|THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY Morphy's Games of Chess|
Today the recording and publishing of chess games is taken for granted. Although there were some instances of recording moves earlier, the general practice didn't begin until the Bourdonnais-M'Donnell match of 1834. By Morphy's time, 25 years later, it was common but not yet perfected as an art. Part of this could be attributed to the informal conditions under which most chess was played. Tournament chess was in it's infancy and there were few effective national chess organizations. Chess periodicals came and went and often chess columns appeared in the unlikeliest of magazines. While Morphy played untold number of games that were never recorded at all, those that were recorded were scattered throughout the newspapers, magazines and chess columns of many different countries. Many attempts have been made to compile his games from all these sources and just as few have been comprehensive, most have been flawed to some extent.
Morphy's games have been available on the internet for a long time. Transcribing games from descriptive notation to .pgn format is a tedious and onerous task. Most of the internet files seem to have originated with Jack Goossens' file made accessible on Tim Krabbé's Full Morphy page. While the amount of work that went into such a file is incredible, the file is far from perfect. Databases such as Chessbase and Chessgames.com have helped by ironing out some of these inaccuracies, but have also hurt by perpetuating some of the inaccuracies.
-It's a mixed bag.
I've been fortunate to have played a very minor role in the preparation of the file contained here. From my crow's-nest I've witnessed the blood, sweat and tears that goes into such a project. Many reliable historical sources were employed and compared as well as digital files from the internet. Each and every games was scrutinized for errors in dates, venues, moves and opponents. Duplicates were weeded out; ambiguities were noted; pgn formats redesigned with databases in mind. Many of the files contain appropriate historical references that add intrinsic meaning to the games. Very few stones were left unturned and quite a few bugs saw the light of day.
The end result is a digital compilation of Morphy's games of chess far, far superior to anything offered to date. It may even raise the bar for digital game compilations in general. The first game in the file is a dummy game in which the author explains his purpose, methods and sources. The file itself is accurate chronologically - a timeline of Morphy's chess life. As with anything involving humans, mistakes and omissions are inevitable. The author would very much like to hear from anyone with any comments or corrections.
N.B. This file is copyrighted. As such, the author wants everyone to feel free to take the file and use it. However, in an attempt to maintain the file's pristine nature, he expressly forbids posting the file elsewhere for downloading. Feel free to link here where the most updated version will constantly be made available.
[Previous Update 05/13/05]
[Previous Update 01/23/06]
[Current Update 04/01/06]
Version 1.3 simple pgn file (350 kb - 94 kb zipped)
Version 1.3 pgn with historical commentary (432 kb - 133 kb zipped) [recommended]