heuristic: Rev. Moncure Daniel Conway
In July, 1858, I called on him (Morphy) at the Brevoort House, New York. He was a rather small man, with a beardless face that would have been boyish had it not been for the melancholy eyes. He was gentlemanly, and spoke in low tones. It had long been out of the question to play with him on even terms; the first-class players generally received the advantage of a knight, but being a second-class player I was given a rook. In a letter written at the time I mention five games in which I was beaten with these odds, but managed (or was permitted) to draw the sixth. It is added:--
When one plays with Morphy the sensation is as queer as the first electric shock, or first love, or chloroform, or any entirely novel experience. As you sit down at the board opposite him, a certain sheepishness steals over you, and you cannot rid yourself of an old fable in which a lion's skin plays a part. Then you are sure you have the advantage; you seem to be secure--you get a rook--you are ahead two pieces, three!! Gently, as if wafted by a zephyr, the pieces glide about the board; and presently as you are about to win the game a soft voice in your ear kindly insinuates, Mate!