Harrwitz was born in Breslau (Wrocław) in the Prussian Province of Silesia. He established his reputation in Paris, particularly as a player of blindfold games. He lost a match in England to Howard Staunton in 1846 at odds of a pawn and two moves, and drew a match with Adolf Anderssen in Germany in 1848.
Harrwitz lived in England from 1849, and founded the British Chess Review. In 1856 he moved to Paris, where he won a match against Jules Arnous de Rivière. In 1858 he played a match against Paul Morphy in Paris. Harrwitz won the first two games, but lost the match 5½-2½. Harrwitz withdrew from the match, allegedly on grounds of ill health. He subsequently retired to the Austro-Hungarian county of Tyrol, dying in Bolzano in 1884.
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