The Top 10 Chess Games Of The 2000s! (And 70+ Honorable Mentions)
What did I get wrong? What were YOUR favorite games of the decade?

The Top 10 Chess Games Of The 2000s! (And 70+ Honorable Mentions)

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The 2000s were a turbulent chess decade. After Garry Kasparov lost the World Chess Championship in 2000 to Vladimir Kramnik, the cracks in the world chess structure became particularly apparent. While Kasparov was the undisputed best player in the world, it was possible for him to run a reasonably legitimate world championship cycle outside of the auspices of FIDE, but without his personal force, stature, and determination at the helm, the independent cycle became untenable.

In addition to Kasparov and Kramnik, the early 2000s saw world GMs Viswanathan Anand and Ruslan Ponomariov claim the title through the FIDE World Championship Knockout format. In 2005, after Kasparov retired, a FIDE World Championship tournament was held, with a scintillating performance in the first half (6.5/7), Veselin Topalov won the event and claimed the FIDE title.

Despite his impressive form in the middle of the decade, Topalov lost the reunification match to Kramnik, making Kramnik the first undisputed champion in a decade. The cycle then reverted to another tournament, this one won by Viswanathan Anand who held onto the title through the rest of the decade.

Whew!!! That's a pretty short summary that skips a LOT of toilet-based drama, but it is perhaps not surprising that in this context, one sees a great variety of players represented below on the list of the greatest games of the decade.

In addition, to some of the elite players from the decade (Topalov and Anand), one also sees a lot of young talents who reached the pinnacle of the world's elite in the next decade: e.g. Carlsen, Nakamura, and Vachier-Lagrave.

Magnus Carlsen, Chess Prodigy
A beast in the making, Magnus Carlsen in 2004. Photo: Wikimedia.

The decade also sees some great chess being played online with two games from the Internet Chess Club making the top 10.

The number-one game of the decade (per me anyway...) is Topalov vs. Levon Aronian. Topalov had an incredible decade. In addition to winning the FIDE World Championship, he held the #1 spot in the world rankings for 27 months, the most of any player after Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, Anatoly Karpov, and Bobby Fischer.

This particular game is a perfect example of Topalov's well-prepared dynamic style as he sacrifices two exchanges, and totally disregards king safety in an effort to maximize the potency of his pieces. In a beautiful game, he overwhelms Levon Aronian with his bishops and passed pawns.

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See also: Top 10 of the 2010s

Top 10 Games of the 2000s

#1: Topalov vs. Aronian, 2006

#2: Morozevich vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 2009

#3: Karjakin vs. Anand, 2006

#4: Rybka vs. Nakamura, 2008

#5: Fontaine vs. Vachier-Lagrave, 2007

#6: Sutovsky vs. Smirin, 2002

#7: Krasenkow vs. Nakamura, 2007

#8: Timofeev vs. Khismatullin, 2009

#9: Carlsen vs. Ernst, 2004

#10: Schmaltz vs. Har-Zvi, 2001

Honorable Mentions