Used as a measuring stick against players of his era, the 1850’s, Morphy’s opening knowledge, while profound, was not creative, his endgame skills were technically in advance of his time, his tactical skills were among the best, but as previously pointed out, not necessarily superior to other great players. It was his positional understanding that was superior to all the players of his time.
In this post we will be looking at how Morphy handled the same opening as played by Blackburne in the previous game. We will see Morphy’s handling was quite different than Blackburne’s; Morphy chose a positional approach in contrast to Blackburne’s attacking style. Morphy’s 11.Be3 was not the only time he played it; he also used the move in a game 6 years earlier.
As Morphy’s handling of the position became known, the move 11.Be3 came to be adopted by leading masters as the standard line.
When playing the Evan’s Gambit, White must be ready to play a P down for a good part of the game. On the other hand, if Black attempts to hang on to the P at all costs, White usually has a strong initiative. Black’s best chance is to complete his development even if it means returning the P.