This is the story of the birth of modern chess - when the possibilities of
chess as an art, a science and a sport all converged.
The point of convergence was a young boy from Louisiana named Paul
Morphy. At a time when America was seen as a backwoods nation with
little cultural history and even less intellectual impetus, at a time when
chess was considered the exclusive property of a few European countries,
at a time when the game was played successfully by a handful of men
wizened by years, Paul Morphy, in the brief span of 19
months and with seemingly little effort, defeated conclusively every
player he met.
While today few non chess players even know his name, he was one
of the most famous celebrities of his time and within the hallowed halls
of the chess playing community he is considered by some as the greatest
chess player of all time.
But this diminutive, unassuming boy rose to fame almost out of nowhere and
once he secured his place in history, he retired back into that hazy
unknown, shunning the public eye, never again to play serious chess. Not
only was he one of great practitioners of the game, but also one of it's
greatest enigmas. He's been given the sobriquet, The Pride and
Sorrow of Chess.
This is his story.