|THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY|
Before the First American Chess Congress, Morphy had had only three games published and had never even met in person most of the participants or organizers. Yet, it is obvious from their correspondence that Morphy's attendance was paramount and he was considered the leading American chess player. The only rationale for this is the reputation from his games with L÷wenthal, Rousseau and Ernest Morphy. It's apparent that L÷wenthal had spoken to Charles Stanley (the current U.S. champion) about Morphy - one reason that Stanley never accepted Ernest Morphy's challenge.
Still, many attendees expressed their healthy doubts about Morphy's real skill (although not within Judge Meek's hearing) believing that he had only succeeded so far against players who were rusty or past their prime. The irony was that Morphy was basically an unknown quantity at this time; his reputation was mostly by word-of-mouth and not entirely proven; yet, the expectation among the most knowing players was that Morphy would win the tournament.