Grandmaster Chess Tactics #4: Can you spot the line?

Grandmaster Chess Tactics #4: Can you spot the line?

Hello everybody it is jrobi. I have another
Grandmaster Chess Tactics video I would like to do today. And this took place in 1857 in
New York. And it was a match between Paul Morphy as black and Louise Paulsen as white.
And it is black to move. So if you want to pause the video and see if you can come up
with the Grandmaster line, definitely go ahead and do so. White has just played Queen down
to A6 hoping to get a Queen trade. But Morphy found something much more powerful and strong
in this position. So definitely pause the video, see if you can find it out and we will
get into it here. What I will do is I will go through the lines from the game itself
and then we will take a look at some variations. Now I want to preface things before I get
started. The reason I’m posting this video on the Morphy game is I had a subscriber email
me today and ask if I could put a Morphy database up on my site. And I have to admit that, you
know, I’m not really familiar with a lot of Paul Morphy’s games. So I kind of looked
into it as I was getting that information onto And I found out that
he is got a very interesting story to him. He was… well, actually he is known as quite
possibly the first modern style chess player even though he was playing in the 1800s. And
he is known quite often for very sharp attacking tactics that he liked to use and used very
well. And this game is one of his classics. So from this position it is black to move.
Morphy came up with just a crushing tactical line, and he comes in and he takes the Bishop
with this Queen on F3. So he is sacrificing the Queen. White recaptures and now Morphy’s
going to unleash an attack that just cannot be stopped. And I will look first at how the
game progressed to the end and then we will come back and we will take a look at some
possible variations that white had as its disposal. But I should say right now though
that white has nothing in this position that is going to stop it from losing the game.
Which just shows how powerful of a candidate line generator Paul Morphy was. He saw quite
deep into this position and was able to come up with just a crushing series of moves here.
So once the Queen has taken back from the sacrifice Morphy, unleashes the Rook and checks
on G6. The only square that the King has to go to is H1.
And now we are going to see that Morphy’s going to bring all of his pieces into the
attack. So from here he plays his Bishop up to H3 and white plays Rook over to D1. And
we will look at some different moves for the Rook after we go through the main line here.
But after the Rook moves check by Morphy, the King has to go to G1 and then he uses
a discovered check by taking the Pawn. The King moves now to F1 and instead of taking
the Rook in this position he checks again. And white plays over to G1. And now he lines
up the Bishop on H3 securing that diagonal and unleashing another discovered check. So
the King now goes to H1 and now Morphy brings another piece into the action and captures
the Pawn on F2. And if you take a moment and you look at this position, any other move
than Queen to F1 loses the game from… for white. Because basically if white were to
play say, for example, Pawn up from this position just as an example, it is simply checkmate
right there and it is game over. So the only move that white has in this position is simply
to bring the Queen down to F1. And at which point Morphy comes in and takes the Queen,
the Rook recaptures. And now Morphy comes up with Rook to E2. And there’s really not
a lot of good options in this position for white. So what Paulsen decides to do maybe
is just to consolidate his defending pieces and try to get some… more power lined up
here on his home rank. But from here Morphy swings his Rook over to H6. So now we see
we’ve got at Rook attacking the Pawn on H2. And the only thing preventing checkmate
in this position is this Bishop. And once white tries to open up access for the Bishop
to take the Rook here, Morphy all he has to do in this position is simply to play Bishop
over to E3 and it is game over. There’s nothing that can be done to stop the checkmate
that is coming in. So, for example, if white captures the Bishop it is just simply check.
King has to go to G1 and then it is checkmate. So let’s go back now I want to take a look
at some of the possible variations in the game throughout the mainline here that was
played out. So I’m going to go back to the initial sacrifice and we will take a look
at what happens after the Queen is taken. Rook lands a check. King goes to its only
possible square. And then the Bishop is brought up. Now in this position here there is a possibility
of instead of going Rook to D1 to prevent the attack the Rook can come over to G1. But
unfortunately for white this just leads to a quicker checkmate because after the Rook
captures the King has to recapture. And then the Rook can slide up here to E1 lining the
check. And the only piece that can block is the Queen and then from here it is game over
for white. So moving the Rook to G1 would’ve been just
catastrophic for white. Now I want to go back to Bishop to H3. Now in the match Rook to
D1 was played immediately. But I plugged this into the chess engine and it came up with
the line Queen to D3 instead of going for an immediate Rook to D1. But as it turns out
this isn’t much better for white. It does allow white to I guess you could say last
in the game a little bit longer. But other than that it is still going to be a victory
for black. And the computer engine went as follows. After Queen to D3 the engine played
Pawn up now because it is stopping the Queen from sacking itself by taking the Rook. And
then from here white does play Rook to D1. But the attack just builds up here with a
check. King moves to G1. Discovered check again. King moves to F3. Now the Bishop comes
in to take that Rook. And white plays Bishop to E3. Black checks. Queen captures. And then
Rook lands a check. King takes. Rook captures Queen. And from this position this Pawn is
pinned. It can’t come down to block the Bishop. And there’s just going to be white
Pawns getting munched left and right here. And this is a very very strong position for
black. So even with computer assistance after the Queen sacrifice here on F3 it is pretty
much game over for white. Now speaking of engine assistance, I want to take a moment
and talk about Morphy’s attacking line. Because as it turns out there’s an even
quicker mate that he missed in those lines. And it took place after Morphy played Bishop
to H3. And you’ll recall from the match that after he… his opponent played Rook
to D1, Morphy landed the check. The King went to G1. Morphy captured the Pawn. And in this
position after the King went to F1 Morphy checked again with the Bishop on G2. Which
was fine, it was still a winning position. But as the engines show there’s a quicker
mate in this position by playing Rook up to G2. And basically there’s not a lot of options
for white here in this position. One of them is Queen to D3. But regardless of what white
does in this position black can simply check with the Rook. The Rook is being protected
by the Bishop, so can’t be taken. So the King moves off to G1, the only square that
it has. And then after Rook check on G2. It doesn’t matter if the King goes to F1 or
H1 it is going to be checkmated either way. For example, King to H1 leads to checkmate
here. Or alternatively King to F1 simply leads to checkmate here. So either way really it
is a victory for black. That would’ve happened a little bit quicker but quite honestly that
is really not important when you’re looking at this game. Sure it is there, sure there’s
a quicker mate, but really the beauty of this game lies in the Queen’s sacrifice which
took place here when, you know, Morphy just came crashing into the position with the sack.
And after this it was all over for white. So even though there was a quicker mate that
the engine found in Paul Morphy’s line, the fact of the matter is that Paul Morphy
came up with it. And most importantly he came up with it in 1857 without the help of computer
analysis or programs. So it really just shows how strong of a tactical thinker he was. And
not only just a tactical thinker but just a very strong positional player, you know,
and really good at generating candidate moves. I really think that he saw at this point in
the game, you know, when I looked at the game history and the lore behind it, it is rumored
that he took about 12 minutes to think of the move before he sacked the Queen. And I
really firmly believe that he could see that there really was no alternatives for white
and that regardless of what white played he was going to win the match. And I think that
that is just really amazing. So I hope you guys enjoyed the video. Take care and we will
see you next time!

100 thoughts on “Grandmaster Chess Tactics #4: Can you spot the line?

  1. In this position for white.. I like (1.Bxf7+ because the rook cant take due to Re1+ by black followed by RF1 by white then RxF1++) So 1.Bxf7,Kh1 2. Qxf1, Qxf1 3. Re1 (White queen cannot take the rook due to Rxq++ after) so white has to play g4 then 4.RxQ+,Kg2 5. Rxc1, Kxf2) Then Black is up a rook and a bishop and can easily win. But its all about preference I guess. Great Vid.

  2. I actually meant In this position for black I like "(1.Bxf7+ because the rook cant take due to Re1+ by black followed by RF1 by white then RxF1++) So 1.Bxf7,Kh1 2. Qxf1, Qxf1 3. Re1 (White queen cannot take the rook due to Rxq++ after) so white has to play g4 then 4.RxQ+,Kg2 5. Rxc1, Kxf2) Then Black is up a rook and a bishop and can easily win. "

  3. 6:15 at this moment the white needs to play Q to C4 check (not B to A3 witch is laim) and then d4!!! and white can win the game

  4. at the starting position, can someone tell me why black would take the white rook next to the king. then white has two options, kill the queen with his own queen which would lead to mate or kill the queen with the black king, which would also eventaully lead to mate. why didnt he just end the game quickly?

  5. That's incorrect. Taking with the bishop actually swings things right back to white's advantage after KxF2. Black has no solid reply and white is almost up a full piece in material strength. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  6. How is it mate in 1? White has QF1, BxF1 RxF1. The position is still better for black but nowhere near as strong as what Morphy played.

  7. B6 to f2 from the bishop would have also ended it in check mate. if the kings takes instead of the rook it is a lot more tricky but still forced.

  8. That's incorrect. Taking with the bishop actually swings things right back to white's advantage. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  9. after looking at it more it may not be forced. the key is for when the rook comes down to check white instead of the bishop taking the king retreats. so it looks like b6f2 does not automatically force a mate.

  10. It's mate in 2 still after Rxh2 soon to be followed by Rh1 mate. Black doesn't even need to take the queen after it takes the bishop. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  11. I paused the video. I say the best move is the queen taking the rook. Then queen takes queen; rook to E1; queen takes rook, rook takes queen mate.

  12. backsliderking i saw 2 seconds agow accectly the same thing.

    Queen takes Tower. King takes Queen Tower goes 2 E1 end simply checkmates. Whaha a child can see that xD.


    Didnt looked good. It isnt possible to checkmate there because when the Black Queen takes the Tower on F1 The White Queen would take back the black Queen on F1.

    Excuse me for my stupidness. xD

  14. If white queen takes rook on f1, then black queen takes back on f1, white rook on white rook on e6 move to e1. But black queen can choose not to take the rook on e1 and get mated. Black can move other pieces and be safe. If white rook takes queen, king takes back and the rook on e8 cannot go to e1 because the king will take that rook.

  15. I came up with some alternative moves ………..please comment your views on the same.
    Black Queen takes white queen … the white rook moves to a6. Black rook moves to E2 or E1. And from there with lot many variations Black can win game in 3 to 4 moves .

    Comment on these line of moves ………

  16. I was thinking on Bf2+ king captures (if rook, then mate :)) then Re2+, BxRe2, Qf5+ but then I realize its bullshit, so I watched vid, and it was O.O Im so stupid sometimes…

  17. Doesn't work out – white doesn't have to take the rook on E1 and will be better in the position. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  18. I have a question.
    After black played bishop[f2-e3] (4:20)…
    Why doesnt white move the rook from f1 to f2?
    The black rook on h6 cant attack this way. If black takes the white rook on f2 he will lose an rook too and his attack will crumble.

    What would black do? Attacking the king with e2-e1? I have no board here, so i cannot try it out to the end.

    Or am i missing something important?
    Its am not that good of a player, so it might be i am just trying to pull something stupid.
    Excuse me then.

  19. am i missing something here or could blacks queen have taken the rook then when the king takes black could bring down its rook and that would be chechmate?

  20. A3 white Queen
    Black queen captures rook, white queen recaptures. Black Rook to E1 to pin. White move is irrelevant. Rook takes queen, king takes rook. White up a rook.

  21. I'm actually not as super impressed by this as others might be (I'm not in the least doubting that it's superb chess). But, with the power he had bearing down on the king's position, with 2 rooks ready to swoop in, and 2 bishops ALREADY in swoop position–it doesn't seem that amazing to use the queen as a "can opener." If you can't mate a fairly bound up king with 2 rooks and 2 bishops focused on it, then….you need to start playing backgammon.

  22. yes. after 1Qxf1 Qxf1 Re1! white has the option of simply moving a pawn to allow king escape or do something else since he is not yet checked. He will be checked when Re1xf1 and then he can simply take the rook as it is no longer protected and that is only a queen and rook trade.

  23. I saw queen takes rook at the beginning and then when the white queen recaptures the black queen on f8 black would simply play re1 pinning the black queen and winning it for only a rook. this line is obviously not as strong as the queen sack, but i found it intresting

  24. Jrobi at the start of the video white isn't really looking for a queen trade although he don't mind. But the main point of the move Qa6 is getting Qf1+ (with mate soon) out the position.

    What a nice line Morphy came up with.

  25. after he moves the bishop to h3 why the white player just let the bishop eat the root on 1f? i just don't get it why the why player move that root? somebody please explain.

  26. I see a much quicker mate in this game, requiring only two moves: At 2:31, Black bishop moves up to H3 and White rook retreats to D1. Next move should have been black's other bishop comes crashing in at F1, which puts him one move away from mating by moving the H3 bishop to G2.

  27. @maliciamuzenza

    After White queen takes Black queen and is pinned by the Black rook, White queen doesn't take the Black rook. White moves pawn for an escape square. If Black trades rook for queen then they are even- both lost a rook and a queen.

  28. if you actually notice, he never even had to use the "discovered checks" he could have brought over his dark square bishop from the beginning. Same result 4 less moves.

  29. i read somewhere that morphy only thought for 12 minutes on the QxB move! Which was apparently very long for him.

  30. I cant believe you said you did not know paul morphy he is a chess god and seconed is bobby fischer" dude I like your vids nice and sweet but you did not know a lot about morphy he is and was and will be nbr 1 chess god and 3rd would be kasaprov….like hello

  31. I played this one on my board. I did find an alternative, but it only works if black captures with his F1 Rook, which is the most likely response from an amateur, but a pro or the computer might not make that mistake, and may capture with the King.
    1. Sacrifice black Bishop on B6 to F2. F1 Rook captures
    2. Then move E6 to E1, check. White will have to block with F2 to F1.
    3. Capture F1 Rook for checkmate.

  32. In the line: 1. … Qxf3 2.gxf3 Rg6+ 3.Kh1 Bh3 4.Rd1 Bg2+ 5.Kg1 Bxf3+ 6.Kf1
    6. …Rg2 7. Qxb6 is not enough either( 7. … axb6 is weak as after 8. d4 Bxe1 9.Kxg2 white survives 馃檪 ) 7. … Rxh2! black wins. The same happens after 7. d4 Rxh2 8. Be3 Rh1X

  33. 1…Bxf2 doesn't win with checkmate although, as I see, presents a beautiful game and wins at least by material:
    路 2.Rxf2 Re1 3.Rf1 Rxf1++

    or 2.Kh1 Qxf8 3.Qxf8 Re8:

    路 4.h3 Bg3 5.Kg1 Rxf1+ 6.Kxf1 Re1++
    路 4.g3 Bh3 5.Bg2 Rxf1+ 6.Bxf1 Re1 7.d4 Rxf1++
    路 but 4.g4 Rxf1+ 5.Kg2 Rxc1 6.Kxf2 saves de game and white should play an endgame with less material

  34. About the video line, provably I'm wrong because they are the grandmaster, but I think that:

    1…Qxf3 2.gxf3 Rg6+ 3.Kh1 Bh3 then white can ignore the rook, because he is up on material. Then white could play 4.Qd3 (threating the rook) and I think it stops the attack.
    Something like that:
    路 4.Qd3 Bg2+ 5.Kg1 Bf3+ 6.Qxg6 hxg6 7.d4 white wins…
    路 4.Qd3 Bxf2 5.Qxg6 hxg6 6.Rd1 white got advantage
    路 4.Qd3 Rg5 5.f4…
    路 4.Qd3 f5 5.Qc4+ Kf8 6.Qh4 (6…Bg2+ 7.Kg1 Bf3+ Qg3) 6…Bxf1 7.Ba3

  35. Great video! I'm curious, doesn't it look like Morphy could have played Bxf2+ ! instead of saccing the queen at the start and got a winning attack that way? Or did he have to do a queen sacrifice?

  36. @lawltaxcuts I'd have to look at it more, but it looks like you might be right, although it would certainly still be dangerous for White!

  37. You say that Morphy "missed" the quicker mate. You misunderstand Morphy. He was a Romantic and wanted the longer mate, a longer mate has more flash.

  38. Morphy was upset that Paulsen often took over an hour per move. He probably opted for the longer mate for the psychological effect. I doubt Morphy missed anything.

    Also, Fischer said Morphy took 12 minutes to think about the queen sac to be sure of every combination. Morphy often played very fast, usually taking less than 5 mins per move.

  39. @natdogrocker and others: Bxf2+ was the move I thought as well, but after 1…Bxf2+ 2. Kxf2! (instead of Rxf2) there is no straightforward win for black.

  40. Hey there, i am new to chess but this is what i saw. Curious to see what you think. Black queen takes F1(rook) – check. White queen retakes. Black rook Moves to E1. White queen takes rook. Black Rook takes white queen for check mate. I guess the only problem then is the possibility of white not taking the rook? And moving a pawn to allow space for the king? Idk, Hah

  41. Yes, the queen has no reason to take the rook. Black isn't close to getting a checkmate on that line, so white can just move a pawn forward as an escape when he needs it.


  43. I thought I saw QxQ, RxQ, Re1 Rxe1,Re1!! Although upon further looking at it I see that if after QxQ then RE1, the white rook on G1 can just ignore the R and if black takes that rook then K can take it and be defending the E file against the second rook, so that play fizzles out simply by white declining to take the E file rook which would lead to his being check mated if he took it. I was considering QxB also but I didn't follow it through to see exactly how white could win on the initiative.

  44. The whole reason this line works is because black is cut off from defending his King once the K's defending pawn on the G file is removed. Even a Queen sacrifice deficit for black is easily overcome by the relentless attack to follow based on the uninhibited access to whites King that black has now exposed…

  45. I too gave a thought on queen takes rook on f1. But little deep look in to the position and all we get is reduction of the heavy pieces. We do have attacks with dark square bishop and the two rook. But i think the white king can escape pushing a pawn up and making some room. And also the light square bishop can be used in defence.
    Qxf1 Re1
    Bb2 Bxc2+
    And we probably have no good moves

    If bishop on f3 was not there than we could have plyed Re7+
    Not good

    Qxf3 best.

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