Morphy's Opera Game

by Milica Knezevic on January 18, 2022

The Chess Game: Morphy vs. Duke Karl / Count Isouard, Paris 1858

Morphy vs. Duke Karl / Count Isouard
  • The Opera Game was an 1858 chess game played at an opera house in Paris, during Bellini's opera Norma, between the American chess master Paul Morphy and two strong amateurs: the German noble Karl II, Duke of Brunswick and the French aristocrat Comte Isouard de Vauvenargues.
  • Duke Karl and Count Isouard consulted together, playing as partners against Morphy.
  • It is among the most famous of chess games. The game is often used by chess instructors to teach the importance of rapid development of one's pieces, the value of sacrifices in mating combinations, and other chess concepts.
  • Observe a masterfully played game, create your own options for play and dive deep into yet another historic chess match!

Who Was Paul Morphy

  • Paul Charles Morphy (June 22, 1837 – July 10, 1884) was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and is often considered the unofficial World Chess Champion.
  • A chess prodigy, he was called "The Pride and Sorrow of Chess" because he had a brilliant chess career but retired from the game while still young.
  • Morphy was born in New Orleans to a wealthy and distinguished family. He learned to play chess by simply watching games between his father and uncle. His family soon recognized the boy's talent for the game and encouraged him to play at family gatherings, and by the age of nine he was considered to be one of the best players in the city.
  • At just twelve years of age, Morphy defeated visiting Hungarian master Johann Löwenthal in a three-game match.

  • Having vanquished virtually all serious opposition, Morphy reportedly declared that he would play no more matches without giving odds of pawn and move. After returning home in late 1859, Morphy retired from active chess competition.
  • Morphy's embryonic law career was disrupted in 1861 by the outbreak of the American Civil War.
  • Morphy was unable to successfully build a law practice after the war ended in 1865. His attempts to open a law office failed; when he had visitors, they invariably wanted to talk about chess, not their legal affairs.
  • Financially secure thanks to his family's fortune, Morphy essentially spent the rest of his life in idleness.
  • He never accepted the many "return to chess" invitations.
Paul Morphy

Who Were Duke Karl and Count Isouard

  • Charles II, Duke of Brunswick (German: Karl II.; 30 October 1804 – 18 August 1873), ruled the Duchy of Brunswick from 1815 until 1830.
  • Charles was born in Brunswick, the eldest son of Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
  • Comte Isouard de Vauvenargues or Count Isouard was a French aristocrat, and was most famous after the Opera Game with Morphy. Little is know of him.

In case Morphy and his opponents and this fascinating game, sparked an interest, we suggest you check out some of the other historic chess matches we have!

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1 comment
by Ghian on May 24, 2022

I like that black continue the game although he is losing <3. Sportsmanship respect 100%


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