From August 6, 1859 until August 4, 1860, Paul Morphy “conducted the Chess Department” in the New York Ledger. There were fifty-two columns, written in English descriptive notation, with Morphy’s annotations given at the very end of the game, referenced by letter. We have converted the moves to algebraic notation, added diagrams, and merged the commentary into the game. We hope you enjoy Morphy’s NY Ledger Column.
The New York Ledger
New York, Saturday, March 17, 1860 [Column #32]
Conducted by Paul Morphy
Twenty-eighth of the series
between Labourdonnais and McDonnell
(The Sicilian Game)
White: McDonnell Black: Labourdonnais
1.e4 c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 e6 4.c3 d5 5.e5 f6 6.Na3 Nh6 7.Nc2 Qb6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 Bb4+ 10.Kf2 Bd7 11.h4
For comments on the opening we refer the reader to the games previously published in the Ledger.
11…fxe5 12.fxe5 0-0 13.Kg3
White here declines to exchange his queen’s bishop for Black’s king’s knight, and, considering the winning position he very soon obtains, we must pronounce the line of play adopted instead, to have been the correct one.
13…Nf5+ 14.Kh3 Be7 15.Bd3 Qd8 16.g4
Very well played.
An injudicious capture, courted by his adversary, and which ought to have resulted in Black’s defeat. 16.Nh6 would have been preferable, though still leaving the advantage with the first player.
17.Nxh4 Bxh4 18.g5 Bxg5 19.Qh5White has now acquired a winning position.
If 19…h6 20.Rg1 (best) Bxc1 21.Rxg7+ Kxg7 22.Qg6+ Kh8 23.Qh7 mate. Black may of course vary his 19th move, but it will be found that, in no case, can defeat be averted. [The engines give 19…h6 as a Black advantage. And upon 20.Rg1,the advantage is held by 20…Be8.-ed.]
M’Donnell does not here select the best move. 20.Rg1 was the coup juste, and must have speedily forced the game. Suppose 20.Rg1 Kh8 (best) 21.Rxg7 Kxg7 Mate in four moves. Or 21…Rf3+ 22.Kg2 Rxd3 23.Qxh6 winning easily. [The engines value the game move more highly.-ed.]
20…gxh6 21.Rag1+ Kh8 22.Qxh6
White should have continued thus: 22.Bxh7 Qe7 (best) 23.Bd3 and wins.
Again 23.Bxh7 was the correct play. 23.Bxh7 Qxh7 (23…Rf3+ 24.Kg2 winning.) 24.Qxh7+ Kxh7 25.Rg3 and wins.
23…Rg8 24.Qf6+M’Donnell might even now have captured the rook’s pawn with bishop, though not with the same effect as on the preceding moves. The check here given was one of the worst moves at his disposal; in enables Black at once to relieve himself from all embarrassment by an exchange of queens. [Indeed, Black is now winning.-ed.]
24…Qxf6 25.exf6 e5+ 26.Kg2 e4 27.Be2 Rxg3+ 28.Kxg3 Rg8+ 29.Kh4 Rg2 30.Rf1 Kg8
White, the reader need hardly be told, would immediately queen his advanced pawn, were his antagonist to capture the bishop.
31.Bd1 Be6 32.b4 a6 33.a4 Rh2+ 34.Kg5 b5 35.axb5 axb5 36.Bh5
This is mere desperation; the game is now irretrievably lost.
36…Rxc2 37.Ra1 Nd8 38.Ra7 e3 39.Rg7+ Kf8 40.Kh6 Nf7+ 41.Bxf7 Bxf7 42.Rg3 Rh2+ 43.Kg5 e2 44.Re3 Bh5 0-1
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