Paul Morphy - Chess History Part 2 (Champion of the First American Chess Congress)
Schooling and the First American Chess Congress
After 1850, Morphy did not play much chess for a long time. Studying diligently, he graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, in 1854. He then stayed on an extra year, studying mathematics and philosophy. He was awarded an A.M. degree with the highest honors.
He next was accepted to the University of Louisiana to study law. He received an L.L.B. degree on April 7, 1857, in preparation for which he is said to have memorized the complete Louisiana book of codes and laws.
Not yet of legal age to begin the practice of law, Morphy found himself with free time. He received an invitation to participate in the First American Chess Congress, to be held in New York in the fall of 1857. At first he declined, but at the urging of his uncle he eventually decided to play. He defeated each of his rivals, including the strong German master Louis Paulsen in the final round. Morphy was hailed as the chess champion of the United States, but he appeared unaffected by his sudden fame. According to the December 1857 issue of Chess Monthly, "his genial disposition, his unaffected modesty and gentlemanly courtesy have endeared him to all his acquaintances."
Please note the remarks below correcting the misleasing presentation from wikipedia.