On This Day

Paul Morphy

Chess Player Paul Morphy

Profession: Chess Player

Nationality:
United States of America
American

Why Famous: Morphy came to be known as the 'Pride and Sorrow of Chess' after he retired from the game at 22, having defeated any and all that might be considered fair competition.

By 1857, when he was 20, he was already hailed as the United States' champion; then in 1858, he travelled to Europe to play the European Champion, Howard Staunton. There he played anyone else he could find, defeating all-comers; and though he never did play Staunton, most considered Morphy far and away the best in the world.

At this, he returned to the United States and went on a victory tour, playing chess across the country. Then, near the end of 1859, he returned to New Orleans and retired, refusing to play again and instead conducting an unsuccessful law career before his death at 47.

Born: June 22, 1837
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: July 10, 1884 (aged 47)

Historical Events

  • 1857-10-06 First American Chess Congress hosted by the American Chess Association in NYC, NY; won by Paul Morphy 10 November
  • 1857-11-10 First American Chess Congress is won by Paul Morphy; beats Louis Paulson, 6-2 for a tournament record of 14 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss
  • 1858-06-21 Louisiana chess prodigy Paul Morphy arrives in Europe
  • 1859-02-26 Paul Morphy's chess match vs Augustus Mongredien begins; Morphy wins
  • 1859-04-30 Paul Morphy returns from 10-month chess tour of Europe, retires

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