Classical Games Everybody Should Know.

  • GM Gserper
  • | Aug 28, 2011

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 Smile If you have troubles solving this puzzle, read this article of mine:


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:
to be continued...


  • 6 weeks ago


    classical game is important chapter of chess education :)

    tank you

  • 8 weeks ago


    How can I study the instructive classical games? Does anyone recommand me any books?

  • 18 months ago


    very instructive lessons. I watched it repeatedly.

  • 5 years ago


    good lessons. Thanks.

  • 5 years ago


    This type of presentation helps me remember the principles, better than going over a game myself, that's for sure

  • 5 years ago


    very sound advice, thanks. But what classical games would be the most instructive for beginners like me?

  • 5 years ago


    Great Lessons! I really liked the way he has demopnstrated.

  • 5 years ago


    A very nice article. There's so much we can learn from the past as with most of life's lessons. It was said that one should "...learn from the past, live in the present

    and prepare for the future..."

  • 5 years ago


    thanks really helpful

  • 5 years ago


    i was once a victim of fried liver attack and now i know where it comes from. good job GM Serper and more to come.

  • 5 years ago


    Great article! Keep them coming...

  • 5 years ago


    my first chess book was bobby fischer teaches chess which was mostly mateing patterns. this artical shows more complex patterns and is good for all players to study ... just like the basics of openings and the basics of theend game. did you see the game where it was K+Q vs K+R that ended in a draw?

  • 5 years ago


    That Ruy Lopez game was brillant.  It was magical. 

  • 5 years ago


    I have studied the Candidates Tournament, Zurch 1953, and found some beautiful gems such as Gufeld-Euwe and Averbak-Kotov.  In the former game, Max Euwe sacrifices a rook to trap Gufeld's queen into the corner and then commences a powerful counter attack - this game is not discussed in any chess manuals that I owned.  As for the latter game, Alexander Kotov beautifully sacrifices a queen and decoys the white king to the reserves - perhaps the best game up to that time.

  • 5 years ago


    Thank you very much. Part 2?

  • 5 years ago


    I never read Steinitz but I did when I heard that Fischer spent hours studying his games.

  • 5 years ago


         We can still learn from the masters of past eras:  I believe those classical games is a testament to that. 

  • 5 years ago


    Very good article. Thank you!

  • 5 years ago


    Nice article and puzzles, let all the boneheads who can't (or won't) learn anything from the masters prior to Fischer (Karpov, Botvinnik or whoever) delete whatever they want to!

  • 5 years ago



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