Charles Phillips, 1905

Thanks to WilhelmThe2nd from

 From 'The Week' chess column (edited by Charles Phillips) March 19th, 1885, pg.253:


   "The leading feature of the ‘International Chess Magazine’ for January, February and March, is Herr Steinitz’s critique of Paul Morphy. Both his premises and conclusions have been furiously assailed by the leading chess writers in the United States. They appear to have enshrined Morphy as the God of Chess, and to resent with the bigotry of idolaters the slightest approach to skepticism on the part of those who reject their creed.
   However much we may doubt his discretion there can be no question of Mr. Steinitz’s courage. A stranger in America, his chief object to firmly establish his new literary venture, he dares to assail at the outset of his American career the pet dogma of the very people on whom he must depend for the support necessary to the success of his undertaking.
The question in dispute is simply this: Americans everywhere declare that Morphy, the peerless chess player of twenty-five years ago, was the superior, not only of the best men of his time, but also of the doughty champions of to-day. Steinitz begs leave to doubt this. Hence the storm. For ourselves we cannot but think that those who so firmly believe in the genius of their late champion would choose a more dignified course if they confuted Herr Steinitz’s arguments instead of abusing himself. However, we believe firmly that Paul Morphy would have defeated just as easily Messrs. Zukertort, Steinitz and Co., as he did their teachers.
   One point relied by Steinitz is the fact that there were a number of errors of judgment or analysis in many of Morphy’s games. Now, while this if proved (and we think it has been) would demonstrate Morphy was not infallible, it by no means demonstrates that Morphy was inferior to the men of to-day. First, he may have made less mistakes proportionately than they, and secondly, his play on the whole may have been so superior to theirs as to more than counterbalance the errors. The records of modern match and tournament play abundantly testify that both these suppositions are correct.
   Another point made by the editor is that Morphy did not have to play under the modern time limit, and therefore was not hampered by this restriction. Surely Steinitz cannot but be aware that the time by Morphy in his matches was accurately recorded, and that he averaged between twenty and thirty moves per hour.
   A vote of thanks should be tendered to Herr Steinitz (instead of abuse) by those who believe in Morphy’s superiority. A careful perusal of the article in connection with the records in question will thoroughly convince any impartial reader that so far from making out a case, the writer has unwittingly but added another monument to the genius and unrivalled power of the late lamented master."