The 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, Ranked
How does one determine the "best" chess games? What one may see as brilliant, another may see as simply necessary. Like some art lovers, chess fans claim that they know a good game when they see it, and that they know better from good. But "best"? How is this articulated? This book, itself a work of art, is brought together by the use of five criteria: the overall aesthetics (clever and relentless are insufficient qualities); the originality (e.g., not yet another white knight sacrifice in a Sicilian); the level of opposition (the loser played very well); the soundness (i.e., are the moves refutable with perfect play?), accuracy (few of the moves are second-best), and difficulty (the winner overcame major obstacles) of the game; and finally the overall breadth and depth (one wants a series of sparkling ideas, with no dry patches). The 100 best games were taken from an initial field of about 7,000 played from 1900 through 1999 that had already gained some attention in magazines, books and periodicals. Three hundred games were then selected that appeared to have features consistent with the criteria. The 300 games were evaluated with scores--points given for each category of criteria. The games were then ranked, one to 100, by the score they received. No attempt was made to balance the selection according to period, nationality of players or opening. Also included is a chapter on the most overrated games of the twentieth century and one on games that would have made the list if - Includes 335 diagrams, an index of players and an index of openings by ECO codes.
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Akiba Rubinstein Alekhine Alexander Alekhine Aron Nimzovich attack axb4 axb5 bishop Black Bobby Fischer breadth/depth 18 bxc3 Bxc4 Bxc5 Bxc6 Bxd4 Bxd5 Bxe4 Bxe5 Bxe6 Bxf3 Bxf6 Capablanca chess counterplay cxd4 cxd5 diagram dxc4 dxc5 dxe5 endgame exd4 exd5 exf4 exf5 exf6 Fischer fxe4 fxe5 fxe6 fxg6 Gambit Garry Kasparov grandmaster gxf4 gxf5 hxg4 hxg5 hxg6 Indian Defense white International Grandmaster Jose Capablanca Kasparov Keres king King's Indian Defense kingside knight last move mate Mikhail Botvinnik Nbd7 Nf3 Nc6 Nimzovich Nxc3 Nxc4 Nxd4 Nxd5 Nxe4 Nxe5 Nxe6 opposition 15 originality 16 Overall 16 Paul Keres pawn Petrosian play player Polugayevsky Qh4+ Qh5+ queen Queen's Gambit Declined queenside Qxc4 Qxd4 Qxd6 Qxe4 Qxe5 Qxe7 Qxf6 rook Rxd6 Rxe4 Rxe5 Rxe6 Rxe7 Rxf7 sacrifice Sicilian Defense Smyslov soundness 16 Soviet Championship Spassky Tartakower threatens Tigran Petrosian tournament Vasily Smyslov World Championship match wrote