Morphy, Paul Charles (môrˈfē) [key], 1837–84, American chess player, b. New Orleans. At 10 he learned the game and at 21 was acknowledged as the greatest player in the world. Not only was Morphy possessed of a phenomenal memory, which he demonstrated in astounding feats of simultaneous blindfold play, but his style of play was in direct contrast to that of his time. He was a master of the open game, in which center pawns are exchanged, open files are utilized, and rapid development of the pieces is demanded. D. Harrwitz, J. Löwenthal, and Adolf Anderssen were among the many who succumbed to his crushing combinations. After 1859, when he had returned to New Orleans from world triumphs, mental instability ended his chessplay.
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