THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                                         Falkbeer on Morphy's Memory

 

   Lawson p.120

     Morphy thought little of his success with blindfold play, dismissing it with the remark that  "It proves nothing."  However, in Bretano's Chess Monthly of June 1881, Falkbeer expressed the opinion.

...that memory is the main factor of success in playing blind games. And, of Morphy's gigantic memory, I had the indubitable proof from my own observation at the time he was playing his celebrated match with L÷wenthal. Both opponents had agreed to regard the games as their intellectual private property, not to be published.
     I was at the time editing the Chess Column of the London Sunday Times, and anxious to reproduce them there. In order to obtain the requisite information, I had to apply to one of the contesting parties. I first went to Morphy, who received me most cordially, and declared his entire willingness to dictate to me the last partie, played the day before. I begged him to repeat the game on the board, as I would, in this manner, be better able to follow the progress of the contest. Morphy consented, and, at the 10th move of black (L÷wenthal), I asked him to stop a moment, since it seemed to me that at this particular point, a better move might have been made.  "Oh, you probably mean the move which you yourself made in one of your contests with Drufresne?" answered Morphy in his simple, artless way of speaking. I was startled. The partie mentioned had been played in Berlin in 1851, seven years before, and I had totally forgotten all its details. On observing this, Morphy called for a second board, and began, without the least hesitation, to repeat that game from the first to the last move without making a single mistake. I was speechless from surprise. Here was a man, whose attention was consistantly distracted by countless demands on his memory, and yet he had perfectly retained for seven years all the details of a game insignificant in itself, and, moreover, printed in a language and and description unknown to him. (The game was published in the Berliner Schachzeitung of 1851!)


   


 

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