Which classic chess masters to learn from?





kingandqueen2017 wrote:


Your rapid rating has gone down over 500 points in the last few weeks. I think the only thing OP could possibly learn from you is what NOT to do to improve.

Oh, and you are reported, by the way.


@Zero2Master_2030 - I think @Donnsteinz is on the right track. Basically look at all the world champions in order, but I would start with the unofficial world champions Anderssen and Morphy, and go right through to Carlsen. For this Kasparov's My Great Predecessors series is good, or you can get separate game collections, one for each player. At the same time you can try to read some books that summarize the historical developments, for example Reti's Masters of the Chessboard. But, I would not spend a great deal of time on this, maybe one year, because this is only a first step in your chess education.

Once you have looked at the different world champions, say 50 to 100 games for each (that's 800 games minimum, or 2200 maximum if you include FIDE and unofficial champions), then I think you should hire a coach for some discrete number of lessons (say 5 to 10 lessons). The coach should look at your games and give you the second step in your development program.

Edit-- P.S. I don't coach any more, so this second advice is not an attempt to drum up business. You don't *need* a coach to improve, but the right coach can save you much wasted time.

Edit2-- P.P.S. Don't get sidetracked early by a "favorite" world champion. There is time enough for that when you become strong. In fact it might be better to "adopt" one of the many strong players who did not become world champion. But you won't know until your knowledge of chess has become broader. Just do your world champions coursework for now.



Many Russian GMs believe the openings one play should follow the openings played in the history of chess. 

So you start with e4 and gambits as they teach you how to use the initiative and how to attack. Next you can move to classical openings like the QG in order to learn more about positional chess etc...


the lessons, puzzles, videos & endgame trainer features by themselves are more than sufficient to raise a player up to at least a 1500 rating if not 2000 or beyond.

a diamond membership here is a far better expenditure than hiring a coach for training.


1) Which opening?

The Queen's Gambit (1. d4 d5 2. c4) can teach you about the proper use of open files for your Rooks, and about Knight outposts. The Guioco Piano (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4) can teach you about development and center control.

2) Which classic chess masters to learn from?

Chess strategy evolved over the centuries, and you might consider studying a few masters from each era.

Andersson and Morphy (and perhaps Paulsen) are the obvious choices from the Romantic era. They played during a period when development, attack and center control were the only widely recognized elements of strategy.

After Morphy abandoned chess, Steinitz and Tarrasch introduced a more positional approach to the game. Lasker was a greater player, but he started no lasting school of thought in chess. Tarrasch was the great classifier and systematizer, but his dogmatic and uncompromising views soon brought about a counter-reaction in the form of the Hypermodern school, spearheaded by Reti, Nimzovich and Breyer.

As is so often the case, the "Hypermodern Revolution" fell in love with its own dogma; and it was up to the next generation... including Capablanca and Alekhine... to sort out the tangle and keep what was best from both the classical and hypermodern schools, while discarding most of their excesses. Capablanca was a master of technique, while Alekhine brought dynamism to a new pitch on the chess board.

After the Second World War (and beginning with Botvinnik) it is not so easy to separate the great players into distinct classifications of style... since the 1950s, an eclectic style has been the rule and the great players are almost equally at home in open or closed positions, attacking or defending.




Heavyweight openings which can be played for a lifetime and at the highest levels....and some thoughts (by ChessCoach Andras) on creating an opening repertoire.....finally, some book suggestions...

As White, if 1.d4 => Queen's Gambit.  If 1.e4 => either a) Giuoco Piano/Pianissimo or b) Ruy Lopez.

As Black, against 1. d4 d5 2. c4 => either the a) Queen's Gambit Declined or b) The Slav  or c) the Nimzo-Indian.

For Black against 1.e4 => either a) the Sicilian 1...c5 or b) 1...e5

ChessCoach Andras video on creating an openings repertoire.....there's a lot of very good advice here, and of course, perhaps some which may not appeal to you.  Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to at least give it a listen, for perspective, which will aid in your decision process...

The Amateur's Mind (for want of a better category) #3 A big rant about how to choose opening lines - ChessCoach Andras....

As for your concerns relating to the "benefits and "specific reasons" of the openings, I highly recommend to acquire the four-volume series "Mastering The Chess Openings" by John Watson.  These provide an exceptionally well-written, detailed exposition of opening theory, principles and plans for most of the major openings.  If one is seriously interested in understanding the "why's and wherefore's" of specific openings, and opening theory in general, these are, IMO, among the very best references for that purpose.   You might first get Volume 1 to see how you like it (you will), before acquiring the others.

Another book which does an equally outstanding job of explaining the theory and plans of all the major openings specifically in terms of their pawn structures...

Chess Structures: A Grandmaster Guide by Mauricio Flores Rios

So, in terms of learning the openings from a conceptual perspective, in terms of themes, plans and strategies etc., the aforementioned books are among the very best for that purpose.  They will be extremely useful in helping you decide which openings you might be interested in focusing on.

Finally, you might discover something here that is helpful...

Improving Your Chess - Resources for Beginners and Beyond...


I think games by capablanca are simple and strong, new wise, end game study, magnus. 


Do not worry about openings.
Just pick a defence against 1 e4, a defence against 1 d4 and an opening for white and stick to it: always play it against everybody so as to accumulate experience.
Simplest for beginners and world champions alike is to defend 1 e4 e5 and 1 d4 d5 as black and to open 1 e4 as white.

All world champions offer something to learn from.
The best resource is "My Great Predecessors" by Kasparov himself.