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The Morphy group is discussing the famous Morphy vs. the Duke and the Count from the Paris opera house, and I was thinking what an instructive game this was. Thinking further I asked myself what would be the ten most instructive games for a beginning player to know. Any ideas? (Doesn't have to be ten).
The Exeter Chess Club had a file with the "canonical chess games". Very interesting. Goggle for it!
Rook on the Seventh RankCapablanca vs Tartakower, 1924 (A80) Dutch, 52 moves, 1-0
The King Is a Strong PieceTal vs Lisitsin, 1956 (B71) Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation, 54 moves, 1-0
Knight Outpost at d5.Boleslavsky vs Lisitsin, 1956 (B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 30 moves, 1-0
Aggresive Rook in the EndingTarrasch vs E Thorold, 1890 (C07) French, Tarrasch, 56 moves, 1-0
The Passed PawnRubinstein vs Duras, 1908 (D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 39 moves, 1-0
Weak Pawns, Weak Squares and Mighty, Mighty KnightsH K Mattison vs Nimzowitsch, 1929 (E21) Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights, 23 moves, 0-1
Finesse in the EndingR Domenech vs Flohr, 1935 (B40) Sicilian, 30 moves, 0-1
Phalanx of PawnsPetrosian vs Kozali, 1954 (D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 29 moves, 1-0
Passed Pawn's Lust to ExpandFischer vs Berliner, 1960 (B03) Alekhine's Defense, 36 moves, 1-0
Rook and Pawn EndingSmyslov vs Reshevsky, 1948 (C75) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 52 moves, 1-0
King in the CenterTartakower vs M Frentz, 1933 (A18) English, Mikenas-Carls, 35 moves, 1-0
The Shifting AttackReshevsky vs Najdorf, 1957 (E42) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein), 33 moves, 1-0
A Touch of JujitsuPetrosian vs Korchnoi, 1946 (A90) Dutch, 23 moves, 1-0
The King-Side AttackTarrasch vs Von Scheve, 1894 (D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 1-0
Magnificent OutpostSmyslov vs I Rudakovsky, 1945 (B83) Sicilian, 29 moves, 1-0
The See-Saw Check, Zugzwang, and Other Tactical TricksA Kupferstich vs J Andreassen, 1953 (C27) Vienna Game, 34 moves, 1-0
The Two BishopsS Rosenthal vs Steinitz, 1873 (C46) Three Knights, 38 moves, 0-1
Variety of ThemesTartakower vs R Domenech, 1934 (A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 37 moves, 1-0
Coup de GraceAlekhine vs Yates, 1922 (D64) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, 38 moves, 1-0
The Powerful Passed PawnsAganalian vs Petrosian, 1945 (A54) Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3, 34 moves, 0-1
Bishop and a HalfBondarevsky vs Smyslov, 1946 (C85) Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD), 42 moves, 0-1
Problem-like FinaleFoltys vs Golombek, 1947 (B73) Sicilian, Dragon, Classical, 42 moves, 1-0
Board with ExcitementKeres vs A Tarnowski, 1952 (C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 40 moves, 1-0
Elegant SimplificationBotvinnik vs Boleslavsky, 1941 (C07) French, Tarrasch, 65 moves, 1-0
Four Endings in OneBlackburne vs Max Weiss, 1889 (C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 70 moves, 0-1
Bishop and Pawn Ending DeluxeMax Weiss vs Blackburne, 1889 (B01) Scandinavian, 57 moves, 0-1
Dispatching the King's MusketeersPetrosian vs Smyslov, 1961 (E12) Queen's Indian, 32 moves, 1-0
Odyssey of an Isolated PawnBurn vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1906 (D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 39 moves, 0-1
Zugzwang, the Invincible WeaponMarshall vs Lasker, 1907 (C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 50 moves, 0-1
Symphony of CombinationsE Eliskases vs Gruenfeld, 1933 (C53) Giuoco Piano, 53 moves, 1-0
Escorting the Potential QueenSchlechter vs J Mason, 1903 (C41) Philidor Defense, 47 moves, 1-0
Web of Black SquaresSchlechter vs W John, 1905 (D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 50 moves, 1-0
Endgame ArithmeticMieses vs Reshevsky, 1935 (B15) Caro-Kann, 40 moves, 0-1
In the Grand MannerJanowski vs Capablanca, 1916 (D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 46 moves, 0-1
March of the little PawnsPillsbury vs Gunsberg, 1895 (D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 40 moves, 1-0
Irresistable Pawn-RollerMarshall vs Capablanca, 1909 (D33) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 49 moves, 0-1
Quiet, Like a TigerBotvinnik vs Kan, 1931 (A96) Dutch, Classical Variation, 38 moves, 1-0
Endgame Duel- Knight against RookBotvinnik vs Vidmar, 1946 (D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 59 moves, 1-0
Perennial FavoriteBogoljubov vs Reti, 1923 (C11) French, 42 moves, 0-1
Command of the BoardRubinstein vs Schlechter, 1912 (D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 39 moves, 1-0
Surprise! SurprisePetrosian vs Pachman, 1961 (A04) Reti Opening, 21 moves, 1-0
Lured into ZugzwangMarshall vs Capablanca, 1918 (D64) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, 39 moves, 0-1
The Flash of a Mighty SurpriseF Olafsson vs Fischer, 1958 (D38) Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation, 44 moves, 1-0
Symphony of Heavenly LengthLarry Evans vs H Opsahl, 1950 (D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 81 moves, 1-0
Legal's mateDe Legal vs Saint Brie, 1750 (C41) Philidor Defense, 7 moves, 1-0
The danger of a center without pawns, the power of passed pawnsMcDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 (B32) Sicilian, 37 moves, 0-1
Space advantage, strong center, more active pieces and... wins!Morphy vs Harrwitz, 1858 (C41) Philidor Defense, 35 moves, 1-0
Steinitz begins a deadly king persecution with 16. ... Rxd2+!!Hamppe vs Steinitz, 1859 (C29) Vienna Gambit, 23 moves, 0-1
The weakness of the black squares culminates with 25. Bd6!!Tarrasch vs Von Scheve, 1894 (D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 1-0
Well, if you're not going to castle...Pillsbury vs Marshall, 1894 (C31) King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit, 29 moves, 0-1
Weak squares, fixed pawns.Rubinstein vs Salwe, 1908 (D33) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 38 moves, 1-0
Nimzowitsch exploits the weak d4 and e5 squaresNimzowitsch vs Salwe, 1911 (C02) French, Advance, 39 moves, 1-0
Pawn grabbing in the openingsNimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914 (C11) French, 18 moves, 1-0
Sacrificing a pawn in order to paralyze blackNimzowitsch vs Hakansson, 1922 (C02) French, Advance, 28 moves, 1-0
Keep limiting your opponent and suddenly it's zugzwang!Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923 (E18) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3, 25 moves, 0-1
Knight blokade!H K Mattison vs Nimzowitsch, 1929 (E21) Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights, 23 moves, 0-1
Space advantage on both sides, followed by a-file penetrationCapablanca vs K Treybal, 1929 (D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 58 moves, 1-0
The advantage of the bishop pairFlohr vs Botvinnik, 1933 (E38) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5, 69 moves, 1-0
A bishop h2 sac, a king in the centerGlucksberg vs Najdorf, 1929 (A85) Dutch, with c4 & Nc3, 22 moves, 0-1
A decisive attack on the kingside through the weak f6 square!Euwe vs Flohr, 1939 (D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 39 moves, 1-0
The weakness of pawns on the squares of the opponent's bishopSmyslov vs Keres, 1951 (A12) English with b3, 56 moves, 0-1
Fixed pawns, passive piece positions, a file penetrationPetrosian vs Mecking, 1969 (B06) Robatsch, 41 moves, 1-0
Limited position, maneuvering, decisive breakthroughtKasparov vs E Torre, 1980 (A43) Old Benoni, 57 moves, 1-0
Blockade, paralysis, and zugzwangKarpov vs Ribli, 1980 (A35) English, Symmetrical, 35 moves, 1-0
The king penetrates weak dark squares in the middlegame!Short vs Timman, 1991 (B04) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 34 moves, 1-0
Well, what can you say?MacChess vs Bronstein, 1997 (A97) Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky, 60 moves, 0-1
Bagirov vs M Markovic, 1988 (A01) Nimzovich-Larsen Attack, 27 moves, 1-0
Simply precise!Spassky vs Keres, 1965 (E31) Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad, Main line, 50 moves, 1-0
Pillsbury vs Albin, 1895 (C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 45 moves, 1-0
Imo, Morphy vs count isouard is one of the most beautiful chess games ever played, and very instructive. It's pins pins pins, sac sac sac and mate
The most beautiful single move ever played (IMO) was the concluding move of Reti-Bogoljubov, New York 1924.
I don't know about that: What about the final move of Levitzky-Marshall 1912
Reti's move has more finesse!
I can picture Marshall POUNDING his final move down onto the chess board, with the Queen embedded in his fist... but I picture Reti making his final move, holding the Bishop in his fingertips, with his pinky delicately raised.
I think we can agree that both moves had a certain je ne sais pas
For the record, it's je ne sais quoi.
And I've always liked Fisher-Spassky games myself.
I wasn't going to point that out, because he's higher rated than I am. :p
When in doubt play the most vexing move.
I wouldn't pick either of those as the most beautiful move ever played (although I do like Reti's better).
I am gonna show the Opera game all week this week and twice today. It is an excellent game for beginners, highly entertaining and very instructive.
After I have shown it last week, I played a game against one of the boys from grade 4. He played black and did the philidor defense. Then he considered also moving the 3. .... Bg4. Then reconsidered, saying "if the duke did it, it is probably not good. If I play like the duke, you will play like Morphy!" Very cute.
A game that I found to be both instructive and entertaining has been dubbed, "The Game of the Century" (Byrne vs Fischer, 1956, New York).
I say entertaining because the first time I played through this game I literally broke out in laughter as I observed this 13 year-old's series of checks leading to checkmate. If you've never seen this game, check it out here:
Actually, you'll have to click on the 'Select A Different Game' box, and you'll find it there, along with some other great games, like Morphy's Opera game that others have been mentioning.
Sorry, but I've always thought that one was a bit overrated...
Oh yeah, that one was fun!
Hey, how come in two of the games mentioned in this thread the losers have the first name Efim (Bogoljubov and Geller)?
Mothers, don't name your sons 'Efim'!
You wouldn't think anybody would have to be told that...
I would venture to say that for many of us, the Morphy game kindled our love for this game.
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