A Chess Masterpiece But The Players Are 1500! - Best Of The 70s - Catig vs. Mills, 1974

A Chess Masterpiece But The Players Are 1500! - Best Of The 70s - Catig vs. Mills, 1974

NM SamCopeland

Do you desire to play a true chess masterpiece but feel you just aren't strong enough? This brilliant battle between two true chess amateurs (1500 players) shows that it is possible! Black (Michael Mills) plays the game of a lifetime, a game that would be the envy of many grandmasters.

IM Jeremy Silman (Mills coach back in 1974.) has dubbed this game, The Greatest Amateur Game of all Time‎, and popularized it with articles in Chess Life and Chess.com. Evidently, Mills had studied Vukovic's classic, "The Art Of Attack In Chess," prior to the game, and he drew on the book's inspiration to generate a stream of vivid and brilliant attacking moves.

Top 10 Games of the 1970s

The game opens with an Accelerated Dragon, an opening specialty of Mills' coach IM Jeremy Silman who wrote a classic work on the opening. Mills seizes the opening opportunities afforded him and with the traditional break 8...d5 gains a very strong position. Catig pushes forward with 10.e5 and must extend further to hold on to his advanced pawn. Mills advantage only grows.

Once the advantage is firmly in his hands, Mills inspiration shines through as he blasts his opponent with alternately strong and subtle moves such as 18...Bc8!!, 20...e5!!, 24.Re3+!!, 26...Rfe8!!, 27...Bg3!, and a final shot that I won't spoil.


  • Play ...d5! as soon as you can! For White, never allow this.
  • When behind on development and uncastled, address these issues and STOP PUSHING PAWNS.
  • Material is less important than king safety. Open that king!
  • When near checkmate, cover the final escape squares.

Annotations are below. Again, Silman's full article is here.

If you like the content and want to support it, subscribe and follow on YouTube and Twitch!