Shibut wrote a book for Dover and Caissa Editions called Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory.
It’s packed with good stuff on Opening Theory Evolution, some worthwhile pictures, and writings by Alekhine and Steinitz. All of Morphy’s known games are included as well as Morphy’s games in which he gave odds.
I asked Macon 8-10 questions to which he ably and quickly responded. Here’s the two lengthiest answers:
2. What lead you to write about Morphy?
Every so often I resolve to “get serious” about chess and study it more systematically. I had one such spell back around 1988. In Jack Collin’s book ‘My Seven Chess Prodigies’ he talks about running his students through what he called the Parade of Champions or some such thing. The idea was to study 100 games by each of the world champions starting with Steinitz. I decided to put myself through this exercise, except I would do Collins et. al. one better by examining not just 100, but ALL the serious games of each champion. Also I decided to begin with Morphy rather than Steinitz. Once I got going, I further decided that I would not just study their games, but I would read everything I could get my hands on about the player under the microscope. In making all these extensions to the original Collins prescription, I knew I was probably dooming myself to never finishing the whole line of champions. But I was enjoying myself and felt I was really learning some things about chess, so whatever… I read and studied pretty much everything I could get my hands on about Morphy for almost two years. The notes I took and the observations I made along the way became the book.
8. What did you think of Steinitz and what he wrote about how Morphy would lose or blunder? It was my impression that often Morphy played just a little above the strength of his opposition. The tougher the opponent the more his skill showed. Maybe I am crazy as I haven’t examined that many games. Too bad that Morphy couldn’t play Coward Staunton I think his game would have been so UP he would have crushed him. But how many were like Fischer (who wanted to win every game until he got bored (on the road)?
When Steinitz wrote about Morphy, his point was really to write about himself—the new Modern School that he was very consciously defining. His Morphy is a little bit of a strawman: an icon of the old, romantic school that Steinitz wanted to contrast against his own Modern method. He does not ascribe blunders to Morphy, but he sort of passive-aggressively disses him by emphasizing how chess has changed SO much since those days, and Morphy could not possibly have been expected to understand my modern notions of X and Y… Of course there is evolution in chess (see the title of my book!) as each generation learns from the champions of preceding eras. However, Steinitz was chronologically that so far removed from Morphy. He was actually older than Morphy (born 1836, while Morphy was born 1837) and he played a lot of the same opponents.
This is an example of what you are going to get at the October 23-24 Morphy themed Chess Festival and the La Quinta Inn and Conference Center in Davenport, Iowa. You can register at an unbelievable price at La Quinta for $69.99 per night! I haven’t seen a decent price like that in 20 years! And, I am not getting nor taking any Kickback from the Hotel like some do. In fact, I never have (I think their prices for what I got were always too high anyway and I’ve stayed with the cheapest and some of the most expensive such as the Marriott in NYC). This is a real deal. Their address is 3330 East Kimberly Road, Davenport, Iowa 52807. When registering, to get this price instead of their usual $99.99, you have to tell them this is for the Morphy Chess Festival or the Quad City Chess Festival.
ONE LAST THING FOR THIS TIME
The center where I am having this event will hold 75 people because I am reserving the rest of the space for Thinkers’ Press Sales tables. If we get at least 60 to PAY and sign up, I will give away $50 Paul Morphy sculpted chess coins.
If I believed everything I’ve been told, there will be 200-1000 people coming to see, play, and hear GM Simon Wiliams, IM Andrew Martin (he tells me he has a perfect game to lecture on about Magnus Carlsen!), and Macon Shibut. Seeing as how it’s only going to hold 75, unless I raise ticket prices (which I will on July 1, it will then be $250), something will have to give and it will be, late-comers. not Significant Others who aren’t paying to participate.
Years ago there was a saying going around about me and running chess events. GOOD THING: Bob Does What He Says He Will Do. “BAD” THING: Bob Does What He Says He Will Do.
EVERYTHING REQUIRES COOPERATION
I looked HIGH, but not low, for the right kind of Celebrities and Attendees. Then my next priorities are to get the tickets sold so that when that is out of the way, I can concentrate on the millions of details. This time I would like to take video (and I bought the camera to do that with), interview people, bring in the news media (as we have done before and I already know who I am after). There will be games, prizes, and fun stuff too. T-shirts for sale (the logo is being worked on, but I need SIZES in advance. At the Last Chess Clinic in 2010 there was one shirt left, for me. Unknowingly, by me, I sold my own shirt because someone didn’t tell me in advance that they wanted one and they just grabbed mine. I must’ve taken an anxiety pill about then.
You are allowed to take photos, get autographs, and talk to the celebs. At the supper meals, wherever they will be, we will welcome you to find room at their table or near them. You can eat some place else if you want instead. I don’t have a place picked out yet. There can be up to two nights for that (supper with celebs) so please don’t hog (I’ve experienced it done before by those usually who seldom come to my other events.) For those who want to discuss or find out about publishing, etc. with Thinkers’ Press or myself (Bob Long) they are of course always welcome to eat with me. I’ve been trying to get Life Master John Blackstone to come barring any health problems. If he can, he’s worth the price of a ticket just for that!
ONE MORE THING, ACTUALLY, TWO
For lunch we are going to go the Boxed Lunch route provided by Hy-Vee Grocery. They have worked with me before and they are truly great. When I was at my class reunion 2 years go, a couple days before the event, the originally chosen caterer had declared bankruptcy and suddenly we were toast, not French Toast either. They asked the local Hy-Vee and by that Saturday evening everything was in place. The food was outstanding and one superlative after another. I am sure they will be asked to do the next event. Lowest bid is not always a good thing! I will check with the manager to find out what our choices will be and get back with you. Another reason we need to know as soon as possible if you are registering. Another reason I don’t like last minute sign ups, it screws up logistics. I don’t know the fee yet, probably between $10-15.
So if you register soon you will have my enthusiastic support and a NAME TAG badge. I am also trying to get Roger Rudolph to come. Can’t tell you why. If I can, that too will be worth your registration FEE. Bring your camera just in case.
The Simul, unlike previous years, will be FREE! GM Simon “Sez” Williams will be playing white and the King’s Gambit against your “forced” 1…e5. We haven’t yet figured how to get Andrew Martin and Macon Shibut into this simul, but you will be allowed to Decline or Accept the King’s Gambit and you have SIX MONTHS to learn it! It can be done. I will have King’s Gambit books for Sale in Advance by GM John Shaw, and a book by Nikolai Kalinichenko if you want to brush up. Another freebie for signing up is you will get, in your SWAG bag a book on the King’s Gambit Accepted 1912, won by Rudolph Spielmann and published by Thinkers’ Press with a retail price of $30.00… free for registering.
Every month I will be publishing additional details on this grandiose event. If you want to make sure you get every last detail, why not subscribe to the Bob Long Newsletter? For $29.95 you get 3 back issues and 9 more issues after that. Filled with all kinds of goodies, book reviews, commentary on S. WIlliams, A. Martin, and M. Shibut as well as a few things about me, Bob Long.
I want this event to be so successful that…
I am doing something nuts… I have two books listed on Amazon.com I call my Secrets books. They sell for $200 and I sold them at my Chess Clinics for $40 each, for TWO days only. Have I actually sold them for much more? Absolutely. GM Yermolinsky wrote a great review on the first one for me (The Critical Secret for Success at CHESS or ANYTHING Else). He was too chicken to publish it on Amazon for fear he would get all kinds of mail and requests from Amazon customers! Super lame. The second one, The Critical Secrets for Planning at CHESS, a metaphor, for ANYTHING ELSE was, in my opinion even better than the first because of the Long-Karbo Evaluation Method. At the max, $200, at the minimum, $80. For this event only $49.95 for the two of them! And if you want to know more about me, there is the 300 page The Chess Assassin’s Business Manual for $20!! Normally $35.00. Has additional material by Karsten Mueller, the German Endgame Giant on three favorite players: Richter, Tal, and Nezhmetdinov. Call 563-271-6657 to get information on shipping (very reasonable, about $6.00.)
PS: There are quite limited copies of these books. 15-20 of each.
Or you can get hold of me via: firstname.lastname@example.org
*** You can no doubt see why so many have told me “they are coming or want to come.” Like “Doubting Thomas”, the saint the proofing is in the payment. We take Credit Cards, PayPal (send to email@example.com), checks and money orders or cash if you happen to run into me. We are hoping you won’t have to pay in cash at the door, save that for the sales tables!