Thursday, July 31, 2008


Daily Tactic July 31, 2008

Morphy-Julien, New York simul, 1859.
This knight odds game features a double attack and multiple deflections.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Daily Tactic July 30, 2008

Morphy-Jefferson, New York simul, 1859. I am giving away the ending, but the game ends with the mating pattern know as Philidor's Legacy. Morphy sets it up with two Deflecting moves. To help learn this pattern and solidify it, practice going over the final moves in your head from move 19 to the end. Once you learn the pattern or if you already know it, go over the game in your head from move 17 onwards to practice your visualization skills.

Deflecting is forcing an enemy piece away from some useful position. In this game Morphy deflects the black queen off of the d8-h4 diagonal. Decoying is attracting an enemy piece to a square useful for you. In this game as part of the final mating pattern, a black rook is decoyed to the f8 square.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Daily Tactic July 29, 2008

Morphy-Conway, New York simul, 1859. This game is played at rook odds and features the tactical device of zwischenzug.
The zwischenzug (German for "intermediate move"), is a chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move (commonly a recapture of a piece that the opponent has just captured) first interpolates another move, posing an immediate threat that the opponent must answer, then plays the expected move.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008


Daily Tactic July 26, 2008

Another game from the Morhpy - Thompson match in New York, 1859 at knight odds. Today's game features a Double Attack and a Pin. In the final position there is a nice mate in two. Can you spot it?


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Friday, July 25, 2008


Daily Tactic July 25, 2008

Morphy - Thompson, New York, 1859.

How good a chessplayer was Paul Morphy? Let’s look at a match he played against James Thompson, a man thought to be one of the top dozen American players. Giving him the outrageous odds of a Knight, Morphy beat him 5-2! After looking over Morphy’s games, Fischer said that, given time to study modern theory and ideas, Morphy would beat any modern player (except Fischer, of course!).


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Thursday, July 24, 2008


Daily Tactic July 24, 2008

Morphy-Anderssen, Paris, 1858.

Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen ... is generally considered to have been the leading chess player in the world from 1851-1858 and 1861-1866. He was "dethroned" temporarily in 1858 by Paul Morphy, who announced his own retirement from chess in 1859...

For the next few years Anderssen was considered by many people to be the world's best player, ... Then in late 1858 he was beaten 8-3 by the American champion Paul Morphy in a famous match held in Paris, France (2 wins, 2 draws, 7 losses). Although Anderssen knew as well as anyone how to attack, Morphy understood much better when to attack and how to prepare an attack...

Anderssen played the curious opening move 1. a3 in 3 games of his match against Morphy, and broke even with it (1 loss, 1 draw, 1 win). This opening move, now referred to as "Anderssen's Opening", has never been popular in serious competition.

Morphy made it look easy against the second best player in the world. In the final position, Morphy played a strong move and then Anderssen resigned. What was Morphy's winning move? It does involve a Deflection followed (in the main line) by a Pin.

Update: I am in the process of adding a mute/unmute button and when that is done I will have more posts with sound/voice.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Semi Daily Tactic July 23, 2008

On the home front we will be getting a new Air Conditioner installed Friday and will be much cooler after that. We are getting a respite from the heat with some rain and more possible soon (Hello, Dolly!). Actually, I don't think Dolly is expected to affect us much in Houston except for some additional, needed rainfall.

Today's game is Morphy-Lowenthal, 1858.
He was one of the first masters to play a match against Morphy after the latter's arrival in London in 1858. Morphy won with a score of nine wins, three losses and two draws. "...I am convinced that I was vanquished by superior strength," Löwenthal said about the match, as reported by the Englishman Frederick Edge. No doubt aware that chess was Löwenthal's only source of livelihood, and conscious to not be considered a professional player himself, Morphy after winning the match stakes of £100, presented Löwenthal with a gift of furniture valued at £120 for his new house.

The very last move of the game (which I have removed) is a nice tactic featuring a Deflection sacrifice that will win due to a Pin and Skewer. A Deflection is forcing an enemy piece to move away from an advantageous square. So, what is Morphy's winning move in the final position?

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Saturday, July 19, 2008


Daily Tactic July 19, 2008

Morphy-Potier in an 1858 Paris simul. Morphy uses a Space Clearance sacrifice and exploits a Pin to set up a fatal Discovered Check. Potier resigned before the discovered check could be played.


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Friday, July 18, 2008


Daily Tactic July 18, 2008

Morphy - Bornemann in an 1858 Paris simul. Morphy uses the tactical devices of a space clearance sacrifice followed by pinning the black queen to win this game.

Background music is Sonata No. 29 in B Flat Major Hammerklavier, Op. 106 - II. Scherzo Assai vivace from Musopen.


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Thursday, July 17, 2008


Daily Tactic July 17, 2008

Today's game is Morphy-Baucher from an 1858 Paris simul. It features two tactical devices: the double attack and demolition of pawn structure.

Turn up the sound and enjoy Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 - I. Allegro con brio.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Daily Tactic July 16, 2008

Morphy - de Rivière, Paris 1858.

Jules Arnous de Rivière (4 May 1830–11 September 1905) was the strongest French chess player from the late 1850s through the late 1870s. He is best known today for playing many games with Paul Morphy when the American champion visited Paris in 1858 and 1863.

Turn up the sound for Minuet - Notebook for Anna Magdalena written by Johann Sebastian Bach and performed by Aaron Dunn from Musopen.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Instant Karma

Available from Polly at her blog. Get some while it's hot.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Testing 1,2,3. Testing ...

Something I have intended to add to ChessFlash since the beginning is voice and sound. I think voice adds a lot to the user experience and to the value of ChessFlash as an instruction tool. Here is a little test of some limited voice over...

Turn up the volume.

Can you hear me now?



Daily Tactic July 14, 2008

The colors are reversed compared to yesterday. Today it is Morphy as White against Harrwitz in Paris, 1858. The opening transposes into a Ruy Lopez: C62.

After 30. c5 Harrwitz takes on c5 with his rook setting up a combination that would not work if the rook is still on the seventh rank -- do you see why? Morphy then delivers the fatal blow with 31. ?


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Sunday, July 13, 2008


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[Scholastic Players may play in both Scholastic and Adult Tournament if desired]

More information and register online at

CajunChess (click on "Upcoming Tournaments").

(I am a CajunChess affiliate.)

Daily Tactic July 13, 2008

Harrwitz - Morphy, 1858 in Paris.

Harrwitz was born in Breslau (Wroc?aw) in the Prussian Province of Silesia. He established his reputation in Paris, particularly as a player of blindfold games. He lost a match in England to Howard Staunton in 1846 at odds of a pawn and two moves, and drew a match with Adolf Anderssen in Germany in 1848.

Harrwitz lived in England from 1849, and founded the British Chess Review. In 1856 he moved to Paris, where he won a match against Jules Arnous de Rivière. In 1858 he played a match against Paul Morphy in Paris. Harrwitz won the first two games, but lost the match 5½-2½. Harrwitz withdrew from the match, allegedly on grounds of ill health. He subsequently retired to the Austro-Hungarian county of Tyrol, dying in Bolzano in 1884.

In today's game I believe the simple maneuver (tactic) that Morphy executes on moves 39-41 is very instructive.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008


Working Knights

Likes Forests
He has upheld the honor of the Knights Errant and returns triumphant from the Whirled Open. He is setting his sights on improving his rating by studying "Tactics, tactics, tactics."
I removed advanced endgame books from my study tracker. You could become a GM without ever reading "Secrets of Rook Endings", and I got the optimal result from every endgame I played in the tournament, so that's not my weakness.

Sir Banatt
Training and circles and games! Oh my!. His blog has it all and lots of it! He has some of the most instructive games evah!
I really am absorbing tactics! I was playing a few games against my dad (Who I must say is amazingly strong for a casual player), and beat him in a beautiful combination that involved hanging a knight... for a skewer on his king to his rook! Then I beat him by seizing seventh rank absolute with both rooks, than getting a mate in 2.

And here I was thinking it wasn't transferring into my OTB play!

Resisting buying new chess software. And playing in the tournament of Lepers.
I played round 4 against Tom a.k.a. Rhuiden tonight and had a good time except that well, I lost. Things were going well as we transitioned into the early middle game, when...

Haunted Knight
Last night I played Louise for the first time in a long time control game. My idea was to play the closed Sicilian against her, but as is typical for my memory, I forgot move 3 was supposed to be g3, not d3. This didn't seem to make much difference to the game, and I suppose shows that learning openings is a waste of time for me and I might as well play any old move that develops or helps strengthen my position to get to an evenish middlegame.

Retired Pawn
If you look back by the vending machine, you will find me wearing a yellow shirt at board 7. One of the brighter spots of not moving off the last board is the proximity of the coffee Enjoy the following annotated game.

Sir Augusto
I finished CTB and i'm going through it again for a month, doing all the exercises in on week.

Sir Sparfy
also i read the josh waitzkin book The Art of Learning. which is a bit less about learning and a bit less about chess but a lot about life and some good stuff on the micro digging needed to be good at something. i would suggest reading it - even though you will not learn any chess from it you will learn something of what a successful chess and martial arts guy does. one of his best comments is about investing in loss. you learn by losing more than winning. and winning makes you think you are doing things right. but losing gets you to become better.

Tacticus Maximus
Me? It's been all ChessFlash and Paul Morphy for a while around here. I did meet Donnie of Liquid Egg Product in person at a Houston Chess Meetup. The LEP mascot was not able to attend.

I've been working on the ChessFlash store to offset some of the associated ChessFlash costs. In the process I have run across one really great deal: Pandolfini's Endgame Course $4.99; Chess (the "Polgar Brick") $4.98 (they were still available this morning at the book closeout link but probably won't last long).



Daily Tactic July 12, 2008


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Friday, July 11, 2008


Daily Tactic July 11, 2008

The Opera Game was a famous chess game played in 1858 between the American chess master Paul Morphy and two strong amateurs, the German noble Duke Karl of Brunswick and the French aristocrat Count Isouard, who consulted, playing together as partners against Morphy.

The game is often used by chess teachers to demonstrate the importance of rapidly developing one's pieces, as well as other lessons.


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Thursday, July 10, 2008


Daily Tactic July 10, 2008

Again, Morphy-NN in a New Orleans simul, 1858. Look at the position after Black's 26th move. Can you follow the rest of the game in your head without moving the pieces? Do you think Morphy saw all of that before playing his 27th move?


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Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Daily Tactic July 8, 2008

Morphy-NN in a New Orleans simul, 1858. Your basic king hunt. Major tactical operations begin on move 8 and continue until the end...


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Monday, July 07, 2008


Daily Tactic July 7, 2008

Paul Morphy - NN. New Orleans,simul, 1858.
Check out Morphy's 21st move!


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Sunday, July 06, 2008


Daily Tactic July 6, 2008

Paul Morphy - NN. New Orleans,simul, 1858.
Something a little different today: just the whole game. There are several tactical moments but I especially like the sequence beginning with Morphy's 26th move.


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Saturday, July 05, 2008


Opening Book Explorer

I've added an Opening Book Explorer (update:now Opening Book Locator) widget over in the sidebar under ChessFlash. Select an opening from the dropdown and see what happens... The ChessFlash viewer now provides a link that does something similar based on the opening of the game it is displayijavascript:void(0)ng (see the whole game for today's Daily Tactic).

Whadda you think? Cool? Not cool?



Daily Tactic July 5, 2008

Paul Morphy - Henry Bird. London, 1858.
Bird plays ...f6 and Morphy demonstrates why that is a mistake. Do you see Morphy's move?

And the whole game:



Friday, July 04, 2008


Daily Tactic July 4, 2008

Henry Bird - Paul Morphy. London, 1858.
In 1858 he lost a match to Paul Morphy at the age of 28, yet he played high-level chess for another 50 years. Although Bird was a practicing accountant, not a professional chess player, it has been said that he "lived for chess, and would play anybody anywhere, any time, under any conditions." In the New York tournament of 1876, Bird received the first brilliancy prize ever awarded, for his game against James Mason.
Bird plays Kb2 and Morphy (black) puts him away.

And the whole game:


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Thursday, July 03, 2008


Daily Tactic July 3, 2008

Medley - Morphy. London, 1858. Black (Morphy) to move and win a pawn.

And the whole game:


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Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Daily Tactic July 2, 2008

Another Morphy game against John Owen at "pawn and move" odds. Owen is known for Owen's Defense and was a strong chessplayer:

In 1858 he won a game against Paul Morphy, which led to a match between the two. Despite being given odds of pawn and the move (meaning he started the game with an extra pawn and always moved first), Owen lost the match 6-1, never winning a game.

His performance in the 1862 London tournament, the first international round-robin event (in which each participant plays every other) was more impressive - he finished third, ahead of future world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, and was the only player to win against the eventual tournament winner, Adolf Anderssen.

How incredible is it that Morphy could win a match at odds against a player of his caliber?

In today's tactic Owen takes Morphy's bishop on h3 (he should have played Qc5 instead). How does Morphy continue? And, bonus question, why does Owen resign when he does? I'll put Fritz's answer in the comments.


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Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Daily Tactic July 1, 2008

Morphy played this game in London, 1858, against John Owen at "pawn and move" odds -- as Black and without his f-pawn. Owen moves his rook to e3 to protect the vulnerable f2 square. Can you see how Morphy finished him off?


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