THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                                                         Paul waits for Anderssen


Before leaving for France, Morphy had written to Daniel Fiske concerning the stake money for the Staunton match. Fiske had contacted Paul's close friend, Charles Amédée Maurian see note  of New Orleans, hoping to expedite the matter. Fiske received an urgent reply from Maurian, explaining how, upon learning of the promised match with Staunton, he had approached Charles Le Carpentier, Paul's uncle (his mother's brother), to see about raising the stakes for the match. Mr. Le Carpentier informed Maurian that, while he could easily raise ten times the amount needed within a half-hour, he wouldn't do it and the Paul had expressly agreed that he would "under no circumstances challenge another of accept himself a challenge to play a money match."  Mr. Le Carpentier discussed the matter with the rest of the family and, despite Maurian's reasonable arguments and explanations, informed Maurian that "they had resolved not only not to help  raising the amount wanted but that moreover they should not allow him to play a money match either with his own money or anyone else's ... that he will be brought home by force if necessary; that they were determine to prevent a money match by all means."

Apparently, Morphy had made certain concessions to obtain permission to travel to Europe. However, on June 22 (while in England), Morphy had turned 21 and was an "adult" and legally independent. This fact and the distance from home, along with his own devise of returning the winnings, must have empowered Paul to do what was necessary in the reality of the chess world to prove himself. It's also noteworthy that he kept both Fiske and Maurian ignorant of his plans, possibly thinking that his family would be kept likewise ignorant. Not taking Maurian into his confidence was almost his undoing but Maurian was resourceful and circumvented the Morphy clan completely (believing the matter personal, but since they had no legal authority over Morphy, also inconsequential) and went directly to the New Orleans Chess Club which forwarded £500 to Morphy's account in England.

Another unsettling occurrence just prior to Morphy's departure to France was Staunton's "letter" to his August 28 chess column, signed Anti-book, but undoubtedly Staunton himself using a tactic for which he had become infamous.

As you surmise, "knowing the authority," the slang of the sporting pages in question regarding the proposed encounter between Mr. Staunton and the young American is "bunkum." In matches of importance, it is the invariable practice in this country, before anything definite is settled, for each party to be provided with representatives to arrange the terms and money for the stakes. Mr. Morphy has come here unfurnished in both respects; and, although both will no doubt be forthcoming in due time, it is clearly impossible, until they are, that any determinate arrangements can be made.
2. A statement of another contemporary that the reduction in the amount of stakes from £1000 a side to £500 a side was made at the suggestion of the English amateur is equally devoid of truth; the proposal to reduce the amount  having been made by Mr. Morphy.

Since these statements were blatant lies, a fact the reading public couldn't know, Edge wanted Morphy to demand an immediate retraction from Staunton, but Morphy was concerned that any reaction on his part would somehow give Staunton a reason to back out of the match. In addition, he felt that by remaining silent, Staunton, emboldened, would overplay his hand.

After his match with Harrwitz, Morphy wrote to Staunton - October 6 - expressing his dismay at the Anti-book letter,  blankly declaring the availability of the stakes to any amount, and solving the question of seconds. He asked yet again for a fixed date, mentioning that a copy of the letter would go to several editors to clear any public misconceptions.

Staunton replied on October 9 reiterating all his same reasons for previous postponements, but now using them to bow out of the match altogether.

On October 23, Staunton published his entire reply along with a partial rendition of Morphy's original letter (leaving out any reference to Anti-book). This led to a series of exchanges of anonymous and acrimonious  letters in different columns. Morphy didn't engage in any of this, but did write a letter to Lord Lyttelton, the president of the British Chess Association, explaining his own efforts to bring about the match, Staunton's efforts to avoid the match with everything short of admitting he didn't wish to play, and of Staunton's twisting of the facts in the Illustrated London News, demanding "that you shall declare to the world it is through no fault of mine that this match has not taken place."

Lord Lyttelton replied with a mild rebuke of Staunton's tactics and the assurance that no one blamed Morphy for the situation. The letters continued, Staunton's vituperations against Morphy continued, but the situation was basically settled in the public's mind since all but one British chess club, the Cambridge University Chess Club, denounced Staunton's actions in this matter.

The affair left a bitter taste in Morphy's mouth, but, at last settled, with no match scheduled for November, he was now able to look forward to other things.

Paul had planned to be back in New Orleans for Christmas. Through an exchange of letters between himself (and through his friend, Jules Arnous De Rivière)  and Adolf Anderssen, he had turned down an invitation from Adolf Anderssen to meet him in Breslau, citing illness as the reason for being unable to make the trip, and in turn had to reject Anderssen's offer to come to Paris after Christmas on the fact that he had to return home. Paul did suffer some chronic illness since arriving in Paris and Edge, who felt that

"His voyage to Europe was useless if he did not play Anderssen. All was of no effect. Morphy did not appear to have the slightest ambition, say what I would to him. He 'must be home in December'; he had promised to be there, and home he would go,"

engineered  1) a doctor's pronouncement that Paul would be unable to make such an ocean voyage (for Paul's family), allowing him to remain in Europe until the Spring, 2) a landslide of letters from chess clubs and chess players to Morphy asking him to stay, and 3) the agreement from Anderssen to come to Paris in December during his Christmas vacation.

Princess Anna Murat

Meanwhile, Morphy was becoming a favorite of the Parisian society, attending soirées, gala events and performances at the Opéra de Paris. He was popular with the titled ladies, such as the two pictured here, occasionally playing chess with them, allowing them their "brilliancies."
Among Morphy's first social invitations was one from the Duchess de la Trémoille. The duchess told Morphy she had been playing chess since a child and wanted to meet such an eminent practitioner of the game. Of the five games played the evening of their meeting, each won two, the fifth one being drawn. The Princess Murat see note, also being present, also contested a game with Morphy. Riviere mentioned in his chess column in L'Illustration that other grande dames received the odds of a Queen.

- Lawson

 Mme. Regnault Jean_D'Angely

For the most part Morphy seemed to enjoy his social engagements, particularly with the ladies, but it seems he was growing tired of the constant expectation to perform like a trained seal. He started turning down many offers. One offer he accepted but possibly wished he had turned down (but for which the chess world will always be thankful that he didn't) was sharing an opera box for a performance of the Barber of Seville. His hosts were the deposed Duke of Brunswick see note and the Count Isouard de Vauvenargue. They played a consultation game while Morphy was forced to face away from the performance, as the postcard on the left illustrates. In return for the indignity, Morphy produced one one his most beautiful games. It's felt that Morphy played at least 11 consultation games against the Duke of Brunswick and various partners, one of whom was the Count Casabianca, who, in turned also played in consultation with the Princess Anna Murat against Morphy at her château.

Jean Prèti, an Austrian expatriate born in Mantua in 1798,  former flautist and former professor of music at the Royal College in Bordeaux and later a professional chess player who founded the periodical La Stratègy which he edited from 1867 to 1881,  Eugène Lequesne, the sculptor,  and Jules Arnous De Rivière were among Morphy's special friends in Paris.


Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte

Mr. Mason, the American Ambassador to France, became interested in Morphy and it seems he may have introduced him to the Emperor Napoleon III see note,  himself a chess player.
According to Edge, Mason "has requested permission to introduce Morphy to the emperor, who has a reputation of being a very tolerable Knight-player."

In Porter's Spirit of the Times,  November 6, 1858:
"The fame of the youthful champion of the New World, has penetrated the imperial cloisters of Tulieres, and his majesty, Napoleon III, has invited Mr. Morphy to give a specimen of his blindfold playing before the Empress and ladies of the court. His imperial majesty desires himself to engage Mr. Morphy in a game, and in acknowledgement of the pre-eminence of the young American sovereign with whom he will contend, he has consented to try to equalize his chances by the acceptance of a Rook at the commencement of the game."

Eugénia de Montijo
 Empress of Francesee note

It seems that Morphy squelched any further publicity of what he must have considered a very private matter.


When Adolf Anderssen's friend, Carl (Karl) Mayet  [(1810-1868 )  He was a barrister and a judge. He had played in the London, 1851 tournament, but with poor results.], wrote to Edge and Morphy that Anderssen had left Breslau and was on his way to Paris, Morphy, who had been confined to bed since the beginning of December with intestinal influenza, perked up and according to Edge:

Morphy said to me, "I have a positive chess fever coming over me. Give me the board and the pieces and I'll show you some of Anderssen's games." And with astounding memory, he gave me battle after battle with different adversaries, variations and all. How he dilated on a certain game between him and Drufresne. "There," said Morphy, ""That shows the master."


Paul Meets Anderssen