backrank: This is one of the games Réti uses in 'Modern Ideas in Chess' to characterize Morphy's style. First Réti makes the general remark '(...) that his [Morphy's] opponents were unacquainted with the principle that the opening of the game was favorable to the side with the better development, and further that those opponents whose development was defective, in advancing pawns with the object of freeing their position only opened up avenues of mobility for the pieces of the other player.'
As to the above game, Réti comments on Whites 8. move (Ba3):
'The move recommende by theory is 8. Qb3; but the text move corresponds with Morphy's mode of play. The intention is, after Black's ... d6, to effect a breakthrough by e4-e5, and to drive home his start in development by a complete opening up of the game.'
Réti's comment on Black's 12th move (Ng4):
'Already e5 was threatened.'
On move 15 (Be2):
'And now f4 to be followed by e5. Of little use would 15. Bb3 have been by reason of the reply 15. ... Be6.'
On Black's move 15. ... f5:
'The opening of the game with a defective development is the principle error by which Black loses. 15. ... f6 was right. One observes that by reason of the move that was made, namely ... f5, both the e-file as well as the diagonals a1-h8 and a2-g8 were opened and to White's advantage, as the latter, thanks to his better development, is able to occupy them first.'
Réti had a wonderful way of explaining general principles of chess!