Morphy is probably the best player for the beginning player to study. Alas there are precious few games to go on, for he lived before the growth in international tournaments and was denied a match by Staunton.
Morphy more or less perfected the art of winning in open games: smooth, fast development, opening up lines for the attack, dynamic piece play throughout the game, ruthless cashing in of advantages, wonderfully imaginative combination play. Even against inferior opposition he plays with great energy and balance.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5
Morphy had many contemporaries who could attack as well as he, but more than anyone Morphy knew how to create an attack out of the opening through accurate play. Here he already has a development advantage and the two bishops.
6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 keeping the initiative going 7...Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5
White needs only two more moves to complete his development - breathtakingly efficient work.
9...b5 just the wrong sort of move 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0-0-0
Black's pieces are treading on each other's toes.
12...Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1
a nicely-coordinated crossfire of pins
14...Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+ apparently dramatic...
this masterpiece of economic development and slashing attack has become rightly famous; the final position is very neat 1-0
1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.f4 d6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.fxe5 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 dxe5
White has a development advantage and a passed d-pawn, all in seven moves!
8.Bb5+ Nd7 9.Nc3 Ngf6 10.Bg5 Be7 11.d6
11...Bxd6 12.0-0-0 1-0
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bd6 8.d4 Nh5 9.Nc3 Bf5 10.Ne2 Qf6 11.Nxf4 Ng3
a confused picture, where White's central hold is perhaps more secure
12.Nh5 Nxh5 13.Bg5 Bb4+ [13...Qg7] 14.c3 Qd6
White is offered material...
15.0-0 ...but completing development is more important
15...Ng7 16.Rxf5 Nxf5 17.Qxg4 Ne7 18.Re1
the last White piece enters the fight, and Black faces early defeat
18...h5 19.Qf3 Rh7
Well, White's pieces are well-placed, but how to push Black over the edge?
20.Bb5+ c6 21.dxc6 bxc6 22.Nxc6 Nbxc6 23.Bxc6+
the White force is perfectly coordinated and Black is helpless to defend all his pieces 1-0
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bd6 9.Nh5 0-0 10.Qd2 Qe8 11.g4
White is pushing his luck
11...Nxg4 12.Nxg4 Qxh5 13.Ne5 Nc6
Black is achieving his usual brisk development
14.Be2 Qh3 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.Be3 Rb8 17.0-0-0
not an easy decision
17...Rxf2 bold but probably too optimistic
18.Bxf2 Qa3 the point 19.c3 Qxa2 20.b4 Qa1+ 21.Kc2 Qa4+ 22.Kb2 Bxb4 23.cxb4 Rxb4+ 24.Qxb4 Qxb4+ 25.Kc2
Black has some material back, and his initiative persists
25...e3 a clearance sacrifice
26.Bxe3 Bf5+ 27.Rd3 Qc4+ 28.Kd2 Qa2+ 29.Kd1 Qb1+ White is in an insoluble muddle 0-1