The 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, Ranked


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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Grandmaster Andrew Soltis, nine times champion of the Marshall Chess Club, New York Post editor and Chess Life columnist, is the author of dozens of chess books. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic Details

Andrew Soltis
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: 335 diagrams, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2006 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2741-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

The Most Overrated Games      15

Near Misses      25

THE 100 BEST      35

Bibliography      255

Subject Index      257

Index of Openings (ECO)      262

Index of Openings (Descriptive)      263

Index of Players      264

Book Reviews & Awards

“such thorough work has not been done before”—The Washington Post; “very useful…extremely beautiful. All the games there are analysed in detail…demanding readers will be pleased…the dream of all chess editors and publishers”—Quarterly for Chess History; “highly successful work… should provide…much pleasure and fascination”—; “excellent…an entertaining compendium of brilliant games…perfect”—Chess Horizons; “well researched”—Seagaard Chess Reviews; “a unique and eclectic collection”—Winnipeg Free Press; “sumptuous! A marvelous selection of the best games of the 20th century”—Chessco International.