmingham, England in the summer of 1858. He accepted the challenge and traveled to England.

On May 31, 1858, Morphy left New Orleans for New York. He sailed from New Orleans to New York on the S.S. Philadelphia.

On June 9, 1858 Paul Morphy left New York and went to England on the steamship S.S. Africa. Chess Monthly says it was the S.S. Arabia), to challenge their best chess players. The New Orleans chess club suggested paying Morphy the amount needed for him to participate in the Birmingham tournament, to be held in England, but Morphy declined the offer, as he did not want to be considered a professional chess player. He stayed in England for 3 months trying to arrange a match with Staunton. But Staunton claimed he had more serious things to do. Staunton also continued to smear Morphy in his newspaper chess column, claiming Morphy was chasing money, among other things. In the last letter that Morphy send to Staunton, he writes "Allow me to repeat, what I have constantly declared in all the chess circles I have had the honor to participate. That I have never wanted to make any skill I may possess, a tool for making a profit."  

Paul Morphy landed in Liverpool on June 20, 1858. He was met there by Fredrick Edge.

Morphy arrived in Liverpool and immediately took a train to Birmingham, England, about 80 miles away. The tournament was scheduled to start at the Station Hotel on Morphy's 21st birthday, June 22, but it has been postponed until August 24. Morphy, however, was unaware of the schedule change. When Paul got to Birmingham on June 20, he met Thomas Avery, the president of the Birmingham Chess Club. They went to the Birmingham Chess Club, and a portrait was taken of Morphy. Morphy spent a night in Birmingham, and then went to London the next day.

On June 21, 1858, Morphy arrived in London with Frederick Edge, his secretary in Europe, and registered at Loewe's Hotel on Surrey Street. Morphy played the owner of the hotel, Edward Loewe, six games, and won all six.

On June 23, 1858, Morphy visited the other London chess clubs such as Simpson's and St. George's. While at the St. George's chess club, he encountered Howard Staunton and inquired about the challenge match between the two. Staunton agreed to play, but asked to be allowed a month to brush up on his chess openings. Morphy agreed.

The first game Morphy ever played publicly in England was at the Divan against Frederic H. Lewis. The result was a drawn game. (source: Winter-Wood, "Paul Morphy," The Chess Amateur, June 1907, p. 282)

Staunton invited Morphy to his country home in Streatham.

On June 27, 1858, Morphy went to Staunton's country home, along with Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825-1874) and John Owen (1827-1901). At Staunton's home, they played a few consultation games. Morphy and Barnes defeated Staunton and Owen in the first game. Morphy and Barnes won a second game, but it was played over nine days and finished at St. George's Chess Club.

Morphy played Barnes a series of 27 games. Morphy won 19 games and Barnes won 8 games. Barnes won more games from Morphy than any other player.

On July 3, 1858, Morphy played a series of three games against Reverend John Owen, who called himself "Alter" in chess circles. Owen won the first and Morphy won the final two games. Morphy later won two more games from Owen.

On July 10, 1858, Staunton published the agreement between him and Morphy in the Illustrated London News. The match was to be 21 games for a stake of 500 pounds a side. The match was to take place after the Birmingham tournament.

In July 1858, Morphy accepted a challenge match from Johann Löwenthal.

In 1858, Paul Morphy and Johann Löwenthal sat down at the St. James Chess Club and posed for a picture taken by the London Stereoscope Company. The medium was a hand colored albumen silver print. The picture was owned by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894). His family donated it to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

On July 19, 1858, Morphy played his first game with Löwenthal at the London Chess Club. The game was drawn in 7.5 hours.

After 10 games, Morphy won 7, lost 2, and drew 1. At this point Löwenthal claimed he was sick and wanted to postpone the rest of the match (the first to win 9 games was the winner). A week later, the match resumed and Morphy won on August 21, 1858. Morphy was 100 pounds from Löwenthal, and then used that money to buy 120 pounds of furniture, which he then gave to Löwenthal's family for their new apartment.

Great Chess Challenge in England. The celebrated American chess player, Mr. Morphy, has arrived in London, and requests us to announce, in all courtesy and respect, that he is prepared to play any man living a match of chess for any sum from one hundred to one thousand pounds. ...Bell's Life in London, July 6. — Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jul 26, 1858

On August 10, 1858, Morphy started a match with Owen. Morphy won his first game.

In August, after defeating Löwenthal, Morphy played a series of game with Henry Bird (1830-1908), winning 10, losing 1, and drawing 1.

He stayed in England for 3 months trying to arrange a match with Staunton. On August 14, 1858, Morphy wrote to Staunton asking when Staunton's seconds could meet with Morphy's seconds to work out the details of the match. Staunton replied that he needed an extension to finish preparing. He was working on his edition of the complete works of Shakespeare.

On August 21, 1858, Morphy wrote back to Staunton asking when was the earliest opportunity Staunton had for the match.

Without replying back to Morphy, Staunton went to Birmingham, which began on August 24, 1858. Originally, Staunton had declared that he wouldn't enter the tournament. However, once he arrived and found out that Morphy was not going to play in the event, Staunton signed up to play. Morphy had promised his family that he would not play in a chess tournament for stakes. Morphy showed up in Birmingham on August 26, and too late to enter the tournament. He won two games from James S. Kipping that evening.

While in Birmingham, Morphy ran into Staunton, He asked him again when he was ready to play a match between the two. Staunton responded that he would be ready at the beginning of November.

On August 27, Morphy gave an 8-board blindfold exhibition in the rooms of Queen's College in Birmingham, England. The players, all members of the British Chess Association, were Lord Lyttelton (president of the British Chess Association), Thomas Avery, Rev. George Salmon, Mr. Carr, Dr. Jabez Freeman, Mr. Rhodes, J.S. Kipping, and W.R. Wills. The exhibition took over 6 hours. Morphy won 6, lost to Kipping, and drew with Avery.

Staunton also continued to smear Morphy in his newspaper chess column, claiming Morphy was chasing money, among other things. In the last letter that Morphy send to Staunton, he writes "Allow me to repeat, what I have constantly declared in all the chess circles I have had the honor to participate. That I have never wanted to make any skill I may possess, a tool for making a profit."

Morphy had to give up the idea of a match against Staunton and went to Paris, where he defeated Lowenthal (in London), Harrwitz, and Anderssen within a space of six months.

On August 31, 1858, Paul Morphy and Frederick Edge were late at the railway station that would take them from London to Folkstone, then across the Channel and on to Paris. So they went to Dover and took a ship to Calais, France. Morphy became sea sick while crossing the Channel. At first, the French officials would now allow Morphy in the country with a United States passport, but Morphy could speak perfect French and he was allowed in. The customs officials confiscated his underwear, however. They stayed in Calais for the evening and then took a 10 hour train ride to Paris the next day, about 150 miles away.

Once in Paris, Morphy had dinner, and then visited the Café de la Régence on Rue Street Honoré (opened from 8 am to midnight). He did not announce his visit the first evening and was not recognized.

On September 5, 1858, Morphy started his official match with Daniel Harrwitz (1823-1884) for a stakes of 295 francs. Harrwitz did not want seconds. The winner would be the first to win seven games. Harrwitz also wanted the match to be played in the public café at the Café de la Régence. At the time, Harrwitz, considered one of the best players in Europe, was employed by the owner of the Café de la Regence to play chess with all challengers. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct 1, 1858)

Harrwitz won the first game. When Morphy resigned, Harrwitz rose from his chair, stretched across the table, and took Morphy's pulse. He then declared to the crowd, "Well, it is astonishing! His pulse does not beat any faster than if he had won the game."

Harrwitz won the second game on September 7, 1858. After the game, he told the crowd, "Oh, it takes very little trouble to beat this fellow." Morphy responded by saying that Harrwitz would not win another game from him.

Morphy won the third, fourth, and fifth games. Harrwitz then wanted a 10-day delay because of "ill health." After 12 days delay, Harrwitz lost the sixth game on September 23, 1858. Harrwitz then asked for another delay of 6 days.

On September 15, 1858, Paul Morphy sat for the well-known sculptor, Eugene Lesquesne (1815-1887), in Paris to have a marble bust made of him. The bust was exhibited at the Exposition des Beaux Arts in April, 1859.

On September 19, 1858, Morphy dined with the deposed Duke of Brunswick, Charles Frederick August William (1804-1873). The Duke played at least 11 games in consultation against Morphy during Morphy's stay in Paris.

On September 27, 1858, Morphy gave an 8-board blindfold exhibition, winning 6 games and drawing 2 games. It was held at the Café de la Régence. The owner of the café wanted to charge a spectator fee of 5 francs for the exhibition, but Morphy said he would not give the exhibition unless the café was open to anyone who walked in. So the event was free for anyone who could get inside the establishment. His opponents were Baucher, Bierwith, Borneman, Guibert, Lequesne, Potier, Preti, and Seguin (and 50 other players in the room to give advice to Morphy's 8 opponents). Morphy was seated in the billiard room of the café, with his back to the chess table in the other room. The blindfold exhibition lasted for 10 hours, without anything to eat or drink for Morphy. When the event was over, it took 30 minutes for Morphy to get outside of the café after being congratulated by everyone inside. However, the crowd outside was greater than the one inside the café, and the shouting was more deafening. French Imperial guards, not knowing what was going on, thought a new revolution in Paris had broken out.

The next morning, Paul Morphy dictated to Edge all the moves of his 8 blindfold games, including possible variations. For two hours, Morphy dictated the moves and hundreds of variations of all eight games. Later that evening, Morphy fell asleep in front of an open window that was blowing in cold air. He became sick with a cold and had a fever the next day. However, he still wanted to continue the match with Harrwitz and not claim ill health like Harrwitz did.

The 7th game between Morphy and Harrwitz was played on September 29, 1858. Harrwitz now objected to playing in public at the Café de la Régence and wanted a private room. Morphy lost a rook in an oversight after having a winning position, but was able to draw with perpetual check.

Harrwitz asked for another week delay after this game, still claiming ill health (yet it was Morphy who was sick with a fever). Morphy showed up every day at the Café, playing all comers in chess until midnight.

On October 3, 1858, Harrwitz lost his 8th game with Morphy. The score was now 5 wins for Morphy, 2 wins for Harrwitz, and one drawn game.

Harrwitz resigned the match by on October 4th. Paul Morphy had received a verbal message that "Mr. Harrwitz resigns the match on account of ill health." Mr. Lequesne handed over the 295 francs ($1,400 in today's currency) to Morphy. Morphy offered a second match to Harrwitz, but Harrwitz declined.

Morphy won 5 games, lost 2, and drew one game in the match. In percentage terms, Harrwitz had the best overall result against Morphy (winning 3, losing 5, drawing 2).

Morphy had his winnings (which he at first declined) deposited with the proprietor of the Café de la Régence to defray the expenses of Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879), his next opponent, to Paris from Breslau, Germany.

Having defeated Harrwitz, he even rejected receiving the prize of 290 francs. But he was forced to, and later used the money to pay Anderssen's journey to France. During that time, the greatest living French sculptor, Lequesne, made a bust of Morphy and had it exhibited at the Exhibition des Beaux Arts. Before Paul Morphy arrived on the scene, dealers in chessmen and boards sold perhaps 1 or 2 chess sets a year. Now they were selling 20 times as much.

On October 7, 1858, Morphy wrote to Thomas Hampton, Secretary of the St. George's Chess Club that the New Orleans Chess Club had deposited 500 British pounds at the Banking House of Haywood & Company in London. The was Morphy's stakes to be used in the approaching match with Howard Staunton.

On October 9, 1858, Howard Staunton told his readers that a match between him and Morphy could not take place because Morphy couldn't come up with the stakes required by Staunton. This turned out to be a lie and was an excuse so that Staunton would not have to play Morphy.  On October 16, 1858, the Duke of Brunswick and Morphy visited the Italian Opera House in Paris where the duke had a box. They played a game of chess during the performance of "Norma."

Morphy - Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard, Paris, 1858 Philidor's Defense 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7 8.Nc3 [8.Bxf7+ Qxf7 9.Qxb7 is simpler] 8...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 mate 1-0

On November 1, 1858, Morphy played a casual game against the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard de Vauvenargue at the Italian Opera House in Paris. The performance that evening was Rossini's "The Barber of Seville."

In November, 1858, Staunton promised to play Morphy.

In November, 1858, Mr. James M. Mason, the American Ambassador to France, introduced Morphy to Emperor Napoleon III (1808-1873).

While in Paris, Morphy met the grandson of Philidor.

Morphy originally planned to visit the chess clubs in Germany, but he got sick and felt he could not travel. He invited Adolf Anderson to come to Paris instead. Anderssen responded that he could not leave his post as a math teacher in Breslau, but he would be able to visit Paris during Christmas vacation. Morphy wanted to leave early and be home in New Orleans by Christmas. It took a medical doctor to convince Morphy that he was too ill to cross the Atlantic Ocean during the winter time.

On December 15, 1858, Adolf Anderssen arrived in Paris from Breslau. The next morning, Anderssen visited Morphy, who could not get out of bed. They agreed that the victor would be the first to win seven games with no stakes. They both were playing for honor.

When Morphy arrived in Paris to play Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879), Morphy was suffering from the flu. His medical treatment consisted of being leeched. He lost four pints of blood and was too weak to leave his hotel bed. Anderssen's friends had told him not to damage the German prestige by traveling abroad and play a match against this young man (Morphy) without official recognition. But Anderssen felt otherwise, and when his friends asked him why he did not play as brilliant as he did in his famous match against Jean Dufresne (1829-1893), Anderssen replied "No, Morphy would not let me." And Morphy himself, was playing the second strongest chess player (Anderssen) in the world from his hotel bed suffering from the flu, and still won the match with a 7-2 score.

The match between Morphy and Anderssen began on December 20. It ended on December 28. There were no stakes for the match because Morphy would not accept it.

Anderssen lost the match of 11 games (he won 2, drew 2, lost 7) in 9 days. Anderssen had not played a chess match in 6 years and travelled to Paris on his vacation time, even though it had been stipulated earlier that the match was to be held in Breslau. After this official match, the two players played 6 offhand games. Anderssen won 1 and lost 5 of these games.

Morphy won the match with a 7 wins, 2 losses, and 2 draws. He lost the first game, drew the second game, then won five games in a row. Game 8 was a draw. Game 9 was a win for Morphy. Game 10 was a win for Anderssen. Game 11 was a win for Morphy and he won the match.

On December 29, 1858, a day after the formal match, Morphy played Anderssen 6 casual games and won 5, lost 1.

In 1859, the Morphy Chess Club was formed in Washington, DC.

In 1859, the Morphy Chess Club of Wilmington, Delaware defeated the Philadelphia Amateur Chess Club by telegraph. (source: The Bloomington Pantagraph, Feb 11, 1859)

In January 1859, a small plastic replica bust of Paul Morphy arrived in New Orleans. It was probably made by W. Lay of London in 1858.

In February-March, 1859, Morphy played Augustus Mongredien, President of the London Chess Club, in a match and won with one draw (the first game) and six wins. The match was held at the Hotel du Louvre in Paris.

In April 1859, a bust of Paul Morphy by Eugene Lesquesne was exhibited at the Exposition des Beaux Arts.

On April 4, 1859, a banquet was held in Morphy's honor in Paris. A laurel wreath was placed over the head of a bust of Morphy, carved by Eugene Lequesne.

On April 6, 1859, Morphy returned to London with his brother-in-law, John Sybrandt (1822-1894), and Jules Arnous de Rivière (1830-1905). He was once again warmly received by the British chess community and visited the London chess clubs.

On April 13, 1859, Morphy gave an 8-board blindfold exhibition at the London Chess Club.

On April 20, 1859, Morphy played 8 blindfold simultaneous games against the top players of each chess club he visited. The event was held at the St. George Chess Club in London. He won 5 and drew 3 games.

On April 22, 1859, Morphy watched and took notes of the chess games played between Henry Bird and Jules Arnous de Riviere. Morphy agreed to play a chess match with Bird on short notice. Morphy requested a postponement, but nothing came of the match. (source: Renette, H.E. Bird: A Chess Biography, 2016, p. 81)

On April 26, 1859, Morphy played five masters simultaneously at the St. James Chess Club in London. Initially, Morphy was going to only play four players, but Henry Bird joined in at the last minute. He played Jules Arnous de Rivière, Samuel Boden, Thomas Barnes, Henry Bird, and Johann Löwenthal. This order was the same table order that Morphy faced. Morphy won two games (Bird and Rivière), drew two games (Boden and Löwenthal), and lost one (Barnes). This was Morphy's only sighted simultaneous exhibition in his career. The simul lasted for over 6 hours. At the time, Löwenthal was ranked #3 in the world, Riviere was ranked #6 in the world, Boden was ranked #11 in the world, Barnes was ranked #12 in the world, and Bird was ranked #15 in the world.

Morphy was invited to a private audience with Queen Victoria (1819-1901). The queen presented Morphy with a chess cabinet. She also presented him with a sheepskin that a drawing of a chessboard. In the lower right-hand corner was the signature of Queen Victoria. (source: American Chess Bulletin, 1916, p. 227)

In 1859, Samuel Morse was in Europe and watched Paul Morphy play chess.  When Paul Morphy returned to New York, the New York Chess Club had a testimonial dinner for Paul Morphy on his return.  Samuel Morse was invited to sit at the head table with Morphy, but Morse wrote back to the Testimonial Committee, regretting he had a previous engagement, but wished Morphy well.

In April 1859, a Brooklyn baseball team was named after Paul Morphy.  The "Morphy Base Ball Club" was active in New York for several years.  Paul Morphy was an honorary member.

In April 1859, a huge hot air balloon named the "Paul Morphy" was launched from New Orleans and crash landed in Pike County, Mississippi, 130 miles away. The two occupants were unhurt.

On April 27, 1859, Paul Morphy and his brother-in-law, John Sybrandt, left Liverpool, England aboard the steamship Persia.

When Morphy returned to New York on May 11, 1859 aboard the steamship Persia, he was greeted by all the top New York chess players. He was greeted by Mead, Perrin, Lichtenheim, Fiske, Fuller, Graham, and many other leading members of the New York Chess Club. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 13, 1859)

Shortly after Morphy's arrival in New York, William Fuller, acting as an agent for publisher Robert Bonner, offered Morphy the position as chess editor of the New York Ledger weekly newspaper. Morphy readily accepted and was paid $3,000 (over $76,000 in today's currency) in advance to write America's first chess column for the New York Ledger newspaper. Morphy barely did this for a year, but was fired. The editor and proprietor, Robert Bonner, was not seeing a return on the investment. Morphy wrote his first article on August 6, 1859 and ended it on August 4, 1860 (52 columns). Morphy annotated 35 games from the La Bourdonnais-MacDonnel matches, intending to publish all the games between the two players. He also annotated a few of his own games and others. (source: New York Ledger articles -

Morphy stayed at the St. Nicholas Hotel. That evening, Morphy played some chess, giving knight odds, at the New York Chess Club. (source: "Chess Chronicle" by Charles Stanley, Harper's Weekly, May 28, 1859)

On the evening of May 12, 1859, Morphy played his first match gamer with Frederick Perrin, President of the Brooklyn Chess Club.

On the afternoon of May 14, 1859, Morphy played chess, giving knight odds to Dr. James W. Stone, at the St. Nicholas Hotel that Morphy was stating at.

On the evening of May 14, 1859, Morphy visited the Union Chess Club in New York (members were mostly German) and played a few games of chess at knight odds, winning against Mr. Isidor, President of the Club, and Mr. Beneke.

On the evening of May 16, 1859, Paul Morphy defeated Frederick Perrin at the New York Chess Club, giving him knight odds. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 17, 1859).

On May 25, 1859, a testimonial banquet was held at the chapel of New York University in honor of Paul Morphy. It was organized by the New York Chess Club and Colonel Charles Mead presided over the ceremony. Speeches were made, including reading a letter from Samuel Morse. Morphy was then presented with a chessboard and pieces, and then a custom designed watch. A solid gold and silver chess set was also presented to Morphy. He also received a silver plate made by Tiffany. It was presented to him by John Van Buren (1810-1866), President Martin Van Buren's son. At the banquet, John Van Buren said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to unite with me in welcoming with all the honors, Paul Morphy, Chess Champion of the World!"

The watch was presented to Paul Morphy by William Fuller. The watch was made by the American Watch Company. Roman numerals were replaced by chess pieces on the watch. Years later, Morphy has to pawn his watch.

The May 26, 1859 issue of the New York Times devoted four of its front-page columns to reporting Morphy's chess achievements. The New York Daily News used five of its six columns on page one to reporting Morphy's achievements.

On May 26, 1859, Morphy was given another testimonial dinner at Buhler's Restaurant and sponsored by the Union Chess Club. The restaurant was located on the corner of 8th and Broadway. There were 70 people present for this dinner. He was given a silver wreath.

On May 28, 1859, Paul Morphy was given a reception at the Boston Chess Club.

On May 29, 1859, he went to Cambridge where he met Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).

On May 30, 1859, Morphy went to Waltham, Massachusetts. Here he toured the American Watch Company, later known as Waltham Watch Company. The original dial of the watch given to Morphy was designed by John Webb, Jr., head of the American Watch Company's dial department.

On the evening of May 30, 1859, Morphy was greeted at the Paul Revere House in Boston by Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes (who presided and made the opening speech), Samuel Morse, Chief Justice of Massachusetts Supreme Court Lemuel Shaw, President Walker of Harvard College, Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, Louis Agassiz the creator of American science, the mayor of Boston, and John van Buren, the former President's son. Van Buren toasted Morphy as 'The Chess Champion of the World.' It was the first time that expression had been used. An episode during the reception in New York shows what a devastating blow it had been for Morphy that Staunton rejected to play him. Colonel Mead, the chairman of the reception committee, talked in his speech about chess, as a profession, and pointed Morphy out, as this profession's foremost representative. Morphy strongly opposed being described this way, and he was so angry, that Colonel Mead became overwhelmed by confusion, and felt so dishonored by his misfortune, that he decided no longer to participate in the Morphy celebration. Morphy's overreaction may be explained by the fact, that Staunton had labeled Morphy as a professional chess player, and thus refused to play him. During the reception, a gold and silver chess set, valued at $1,000 and designed by Tiffany & Co., was given to him. A similar chess set had been made for Queen Victoria. A beautiful board, of equal elegance, was also provided. He was also given a special chess watch from the American Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts. There were 140 invited guests. Holmes toasted "Paul Morphy, the World Chess Champion." Manufacturers sought his endorsements and a baseball club was named after him.

During the reception a letter was read from Everett Edwards, who was unable to attend. He was an American politician, pastor, educator, diplomat, and orator from Massachusetts. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 1, 1859)

While in Boston, Morphy played only three games.

On June 1, 1859, a Morphy Base Ball Team was organized in Jersey City, New Jersey. (source: Earliest Baseball Clubs -

On June 3, 1859, Morphy left Boston for New York.

In June 1859, an oil painting of Paul Morphy was made by Charles Loring Elliott (1812-1868). The painting hung on the wall of the Manhattan Chess Club for over a century.

On June 16, 1859, Paul Morphy visited Brooklyn at the invitation of the Brooklyn Chess Club. In the afternoon, he dined with the Club at the home of Thomas Frere. In the evening, he went to the Brooklyn Chess Club and played several players at knight odds, beating them easily. This included Hubert Knott, the best player in Brooklyn, and Marache. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 17, 1859)

On June 22, 1859, Morphy's 22nd birthday, the Athenaeum Club of New York had a birthday party for Paul Morphy. He was made an honorary member.

In July 1859, a wood engraving of Paul Morphy by Winslow Homer appeared in Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, published in Boston, along with an article on Morphy. The drawing was made expressly for Ballou's Pictorial by Homer, who used a recent photograph of Morphy taken by Mr. S. Massury, during Morphy's recent visit to Boston. (source: Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, July 2, 1859, p. 1) The wood engraving is now at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

In August 1859, Paul Morphy was ill and recuperated in Newport, Rhode Island.

On October 5, 1859, Morphy wrote a letter to the American Watch Company which was published on October 15, 1959 in the New York Saturday Press. The letter stated that the watch was a most reliable and accurate time-keeper. He kept track of the accuracy of the watch, and fount it to be 32 seconds fast from the time he received the watch to Oct 1, 1859.

Morphy's name was used in advertising cigars and hats. A Brooklyn baseball team was named the Morphy Baseball Club.

On October 30, 1859, Morphy left New York for Philadelphia. In Philadelphia he visited the Athenaeum Club.

On November 11, 1859, Morphy gave a 4-board blindfold exhibition at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia for the benefit of the Mt. Vernon Fund. The fund was used to restore and preserve Mount Vernon. He won all his games.

On November 17, 1859, Morphy left Philadelphia and went to Baltimore, Maryland. He visited the Monumental Chess Club and played several opponents.

On November 24, 1859, Paul Morphy left Baltimore for New Orleans.

On December 12, 1859, Morphy arrived in New Orleans.

In late 1859, English chess amateur Frederick Deacon claimed to have scored one win and one loss against Morphy. He supplied the scores to Howard Staunton, who published them on December 17, 1859. Paul Morphy later denied ever playing Deacon. The games are considered fabrications. Deacon said that the games were played and the occasion was on April 8, 1859 at the British Hotel in London. His witness was Deacon's cousin.

Morphy was paid $3,000 to write America's first chess column for the New York Ledger newspaper. Morphy barely did this for a year and quit.

Paul Morphy was the first sports figure to issue a commercial endorsement when he declared of a watch, "I have examined the contents of this watch and find it to be made of 100 percent genuine machinery."

After Paul Morphy's triumph in New York and Europe, steam boat captains reported that card playing had diminished in half and that chess had taken its place.

In 1859, Thomas Frère (1820-1900) brought out the first games collection on Paul Morphy in Morphy's Games of Chess.

On July 2, 1859, Scientific American published an article that chess was rotting kids' minds.  The article began by noting how Paul Morphy had recently trounced all his European competitors.

In July 1859, the Morphy Hat, a French soft hat, was being advertised for sale in North Carolina.  (source: The North-Carolinian, July 23, 1859)

On August 6, 1859, Paul Morphy's first chess column (Chess Department) appeared in the New York Ledger. He annotated one of the games from the Labourdonnai-MdDonnell match (8 notes to the moves). He also included a position from one of his own games against Loewenthal.

In August 1859, Paul Morphy became ill and stayed at the Ocean House Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island.

On November 11, 1859, Paul Morphy visited the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, played 4 players blindfolded and won all 4.

In November 1859, a picture of Paul Morphy playing chess with Lewis Elkin (1815-1867) was taken at the studio of Frederick Gutekunst (1831-1917) in Philadelphia.

In November 1859, the Philadelphia Chess Club was formed after a visit by Paul Morphy to the city.  It lasted until 1866.

In November 1859, Paul Morphy visited the Monumental Chess Club in Baltimore on his way back to New Orleans. Paul Morphy sat for a painting by Solomon Carvalho (1815-1894). The portrait now belongs to the Maryland Historical Society.

In December 1859, a horse named Paul Morphy, foaled in 1853, won a horse trotting race in New Orleans.

In December 1859, Paul Morphy gave up serious chess.

In 1860, Morphy may have tried to open a law office. He had business cards printed that said, "Paul Morphy, Attorney-at-Law, 12 Exchange Place, Up Stairs, New Orleans." It appears that he had no clients. Some sources say that he opened up his law office in 1859 or 1862, other sources say it was 1864.

In June 1860, he went to New York and stayed through October.

In May 1860, Jules-Emile Saintin (1829-1894) created a miniature painting of Paul Morphy and displayed it at the 35th Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design, 23rd Street and 4th Avenue.

On January 26, 1861, Louisiana became the 6th state to vote for secession from the Union.

In April 1861, the Civil War broke out, which interrupted Morphy's law career. He was opposed to secession. Morphy's brother, Edward, joined the Confederate Army right away, but Paul did not.

In 1861, the American Watch Company began to advertise their gold and silver watches, using a letter from Paul Morphy as an endorsement. (source: Steuben Republican (Angola, Indiana), March 30, 1861) 

In 1861, Congressman Alfred Ely (1815-1892) of New York, while witnessing the First Battle of Bull Run, was taken prisoner by the Confederates and imprisoned in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.  While a prisoner, Paul Morphy came to Richmond and visited him. (source: New York Times, Feb 4, 1862) 

On October 24, 1861, Paul Morphy visited the Richmond Chess Club in Richmond, Virginia, the capitol of the Confederacy.  A Richmond newspaper wrote that Morphy "has kindly consented to be present" at the meeting of a rebel chess club in the Confederate capital.  (source: Reading Times, Nov 7, 1861)   Another source mentioned that Morphy was to join the staff of Confederate General Edward Johnson (1816-1873) and that Morphy was practicing law in Richmond.  (source: Alexandria Local News, Jan 3, 1862) 

Morphy met with General Pierre Beauregard (1818-1893). Morphy visited the Richmond Chess Club on October 24. Morphy was seeking to obtain an appointment in the diplomatic service of the southern confederacy.

In April 1862, Morphy was in New Orleans when the city was captured and occupied. From April 25, 1862 to May 1, 1862, Captain (later Rear Admiral) David Farragut (1801-1870) and Major General Benjamin Butler captured New Orleans without fighting.

Morphy did not fight for the South during the Civil War and stayed out of the War.

On October 10, 1862, Morphy and Charles Maurian sailed from New Orleans to Cuba on the Spanish man-of-war, Blasco de Garay (some sources say the ship was the Vasco de Gama). He spent a month in Havana, staying at the Hotel America.

On October 17, 1862, Morphy played a game of chess with Felix Sicre (1817-1871), chess champion of Cuba. Morphy won in 34 moves. The game score was originally published in El Diario de la Mariana on October 19, 1862.

On October 31, 1862, Morphy and Maurian sailed from Cuba to Cadiz, Spain on a mail steamer. After arriving in Cadez, he took a train to Paris and arrived in Paris in early December. Morphy was accompanied by Flag Officer Samuel Barron (1809-1888), the Confederate Government's resident Naval Attaché in Paris. Barron commanded the Confederate States Naval Forces in Europe, acting as a contact for Confederate naval officers as well as blockade runners and privateers until February 25, 1865 when he resigned his commission, returning to the United States shortly before the Confederacy's surrender a month later.

Paul Morphy's mother, Thelcide, and his sister, Helena, had arrived in Paris earlier. His other sister, Malvina, had moved to Paris a few years before.

In January 1863, George Palmer Putman (1814-1872) met Morphy in New Orleans and said that he had given up chess and was not making success as a lawyer.

A Paris correspondent reported that Morphy had not been on any Confederate staff, nor had he taken any part in the Civil War.  (source: New York Times, Jan 21, 1863) 

Morphy did not fight for the South during the Civil War and stayed out of the War. He traveled to Cuba, then to Paris in 1863. He returned to New Orleans a year later. In 1867 his mental state was alarming, and his mother persuaded him to go to Paris, hoping that the change of environment would help him. Morphy had now come to hate chess, and he never approached the chess clubs where had earlier celebrated his greatest triumphs. He stayed in Paris for 18 months before returning to his home.

In February, 1863, Ignatz Kolisch (1837-1889) challenged Morphy to a match. Morphy replied that he had given up on competitive chess. Besides, Morphy refused to play for money and Kolish refused to play for fun. Kolish eventually became a millionaire in the banking industry, and a baron.

In 1863, the University of Leiden founded the LSSG Morphy (the Leiden Morphy Chess Society).

In late January, 1864, Morphy sailed to Santiago de Cuba.

On February 16, 1864, he arrived in Havana on the steamship Aguila.

On late February 1864, he sailed for New Orleans, arriving the last week in February. He opened a law office on 12 Exchange Street, but closed it after a few months.

In November 1864, Paul Morphy acted as Curator ad hoc (court-appointed legal representative or probate lawyer). His client was Adam Dhones, who, at the time, could not be found for a court date. The 6th District Court of New Orleans ordered that Paul Morphy, Esquire, be appointed curator ad hoc for Dhones to represent him. The case was H. Bellocq vs. Adam Dhones and Alexander Penent. It was a civil case argued before the Louisiana Supreme Court. Dhones was a co-owner of a schooner who sold it in 1864 without consulting the other co-owners. (source: Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Louisiana, Vol 19, 1867, p. 503 and

In 1865, Don Diego, Jr., died in New Orleans.

In 1865, it was reported that Paul Morphy had settled in Illinois and that his avocation was the collection of claims in the United States and States courts.  (source: Richmond Dispatch, Feb 11, 1865) 

On July 25, 1865, he met with Daniel Fiske and Napoleon Marache about publishing his chess games with annotations.

In August 1865, Thomas Bill pleaded guilty to stealing two pairs of boots at the New York Hotel that belonged to Paul Morphy, who had just arrived in New York.  Bill was sent to prison.  (source: New York Times, July 26, 1865)

At the beginning of November, 1865, Morphy returned to New Orleans.

On November 14, 1865, Morphy was elected president of the New Orleans Chess Club.

In 1866, a chess club was formed at Yale College called the Morphy Chess Club.  Its president was George D. Ballantine.  (source: The Progressive-Index, Feb 19, 1866) 

In 1866, Paul Morphy thought that his brother-in-law, John Sybrandt, was robbing him of his inheritance. Sybrandt was the administrator of Alonzo Morphy's estate. Paul took out several lawsuits against his brother-in-law, which he lost.

In July 1867, Paul Morphy's mother persuaded him to go to Paris with her and his sister, Helena. Morphy played chess in Paris, but would not play any chess in public. He stayed in Paris for 18 months before returning to his home.

In September 1868, Morphy arrived in New York. He then returned to New Orleans.

In 1869, a massive fire at Spring Hill College devastated many of the school's records. Another fire broke out at the school in 1909. Much of Morphy's material, including his thesis and grade reports were lost.

In December 1869, Paul Morphy played his last games of chess with his friend, Charles Maurian.

In 1871, the second American Chess Congress was held in Cleveland, Morphy was invited, but he declined all invitations.

In 1872, Morphy partnered with established attorney E.T. Fellows. The partnership lasted until 1874. On March 14, 1873, the Brooklyn Eagle published a letter by C. J. Woodbury, entitled, "The Eccentricity of Paul Morphy."

On March 7, 1874, Paul's uncle, Ernest Morphy, died. He was 67.

 On August 20, 1874, Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825-1874) died after going on a diet and losing 130 pounds in 10 months (he originally weighed 220 pounds). No one really knows the cause of death and some suspected stomach cancer. He was one of the strongest English chess players in the 1850s. He scored more wins than anyone else against Paul Morphy, defeating him 8 times. Morphy considered him the strongest player he had ever encountered.

In 1875, Paul Morphy attacked one if his friends, Mr. Binder with a walking stick, trying to provoke a duel. Morphy thought that Mr. Binder wanted to destroy all his clothes and wanted to kill him.

In 1875, Paul Morphy refused an invitation to play in the Grand International Centennial Chess Congress (4th American Chess Congress) of 1876, which was held in Philadelphia. It was won by James Mason in August 1876.

In 1875, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Paul Morphy was an inmate of an insane asylum in Louisiana, hopelessly mad. Poverty was one of the causes that led to his condition. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov 23, 1875)

It was earlier reported that Paul Morphy had become insane (source: Atlanta Constitution, Nov 21, 1875) and was confined to an asylum (source: The York Daily, Nov 29, 1875).  The New Orleans Republican responded, "Mr. Morphy can be seen on our streets any day, having given up chess-playing for the practice of law.  He was never in better health, physically and mentally, than now, and the above news is calculated to surprise him and his friends."  (source: New York Times, Dec 1, 1875). 

In December 1875, Charles Maurian first began to notice some strange talk by Morphy, who was suffering from delusions. He stated the Paul thought he was being persecuted by unknown persons.

In the late 1870s, Morphy allegedly ran through the streets of the French Quarter with an axe clutched in his hand. He threatened to kill the first person who crossed him. (source: "Top 5 Tombs to See in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1," Discover Historic America Tours -

In 1877, it was reported that Paul Morphy was in a New Orleans asylum, hopelessly insane, losing his mental control in 1876.  (source: The Perry, Iowa Daily Chief, April 26, 1877). 

In a letter to the New York Sun on May 2, 1877, Charles Maurian wrote that Morphy was practicing law in New Orleans and had never been insane.

As late as 1878, Paul Morphy continued to receive invitations to chess tournaments.

By 1879, Paul Morphy had played his last chess games against Charles Maurian.

In 1880, the census entry for Paul Morphy listed his profession as "Professional Chess Player."

In 1880, the New Orleans Chess, Checkers and Whist Club came into existence.

In 1880, an oil painting of Paul Morphy was made by A. Rosenbaum.

In 1881, the Morphy Chess Club was formed in Brooklyn in Werney's Place.

Morphy withdrew from society and suffered delusions of persecution in his later years. According to his niece, he had in a period the strange habit of walking up and down the porch saying "Il plantera la banniere de Castille sur le murs de Madrid, au cri de Ville gangnee, et le petit roi s'en ira tout penaud." In English "He will plant the banner of the Castille on the walls of Madrid, screaming : The city is conquered and the little king will have to go." Two years before Morphy died, he was asked if it was okay to include him in a book about famous Louisiana citizens because of his achievements in chess. Morphy was outraged by being connected with chess, and answered, that his father, judge at the supreme court of Louisiana, Mr. Alonzo Morphy, at his death, had left a sum of 146.162 dollars and 54 cents. But that he (Morphy) did not have a profession at all, and thus had nothing to do in such a book.

Paul Morphy lived in fear of being poisoned and only ate food prepared by his mother or sister. He believed that neighborhood barbers were conspiring to slit his throat. His family tried to have him committed to an asylum, be he argued his sanity so convincingly that the authorities declined to admit him.

In June 1882, Morphy's family considered putting Paul in a mental institution called the "Louisiana Retreat" in New Orleans. It was run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul of the Catholic Church. The family, including his brother Edward, his cousin Edgar Hinks, and his best friend Charles Maurian, took a ride there, but Paul convinced the nuns he was sane and needed no constraint or treatment. Morphy then threatened to sue his friends, family, and the Catholic Church.

In July 1882, Paul Morphy was asked if it was okay to include him in a book, Louisiana Biographies, about famous Louisiana citizens because of his achievements in chess. Morphy was outraged by being connected with chess, and answered, that his father, judge at the supreme court of Louisiana, Mr. Alonzo Morphy, at his death, had left a sum of 146.162 dollars and 54 cents. But that he (Morphy) did not have a profession at all and thus had nothing to do in such a book.

In January 1883, William Steinitz (1836-1900) was able to interview Paul Morphy in New Orleans for about 20 minutes. Steinitz's experience with Morphy was published in the New York Tribune on March 22, 1883. They did not talk about chess since Morphy would not grant an interview if the subject of chess came up. When friends of Morphy told him that Steinitz was in town, Morphy replied, "I know it. His gambit is not good." (source: Buck, Paul Morphy, His Later Life, 1902, p. 27)

Paul Morphy was fond of grand opera and seldom missed a performance at the French Opera House on Bourbon Street (burnt down in 1920).

In 1884, Dr. Johannes Zukertort interviewed Paul Morphy. His experience with Morphy was published in the Salt Lake City Tribune on June 28, 1884.

On July 10, 1884, Paul Morphy died at his home in New Orleans of apoplexy, 18 days after his 47th birthday.  (source: New York Times, July 11, 1884 and The New Orleans Times Picayune, July 11, 1884) 

Morphy died of a stroke while taking a cold bath after an afternoon walk on Canal Street. He died at 89 Royal Street, New Orleans. He was just 47 years old. Paul's mother was concerned that Paul was taking a bath for over an hour. He did not respond to here and the door was locked. She called a neighbor, Mollo, who forced the door open. They found Paul unconscious and called a doctor. The doctor pronounced Paul Morphy dead from "congestion of the brain" at 2:30 pm.

The British Chess Magazine published Morphy's obituary in its August-September, 1884, issue, pp. 303-306. The October issue, pp. 337-344, had an article called "An Hour with Morphy."

The New York Times published Morphy's obituary in their July 11, 1884 issue. The articles said that he had died after a brief illness.

Morphy's funeral was on July 11, 1884 at the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest church in Louisiana. The pall bearers were Charles Maurian, Edward Morphy, Edgar Hincks, E.A. Morphy, Leonce Percy, and Henry Percy.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune issue for July 12, 1884, wrote that Morphy died suddenly at 2:30 pm at the residence of his mother. Just before his demise, he was seen on the street, apparently in good health. The newspaper said he died of congestion of the brain. His mother found him in the bath tub, both hands clinging to the sides of the tub, and his head resting on the side of the tub. According to the newspaper account, she immediately called the doctor, Dr. Meux, who happened to be passing the house at the time. He made an effort to recall him to consciousness, but in vain. The congestion to the brain was cause by the cold water after he took a long walk in the midday sun prior to returning home for his bath.

The Morphys' are buried in an above-ground tomb (#366) at Saint Louis Cemetery Number One, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The cemetery is located near the St. Louis Cathedral, a few blocks north of the French Quarter. It is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. The tomb contains eight Morphy family members. Some have confused a pyramid tomb topped by a likeness of a chess knight as Morphy's grave. This was depicted in some early picture postcards as Morphy's tomb. It is actually the Varney family tomb, created in 1814.

The Morphy tomb reads:

A.D. 1817


Paul Morphy 1837-1884

Emma Merlin Morphy 1862-1947

Paul H. Morphy 1886-1951

Juanita Morphy 1889-1972

Elmina Morphy 1890-1978

Paul H. Morphy, Jr. 1925-1991

Yevkine Morphy Prados 1901-1993

Edward Rene Morphy 1928-1994

The New York Sun in its obituary notice on Morphy said that blindfold chess had made him insane and killed him. "The strain in his brain produced a brain fever, from which he never recovered."

On July 15, 1884, there was a special meeting held at the Manhattan Chess Club. It was resolved that following the passing of Paul Morphy, the portrait of Morphy by Charles Elliott hanging in the Manhattan Chess Club would be draped in mourning for a period of three months.

Paul Morphy played 216 competitive games during his lifetime, winning 181, losing 20, and drawing 15 (winning 87.3% of his games). He played 59 serious games in matches and the 1857 New York tournament. He won 42, drew 9, and lost 8.

Paul Morphy's opponents included: Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879), Alexander Arnold (1820-1900?), Thomas Avery (1813-1894), Dr. Alfred Ayres, Thomas Barnes (1825-1874), Count Bastorot, Henri Baucher (1818-1912), Dominique Beaudequin (1827-1909), Beneke, C. Bierwirth, Henry Bird (1830-1908), Samuel Boden (1826-1882), Pierre Bonford (1820-1865), Bornemann, A. Bottin, A. Bousseroiles, Karl Von Braunschweig (1804-1873), William Broughton, Thomas Bryan (1803-1870), Wincenty Budzinski (1815-1866), Virginia Butt, Samuel Calthrop, Paul Capdevielle (1844-1922), Charles Le Carpentier (1820-1886), Joseph Le Carpentier (1772-1851), George Carr (1837-1914), Rafael Carraquesde, Solomon Carvalho (1815-1897), Count Casablanca, Thomas Catchings (1806-1883), Henry Cattley (1821-1897), Jacques Chamouillet (1783-1873), Charles II (1804-1873), George Cheney (1837-1861), Moncure Conway (1832-1907), James Cunningham (1838-1905), Marc d'Isoard-Vauvenargues (1804-1883), Richard Dawson (Lord Cremorne) (1817-1897), Alphonse Delannoy (1806-1883), Francois Devinck (1802-1878), Placido Dominguez, Duchess de la Tremoile, August Ehrmann (1786-1859), Lewis Elkin (1815-1867), Daniel Willard Fiske (1831-1904), A. Ford, James Freeman, William Fuller (1822-1889), George Gill, Celso Golmayo (1820-1898), Francisco Graziani (1828-1901), F. Greenaway, Guibert, Haer, George Hammond (1815-1881), Thomas Hampton (1806-1875), Daniel Harrwitz (1823-1884), Arthur Hay (1824-1878), Isidor, Franciscus Janssens (1822-1881), Alfred Jones (1812-1870), Paul Journoud (1821-1882), Hart, Denis Julien (1806-1868), Hugh Kennedy (1809-1878), Hiram Kennicott (1810-1880), James Kipping (1822-1899), Theodor Knight, Hubert H. Knott (1830?-1892), Louis Landry, Jean Laroche (1811-1866), Louis Lecrivain (1798-1860), Eugene Lequense (1815-1887), Frederic Lewis (1834-1889), Samuel Lewis (1813-1890), Theodor Lichtenheim (1829-1874), Edward Loewe (1794-1800), Johann Loewenthal (1810-1866), George Lyttelton (1817-1876), Napoleon Marache (1815-1875), George Maude (1800?-1864), Charles Maurian (1838-1912), James McConnell (1829-1914), Charles Mead (1815-1876), Aureliano Medina, George Medley (1826-1898), Alexander Meek (1814-1865), J. Meunier, Otto Michaelis (1843-1890), Augustus Mongredien (1807-1888), Hardman Montgomery (1834-1870), Alonzo Morphy (1798-1856), Edward Morphy (1834-1893), Ernest Morphy (1807-1874), Princess Anna Murat (1841-1924), Arthur Napoleao (1843-1925), C. Nicholson, John Owen (1827-1901), David Parry, Louis Paulsen (1833-1891), Alphonse Perrin (1820-1901), Frederick Perrin (1815-1889), Edward Pindar (1830-1873), William Potier, Jean-Louis Preti (1798-1881), Theodore Rabuske (1820?-1897), Benjamin Raphael (1818-1880), Albin Reif, John Rhodes (1814-1898), Horace Richardson (1830-1891), Jules Riviere (1830-1905), Eugene Rousseau (1810-1870), Pierre Saint-Amant (1800-1872), Saint Leon, George Salmon (1819-1904), Mr. Sanchez (professor of Spanish), F. Schrufer, John Schulten (1821-1875), Winfield Scott (1786-1866), C. Seguin (1809-1887), Felix Sicre (1817-1871), Jose Sicre, Frederick Slous (1802-1892), Samuel Smyth (1816-1869), Charles Stanley (1819-1901), Howard Staunton (1810-1874), Dr. James W. Stone (1824-1863), William G. Thomas (1830?-1898), James Thompson (1804-1870), John Thrupp (1817-1870), Benjamin Tilghman (1822-1901), George Walker (1803-1879), Walters, Preston Ware (1821-1890), William Wills (1810?-1879), and Thomas Worrall (1807-1878). All of these players have a Morphy number of 1.

People who played a chess game with Morphy have a Morphy number of 1. Players who did not play Morphy but played someone with a Morphy number of 1 have a Morphy number of 2. People who played someone with a Morphy number of 2 have a Morphy number of 3, et cetera. For example, Viswanathan Anand, along with many current top players, has a Morphy number of 5: Anand played Efim Geller (Morphy number 4), who played Salo Flohr (Morphy number 3), who played Géza Maróczy (Morphy number 2), who played John Owen (Morphy number 1), who played Morphy. Those with a Morphy number of 3 include: Leonard Barden, Pal Benko, Melvin Chernev, Dennis Horne, Borislav Ivkov, Erik Karklins, Franciscus Kuijpers, Aleksandar Matanovi?, Friðrik Ólafsson, Jonathan Penrose, Oliver Penrose, and Peter Swinnerton-Dyer.

Morphy stood 5 feet, 4 inches in height and was slim. He never married. He wore a cloak, kid gloves, a monocle (he was nearsighted at an early age), and always had a walking stick. He was always particular about how he dressed. He was a dandy.

Paul Morphy's mother, Thelcide, died on January 11, 1885.

In a series of chess articles published between January and April of 1885 in The International Chess Magazine, William Steinitz took exception to the claim that Morphy's chess games were more free of errors than that of any other master before or after him. Steinitz pinpointed some of the errors committed by Morphy.

Paul Morphy's sister, Helena, died in 1886

On July 24, 1886, the estate of Paul Morphy and all of his belongings and trophies were sold out at a public auction in New Orleans.  His chess set sold at auction for $1,500.  It was purchased by Walter Denegre acting for the New York and Brooklyn Chess Club.  (source: New York Times, July 25, 1886)

On August 18, 1888, an article entitled "Anecdote of Morphy," appeared in the Columbia Chess Chronicle. The article stated that Morphy was an officer on General Beauregard's staff. At a dinner, Morphy had seen a picture on the wall, a copy of the Moritz August Retzsch painting Die Schachspieler (The Chess Players). Morphy closely examines the chess board and realizes the young man's chess position is not nearly as hopeless as one might first imagine. In the September 22, 1888 issue, Charles Gilberg (1835-1898) tried to reproduce the game position that Morphy defended. He got the position all wrong between the devil and the cavalier.

On Jan 22, 1890, a large fire broke out in New Orleans.  It burned down the New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club (corner of Canal and Baronne Streets), including its chess library, valued at $15,000.  The chess club had one of the most valuable libraries in the world, including a lot of Paul Morphy memorabilia.    Morphy's relics, score sheets, autographs, portraits, and stationary were all destroyed.  (source: New York Times, Jan 23, 1890) The club was rebuilt, but the building was demolished in the 1930s to make way for a Walgreens drugstore.

On May 2, 1891, the old Spanish house on Royal Street in which Paul Morphy lived and died was sold at auction for $6,000.  It was the oldest house on the street, over 120 years old.  Morphy's father, Alonzo, purchased it for $90,000, but the house was now uninhabited and was a crumbling ruin.  (source: New York Times, May 3, 1891)

On October 18, 1893, Edward Morphy, Paul's brother, died in New Orleans.

In 1897, a Paul Morphy Society was established in Berlin, opened to all chess players in the world. Its chief object was to collect and publicize all unpublished games, letters, and biographical notes of Paul Morphy. The president of the Society was Franz Gutmayer (1857-1937), in Berlin. (source: American Chess Magazine, June 1897, p. 290)

In 1898, an article called "Paul Morphy's Last Games," by G. Reichhelm appeared in the American Chess Magazine, volumes 1 and 2. Morphy's last games were played against Charles Maurian at knight odds.

In 1901, Charles A. Buck of Toronto, Kansas, wrote Paul Morphy, His Later Life. The matter first appeared in a Western newspaper. The book was published by William Lyons of Newport, Kentucky, on January 11, 1902. Buck wrote that his sources were Paul Morphy's relatives and acquaintances in New Orleans. It was Buck who wrote that Paul Morphy was so enamored of a wealthy and pretty young lady in New Orleans, that he asked her to marry her. But she scorned the idea of marrying "a mere chess-player."

In 1904 and 1905, the Paul Morphy Chess Club in Boston won the Metropolitan Chess League of New England.

In 1909, Geza Maroczy wrote Paul Morphy: Sammlung der von ihm Gespielten Partien, (Paul Morphy: Collection of Games Played by Him), published by Verlag von Viet & Co. The original book had 434 pages with front piece, diagrams, and photographs. It was revised in 1925.
On December 2, 1912, Paul Morphy's best friend, Charles Amedee de Maurian (1838-1912) died in Paris.

In 1916, Philip Sergeant of London published Morphy's Games of Chess. It was the first new work on Paul Morphy in English since 1860.

In 1924, the city of New Orleans named a street near the Fair Grounds after Paul Morphy. There is a Paul Morphy Street in New Orleans.

Sometime after 1921, Paul Morphy gold pocket watch, made by the American Watch Company in 1859, disappeared.

In 1926, Regina Morphy-Voiter wrote The Life of Paul Morphy in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans and Abroad. She was the daughter of Paul Morphy's brother, Edward. She was born in 1870 and was 14 when her uncle Paul died.

In 1930, psychoanalyst Ernest Jones (1879-1958) wrote, The Problem of Paul Morphy, the most famous example of a single case study in the psychoanalytic discipline.  It was delivered to the British Psychoanalytical Society in 1930 and published in 1931.  Jones was a protégé of Sigmund Freud and his biographer, and made chess into an Oedipus complex to protect the Queen (mother) and checkmate the King (father).

In 1938, David Lawson (Charles Whipple) (1886-1980)began his study of Paul Morphy. By the 1950s, he was the principal authority on Morphy.

In 1948, Alexander Bisno (1897-1987) named his son Paul Morphy Bisno (1948-2011). Alexander Bisno was a former president of the Manhattan Chess Club in the early 1950s. In 1952, he was the team captain for the USA team that participated in the Helsinki Chess Olympiad. In 1954, he captained the USA team in the USA vs. USSR match, held in New York City. He was the first president of the American Chess Foundation in 1955.

In 1955, David Lawson started a campaign to get a picture of Paul Morphy on a postage stamp in 1957 to celebrated Morphy's 100th anniversary winning of the First American Chess Congress.. The U.S. Postal Service declined the offer. (source: Chess Life, Aug 5, 1955, p. 7)

In 1957, centennial monument dedicated to Paul Morphy's 1857 victory in the First American Chess Congress was erected behind Mobile Hall at Spring Hill college, presented by the Log Cabin National Chess Affiliation (now defunct).

In an interview in former Yugoslavia, International Grandmaster Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) commented on Paul Morphy saying "Morphy ... I think everyone agrees.... was probably the greatest of them all."

In 1964, Fischer wrote an article in Chessworld, naming Morphy as one of the 10 greatest chess players of all time and "the most accurate chess player who ever lived."

In 1970, Bobby Fischer was interviewed by Dimitrije Bjelica (1935- ) in Sarajevo and was asked why Paul Morphy stopped playing competitive chess. Fischer answered, "I don't know. He got fed up with the whole chess scene, you know. He could not get this match [to prove that he was the world's best player]. He thought that they were petty people. He thought that these people were not honorable...Just the people in chess, he felt that they were not honorable people. He did not like the type of people he met, I think. For example, Staunton refused to play him and Staunton did some dishonest things in their negotiations for a match: he did everything to avoid playing him, because he would have lost easily. He [Staunton] refused to admit this and he tried to make it appear that Morphy didn't want to play or something."

David Lawson (1886-1980), born in Boston, was the author of Paul Morphy The Pride and Sorrow of Chess, published in 1976 when Lawson was 89 years old. He discovered a number of unknown Morphy games which he published in the British Chess Magazine. His real name was Charles Whipple. He had a degree in Civil Engineering from New York University. He died in New York at the age of 93. (source: Chess Life, Sep 1980, p. 13)

In 1978, Lawson sold his Morphy collection to chess publisher Dale Brandreth (1931- ).

On December 24, 1982, Chad issued seven chess stamps, with one depicting Paul Morphy.

In 1986, the U.S. Chess Trust purchased Paul Morphy's coin silver beverage set (pitcher and four goblets) that was presented to Morphy for winning the first American Chess Congress. Morphy's good friend, Judge Edward Bermudez, inherited the set from J. Samory. Bermudez became the Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. It passed through several hands before it came to be owned by a French family in Louisiana, who finally sold it to the U.S. Chess Trust. It is now on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

In 1986, Paul Morphy was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame. (source:

In 1998, Guinea brought out a postage stamp labeled "Paul Morphy." The problem with the stamp was that the accompanying picture on the stamp was Boris Spassky.

In 2001, Paul Morphy was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame. (source:

In 2010, Stan Vaughan wrote a fictional book entitled: Paul Morphy: Confederate Spy.

In 2017, a TV movie called "The Opera Game" was released. It was a documentary and drama about Paul Morphy.

Here are a few similarities between Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy.

Both of them learned chess at around age 6.

Both of them were child prodigies in chess.

Both of them had extremely good memories and memorized hundreds of games.

Both were found unfit for military during war (Morphy for the Civil War in 1861 and Fischer for Vietnam in 1964).

In 1857, Morphy won the American Chess Congress. 100 years later, in 1957, Fischer won the US Open and won the Centennial U.S. Championship in 1957/58.

Morphy was the best player in the United States in 1858. Fischer was the best player in the United States in 1958.

Both are the only US world champions in chess. Morphy was the unofficial world champion in 1858 after beating Anderssen in a match. Fischer was the official world champion from 1972 to 1975.

Both returned to the USA as heroes after the world championship.

Both withdrew from competitive chess after winning the world championship.

Neither defended their world championship title.

Both demonstrated some paranoid symptoms and delusions.

Both thought they were being persecuted in later life. Morphy thought he was being persecuted by unknown persons. Fischer thought he was being persecuted by Jews and Russians.

Both died relatively young. Morphy died at 47. Fischer died at 64.

Both died in isolation.

Both had famous biographers. David Lawson was the biographer of Morphy. Frank Brady was the biographer of Fischer.

Both had a Regina (Spanish for Queen). Morphy's niece was Regina. Fischer's mother was Regina.

Both of their fathers died at a young age. Morphy's father died at age 57. Fischer's father died at age 56 if we assume that Paul Nemenyi was his father.

Both won the U.S. chess championship in Manhattan.

Both played several games with a reverend. Morphy played many games against Reverent John Owen. Fischer played many games against Reverend Bill Lombardy.

Both were the youngest members of their chess club. Morphy was the youngest member of the New Orleans Chess Club. Fischer was the youngest member of the Manhattan Chess Club.

Both were particular about how they were dressed. Both preferred suits and ties.

Both had chess clubs named after them. New York had a Morphy Chess Club. In Yugoslavia, a chess club was named after Fischer.

Both had lawsuits against other people and both had their lawsuits dismissed by the court.

Both physically attacked a friend. Morphy attacked his friend, Mr. Binder, over an incident. Fischer attacked his friend, Pal Benko, over an incident, and got into a fistfight.

Both had Catholic rites after they died.

Morphy was a 1.e4 player. Fischer was a 1.e4 player.

Here are a few differences between Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy.

Morphy's family was wealthy. Fischer's family was poor.

Morphy lived in a mansion. Fischer lived in various apartments.

Morphy had a career in law. Fischer's only career was chess.

Morphy did not own or real a lot of chess books. At age 20, Morphy only owned 3 chess books. Fischer had a large chess library and read many chess books.

Morphy was gifted academically (Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees) and received a law degree at age 20. Fischer dropped out of high school at age 16.

Morphy was short (5 feet 4 inches). Fischer was tall (6 feet 2 inches).

Morphy was not athletic. Fischer was very athletic with tennis, swimming, walking, racquetball, etc.

Morphy never asked for money or would play for money. Fischer always played for money.

Morphy never gave simuls around the country. Fischer did give simuls around the country.

Morphy's name was used to advertise everything from cigars to hats. Fischer's name was never used for advertising.

Morphy was a southern gentleman with manners. Fischer was demanding and had a difficult personality.

Morphy never married. Fischer was with several women and was married.

Morphy's father, Alonzo, is known. Fischer's father is unknown (was it Hans Fischer or Paul Nemenyi?).

Morphy played blindfold games in public. Fischer did not play blindfold games in public.

Morphy was nearsighted and wore a monocle. Fischer's vision was 20/20.

Morphy had good teeth. Fischer had most of his teeth pulled.

Morphy lived with his mother throughout his life. Fischer's mother moved out of their apartment and Fischer did not stay with his mother.

Morphy's parents were Catholic. Fischer's parents were Jewish.

Morphy played competitive chess for 2 years. Fischer played competitive chess for 20 years.

Morphy's family is Spanish-Irish-Creole. Fischer's family is Polish-Jewish.

Morphy played hundreds of games against the best players in New Orleans, and won most of them. Fischer played hundreds of games against the best players in New York, and won most of them.

After 1.e4, Morphy played 1...e5. After 1...e4, Fischer played 1...c5.

Morphy had an intact family of mother and father. Fischer was raised by a single parent.

Morphy, as a child, was limited to playing chess only on Sundays. Fischer, as a child, was allowed to play chess all the time.


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