Once I had a conversation with a very strong chess player and he casually mentioned that he was going to delete all the old games from his database because they were practically useless. I don't remember exactly his definition of 'old games', but I think it was 'everything before Fischer', or something similar. I was very appalled since I am an old-fashioned guy and also a product of the famous Soviet School of Chess which was generally based on a firm knowledge of the classical heritage. But since I was talking to a very strong chess player, I couldn't just dismiss his opinion as obvious rubbish.
So, do we need to study the old classical games? I still stick to my guns here and still believe that you really should know a certain amount of classical games if you want to be a strong chess player. And the reason is pretty simple. These days when two GMs play the game and one of them sees a very good idea, in most of the cases his opponent sees the same idea and of course prevents it. As a result, the idea is left behind the scenes and therefore spectators cannot really learn this idea unless it is specifically mentioned in the game annotations. Meanwhile in the ancient, less sophisticated times, when a great chess player had an idea, his opponent usually had no clue about it. Consequently we could see the whole process of implementing this idea from start to finish, which makes such games very instructive!
In this article I want to share some of the classical games which could be really beneficial for our readers. The games will be given in chronological order.
(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your chess skills, so the games are given as a Quiz. Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)
Here is a funny game where Ruy Lopez does not play the Ruy Lopez if you know what I mean If you have troubles solving this puzzle, read this article of mine: http://www.chess.com/article/view/typical-patterns-everyone-should-know--pin-unpin
Today every schoolboy knows about the "Fried Liver Attack". Here is the first game where it was played!
The next game is a legendary "Greco Attack" played by the author!
The next game was published in one of my first chess text books as an illustration of why you shouldn't bring your Queen into the game too early: