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Masters Criticizing Openings
Compiled by sleepyirv

One of the amusing features of chess analysis is how openings once ridiculed can became a regular feature of the chess world. The games below have notes by masters, grandmasters and even World Champions demurring openings that would one day became regular features of tournaments.

We should not judge these players too harshly, but let it be a lesson that one should not so quickly reject some odd early moves for there might be something there of value.

Morphy had a strong distaste for the "uninteresting" Sicilian
McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834  
(B21) Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4, 46 moves, 1-0

Capablanca isn't sold on this Slav Defense
Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910  
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 71 moves, 1-0

Teichmann scoffs at the Benoni Defense
Steinitz vs Tinsley, 1895  
(A57) Benko Gambit, 42 moves, 1-0

Capa sees the Sveshnikov, at best, a surprise opening
Schlechter vs Lasker, 1910  
(B33) Sicilian, 65 moves, 1/2-1/2

Alekhine discounts the e5 push in the Winawer
A Speijer vs Alekhine, 1910  
(C15) French, Winawer, 48 moves, 0-1

Alekhine has White doomed in Gruenfeld Exchange
Vidmar vs Alekhine, 1936 
(D85) Grunfeld, 23 moves, 1/2-1/2

Tarrasch doesn't buy 3...a6 in the Ruy Lopez
Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1896  
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 41 moves, 1-0

7 games

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