I want to play my openings like Morphy, my middlegames like Alekhine, and my endgames like Capablanca.
Boy, do you have the wrong teacher. — Conversation with a student
The American champion Paul Morphy was the original positional chess master, the first player to demonstrate the underpinnings of a successful attack against the enemy king.
In a nutshell, Morphy’s games taught us to: Get better center control, get better development, get better king safety. Then from that superior position — if you’ve got more space, time, and safety, you’ve clearly got a superior position — attack the enemy king by opening files for the rooks.
It all starts with gaining an edge in the center. Give any chessplayer the white pieces, and two moves in a row to begin the game. That player will most likely roll out d2-d4 plus e2-e4.
White is off to an excellent start. The pawns occupy two center squares, attack two others, and those two pawn moves are the only ones necessary for full development of the pieces.
My teacher says in a carefree way: Play those two moves no matter what Black does.
Morphy wanted things to be a little more complicated than that. He wanted to put pawns on d4 and e4, and maintain them.