Monday, 25 June 2012

Paul Morphy: A Collection of His Games with Detailed Notes by Geza Maroczy

There have been a number of books written about Paul Morphy but what may be the best of these has not been available in English until now. Paul Morphy: A Collection of His Games with Detailed Notes was written by Geza Maroczy in 1909, but was only published in German. A little over 100 years later the first English translation of his work is available, from ePlusBooks. ePlusBooks produces electronic chess books for the iPad/iPhone/iPod with the emphasis on providing an interactive reading experience. Along with the text, each of the games can also be followed on an electronic chess board, which is part of the reading software.
For this book on Paul Morphy, the feature is a real bonus. Geza Maroczy put a huge effort into researching and producing this book, as it contains 408 games. More importantly he has annotated each of these games, including the games right at the end of his career against his friend Charles A. Maurian (played at Knight odds). The book is divided into chapters the focus on a significant periods or tournaments in Morphy's life, and Maroczy provides the historical background to each event. On the great controversy of Morphy's life, his non-match against Howard Staunton, he is reasonably circumspect, simply laying out the facts as they were then known, without attributing any supposed motives to Staunton's behaviour.
One of the great things about this book, is that Maroczy clearly devoted himself to the task of explaining as much of Morphy's play as possible. In his forward he states "I have striven for a correct and economical review of them that is not stingy with praise but which also does not skip lightly over mistakes ..." As the book was written over 100 years ago there is obviously no reliance more modern tools (ie computer software), or even a reliance of previously published works. This allows Maroczy to approach everything with a fresh eye.
Overall this book is a fantastic collection of games played by one of the great figures of chess. Not only can it be read for enjoyment, it can also serve as an excellent teaching tool, with many of the lessons from Morphy's games still relevant today. It is available through the e+Chess Books app for iOS (iPad/iPhone/Ipod) for around $16 (Aus). If you have so far been reticent to spend some of your cash on chess books on the iPad, I would strongly recommend you change your mind and grab this book.

(** The review copy of this book was provided to me by ePlusBooks **)


Anonymous said...

It is remarkable that a book by Maroczy about Morphy would only now be translated, a century on.

Anonymous said...

Speaking on behalf of e+Books, I should add that the book will also be available as a handsome hardback edition from Caissa Publications, for those who don't have iPads.
- Helen