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  1. 30 Sep '12 03:31
    In the thread 'Kasparov vs '70's Fischer' we are all having fun
    speculating the what if's and how's of taking today's great players
    and matching them against the GM's of the past.
    Today it's Fischer v Kasparov.

    An old theme that has appeared on many chess sites in the past.

    Always good fun and the cases put forward range from the bizarrre
    to the plausible. I'm not knocking it, indeed I will most likely go
    back in and chip in a name or two.

    This thread differs in as much I speculate what if there was no Paul Morphy.
    What would have happened then?

    I think you all know what a big PCM fan I am but I do wonder.

    Did Paul Morphy stunt the growth of chess as we know it today.

    Now I have your attention I shall continue.

    The latter half of the 1850 was Morphy's time.
    He came, he played and everyone learned.
    The Morphy style and ideas were adopted, crafted and absorbed.

    It was not until Steinitz change his style from 'AUstrian Morphy'
    to the 'Deep Thinker' did chess take another giant leap.

    But no Morphy. What would have happened?

    I take you to India. The year is 1853.

    The Scotsman John Cochrane and the Indian Bonnerjee Mohishunder
    Played hundreds of games. Were it not for the Morphy hype
    then these games would have become more famous than the
    games of the La Bourdonnais - Mcdonnel matches.
    As it was they were to a large extent ignored.

    Most will be surprised at the game I'm about to show you.
    It is quite unlike any game you will have seen from the Romantic era.
    These two prouduced many many games like this.

    If the Morphy void had been filled with players studying what
    was going on with these two players. There would have been a massive leap.

    Of course The Morphy ideas would still be there waiting to be discovered
    but would they have been so succesful if the players of the day had been
    grounded in what we call the modern style of play.
    Their defensive technique would be quite high a fault often laid at the
    feet of PCM's opponents.

    Did we need the Romantic era?
    You won't see many games played with that style today.
    But in the following game, played 150 years ago you will see the
    set up and ideas that are GM's tools today.
    If the players of the day had studied them then instead of waiting
    till 1920 would chess be 70 years ahead of what it is today.

    Enjoy the game. It's not perfect.
    What you will see the is the raw ideas that were shoved into the background
    and ignored the moment Morphy sat down in the New York USA ch. 1957.
    They stayed ignored for 60-70 years.

    And no I have not pulled it from a modern tournament, this and
    100's of games like it were being played in India by these two in the 1850's.
    There are Benoni's. Pircs, Nimzo Indians, Grunfelds and King's Indans.
    Some of these games are quite brilliant.
    I've chosen this one because I have a good idea what is going on
    and it has a Queen sac wrap up.

    John Cochrane - Bonnerjee Mohishunder, Calcutta 1853.

  2. Subscriber Marinkatombonline
    wotagr8game
    30 Sep '12 04:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    In the thread 'Kasparov vs '70's Fischer' we are all having fun
    speculating the what if's and how's of taking today's great players
    and matching them against the GM's of the past.
    Today it's Fischer v Kasparov.

    An old theme that has appeared on many chess sites in the past.

    Always good fun and the cases put forward range from the bizarrre
    to th little bit of Morphy.} 33. Rf8+ Kh7 34. Qxg7+ Kxg7 35. R1f7[/pgn]
    As ever, great post GP!

    You know, i read the first paragraph of this and got to the premiss and instantly thought of another Indian player, Mir Sultan Khan. I'm not sure if you've come across this guy before, i happened across a great little article on chess.com a couple of years ago but i can't seem to find it. There was a smaller article which i link below, but the original was written by a GM and he analysed the game in great depth.

    http://www.chess.com/article/view/best-player-ever

    In this game he defeats None other than the great Capablanca! Khans technique is just light years ahead of his time, you could spend 3 or 4 hours analysing it comfortably without even scratching the surface. Enjoy
  3. 30 Sep '12 04:55
    Hi MT.

    Yes of course I know all about Mir Sultan Khan.
    His is an incredible story.

    Never did the Cochrane game justice notes wise.
    There is a lot of trickery going on.
    Great player Cochrane. Years ahead of his time.
    If only Morphy went to India instead of Europe, then we would have
    seen some games of chess.

    No Moprhy, then fear not.

    TAL!
    He would have kicked off the Romantic period.
    The Gambits of the 1800's would all be getting explored in the 60's (the 1960's).
    That would have been the perfect back drop to the Beatles.

    I wonder what would have happened if Morphy had become a lawyer and never played chess.
  4. Subscriber Marinkatombonline
    wotagr8game
    30 Sep '12 05:21 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi MT.

    Yes of course I know all about Mir Sultan Khan.
    His is an incredible story.

    Never did the Cochrane game justice notes wise.
    There is a lot of trickery going on.
    Great player Cochrane. Years ahead of his time.
    If only Morphy went to India instead of Europe, then we would have
    seen some games of chess.

    No Moprhy, then fear not.

    T s.

    I wonder what would have happened if Morphy had become a lawyer and never played chess.
    A great player indeed, i've just been playing through a load of Cochranes games, i enjoyed his game against 'The Turk'.

    The thing which i find amazing about Morphy, apart from his games of course, is the way he died. Hypothermia after getting into a cold bath after a walk on a hot day. Who dies like that? His whole life is a story, death included!

    I agree with your thoughts on Tal, he was the first player i really studied (well i say study, i mean observe with my tongue trailing on the floor). It ruined my game, it's taken ten years for me to realise i'm simply not good enough to play that way, to my eternal disappointment.

    I've never really spent much time looking at Classical games, my focus has been mainly on Korchnoi, Tal, Fischer and the modern players. I don't play e4, so studying these old masters always left me feeling like i was learning a game i'd never play. These games between Cockrane and Mohishunder have really grabbed my attention though. Thanks for that.
  5. 30 Sep '12 06:09
    Cool games. GREAT thread.
  6. 30 Sep '12 14:45
    Excellent post gp!

    I didn't understand this comment: "And there is a5 pawn to cement the Knight on c5." One move later the knight is chased from c5 never to return?
  7. 30 Sep '12 15:20
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    The Scotsman John Cochrane and the Indian Bonnerjee Mohishunder played hundreds of games. Were it not for the Morphy hype then these games would have become more famous than the games of the La Bourdonnais - Mcdonnel matches. As it was they were to a large extent ignored.
    Alas, I fear nothing would have happened with these games whether or not Morphy had appeared, and that for one unfortunate word:

    "Indian".

    This was the height of the British colonial period. Nobody who was a native heathen could possibly have had better ideas than that stalwart of Anglo-Saxonity Mr. Howard Staunton, esq. Even Sultan Khan, over half a century later and even though he (vide his name) was presumably a Sikh and not an uncouth Hindoo, was never taken entirely seriously. (For one, he never got a master title, though he probably could have reached grand.) Someone with the name of "Mohishunder" would have been lucky to get the distinction of being made the butt of an "under" pun.

    It's an interesting set of games, but in the real world, they would have been undeservedly ignored even in different circumstances.

    Richard
  8. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    30 Sep '12 16:01
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Alas, I fear nothing would have happened with these games whether or not Morphy had appeared, and that for one unfortunate word:

    "Indian".

    This was the height of the British colonial period. Nobody who was a native heathen could possibly have had better ideas than that stalwart of Anglo-Saxonity Mr. Howard Staunton, esq. Even Sultan Khan, o ...[text shortened]... y would have been undeservedly ignored even in different circumstances.

    Richard
    Yeah. Who even takes that Indian Viswanathan Anand seriously, today? He's just a lucky cheatin' uncouth Hindoo.
  9. 30 Sep '12 16:05
    I think you're confusing what Morphy is famous for and his actual style. My understanding was that most of the romantic chess players thought Morphy's style was very dry... Players feared his endgame technique just as much as his tactical vision. Morphy of course is known for the Opera Game and other fun sac-sac-mates, but Rubinstein is most famous for Rotlewi vs. Rubinstein even though in most games he strived for "clarity".

    Also you've gotta consider that Morphy played tons of chumps/patzers, etc. It's easy to sac pieces and go for a quick beheading against a much lower rated player. In fact I'd go so far as to say that if ANY grandmaster played against the Duke of Brunswick it would have ended in a cool mating combination. Karpov, Petrosian, Capa. Wouldn't have mattered. When Morphy played against the top competition of his day his play really calmed down.

    I'm even pretty sure Steinitz justified his "new chess" as trying to figure out what Morphy was really up to at the board. Morphy was more of an idol for him than someone he was rebelling against.

    Anyway I think there's a good book on all this. Valeri Beim's "Paul Morphy a Modern Perspective" or something similar.
  10. 30 Sep '12 16:11
    Hi SB

    Maybe. I like to think chess crosses all barriers.
    Staunton did publish some of these games in his magazine but perhaps they
    were proving unpopular with his readers. This was after all the age of the
    'The Immortal' and 'The Evergreen' and then up popped a wee genius from
    New Orleans. These games were ignored.

    Hi MM


    He has to move it or defend it.

    It was the idea of sucking the d-pawn forward weakening c5 and protecting it
    against b4. Ideas you will see on the top boards in any tournament.

    Of course there was still a bit to learned. These two never had all the answers.
    It took 50 odd years before would start looking for them after the classical
    style has been wring nearly dry.

    Playing over these games you do get the feeling Mohishunder is a bit
    of a Knights player and preferred them to Bishops. So he moved it.

    Which is not to difficult to understand as in the Indian game
    the Bishop’s range was three squares so the Knight was held in higher esteem.
    Little wonder it took him a while to get used to the European Bishop.
    (just a theory.)

    One more game. This time Mohishunder is seen in a better light.
    This is possibly a better example than the last game.
    I could post this another thread Smith (2000) v Jones (2100) Brighton 2012
    and you would not question it. The game looks so modern.

    J. Cochrane - B. Mohishunder Calcutta, 1853

  11. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    30 Sep '12 16:21
    Originally posted by Hiyah
    I think you're confusing what Morphy is famous for and his actual style. My understanding was that most of the romantic chess players thought Morphy's style was very dry... Players feared his endgame technique just as much as his tactical vision. Morphy of course is known for the Opera Game and other fun sac-sac-mates, but Rubinstein is most famous for Rotlewi ...[text shortened]... all this. Valeri Beim's "Paul Morphy a Modern Perspective" or something similar.
    It seems very clear that the European Chess Champion Howard Staunton was afraid to play Paul Morphy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Morphy
  12. 30 Sep '12 16:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi SB

    Maybe. I like to think chess crosses all barriers.
    It probably does now, thank heavens, but this was the mid-1800s we're talking about. Things were different then; and where the English and foreigners were concerned, they were very different. You still look down upon the lot of us, Hindoo and Dutch Calvinists alike, but at least nowadays you're willing to listen. Sometimes.When it doesn't involve democratic principles or taking penalties in football.

    One more game. This time Mohishunder is seen in a better light.
    This is possibly a better example than the last game.
    I could post this another thread Smith (2000) v Jones (2100) Brighton 2012 and you would not question it. The game looks so modern.

    OK - never mind the blog, this you should write a book on. And I'd buy it. Or at least you should publish a PGN with all the games, with annotations or without.

    Richard
  13. 30 Sep '12 16:35 / 1 edit
    Hiya Hiyah.

    Good point. But I'm coming in from the angle there was no Morphy.
    Forget Morphy.

    Re The Opera Game.


    Most players would would play 8.Bxf7+ nicking the a8 Rook or 8.Qxb7 nicking a pawn.
    Last time I looked the boxes were going for this.

    Saw one lad once saying on another site saying 8.Bxf7+ it was best move.
    You can imagine what a slagging he got.

    Hi SB:

    "this you should write a book on." there is one being written as I speak.
    (cannot say anymore about it 'cept it hopefully will be out soon.)
  14. 30 Sep '12 21:10 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Alas, I fear nothing would have happened with these games whether or not Morphy had appeared, and that for one unfortunate word:

    "Indian".

    This was the height of the British colonial period. Nobody who was a native heathen could possibly have had better ideas than that stalwart of Anglo-Saxonity Mr. Howard Staunton, esq. Even Sultan Khan, o y would have been undeservedly ignored even in different circumstances.

    Richard
    "Even Sultan Khan...even though he (vide his name) was presumably a Sikh
    and not an uncouth Hindoo (sic) was never taken entirely seriously."
    --Shallow Blue

    I am familiar enough with Sikhs to know that 'Khan' would be an extremely
    unusual name for a Sikh. Mir Sultan Khan was of Muslim heritage. (I don't know
    to what extent he was a devout Muslim.) He was born (1905) in the Punjab when
    it belonged to British-ruled India, and he died (1966) in a part of the Punjab that
    belonged to Pakistan. 'Khan' is a common Muslim name in Pakistan (including
    famous sportsmen such as Imran Khan in cricket and the Khan family in squash).

    When he was there, England was extremely conscious of distinctions in class.
    To a certain extent, racial prejudice against Mir Sultan Khan could have been
    mitigated if he had enjoyed much higher social origins in India, if he had been
    a prince instead of a servant. (Supposedly, many Englishwomen secretly enjoyed
    their romantic fantasies of being swept off their feet by a dashing Indian prince.)
    Some English aristocratic households considered it fashionable to employ some
    Indian servants, who were accepted as long as they kept to their places.

    "For one, he (Mir Sultan Khan) never got a master title, though he probably
    could have reached grand."
    --Shallow Blue

    Mir Sultah Khan once was probably among the world's top ten players, and his
    genius was recognised by Capablanca, who did not bestow his praises lightly.
    It was not until 1950 (long after Mir Sultan Khan had retired from chess) that
    FIDE began to award GM and IM titles. While FIDE awarded Akiba Rubinstein
    (who also was long retired from chess) a GM title, as far as I know, FIDE never
    has awarded any title to Mir Sultan Khan. Around 1950, of course, the newly
    independent country of Pakistan had more urgent concerns than persuading FIDE
    to award a GM title to its citizen, Mir Sultan Khan, who was quiet and modest.

    Among the stories of other Indians who made their 'passage to England' (to invert
    E.M. Forster), I would suggest looking at the lives of Ramanujan (1887-1920), a
    mathematician of genius and Ranjitsinhji (1872-1933), a great cricket batsman.

    By the way, speaking of Howard Staunton, in a Victorian England wherein one's
    prospects in life as well one's social standing depended largely on one's familial
    lineage, Howard Staunton's origins seem obscure and remain in dispute (he hardly
    was 'born to the purple'.
  15. 01 Oct '12 12:59
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "Even Sultan Khan...even though he (vide his name) was presumably a Sikh and not an uncouth Hindoo (sic) was never taken entirely seriously."
    --Shallow Blue

    I am familiar enough with Sikhs to know that 'Khan' would be an extremely unusual name for a Sikh. Mir Sultan Khan was of Muslim heritage. (I don't know to what extent he was a devout Muslim.) ...[text shortened]... (including famous sportsmen such as Imran Khan in cricket and the Khan family in squash).
    You are, of course, correct. Singh is the Sikh surname; Khan is Central-Asian muslim. I got the two mixed up.

    Nevertheless, I think my point stands: it is not seriously disputable that Sultan Khan was never taken nearly as seriously by the majority of people as he would have been had he been white.

    (Your inability to spot sarcasm and your ability to overestimate your own culturedness and to underestimate that of others remain noticable, by the way. 1729. )


    Richard