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The book contains a far larger number of games than was at first contemplated. The Editor feels, however, that in having yielded to the advice of his Chess friends, and inserted every instructive game played by Mr. Morphy, of which he could procure a copy, he has greatly enhanced the value of the volume, without doing any injury to Mr. Morphy's reputation. These additional games are not to be found in any
other collection; they have been gathered from the various periodicals, English and Foreign, which devote their pages to the progress of Chess, and where the notes have been adopted, they have been modified in accordance with the analytical principles of the editor.
The cominents in the later pages will be found to contain a large amount of information regarding the theory of Openings, &c., which might have been expected to occupy an earlier place. The reason of this is, that as the games which stand first in the book are the important and laborious match games, the analytical notes occupy too much space to permit the addition of any large amount of book-theory. By means of the notes and variations, however, which accompany the early moves, the Editor trusts that he has rendered the present volume not only a record of matchless interest and instruction, but also a guide to the acquisition of a correct knowledge of that most important branch of modern Chess-play,--the Theory of Openings.
The presentation to the chess-playing public of more than one hundred and fifty games contested by Paul Morphy against the best players of Europe and America would scarcely be complete unless accompanied by a Memoir, however brief, of the young genius who has so suddenly risen up in our midst, and fairly fought his way, through a host of formidable competitors, to the chess throne of the world. If, in the composition of such Memoir, we were to confine ourselves simply to the chess life of Paul Morphy the record might be a very brief one—almost as brief as the celebrated “ Veni, vidi, vici of the Roman conqueror, and much to the same effect. We might write" Paul Morphy is in his twenty-second year, has played chess from his childhood, and has beaten all who have ventured to enter the lists with him," and then we might resign our pen. But in every life there is more than one element, however much that one may prevail over the rest. The web of each human existence may be compared to a woven fabric, in which one material predominates in weft and warp, but blended threads of many hues wind in and out, checkering the prevailing uniform tint and giving variety to its general aspect. Curiosity is a constant element in the action of the human mind. The public scrutinize a man brought prominently before them as a dealer or buyer examines manufactured goods. When an individual becomes great in any department of life, those who walk in the same path wish to know something more of him than relates to that common pursuit with which they are already acquainted, and which has in the first instance called their attention to him and
stimulated their curiosity. They ask to be told of the general as well as the special man. They inquire from what race he has sprung; what his home has been; how he has been educated; what he is outside the arena in which he has become great. They seek for some signs of character in the sense in which it has been defined by a countryman of Paul Morphy's—Emerson, who tells us that character is that subtle force which impresses us with the idea of what a man is capable of, rather than leads us to think of what he has done.
The outer life with which the biographer deals consists of actions. The superstructure of inference must bear its due proportion to the basis of facts, which in the present case is but a narrow one. Paul Morphy is as yet too young to have played his part on the great stage of life. He has yet to take his place in the world of men,-a chart upon which the chess-world is but a speck-a microscopic intellectual island amid oceans and continents. If he were taken from among us on the morrow, his name would descend to posterity in company with those of the greatest of the chess masters of the past; if he live out the three score years and ten,” those qualities which have thus early rendered him great in chess may signalize his name in one or more of the many fields on which the battle of life remains to be fought. In
person the subject of our Memoir is short and slight, with a graceful and dignified, though unpretending, bearing. He has black hair, dark brilliant eyes, small expressive features, and a firmly set jaw, the latter lending an aspect of determination to the whole countenance. Over the chess-board he is cool, collected, and concentrated; and so easily are his greatest and most prolonged efforts made, he seldom or never exhibits any traces of fatigue. In his intercourse with the world he is courteous and unassuming, and exhibits a tact surprising in one so young, and manifests that appreciation of motive and character which generally mark those who are distinguished in any walk of life.
Of Paul Morphy, except as a chess player, we know but little. He comes on the father's side of a Spanish family long settled in Louisiana. The Morphy” certainly does not sound like a Spanish patronymic, it rather reminds
an Englishman of a name not at all unusual in the sister isle; and we should not be surprised if some enthusiastic Hibernian chess-player were to propound the theory that Paul Morphy is descended from ancestors of Irish birth. This of course is mere speculation, but it is a fact that many sons of Erin have emblazoned their names on the page of continental history, risen to high rank in the military service of Spain, and founded powerful families. However, Paul Morphy's father was of reputed Spanish descent, and of his mother's family there is no question. She was of French descent, and her family had long been resident in one of the West Indian Islands.
Morphy's father, during the latter years of his life filled the office of supreme judge of the State of Louisiana Paul was born in the city of New Orleans, on the 22nd of June, 1837, so that he is now in his twenty-third year. We have not any information which would lead us to believe that in his earlier years he was unlike most other children, except that when exceedingly young he played at chess. His father was a chess player of considerable skill, and his uncle, Mr. Ernest Morphy, was generally considered the chess king of New Orleans.
From a recently published Memoir we learn that in 1847, when the boy had completed his first decade, his father taught him the moves, and his uncle gave him a lesson in the art of play. Paul was an apt pupil: in a few months he was able to contest a game with either of his relatives, and soon entered the lists against the stoutest opponents he could meet. In 1849, 1850, and 1851, Mr. Morphy achieved a series of triumphs over the strongest players in the Union, among whom were Messrs. Ernest Morphy, Stanley, and Rosseau. It is said that out of above fifty games fought during these years with Mr. Ernest Rosseau, his young antagonist won fully nine-tenths. We
told that even at that time the boy gave evidence of genius and originality. He did not rest upon precedent, nor pay any great regard to established forms of openings, but used to get rid of his pawns as quickly as possible, regarding them as incumbrances which prevented the free action of his pieces. A very short experience combined with his rapid insight into the principles of the game, soon