THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL Morphy                                                                                                                                                                                 Harrwitz by Lange


Max Lange




D. Harrwitz, born in Breslau, after having played in 1848 a match with Anderssen, in which they made even games, went through Berlin, where he lost a brilliant game against Dufresne, to England. There he gathered many laurels owing chiefly to his elegant blindfold play. In 1853 he published in London a Chess periodical, the British Chess Review, and won a long and stubbornly contested match of Lowenthal, by the odd game. Afterwards he settled in Paris, and made an engagement with the new proprietor of the Café  de la Régence. During a short time he wrote some Chess article for the Journal du Plaisir, and became widely known by his consultation games with the Duke of Brunswick. His play is ready and elegant, rather than deep, and his combinations appear more to be isolated, though ingenious manoeuvres, than well combined and premeditated designs. He is very skilful in profiting by the mistakes of his adversaries, and knows how to gain an advantage by speculating upon their probable miscalculations. It was natural therefore, that against a deeper and correct opponent he should be in a disadvantage, till at last, feeling himself the superiority of his antagonist, he should despair of a favorable termination of the contest. However that may be, the games which have been played, are of some value on account of the openings, and deserving of theoretical analysis.

* [The Chess Player's Chronicle has, in its May Number of 1859, p. 131, a somewhat different account of Harrwitz's Chess career, which for the benefit of our readers we here subjoin, in order to complete the biographical sketch by the German author. The account given by the English Monthly Periodical runs as follows :—

" Herr Harrwitz, after having during the space of nearly two years played in Paris with considerable success, came, we believe, in 1847, to England, to try his skill against Mr. Staunton; but, having seen that master's play, he found that he was not as yet able to cope with him upon equal terms ; a match was therefore arranged, in which Mr. Staunton gave him in seven games the odds of Pawn and two moves, in seven games the odds of Pawn and move, and in seven games played upon even terms. The result of that match was unfavourable to Harrwitz, for he lost all the even games, won six games with Pawn and move, but only three with Pawn and two. Soon after, he played a match with Herr Horwitz, which he won six to five. A match which he played about that time in Germany with Anderssen was left unfinished, the players leaving off even. On his return to England, he played another match with Horwitz at Brighton, which he won seven to six. Also another match with the late Mr. Williams, who won the third prize in the great tournament of 1851. (We did not mention here the first match with Mr. Williams, which was played in 1847, and which Mr. Williams gave up after losing three games, and drawing two.) In this match Herr Harrwitz won seven games, and Mr. Williams none. In a third match with Mr. Williams, Herr Harrwitz scored seven to Mr. Williams's two. Finally, Herr Harrwitz won the great match with Herr Lowenthal in 1853— eleven games to eight, and twelve drawn. In that match the nominal score was eleven to ten: Herr Harrwitz by the conditions, having been obliged to give up two games on account of illness. It may not be amiss to mention also a match at odds which Herr Harrwitz has played, as the strength of his opponent, Mr. G. Medley, entitles it to notice. Herr Harrwitz won eleven games to Mr. Medley's nine.
From the above enumeration it may be seen that Herr Harrwitz has not been surpassed by any living player in match-play, either by the number of matches, or by the results : having beaten all his opponents except Mr. Staunton, against whom he broke his maiden lance.
In the discussion of Herr Harrwitz's merits it would be unjust to omit one very important point: that is to say, blindfold play, of which though by no means great admirers, we must confess that be has been the most distinguished representative for a series of years. We use the words a series of years advisedly; for although we have had the splendid performances of Kieseritzky, Morphy, and Paulsen, we must remember that they have not traveled through the whole of England and Scotland, with their nerves likely to be shaken by railway, and then played with a Withers, a Gordon, and other distinguished amateurs.
Such was the opponent Mr. Morphy had to overcome in order to establish his renown. Mr. Morphy, still young in glory as well as in years—his achievements yet few, though by no means inconsiderable, —may have well been nervous in meeting an opponent with so many laurels."

As to the interest which was displayed in all the Paris Chess circles Staunton has the following in the Illustrated London News, September 25th:—

" This contest, we are told, excites the liveliest interest in the French capital, and is watched with intense anxiety, not only by all the accustomed frequenters of the Parisian Chess rendezvous, but by hundreds of amateurs who were never before within its precincts."

As to essays at prolongation on the part of the German player, Staunton ironically but justly observes:—

" This contest having now entered what may be called the ' sick phase,' an indispensable condition, apparently, in all modern Chess matches, whenever one of the combatants gets two or three games ahead, how long the public will have to wait before hostilities recommence, it is hard to say. Herr Harrwitz, the indisposed, who, it is consolatory to know, is not so prostrate but that he is enabled to enjoy his daily Chess in the Café de la Régence with opponents lees troublesome than Mr. Morphy, has demanded a truce of eight or ten days. This his antagonist has at once agreed to conditionally, that at the expiration of that time a game shall be played daily until the victory is determined. The American's stipulation is so reasonable, considering he is only a sojourner in Paris, and he has shown such readiness in all cases to conform to the wishes of his adversary, that it is incumbent upon the members of the French Chess circle not to allow of any further delay."
Mr. Staunton, when penning these lines, might have remembered his own behaviour against St. Amant, Anderssen, and even Morphy. He has, himself, on the plea of ill-health, preferred not to begin a second match with both of the above-mentioned European players, and on pretext of business engagements, in spite of former promises, he declined to enter a contest at all with the chivalrous champion of the New World."

As to the peculiar termination of that match, the Chess papers have amongst others, the following remarks:—

1. First of all we find the following short notice in the Sunday Times:—

" We learn from Paris, that on Monday last, October 4th, Herr Harrwitz resigned this match, the score standing—Harrwitz, 2; Morphy, 5 ; drawn, 1; and Harrwitz having the move. Our correspondent adds, that Mr. Morphy refused to receive the stakes, saying that the match had not been played out."

2. The American Monthly in its November Number, p. 352, has the following:—

" Herr Harrwitz has resigned the match. Having asked a delay of some days to recruit his health, Mr. Morphy granted it on condition that a game should then be played daily until the contest should be brought to a close. After resuming and playing two additional games, Herr Harrwitz requested another delay, which his opponent was compelled to decline. Mr. Morphy's sojourn in France is limited, as he desires to encounter before his return several of the best players in Germany."

3. Herr Lowenthal in the Era says:—

" This match has been prematurely brought to a conclusion by the resignation of Herr Harrwitz on the plea of ill health, the score, after the eighth sitting being, Morphy, 5 ; Harrwitz, 2; drawn 1. Perhaps this was a wise step on the part of Herr Harrwitz, as it was very unlikely indeed that he would win another game; in fact the young American champion has beaten his opponent with the greatest ease, Mr. Morphy's acceptance of the resignation and refusal of the stakes, is but what we should have anticipated of one who is as honourable as he is chivalrous."