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.

Navigate this site      

Paul Morphy's Ancestry
Paul Morphy's Childhood
Paul Morphy's School Days
American Chess Congress
The Staunton Challenge
Paul goes to England 
The Birmingham Meeting
Paul goes to France
Paul waits for Anderssen
Paul meets Anderssen
The Returning Hero
          Banquet notes
          Banquet Speeches
Back in New Orleans
The Denouement
         Morphy Retires
         Morphy Madness
         Morphy: the Endgame

ancillary pages

Morphy's opponents
Players Index
Am. Chess Congress Players
William Lewis
George Walker
Augustus Mongredien
Adolf Anderssen
Saint Amant
Daniel Harrwitz
Samuel Boden
John Jacob L÷wenthal
Howard Staunton
The Duke of Brunswick
Charles Henry Stanley
Daniel Willard Fiske

W. J. A. Fuller
Charles de Maurian
Hiram Kennicott

-Morphy's Games
-Morphy Timeline
-Morphy in Periodicals
-Morphy Documents
-Quotes on Morphy
-Morphy Genealogy
Short Stories:
      - by Dan Heisman
      -by Mark Kislingbury
haiku by SB Cohen

       -Morphy Song
      - An American Genius
          by Jonathan Goldner

Max Lange:
Paolo Boi & Paul Morphy

      -German Perspective on:
              -Anderssen Match
                   -L÷wenthal Match
Harrwitz Match
Various Morphy Biographies:
-Appletons' cyclopŠdia - 1889
- American  cyclopŠdia  - 1876

-Encyclopedia Britannica - 1911
-L÷wenthal's Memoir of Morphy
-Twice Remembered: Moments in the History of Spring Hill College

-Morphy - from 1876 compilation:
  100 Great & Notable Events

-Morphy Bio by Anne Sunnucks
-Paul Morphy: His Later Life - 
  by C. A. Buck

-Louis Albert Morphy: 'Poems and prose sketches, with a biographical memoir of Paul Charles Morphy'
-Morphy and Edge at La RÚgence
- Summation of Morphy's odds
 challenges (per Lawson)

-L÷wenthal plays Morphy
-Morphy's Watch Dial
-Morphy Stereographic card
-Signed copy of Regina Morphy's
   "Life of Paul Morphy"

-Morphy's Bust
-Morphy's Board and Pieces
-Steinitz on Morphy by Phillips
-W.J.A.Fuller on Morphy
-The Sale of the Morphy Home