The Top 10 Chess Games Of The 1970s (And 110+ Honorable Mentions)
What are YOUR top chess games of the 1970s?

The Top 10 Chess Games Of The 1970s (And 110+ Honorable Mentions)

NM SamCopeland

The 1970s were a remarkable chess decade in many ways. After the action-packed 1960s—possibly my pick for the most high-quality chess decade of all time—the early 70s were awash with the drama of Bobby Fischer's run at the title of World Chess Champion. Almost all of the Chessgames notable games from 1970, 1971, and 1972 are Fischer games, and for good reasons. Similarly, this list features my personal favorite game from the 1972 match between Fischer and Spassky in the #1 slot.

However, after Fischer won the world championship, the decade appeared to drift a bit as Fischer disappeared from the scene, and his successor, Anatoly Karpov, was still young and not yet the proven legend he would become.

In this confusing period, I was surprised to find so many games I LOVED and wanted to include on this list. There are nearly 120 honorable mentions, the most I've featured so far, and many of these gems were new to me as I began my research.

Which of these honorable mentions most closely missed out on the top 10? Well, certainly MANY more Fischer games could have been included. It's not just an American bias that has lead to his games from 1970-1972 being celebrated. They are truly outstanding efforts. Also, Karpov vs. Spassky from 1974 is a favorite game of mine, but I had already covered it previously so I went with Karpov's more famous Dragon Sicilian against Korchnoi. Ljubojevic vs. Durao was a near miss as I love this game, but the computer improvement of 21...Rf8 was a bit hard to ignore. Lukov vs. Semkov is another favorite, but I narrowly rejected it as it strongly resembled the later Polugaevsky vs. Torre that I covered in the 1980s list a bit too much. Ultimately, the primary takeaway is that there are MANY incredible games inside and outside of the top 10, and my order could easily have been different.

Do I have any regrets INSIDE the top 10? To be honest, as I analyzed the little-known gem Pokojowczyk vs. Timoschenko, 1974 more closely, I wondered if it really deserved it's high slot. On the other hand, closer review of the little-known games Diemer vs. Trommsdorf, 1973 and Catig vs. Mills, 1974 only further affirmed to me their majesty. Truly, the only slots I felt clear on when building the list and looking back are my top three. I can't imagine Fischer vs. Spassky, Larsen vs. Spassky, and Bagirov vs. Gufeld not being in the top three.

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See also: Top 10 of the 1980s, Top 10 of the 1990s, Top 10 of the 2000s, Top 10 of the 2010s

Top 10 Games of the 1970s

#1: Fischer vs. Spassky, 1972, G6 (blog)

#2: Larsen vs. Spassky, 1970 (blog)

#3: Bagirov vs. Gufeld, 1973 (blog)

#4: Pokojowczyk vs. Timoschenko, 1979 (blog)

#5: Karpov vs. Korchnoi, 1974 (blog)


#6: Karpov vs. Andersson, 1975 (blog)

#7: Diemer vs. Trommsdorf, 1973 (blog)


#8: Reshevsky vs. Vaganian, 1976 (blog)

#9: Catig vs. Mills, 1974 (blog)

#10: Keene vs. Miles, 1976 (blog)

Honorable Mentions