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20

The answer from SmallChess is good. There's also an illustrative tweet from Garry Kasparov on the subject: For beginning chess players, studying a Carlsen game is like wanting to be an electrical engineer & beginning with studying an iPhone.


16

Paul Morphy's games are better resources for learning at your level. There's no use for you to get into deep positional understanding typically in modern GM games. You should get a book on Amazon. Don't try to analyze the games yourself.


12

What is being talked about are called Odds Games, which are indeed handicaps. It is not a common practice these days. Here’s a quote from chessvariants.com that gives the right idea. “During the 18th & 19th centuries, it was common to give odds in chess games, which means the practice of giving some advantage to the player with lesser skill. Odds giving ...


9

You'd have to find a list of players Morphy has played. Then, you'd research as many players who played each of those players. This can all be done by searching by player in a large database. Eventually you'd have a large tree, and the problem comes down to an optimal search algorithm. You'd search "branches" with a more likely chance of giving you a small ...


9

If you're a beginner then studying games from the old masters does more good, especially players like Morphy who emphasized the basics (quick development, attacking an uncastled king, etc). Once you get to the 1500 range, you'd do best looking at games from the GMs of the 20th century up until the 1990s. That was when classical chess theory "matured", so to ...


8

I never heard of the 'Morphy number' until I read your post. I found that my Morphy number is 5. Here is how I did it. I started with Wikipedia After looking at the list I realized that my best bet was the simul where I played John Donaldson. I still regret not pushing the pawn after preparing it so well... I looked at other American players John ...


7

Pretty much all great players studied the games of the best players of the past, and it is repeatedly recommended that studying them is a great way to improve. Marin's book Learn from the Legends is pretty much based around his journey of doing that.


6

Definitely study classic Morphy's games. The fact that Morphy was so far ahead of his peers is a good thing. His opponents often missed Morphy's plan and the plan came out clearly, and it shows you what you should strive to do. In modern chess so much depends on opening preparation, where moves are often not intuitive and depend on engine backed ...


5

I had a similar problem not long ago, though not chess related. If I were to pattern this solution off of that one, I would consider storing Morphy in an SQL table along with all of his opponents, along with all of their opponents, and so on, in a parent/child relationship. So you would have one table with two columns (id and parent_id). id would be the ...


5

It absolutely makes sense to study Morphy. Sure, most of his opponents were "terrible" but so are most of your opponents. And, let's be honest, so are you, at the moment. Studying Morphy's games – and tactics in general – will teach you how to beat "terrible" opponents. At your level, nearly all games are decided by exactly the sort ...


4

As far as an algorithmic answer goes, if you can get a set of games into a pandas dataframe (Python), the following code should get you the Morphy numbers, unless I've messed up somewhere: def get_distances(games, starting_player = 'James Morphy', max_depth = 100, white_col_name = 'white' ...


4

The five games mentioned might be the only games between Morphy and Bird that are preserved. Collections that claim to include all known Morphy games, only contain those five between the two, see for instance The full Morphy. Also, written accounts seem to suggest that the games they played were not part of an official match, they just played some games ...


4

My item here does not "explain the controversy", but for a contemporary tournament comment concerning Morphy, see top of page 90 here: https://archive.org/details/bookoffirstameri00fisk From the First American Chess Congress book, quoting an article in The Chess Monthly: Mr. Morphy is rapid in his moves and quick in his combinations, his time on any ...


3

This 1860 book seems to have anecdotal evidence on the "fast" side of the argument: "Mr Morphy is a most fascinating player for those looking on, and there is always a crowd around his board whenever he is en lutte with an opponent. His attention is not by any means riveted on the game and he makes his moves with a speed approaching rapidity." "Thus says ...


3

It's hard to beat Morphy when it comes to a dominance over contemporaries that leads to short, memorable games that culminate in utterly violent punishment of the failure to develop one's pieces. And while it's also hard to top the opera box game from the OP for a seamless destruction of a poorly developed army, the following two dismantlings are quite nice ...


3

Morphy is great! I also am fond of the 1956 game Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer (when Fischer was 13 years old!) known as "The Game of the Century". Link But of course there are many games that are great. Chessbase has an app for the Android or iPhone with a database of many of the great games to look at - just $5.


3

This may not help if you do not have games in the ChessBase database (or even enough games), but ChessBase recently released a feature called "WinChain", which TRIES to find your "number" to any player, including Morphy. Nevertheless, I found that it still does not work particularly well for going back that far, but you still might be interested. Here is an ...


3

Pseudocode to iteratively compute morphy number. assume you have a database with a table plays of two columns x and y where a row indicates two indeviduals who have played one another. _morphy = {} def Morphy(name): if name == 'Morphy': return 0 if name in _morphy: return _morphy[name] _morphy[name] = math.inf score = math.inf ...


2

For me, it was a combination of Wikipedia, WinChain, USCF, and my own knowledge. I worked from both ends. I started by assuming that getting a link to high-rated players was probably the way to go - if you follow the chain up, eventually you get to famous players with known Morphy numbers, or at least players who have many games in large databases. To that ...


2

Morphy numbers are something new to me. It is the degrees of detachment little world marvel for chess players. I was looking Gligoric and discovered he had a Morphy number of 3. So Morphy (1837-1884) has a Morphy number zero. Any individual who played him has a Morphy number of 1. Any individual who played a Morphy number 1 has a Morphy number 2, ...


2

These games are called miniatures. You can find them in your database by simply filtering games with the required number of moves ( in order for a game to be considered a miniature, the total number of moves played in the game should be less than 30 ). There are some books you can buy, like this one or this one, but I prefer the above method. You could ...


2

I just wanted to add - for one to say that to say "not all Morphy's opponents were terrible" is really understating the case. The fact is that Morphy consistently beat all the best chess players in the world. For example, Akavall mentioned Adolf Anderssen. Anderssen was estimated by Arpad Elo ( who invented the ELO rating system ) as being over 2600. ...


1

There is no magical way of finding it, of course, you just have to know the history of the people that you have played and then you can deduce your Morphy number. Of course, it is highly likely that the chain never reaches Morphy.


1

I would recommend the games collection from the book "Gm-Ram: Essential Grandmaster Chess Knowledge" by Rashid Ziyatdinov. Not all the games are the miniatures, but many of them. The author suggests that to become a chess master, one has to remember by heart some positions and games. It looks aligned with your goal (reviewing / memorizing). I've ...


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