To follow up my review of the Maroczy book on Morphy, I'd like to highlight a game from early on in Morphy's tournament career. It was played in the first round of the first American Chess Congress, but what struck me was not Morphy's play but that of his opponent. James Thompson played a Sicilian Defence, long before it was fashionable, and played it in a thematic manner. Of course the usual defensive lapses of the time were present, but Morphy still had to work hard for the win, and do so in a manner which is far more 'modern' than his more famous victories. There was no direct attack on the king, rather a battle over open files, the seventh rank and passed pawns. In the end Morphy won because he was able to transform positional advantages into a winning ending. And all this in 1857!
Morphy,Paul - Thompson,James [B44]
USA-01.Kongress New York (1.2), 07.10.1857