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The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played
Compiled by 0ZeR0

From the book The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev (1965):

"Chess, like love, is infectious at any age."

- Salo Flohr

Chess masters play to win. In doing so they would like to create masterpieces. They would like to conjure up brilliant combinations that leave everybody gasping with wonder and admiration - but first and foremost, they play to win, and win quickly and easily. The chess master knows which positions are favorable, and tries to bring these positions about. He knows that his pieces must be placed where they exert the utmost influence, and where they prevent the opponent's pieces from moving about freely. He knows that Rooks must seize the open files, with a view to gaining control of the seventh rank. He knows that Bishops must either command long diagonals, or else pin down and paralyze the opponent's Knights. He knows the squares on which his Knights must be posted to get a powerful grip on the position. He realizes the essential truth in Tartakover's epigram, "Seize the outpost K5 with your Knight, and you can go to sleep. Checkmate will come by itself." The chess master knows how to obtain a slight advantage, and then exploit it to the fullest. In short, he knows the strategy of winning. The games in this book are to my mind the most instructive examples in the whole literature of the game, of position play - the strategy of winning chess. Who, for example, will doubt the tremendous power exerted by a Rook posted on the seventh rank, after seeing Capablanca's delightfully clear-cut demonstration in game No. 1 against Tartakover? And who will not learn a great deal about the art of handling Rook and Pawn endings (the most important endings in chess), after playing through Tarrasch's game against Thorold? And can there be a more convincing illustration of the paralyzing effect on the opponent's position that comes from control of the black squares, than in the Bernstein-Mieses game? Or are there more enlightening and entertaining Bishop and Pawn endings than feature the two games between Blackburne and Weiss? These games, as well as all the others, are masterly demonstrations of the basic strategy of winning. So much so that I thought an appropriate title for a book of these games should be The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played. But I might just as well have called this collection The Most Beautiful Games of Chess Ever Played.

- Irving Chernev

Rook on the Seventh Rank
Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924  
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 52 moves, 1-0

The King is a Strong Piece
Tal vs Lisitsin, 1956 
(B71) Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation, 54 moves, 1-0

Knight Outpost at Q5
Boleslavsky vs Lisitsin, 1956 
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 30 moves, 1-0

Aggressive Rook in the Ending
Tarrasch vs E Thorold, 1890 
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 56 moves, 1-0

The Passed Pawn
Rubinstein vs Duras, 1908  
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 39 moves, 1-0

Weak Pawns, Weak Squares and Mighty, Mighty Knights
H Mattison vs Nimzowitsch, 1929  
(E21) Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights, 23 moves, 0-1

Finesse in the Ending
R Domenech vs Flohr, 1935 
(B40) Sicilian, 30 moves, 0-1

Phalanx of Pawns
Petrosian vs H Corral, 1954 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 29 moves, 1-0

Passed Pawn's Lust to Expand
Fischer vs Berliner, 1960 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 36 moves, 1-0

Rook and Pawn Ending
Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1948 
(C75) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 52 moves, 1-0

King in the Center
Tartakower vs R Frentz, 1933 
(A18) English, Mikenas-Carls, 35 moves, 1-0

The Shifting Attack
Reshevsky vs Najdorf, 1957 
(E42) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein), 33 moves, 1-0

Every Move a Threat!
M Porges vs Lasker, 1896  
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 33 moves, 0-1

A Touch of Jujitsu
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1946 
(A94) Dutch, Stonewall with Ba3, 23 moves, 1-0

The King-Side Attack
Tarrasch vs Von Scheve, 1894  
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 1-0

Magnificent Outpost
Smyslov vs I Rudakovsky, 1945 
(B83) Sicilian, 29 moves, 1-0

The Art of Exchanging Pieces
Menchik vs Capablanca, 1931 
(A47) Queen's Indian, 42 moves, 0-1

The Isolated Pawn
Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1914  
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 46 moves, 1-0

The See-Saw Check, Zugzwang, and Other Tactical Tricks
M Kupferstich vs H Andreasen, 1953 
(C27) Vienna Game, 34 moves, 1-0

The Two Bishops
S Rosenthal vs Steinitz, 1873 
(C46) Three Knights, 38 moves, 0-1

Variety of Themes
Tartakower vs R Domenech, 1934 
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 37 moves, 1-0

Systematic Strangulation
Tarrasch vs Showalter, 1898 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 42 moves, 1-0

Good Bishop and Bad Bishop
L Barden vs Rossolimo, 1950 
(B85) Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical, 38 moves, 0-1

Coup de Grace
Alekhine vs Yates, 1922  
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 38 moves, 1-0

The Powerful Passed Pawns
Aganalian vs Petrosian, 1945 
(A54) Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3, 34 moves, 0-1

Bishop and a Half
Bondarevsky vs Smyslov, 1946 
(C85) Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD), 42 moves, 0-1

Prophetic Strategy
Tarrasch / allies vs Paulsen / allies, 1888 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 49 moves, 1-0

Problem-like Finale
Foltys vs Golombek, 1947 
(B73) Sicilian, Dragon, Classical, 42 moves, 1-0

A Pawn Is a Pawn Is a Pawn
Kashdan vs H Steiner, 1932 
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 59 moves, 1-0

Board with Excitement
Keres vs A Tarnowski, 1952 
(C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 40 moves, 1-0

Elegant Simplification
Botvinnik vs Boleslavsky, 1941 
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 65 moves, 1-0

Four Endings in One
Blackburne vs M Weiss, 1889 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 70 moves, 0-1

Bishop and Pawn Ending Deluxe
M Weiss vs Blackburne, 1889 
(B01) Scandinavian, 57 moves, 0-1

Brilliant Career of a Pawn
Panov vs Taimanov, 1952 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 55 moves, 1-0

Dispatching the King's Musketeers
Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1961 
(E12) Queen's Indian, 32 moves, 1-0

The Sheltering Pawn
W Schlage vs Reti, 1928 
(B29) Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein, 47 moves, 0-1

The Power of Position Play
Capablanca vs Allies, 1920 
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 42 moves, 1-0

That Old Black Magic
O Bernstein vs J Mieses, 1904 
(B45) Sicilian, Taimanov, 49 moves, 1-0

The Singular Strategy of Steinitz
Steinitz vs A Sellman, 1885 
(C11) French, 35 moves, 1-0

The Odyssey of an Isolated Pawn
Burn vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1906 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 39 moves, 0-1

Zugzwang, the Invincible Weapon
Marshall vs Lasker, 1907 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 50 moves, 0-1

Symphony of Combinations
Eliskases vs Gruenfeld, 1933 
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 53 moves, 1-0

Escorting the Potential Queen
Schlechter vs J Mason, 1903 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 47 moves, 1-0

The Pillsbury Bind
Chekhover vs I Rudakovsky, 1945 
(D61) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, 39 moves, 1-0

The Galloping Knight
Tarrasch vs Vogel, 1910 
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 37 moves, 1-0

The Roving Rook
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 66 moves, 1-0

Web of Black Squares
Schlechter vs W John, 1905 
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 50 moves, 1-0

Endgame Arithmetic
J Mieses vs Reshevsky, 1935 
(B15) Caro-Kann, 40 moves, 0-1

In the Grand Manner
Janowski vs Capablanca, 1916  
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 46 moves, 0-1

March of the Little Pawns
Pillsbury vs Gunsberg, 1895 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 40 moves, 1-0

Irresistible Pawn-Roller
Marshall vs Capablanca, 1909 
(D33) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 49 moves, 0-1

Quiet, Like a Tiger
Botvinnik vs Kan, 1931 
(A96) Dutch, Classical Variation, 38 moves, 1-0

Cornucopia of Ideas
E Zagoryansky vs P Romanovsky, 1943 
(E43) Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation, 63 moves, 0-1

Endgame Duel - Knight against Rook
Botvinnik vs Vidmar, 1946 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 60 moves, 1-0

Perennial Favorite
Bogoljubov vs Reti, 1923 
(C11) French, 42 moves, 0-1

Command of the Board
Rubinstein vs Schlechter, 1912 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 39 moves, 1-0

The King Takes a Walk
Botvinnik vs Kan, 1943 
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 44 moves, 1-0

Surprise! Surprise!
Petrosian vs Pachman, 1961  
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 21 moves, 1-0

Bolt from the Blue
D Andric vs D Djaja, 1949 
(E17) Queen's Indian, 37 moves, 1-0

Lured into Zugzwang
Marshall vs Capablanca, 1918 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 39 moves, 0-1

The Flash of a Mighty Surprise
F Olafsson vs Fischer, 1958 
(D38) Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation, 44 moves, 1-0

Symphony of Heavenly Length
Evans vs H Opsahl, 1950 
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 81 moves, 1-0

62 games

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