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An unpublished game, played between Mr. Morphy and Mr. Boden on the 9th July 1858, in the presence of the Rev. S. W. Earnshaw, M.A., LL.M., who scored the moves upon the occasion, and to whose kindness we are indebted for the transcript.
King's Gambit Declined.
Noras By W. Steinitz.
(a) Mr. Morphy was well versed in the openings, Bo far as their knowledge had advanced up to his time, and the move in the text was then considered preferable to B to B 4 at once. We, however, think that the latter move ia perfectly sound, for the variation whereupon the authorities rest their objection seems to be based on a wrong assumption. They try thus to demonstrate that Black obtains, in that case, the better game:—
4BtoB4 4 Kt to K B 3
6 P to Q 8 6 Kt to Kt 6
and then they give P to Q 4 as White's best answer, which, true enough, weakens his position, and they also justly dismiss It to B sq, on account of Kt takes R P, followed by Q to R 5 ch, if the Kt be taken. But they entirely ignore Q to K 2, which, in oar opinion, gives White the best of the game, e.g.—
6 Q to K 2 6 B to B 7 ch
7 K to B sq 7 B to Kt 3
for, in answer to Kt to B 7, White wins at least two minor places for the B by B to R 2, followed by P to K Kt 4, &c.
(b) Mr. Morphy tried this move at this point in one of his match games against Lowentbal, and, though he lost that game, we consider the Q B 4 sq the natural one to be occupied by the B. In another of his games in the same match he adopted the old fashioned B to K 2, which strikes us as much inferior, though it is recommended by the authorities, for Black seems to ns to gain an advantage in position if he develope his Q Kt at Q B 3, and afterwards carefully avoid taking the K Kt off, until the opponent plays P to Q 4, or attacks B by P to K R 3.
(c) Too early for the Q to come into play, nor is she well posted here; we prefer Q Kt to B 3. If White then advance the Q Kt P to Kt 4, followed at once by P to Kt 5, Black gains time by Kt to Q B 4, and if White, preliminary to attacking the Kt, play P to Q B 4, Black may keep his position intact by P to Q R 3.
(d) We have no cognizance of any other game wherein this very interesting sacrifice of the Q P occurs at this stage; at any rate, we are almost certain that there is no other instance to be found in any published collection of Morpby's Games. Whether Morphy had no other opportunity of trying it, or whether he gave it up altogether from a conviction of its being unsafe, we have no means of ascertaining, but our own judgment is, that it ought not to pay if properly defended.
(e) Decidedly better than P takes P discovering ch, followed by P takes P, which would have produced a position similar to that which arises in the so-called Compromised Defence of the Danish Gambit. The situation, after the sacrifice of the two Pawns, would have been even more favourable to the first player in this instance, for his K B P, being already advanced, would have given any future attack of the K P to K 5 greater support, while Black's defence becomes more complicated in consequence of an additional element of weakness on the Q side, arising from his Q Kt P being left uuprotected, which would have made the usual attacks of the first player of Q to Kt 8 or Q to Q 6 at a future time more formidable.
(f) Black acted judiciously in now taking this course, for he wonld not have improved his position by P to Q R 3, e.g.—
10 P to R 5 10BtoB2
11 P to Kt 5 11 P takes P
12 B takes P
threatening P to R 6, with a very good game. Nor wonld P to Q B 4, with the intention of posting the Kt at Q 6 after discovering ch, have altered the position much in Black's favour, e.g.—
9 P to Q R 4
10 P to Kt 5 10 P takes P dis ch
11 K to R sq 11 P to B 7
12 Q takes P 12 B takes Kt
13 P takes B 13 Kt to Q 5
14 Q to Q 3
and Black is only one Pawn ahead in compensation for his precarious position.
(g) All this is excellent play, and the failure of this plan of defence must be ascribed to its subsequently faulty continuation.
(h) Retreating the Kt to Q B 3 would not have been good, and might have led to the following continuation:—
13 Kt to Q B 3
14 B to Kt 5 14 P to Q R 4
15 Kt to B 3 15 Kt to B 3
16 P to K 6 16 P takes P
17 B to Q R 3, with a fine attack.
(i) If Black were afraid of taking the P the second time with the Q on the next move (by no means a bad course to pursue, though White would have prevented his Castling, by B takes P ch) he ought to have hesitated still more thus to dissolve His opponent's double Pawn. Kt to Q 2, at once, would have been the best play, for, of course, without taking the P first he could not remove the Kt to R 4 on account of White's reply :—P takes P, followed by Kt to Q 5. But then the Kt would have stood even better at Q 2, where he threatened to dislodge the Q by Kt to Q B 4.
(j) Q R to Q sq would have been better, since it would have also effectually neutralised the advance of the K B P, which Black seemed to fear, for he could, in answer, oppose the B at Q 5, and thus force the exchange of one of the two hostile Bishops, which, in combination, certainly made his own game uneasy.
(k) Bold; bat then the waiting game left certainly his chances very much in a minority, nor was Fabius Cunotator's style ever suitable to the great chief who commands the White army.
(1) We would have probably taken the R first, and considered afterwards, and then, after due reflection, we might have moved the K, which would have enabled us to block the range of the opponent's Q B by P to K B 3, in answer to P to K 6. The following curious variation might have occurred had Black taken the R, followed by Kt to Kt 3 :—
19 B takes R
20 R takes B 20 Kt to Kt 3
21 Kt to Kt 5 21 Kt takes P
22 Kt takes R P 22 K takes Kt
23 P to K B 4 23 Kt to Kt 3
24 R takes Kt
And Black must draw by perpetual check, commencing with Q to K 5 ch, for if he take the R with the K, White wins thus :—
24 K takes R
25 Q to Kt 3 ch 25 K to B 4 best
26 Q to R 3 ch 26 K takes P best
27 B to B sq ch 27 K to K 4
28 Q to K 3 ch 28 K to Q 3
29 Q to Q 4 cb, and mates next move.
(m) Striking at the right moment in the right direction, (n) Black had probably overlooked that he could not now move the P to K B 3, on account of—
21 Kt takes P ch 21 R takes Kt best
22 B takes R 22 Q takes B
23 P to K 7 dis ch, winning.
(o) The loss of the exchange was forced, for had he played Kt to Kt 3, White would have probably finished the game in the following way:—
23 Kt to Kt 3
24 Q to K Kt 2, threatening to take the Kt with the R
24 Kt to K 4
25 R takes P 25 Kt takes B
26 R takes P ch 26 K takes R
27 R to K Kt sq, and mates in two more moves.
(p) The finishing stroke; and, of course, the intended continuation of the last move. This very interesting game is a good illustration of Morphy's attacking and venturesome style.
Notes By J. H. Blackbubne And W. N. Potter.
(a) With the object of playing Kt to K 2
(b) P to K R 4, to be followed by P to R 5, would have given Black a flue attack.
(c) Q to Kt 4 reserving the check, wonld equally have won the P, and we think waa preferable, but perhaps P to Q R 4 at once was better still.