Whose annotated games should a beginner study first?

Whose annotated games should a beginner study first?

  • Steinitz
  • Morphy
  • Capablanca
  • Alekhine
  • Nimzowitsch
  • Fischer
  • Petrosian
  • Karpov
  • Kasparov
  • Other?

Created on September 4, 2011 | 5425 Votes | 105 Comments


  • 5 years ago


    Bent Larsen.

  • 5 years ago


    I'm suprised that so many people chose Morphy, personally my favorite Chess player is Alekhine, and I chose Capablanca for the sheer purpose of his superior calculations and positional play.

    Morphy is very strong for early development, but his tactics were flawed and the morphy gambit is a joke (personally I don't much care for the alekhine defence as well).

    The modern'ish' giants and old favorites including Kaspy, Fischer, and Karpov have had much more capability than some of the early 1900 players so I gave the edge to old school methods of play.

  • 5 years ago


    I voted for "Other" because I think 95% of beginners have no aquaintance with tactics....  Improving your tactics is the key to early progression... However, on the master level, tactial players tend to be very few and hard to detect...

    Tal is probably the most respected tactical grandmaster of all times.... But he never was THE MASTER OF THE WORLD, was he?  No, he wasnt... This casts a shadow of doubt at those chess players who are tactical geniuses...

    Kasparov is the LAST player who managed to balance both tactics and positional play equally... Since his time, 100% of players were positional geniuses (tactical too), but the problem is that positional geniuses are very averse to risk... They are essentially "chess cowards"...



    Rationally, it is justifiable, but in practical terms, such people should not be worshipped by amateurs...

  • 5 years ago


    I have already seen annotations from all of these and I think Capablanca has the most "clean" style and is the most didactical. A great to help in the formation of future chess players.

    Petrosian, Nimzowitsch and Kasparov have some very complex games.

    By the way, Alekhine, Fischer and Botvinnik are great annotators. Those are my reccomendations. ;-)

  • 5 years ago


    Bobby Fischer? Hes one, if not, the most abstract GM the world has ever known.

  • 5 years ago


    It's a question of the games, not the players.

  • 5 years ago


    Fischer was a great chessplayer but his games will ruin a beginner. He basically didn't care much about material but his play was sharp- he was an all-out tactician, an attacker and a brutal king slayer. I strongly recommend Capablanca's games, they are intuitive.

  • 5 years ago


    what nimtzovich is doing here?


    Can anyone explain this: Lower the rating - Longer the comment :))))

  • 5 years ago


    It depends on how one defines 'beginner.' If someone barely knows how the pieces move, I'd have them just play and NOT study games right off the bat, no matter who they're from. Once they get a few basics down, *then* they can study games.

    Morphy's good, but I'm surprised Bronstein's not on the list. His games can be instructive, though the annotation is lacking. The comment above about the annotations are more important than the annotator is very true. So, for someone wanting to study games, I'd tell them go and look at chess books, and find one with plenty of annotations in the sample games that spell everything out. Just saying 'Black has chances to win' without explaining WHY is not helpful to someone who's just starting out.

    As for knowing chess like Dr. House knows medicine, I'd say that honour belongs to Alekhine. He was just as single-minded and just as unpleasant as Dr. House, and much like the fine doctor, got away with half the crap he did *because* he was the best at what he did. Who was the guy who got pissed off about losing, broke in, and sawed the heads off all the queens? I don't think that was Alekhine but it sounds like something he'd do...

  • 5 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    Capablanca was very good at working with small advantages and playing quiet positions.  Additionally he played simpler positions exceptionally well, which is a good place for beginners to start.  He greatly outclassed his opponents in the endgame.  He also seemed an erudite writer, simple to understand, although at times verbose.


    I learned from playing through Tal games and trying to understand his approach.  That is, I tried to understand his wild tactics first and the behind the scenes variations, and then the underlying foundation, the factors in the position that allowed him to play enterprising chess from normal positions.

  • 5 years ago


    When I was a beginner, studying anybody's GM games didn't help much because they were far too advanced for my level of play (particularly the draws). Learning general principles was far more beneficial.

  • 5 years ago


    lol when i look that kind of staff ( super gm games )  i feel a kind of sad , because nobody teached me chess when i was six or seven years old Laughing damn man this improve chess things is really hard . for the topic ; i think the most instructive gm is botvinik because he admitted that he was not so good at tactical skills ,botvinik is good because of his insane solid strategies one of the most important thing ,so his games should be more instructive from other gm games , a lot of gm games based on very deep calculating skills instead of botvinik,

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    Other low level games, to learn from the mistakes.

  • 5 years ago


    Anand, of course! Why isnt the world champion's name on the list?

  • 5 years ago


    I really can't believe Tarrasch is not in the list.

  • 5 years ago


    Yes, some strong players dislike Nimzo, for he was rather strange fellow (creative minds are often like that, so much different from so-called "normal" attitudes...) and in his time where also very specialized attacking players, like Alekhine and some others that seemed at this time more brilliantly producing amazing combination. But a Spielmann for example, was a regular customer for him, lacking deep strategical notions.

    But even while his nerves (and war) prevented him to become world champion, he was clever, deeply understanding the game, as much great theoretician if not better than practician, knowing that solid and dynamic defense is part of preparation for attacking skills.

    So, yes, I maintain this recommendation for beginners to learn firing second stage of the rocket in chess loving.

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    It is pointless for beginners to study the games of any GM, left alone world champions. At 2000 USCF i could recommend to study games of IMs or WGM. 

  • 5 years ago


    How can it be anyone but Morphy?

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