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An unpublished game, played between Mr.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.