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  1. Alekhine vs Champions & Prodigies Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Alexander Alekhine

    Alexander Alekhine has been the model for imaginative attacking and tactical play for generations of chessplayers. He has been inspirational to champion tacticians such as Tal, Spassky, and Kasparov. Contrary to popular conception, the brilliant Alekhine was probably at least a match for the rising youngsters of the 1930s. Alekhine got edged by Botvinnik (0 - 1) and Fine (2 - 3) by only one game. Alekhine in turn edged Reshevsky (2 - 1) by one game. One game differences are not conclusive. On the other hand Alekhine was crushing against Keres (5 to 1) and Flohr (5 to 0). Looking at the whole forest and not merely at the trees, Alekhine's integrated decisive games total against all the rising stars of the succeeding generation was a stunning 14 to 6. In particular there has been a popular notion that Botvinnik in the 1930s had already surpassed Alekhine in chess strength. The fact is that Botvinnik's 1930s match records against Flohr (+2 -2 =8 in 1933) and Levenfish (+5 -5 =3 in 1937) were just ties. There are no convincing data that Botvinnik would have fared better against Alekhine, who was dominating against both Flohr and Levenfish, had they played in a similar match in the 1930s. Hence, had Alekhine come in sober and as fanatically prepped as usual, he probably would have beaten any of the rising stars of the 1930s (Botvinnik, Keres, Fine, Reshevsky, Flohr) in a World Championship Match before WW2.

    It is scarcely known but Alekhine was the last Russian Empire Chess Champion in 1914 (together with Nimzovich) and the first Soviet Union Chess Champion in 1920. The Soviet school of chess may directly owe its well-known propensity for analysis and well prepared openings and novelties to Alekhine, who was known to study chess 8 hours a day, analyzing games and preparing opening novelties. Overshadowed in his early career by Lasker and Capablanca, Alekhine may well have been one of the most driven chess players to seek the World Title, already planning in advance for his match with Capablanca, whom he expected to become World Champion, as youngster before WW1 when Lasker still held the Title.

    Alekhine is also the best blindfold chess practitioner in history; some of his simultaneous blindfold feats almost defy belief not only for the mass of his games but for their quality as well. He had to have a photographic memory in order to accomplish this, which raises an interesting question. Given a chess master with a photographic memory, unequaled work ethic, fantastic combinative and creative powers, and given a computer and chess opening data base, what kind of opening monster would he have become if he were active today?

    I am also doubling this with all of Alekhine's decisive classical games against the World Champions.

    Alexander Alekhine vs. Emanuel Lasker 1 - 3 (plus 4 draws)

    Alexander Alekhine vs. Jose Raul Capablanca 7 - 9 (plus 33 draws)

    Alexander Alekhine vs. Max Euwe 26 - 20 (plus 38 draws)

    Alexander Alekhine vs. Mikhail Botvinnik 0 to 1, (plus 2 draws)

    86 games, 1913-1942

  2. Anand vs World Champs decisive games+ vs Asians
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Viswanathan Anand

    Viswanathan Anand is a Tamil from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India; and is the first Tamil, Indian, and Asian to become Chess World Champion. I regard him as the greatest natural talent that the chess world has produced since Capablanca.

    When in the zone, some chess players may experience a rare phenomenon. They see a chess game's variations as rapidly moving pictures flashing in and out of their mind's eye. When this occurs, you do not analyze in the traditional step by step manner: I move this, he moves that, in an iterative process. Instead, chess positions appear and disappear in your mind's eye very quickly. You stop analyzing as much as simply viewing these potential positions. Playing the game then becomes a matter of choosing which of these positions you go into.

    I believe that this phenomenon has occurred to most chess players, but it does not happen all the time, or only rarely. However for chess players like Capablanca, and before him I believe Morphy, it occurred nearly all the time. This explains the rapidity in which they could hack their way through the weirdest and most bizarre middlegame complications with hardly an error.

    Anand I believe has this rare ability to a degree better than any one else active today. It is a gift that cannot be taught. It's the reason why in crucial rapid tourneys, when he is motivated he has been able to impose his game on other players. It's the main reason IMO why he is so good in calculating variations in the middlegame.

    Historically Anand has had the misfortune of rising during the peak of the Kasparov epoch. Against the master that many chess fans regard as the greatest chess player in history, Anand repeatedly went down with very little fight both in tournaments and in their 1995 World Championship match, some analysts saying that his obvious lack of confidence being the decisive factor. When he did gain the World Title, it was though a World Championship tournament FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007), which some chess fans do not regard as a legitimate way of selecting a Champion. In effect, Anand became a kind of semi World Champion, the holder of a devalued World Title.

    Fortunately, history has righted itself. Anand decisively beat Kramnik, the previous Titleholder, in a World Championship match next year Anand - Kramnik World Championship Match (2008). This match definitively settles the question of who holds the Title. Anand has now become the Undisputed 15th World Chess Champion, at the relatively late age of 39. Better late than never.

    After beating Kramnik, Anand seems to have suffered from a lack of motivation and confidence, again giving rise to talk about his lack of killer instinct mentality. He barely squeaked past Topalov by a point Anand - Topalov World Chess Championship (2010), and only when Topalov took risks in the last game probably in order to avoid quick games tiebreaks. He could only tie Gelfand Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship (2012), retaining his title only in the quick games tiebreaks. He then decisively lost his Title to Carlsen Anand - Carlsen World Championship (2013), again playing with obvious loss of confidence. It was quite a surprise that Anand did pull his act together and proceeded to win the next Candidates tournament World Chess Championship Candidates (2014).

    This game collection includes Anand vs World Champions decisive games and vs Asian GMs.

    Viswanathan Anand tied Vasily Smyslov 0 to 0, with 2 draws

    Viswanathan Anand beat Mikhail Tal 1 to 0, with 0 draw

    Viswanathan Anand beat Boris Spassky 1 to 0, with 1 draw

    Viswanathan Anand beat Anatoli Karpov 8 to 5, with 18 draws

    Garry Kasparov beat Viswanathan Anand 16 to 6, with 32 draws

    Viswanathan Anand beat Vladimir Kramnik 10 to 8, with 67 draws

    Viswanathan Anand tied Magnus Carlsen 6 to 6, with 27 draws

    I am trying to find Anand games vs Asian GMs, but the data base seems incomplete during his early years when he was still active in the Asian circuit. After 1990, we see Anand playing mostly in the European circuit.

    87 games, 1986-2014

  3. Botvinnik vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Mikhail Botvinnik

    The Challenger on the same quest for the same Title of yore.

    Botvinnik beat Lasker 1 to 0, with 3 draws

    Botvinnik tied Capablanca 1 to 1, with 5 draws

    Botvinnik beat Alekhine 1 to 0, with 2 draws

    Botvinnik tied Euwe 2 to 2, with 8 draws

    Botvinnik beat Smyslov 29 to 24, with 53 draws

    Botvinnik tied Tal 12 to 12, with 20 draws

    Petrosian beat Botvinnik 7 to 4, with 21 draws

    Botvinnik beat Spassky 1 to 0, with 8 draws

    Botvinnik tied Fischer 0 to 0, with 1 draw

    68 games, 1934-1966

  4. Capablanca vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Jose Raul Capablanca

    The human chess computer.

    Jose Raul Capablanca had the best over-all lifetime score against his fellow World Champions. In fact, Capa achieved the somewhat unique feat of not having a single losing lifetime record in classical games against any fellow World Champion. He also had the least number of games lost to World Champions, 11 out of 99; which means that even when playing against a World Champion, Capa could reasonably be expected to lose only about one game out of ten.

    By present-day standards Capa started his serious international career quite late, in 1911 at the age of 23. In terms of international experience, the 16 year old Fischer, Kasparov, or Carlsen probably had more of it than the 23 year old Capablanca. It truly must have been astonishing for the top masters of his time to witness a newly graduated college student, with no international experience whatsoever plucked from nowhere and plonked down in the middle of a top international tournament, mow down one experienced master after the other. It was and is the greatest international debut in chess history.

    In an era where matches at classical time controls were common because masters often challenged each other for stakes, Capa achieved probably the best match record in all of chess history. In all of his serious chess life, he won around a dozen and a half(!) one-on-one matches, including a massacre of Marshall (+8 -1 =14, 1909), a whitewash of Kostic (+5 -0 =0, 1919); furthermore in two matches against World Champions Lasker (+4 -0 =10, 1921) and Euwe (+2 -0 =8, 1931), Capa the unbeatable did not lose a single game. Capa lost exactly one match, the World Championship Match vs Alekhine which unfortunately for him was the one that cost him his Title (+3 -6 =25, 1927), and tied exactly one, a mini-match vs. Znosko Borovsky (+1 -1 =0, 1913).

    In other mini-matches in 1913-1914, Capablanca mowed down such strong masters as Alekhine, Mieses, Teichmann, Dus Chotimirsky, Tartakower, and Bernstein; Capa won 10 games, drew two, and lost none, for an incredible score of 11/12. Capa would be a beast in the World Cup format (successive mini-matches and quick game tie breakers); and IMO would be the only chess master in history whom the odds would actually favor with a probability of winning by more than 50%.

    In his 1921 World Championship match with Lasker, Capablanca may have made less errors than any other winner of a WC Match against an opponent who made less errors than any other loser of a WC Match, which if verified would make this match a gold standard for WC matches. Adding to his unbeatable mystique was the fact that Capablanca played incredibly fast, and was regarded by all his colleagues as invincible in rapid and blitz games.

    According to computer analysis Capa played the most error-free chess ever in history, probably the closest a human being has ever come to playing like a computer. If computers were self-aware they would undoubtedly choose the 1916-1924 Capablanca as the strongest player humanity has ever produced.

    Jose Raul Capablanca vs. Emanuel Lasker 6 - 2 (plus 16 draws)

    Jose Raul Capablanca vs. Alexander Alekhine 9 - 7 (plus 33 draws)

    Jose Raul Capablanca vs. Max Euwe 4 - 1 (plus 13 draws)

    Jose Raul Capablanca vs. Mikhail Botvinnik 1 - 1 (plus 5 draws)

    I would also add to this collection:

    1. The often neglected classical games that Capablanca played with the top masters of Europe in his European tours of 1913 - 1914, including some of the mini-matches mentioned above. These were played under classical time controls. Even a brief perusal shows that Capablanca demonstrated some of the best chess of his life in these games, and that he and his opponents, the top masters of Europe, gave these games their best efforts.

    2. Nearly unbelievable seminal games wherein Capablanca plays middlegame structures of the Modern Benoni, KID, Benko Gambit, Sicilian Scheveningen strategically perfectly. How in the world was Capablanca able to create textbook perfect examples of how these openings should strategically be played at a time when they did not exist?

    3. Two games against Corzo I would never believe that a 12 to 13 year old could play with such excellence and with such quickness, if it was not documented as so.

    52 games, 1901-1938

  5. Carlsen vs. the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Magnus Carlsen

    The crocodile in the swamp.

    Carlsen, the long awaited next great Western master after Fischer, is the first post-Soviet era raised World Champion. His ascension therefore represents a new era in chess. He has dominated international chess for four years before wresting the World Championship Title from Anand. He is expected to become the next dominant World Champion after the likes of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Fischer, Karpov, and Kasparov; and not merely a first among equals. And with no close competitor from among masters of his age bracket and younger, there is every indication that he is going to reign for a long long time.

    Perusing through his games, my first impression was that Carlsen closely resembles Karpov in style, and it's still my impression at present. However, the more I ponder the more I now think that Carlsen also plays like some kind of super-Petrosian. Like Karpov and Petrosian, Carlsen rarely produces scintillating sacrificial brillancies (see his notable games); instead he tends to produce positional masterpieces and long endgame grind-outs.

    Carlsen's style is to grab every square, diagonal, and file that he can, while prophylactically disallowing effective counterplay by calculating nearly every variation within say a 5 move 'radius'; and simultaneously creating weaknesses in his opponent's camp and playing against them thoroughly until literal exhaustion. The prophylaxis is especially important in his style; and he does it far better than any other active player today. In this sense he plays quite similarly to Karpov and in a way like a super-Petrosian. Imagine a more active Petrosian unwilling to give away early draws and is as relentless as Fischer is in endings, playing out every little advantage until there is nothing left to play for.

    He is a great defender and counter-puncher. He is the only current top master who seems comfortable in maneuvering his pieces, often in the 1st and 2nd ranks, in cramped but sound positions. With his trademark grinding game, he inexorably and progressively grabs squares away from his opponent at every opportunity, and his ability to exploit the most miniscule positional advantages and conjure wins out of seemingly dead dry endgames has already become legendary.

    Magnus Carlsen tied Vladimir Kramnik 4 to 4, with 12 draws

    Magnus Carlsen tied Viswanathan Anand 6 to 6, with 27 draws

    24 games, 2007-2014

  6. Euwe vs. the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he bested the world's masters for.

    The Challenger on the same quest for this Title of yore.

    Max Euwe

    Max Euwe had the worst over-all lifetime score against his fellow World Champions, although he worked hard for and fully deserved his Title. At a time when, after everything has been said and done, it was the reigning World Champion that determined his Challenger, Euwe sportingly accepted Alekhine's re-match challenge as he had pledged before the first match. Unknown to most chess fans, Euwe has tied lifetime scores against Botvinnik and Fischer. Later, he was the best model President that FIDE ever had.

    Max Euwe vs. Emanuel Lasker 0 - 3 (no draws)

    Max Euwe vs. Jose Raul Capablanca 1 - 4 (plus 13 draws)

    Max Euwe vs. Alexander Alekhine 20 - 26 (plus 38 draws)

    Max Euwe vs. Mikhail Botvinnik 2 - 2 (plus 8 draws)

    Max Euwe vs. Vasily Smyslov 1- 7 (no draws)

    Max Euwe vs. Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian 0 - 1 (plus 1 draw)

    Max Euwe vs. Robert James Fischer 1 - 1 (plus 1 draw)

    69 games, 1921-1960

  7. Fischer vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Robert James Fischer

    Bobby Fischer in general had good scores against his fellow World Champions. Only Tal had a plus score against him; while Euwe and Botvinnik had tied scores. Fischer had plus scores against Smyslov, Petrosian, and Spassky.

    The most peculiar of all World Champions outside of chess for his adamant views on his own USA government, Russians, and Jews, Fischer also left a taint to his otherwise sterling competitive record by defaulting two matches that, after all is said and done, he probably doubted his ability to win - the unfinished 1961 Reshevsky Match and the would-be 1975 World Championship Match with Karpov - giving rise to more or less permanent notions among some chess pundits that he got scared and ran away.

    Over the chessboard Fischer developed a clear flowing accurate style reminiscent of his favorite players Morphy and Capablanca, that could be relatively easy to study and understand but so extremely difficult to face that Fischer's opponents were often said to be hopelessly intimidated even at the start of each game.

    In his prime in 1970 to 1972, Fischer totally dominated the chessworld as no other player ever has, before or since. His incredible 19 straight victories in the Interzonals - Candidates matches of 1970 to 1971, including a wipe-out of two Candidates matches (Taimanov 6 - 0 and Larsen 6 - 0) was such a massive crush of the world's top players that it should have been impossible, save that it actually happened. I believe that this 1969 to 1972 version of Fischer (and the Capablanca of 1916 to 1924) was the strongest human player ever to exist in chess history.

    Robert James Fischer tied Max Euwe 1 to 1, with 1 draw

    Robert James Fischer tied Mikhail Botvinnik 0 to 0, with 1 draw

    Robert James Fischer beat Vasily Smyslov 3 to 1, with 5 draws

    Mikhail Tal beat Robert James Fischer 4 to 2, with 5 draws

    Fischer beat Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian 8 to 4, with 15 draws

    Robert James Fischer beat Boris Spassky 17 to 11, with 28 draws

    52 games, 1957-1992

  8. Karpov vs. the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Anatoly Karpov

    Anatoli Karpov, one of the greatest of World Champions in chess history, has played all the post WW2 World Champions at least a dozen times each in serious classical games except for Fischer and Botvinnik. Karpov holds the unique distinction of having played the most games against the most World Champions. He has negative scores against Kasparov and Anand; tied scores with Petrosian and Kramnik; positive scores against Smyslov, Tal, and was massively dominating against Spassky, who once complained that he could not fathom Karpov's style.

    During his heyday from 1974 to 1984, Karpov so totally dominated the chessworld that tournaments that he joined essentially became fights for second place, as it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would win first even before the start.

    No one in the horizon played chess close to Karpov's level then (after Fischer's retirement and before Kasparov's ascension). His puzzlingly peaceful but profoundly unbeatable brand of chess made it look like he was going to reign forever. Karpov was unlucky in the sense that the latter part of his era coincided with Kasparov's career. If Kasparov were never born, it's possible that Karpov may have been world champion until 2000, a 25 year reign. He would have been right at Lasker's ballpark.

    Karpov claims that the first player that he seriously studied was Capablanca, yet many fans see in his prophylactic style a kind of more active and aggressive Petrosian. Karpov's stylistic attitude in a game seems to be to control every square of the board that he he could, while calculating every possible variations in an approximately 5 move range. This gives the impression of a prophylactic boa constricting the opponents' pieces onto their last breathe, while allowing no serious counter play.

    Karpov won the Title by default from a Fischer who would not play him in 1975, and lost it to Kasparov in their second match in 1985. In their fourth match in 1987, Karpov nearly won the Title back, but lost in the very last game. Had Karpov drew or won that last game, Kasparov's superiority over him would not have been that clearly demonstrated. In the tradition of Lasker, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Smyslov, and the Almost World Champion Korchnoi, Karpov played world class chess until he was 50, and until 1999, he arguably might still have had reasonable chances of beating anybody in a World Championship Match except Kasparov.

    Karpov beat Smyslov 3 to 1, with 10 draws

    Karpov beat Tal 1 to 0, with 19 draws

    Karpov tied Petrosian 1 to 1, with 12 draws

    Karpov beat Spassky 13 to 1, with 23 draws

    Kasparov beat Karpov 28 to 21, with 129 draws

    Karpov tied Kramnik 2 to 2, with 9 draws

    Anand beat Karpov 8 to 5, with 18 draws

    Bonus: Karpov's breathtakingly beautiful positional Immortal game against Gulko

    88 games, 1971-2003

  9. Kasparov vs World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Garry Kasparov

    Kasparov beat Smyslov 6 to 1, with 11 draws.

    Kasparov beat Tal 2 to 0, with 11 draws.

    Kasparov tied Petrosian 2 to 2, with 1 draw.

    Kasparov tied Spassky 2 to 2, with 4 draws.

    Kasparov beat Karpov 28 to 21, with 129 draws.

    Kramnik beat Kasparov 5 to 4, with 40 draws.

    75 games, 1975-2001

  10. Keres vs World & Almost Champions Decisive Games
    The Almost World Champions.

    Always the second but should have been first. They who in another time and place could have been Chess World Champions.

    Paul Keres, the Patriotic Estonian, Conqueror of 9 World Champions, for nearly 3 decades always on the brink of the Title.

    Given his over-all personal history, I rate Keres as the first among the Almost World Champions.

    Paul Keres

    Keres began his chess career by playing (surprise) correspondence chess. Then he began playing in tournaments, and winning them. Keres' star began to rise in the latter 1930s. He won several strong tournaments, including the proto-Candidates AVRO 1938.

    He ended a productive 1930s decade by playing a kind of Challenger's match or Candidates Finals match with Euwe in 1939. The match was held in order to make Alekhine's choice for a Challenger 'easier'. Keres was a leading contender after winning AVRO 1938 and other top class tournaments, and Euwe was the former world champion. Keres narrowly won the match. Had Euwe never played AAA in 1937, and this was the World Championship Match instead, Keres would now be known as the 6th Chess World Champion.

    During WW2, Keres proceeded to do something that looks impossible. Estonia got annexed by the Soviet Union; and Keres played in the 1940 Soviet championship and in the double round robin Botvinnik-arranged 1941 tournament. Then Estonia fell to Nazi Germany and Keres just continued playing chess, this time in German sponsored tournaments. He became the only master that played in both Soviet and German tournaments. He was like a link between two totally cut-off pools of top European chess masters. For a man in his hazardous situation, he played quite well.

    After the war Keres proceeded to win 3 Soviet Championships.

    Then we go to the original Candidates tournaments. These were significantly different from those of recent ones because of their number of players and their length. They were veritable marathons among the world's top players. Keres was the only one to qualify in all of them; and he placed 2nd in four out of five. For a chess player who must have been the focus of distrust and perhaps hostility after his cooperation (willing or not is another topic) with Nazis, in a post WW2 Soviet Union, Keres did quite well. If he were just a tad more lucky, winning a few more drawn games or drawing lost ones, he would have become a Challenger. During this time, I believe that Keres would have beaten in a match the same Botvinik that Smyslov, Tal, and Petrosian had beaten. Keres would now be known as the 7th, 8th, or 9th Chess World Champion.

    Keres is a smoking gun, bomb proof evidence of the fallacy of Watson's speculation that pre-WW2 masters would not be able to learn 'modern' chess, and Larsen's assertion that he would crush everyone in the 1930s. The glaring fact is that Keres is a 1930s pre-WW2 master whose career extended up to the 1970s, and he did learn (and contributed) to the newer opening variations (the most famous of which is the Keres attack which he invented in 1943). Tellingly enough Keres beat both Watson and Larsen.

    There are many who regard WW2 and the Soviet annexation of Estonia as a personal tragedy that affected his chess and dashed Keres' hopes for the Title. In particular, many chess pundits have opined that Keres was in a dangerous situation in the 1948 World Championship Tournament, suspected of having collaborated with Nazis in WW2. His performance likely would have been better if he were not based in the Soviet Union.

    All accounts indicate that he remained loyal to his people and country, amazingly abiding in Estonia throughout all these times; and Estonia eventually honored her faithful son as essentially a national hero. He is the only chess master whose picture appears in a modern banknote, the five kroons (5 krooni) Estonian bill (before Estonia adopted the Euro).

    As a testament to his strength, Keres fought most of the world champions more or less to a standstill, is one of the handful of chess masters who has a positive score against Capablanca, and was dominating against Euwe and Tal. He defeated 9 world champions in individual games and played 10, a record surpassed only by Korchnoi, who beat 9 world champions and played 11.

    Style-wise, I find Keres closest to Alekhine. Although Keres usually did not obtain the type of weird bizarre positions Alekhine seems to have liked and played for, their games were marked by a strong emphasis on the initiative and attack.

    Paul Keres beat Jose Raul Capablanca 1 to 0, with 5 draws

    Alexander Alekhine beat Paul Keres 5 to 1, with 8 draws

    Paul Keres beat Max Euwe 11 to 7, with 9 draws

    Mikhail Botvinnik beat Paul Keres 8 to 3, with 9 draws

    Paul Keres tied Vasily Smyslov 9 to 9, with 22 draws

    Paul Keres beat Mikhail Tal 8 to 4, with 18 draws

    Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian tied Paul Keres 3 to 3, with 30 draws

    Boris Spassky beat Paul Keres 5 to 3, with 19 draws

    Robert James Fischer beat Paul Keres 4 to 3, with 3 draws

    Paul Keres tied Anatoly Karpov 0 to 0, with 2 draws

    Bonus:

    Below are Keres vs Korchnoi decisive games. Korchnoi is another of history's all time greatest who in another time and place could have been Chess World Champion.

    Paul Keres beat Viktor Korchnoi 4 to 1, with 12 draws

    96 games, 1935-1975

  11. Korchnoi vs World Champions Decisive Games
    The Almost World Champions.

    Always the second but should have been first. They who in another time and place could have been Chess World Champions.

    Viktor Korchnoi

    We all know who Victor the Terrible is. Fighting chess incarnate, will accept sacs gladly, pawn grabs anytime, and stares his opponent in the face to prove his sac. One of the greatest endgame masters (especially the difficult Rook and Pawn) of all time.

    In an epic career that spans from the 1940s to the 2012 Korchnoi has played every post-WW2 World Champion from Botvinnik to Carlsen; and has amassed positive scores against World Champions Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, and Carlsen; and tied scores against Botvinnik and Fischer. He defeated 9 world champions in individual games and played 11 a world record.

    Leading a stormy life that shames tepid reality shows in and later out of the Soviet Union, Korchnoi very nearly made it to the very top during his matches with Karpov.

    Korchnoi, his chess strength peaking as he approached 50 years of age, is undeniable proof that chess players have the capacity to play at full strength even in their 50s. It's just a matter of motivation and good health.

    Viktor Korchnoi tied Mikhail Botvinnik 1 to 1, with 2 draws

    Vasily Smyslov beat Viktor Korchnoi 5 to 3, with 13 draws

    Viktor Korchnoi beat Mikhail Tal 13 to 4, with 27 draws

    Viktor Korchnoi beat Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian 12 to 10, with 49 draws

    Viktor Korchnoi beat Boris Spassky 21 to 16, with 34 draws

    Robert James Fischer tied Viktor Korchnoi 2 to 2, with 4 draws

    Anatoly Karpov beat Viktor Korchnoi 31 to 14, with 63 draws

    Garry Kasparov beat Viktor Korchnoi 16 to 1, with 23 draws

    Vladimir Kramnik beat Viktor Korchnoi 6 to 0, with 6 draws

    Viswanathan Anand beat Viktor Korchnoi 8 to 0, with 3 draws

    Viktor Korchnoi beat Magnus Carlsen 1 to 0

    Bonus: At the ripe age of 80, Korchnoi demolishes Caruana, one of the rising stars of 21st century chess, in an unbelievable display of youthful energy.

    168 games, 1946-2011

  12. Kramnik on a King Hunt & vs the World Champions
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Vladimir Kramnik

    The supposedly dull and dry former World Champion embarks on a King Hunt in piece-laden middle games, winning by flushing the hostile King to the center, to the other side of the board, to the middle ranks; or trapping it on the edge or corner. Unrecognized by many chess fans, Kramnik has produced some of the most brilliant tactical games in chess history.

    I am doubling this with a Kramnik vs. the World Champions Decisive Games collection.

    Kramnik vs Spassky (+0 -0 =1)

    Kramnik vs Karpov (+2 -2 =1)

    Kramnik vs Kasparov (+5 −4 =40)

    Kramnik vs Anand (+7 -9 =59)

    Kramnik tied Carlsen (+4 -4 =12)

    137 games, 1984-2014

  13. Lasker vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Emanuel Lasker

    Emanuel Lasker was the second chessplayer to play at super GM level (the first being Morphy), and the first to do so for a long period of time. Lasker belonged to the first generation of masters who all throughout their careers played in competitive tournaments in the presence of the newly invented chess clock, which seems to have standardized what could have been rather messy and irregular past tournament conditions and so allowed the regular rise of the super GM caliber chessplayer. His middlegames were at least at par with present-day super GMs, and his endgames were better than most.

    Given that the human genome and the brain it blueprints, and chess rules, the chess clock, and time controls remain very similar, it would follow that the human brain limits the human ability to play classical chess. Increasing the number of human chess players, thus expanding the normal curve of players, simply creates a larger probability of players playing at the brain's limit, but will not create a mental superman who plays chess at computer levels; there would always be a sudden limit seen as a drop on the right side of the normal curve. Players who do play close to this limit, assuming they occur at a very low proportion of the chess-playing population, say one out of hundreds of millions, would tend to be rarities in each generation or not exist at all, and they would all play at a similar level close to this limit. Lasker was the first.

    This explains why human and computer analysis indicate that Lasker at his prime was playing on a qualitatively similar level as more recent dominant World Champions who during some periods of their career played close to this limit, or as well as a human being could. Lasker totally demolished the first official Titleholder Wilhelm Steinitz, who may have played significantly below super GM level.

    IMO Emanuel Lasker was the real founder of modern dynamics-oriented chess; and like modern super GMs knew exactly when it was advantageous to trade material and static advantages for dynamic play and piece activity. World Champion for a record 27 years, he definitively relinquished his Title in 1921 to Capablanca in what could be the most error-free and well-played World Championship match in all of chess history. Until he was in his mid fifties Lasker played World Championship caliber chess; until 1924 he was still regarded as the second best chessplayer in the world.

    Emanuel Lasker vs. Wilhelm Steinitz 26 - 8 (plus 12 draws)

    Emanuel Lasker vs. Jose Raul Capablanca 2 - 6 (plus 16 draws)

    Emanuel Lasker vs. Alexander Alekhine 3 - 1 (plus 4 draws)

    Emanuel Lasker vs. Max Euwe 3 - 0 (no draws)

    Emanuel Lasker vs. Mikhail Botvinnik 0 - 1 (plus 3 draws)

    51 games, 1894-1936

  14. Petrosian vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian

    Petrosian beat Max Euwe 1 to 0, with 1 draw

    Petrosian beat Botvinnik 7 to 4, with 21 draws

    Smyslov beat Petrosian 6 to 4, with 25 draws

    Petrosian beat Tal 5 to 4, with 37 draws

    Spassky beat Petrosian 11 to 10, with 54 draws

    Fischer beat Petrosian 8 to 4, with 15 draws

    Petrosian tied Karpov 1 to 1, with 12 draws

    Petrosian tied Kasparov 2 to 2, with 1 draw

    70 games, 1949-1983

  15. Pillsbury vs World Champions Decisive Games
    The Almost World Champions.

    Always the second but should have been first. They who in another time and place could have been Chess World Champions.

    Harry Nelson Pillsbury

    Pillsbury IMO is the third strongest American-born player in chess history, after Fischer (an official world champion) and Morphy (an unofficial world champion). In spite of learning chess in his mid teens, it turned out that he had a crazy talent for it, and in just a few years had become a world beater.

    He played an aggressive straightforward and positionally sound chess; and attacked irresistibly when the opportunity arose, IMO quite a similar style to his countrymen Morphy before him and Fischer after. In later times when opening variations were being studied in depth, Pillsbury would have been a terror, given his astounding almost inhuman memory feats in simultaneous blindfold chess.

    It was widely believed by the chess world that if Pillsbury was given the chance to play Lasker in World Championship matches in the decade after 1895, he would have had good chances to take the Title.

    What more proof that you deserve to be a Challenger than having battled both World Champions (Steinitz and Lasker) to a tie and having good records against most of the Challengers of your time?

    Harry Nelson Pillsbury Wilhelm Steinitz 5 to 5, with 3 draws

    Harry Nelson Pillsbury tied Emanuel Lasker 5 to 5, with 4 draws

    Bonus - Pillsbury vs Challengers Decisive Games:

    Chigorin (Challenger to Steinitz) beat Pillsbury 8 to 7, with 7 draws

    Pillsbury beat Gunsberg (Challenger to Steinitz) 4 to 0, with 2 draws

    Marshall (Challenger to Lasker) beat Pillsbury 6 to 4, with 2 draws

    Pillsbury tied Tarrasch (Challenger to Lasker) 5 to 5, with 2 draws

    Pillsbury beat Schlechter (Challenger to Lasker) 8 to 2, with 9 draws

    Pillsbury beat Janowski (Challenger to Lasker) 6 to 4, with 2 draws

    79 games, 1893-1904

  16. Rubinstein vs World Champions Decisive Games
    The Almost World Champions.

    Always the second but should have been first. They who in another time and place could have been Chess World Champions.

    Akiba Rubinstein

    All serious chess players know who the great Akiba Rubinstein is. At some point in the decade before World War I, the chess world thought he had good chances to take Lasker's Title, had they only played a World Championship match.

    The debate can go on forever but IMO Rubinstein deserved a Title Match more than Janowski and Marshall. If there had been an official Candidates cycle back then, he would in all probability gained a WC Match Title shot.

    Rubinstein is world renowned, until today, for his clear and straightforward style and top of the class endgame play, a treasure trove for chess players who want to develop their positional game. His apparent chess-the-positionally-simple-way reputation IMO is quite misleading. A review of his games clearly shows that Rubinstein was also a superb calculator of detailed variations.

    Emanuel Lasker beat Akiba Rubinstein 2 to 1, with 4 draws

    Akiba Rubinstein tied Jose Raul Capablanca 1 to 1, with 7 draws

    Alexander Alekhine beat Akiba Rubinstein 8 to 3, with 2 draws

    Max Euwe tied Akiba Rubinstein 2 to 2, with 1 draw

    Bonus - Rubinstein vs Challengers Decisive Games:

    Rubinstein's record against chess masters who were able challenge for the Title was amazing; he had a winning record against almost all of them that he played. Against Tarasch in particular, he was totally dominating.

    Surely the man who beat up most of the Challengers of his time deserved a World Championship Title shot!

    Rubinstein beat Marshall (Challenger to Lasker) 11 to 9, with 15 draws

    Rubinstein beat Tarrasch (Challenger to Lasker) 8 to 0, with 12 draws

    Rubinstein beat Schlechter (Challenger to Lasker) 6 to 2, with 13 draws

    Rubinstein beat Janowski (Challenger to Lasker) 5 to 3

    Rubinstein tied Bogoljubov (Challenger to Alekhine) 14 to 14, with 10 draws

    Bonus: The most beautiful brilliancy I have ever seen (vs Rotlewi).

    88 games, 1906-1931

  17. Smyslov vs World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Vasily Smyslov

    Smyslov beat Max Euwe 7 to 1

    Botvinnik beat Smyslov 29 to 24, with 53 draws

    Smyslov beat Tal 4 to 3, with 21 draws

    Smyslov beat Petrosian 6 to 4, with 25 draws

    Spassky beat Smyslov 5 to 3, with 17 draws

    Fischer beat Smyslov 3 to 1, with 5 draws

    Karpov beat Smyslov 3 to 1, with 10 draws

    Kasparov beat Smyslov 6 to 1, with 11 draws

    Smyslov tied Anand 0 to 0, with 2 draws

    101 games, 1941-1984

  18. Spassky vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Boris Spassky

    Botvinnik beat Spassky 1 to 0, with 8 draws

    Spassky beat Smyslov 5 to 3, with 17 draws

    Spassky beat Tal 9 to 7, with 30 draws

    Spassky beat Petrosian 11 to 10, with 54 draws

    Fischer beat Spassky 17 to 11, with 28 draws

    Karpov beat Spassky 13 to 1, with 23 draws

    Spassky tied Kasparov 2 to 2, with 4 draws

    Spassky tied Kramnik 0 to 0, with 1 draw

    Anand beat Spassky 1 to 0, with 1 draw

    93 games, 1953-1992

  19. Tal vs the World Champions Decisive Games
    The Romance of the Chess World Championship Match and the World Champions that won them:

    There can only be Two.

    The Champion to hold the Title he beat all the masters for.

    The Challenger on quest for same Title of yore.

    Mikhail Tal

    The Challenger on the same quest for the same Title of yore.

    Euwe tied Tal 0 to 0, with 1 draw

    Botvinnik tied Tal 12 to 12, with 20 draws

    Smyslov beat Tal 4 to 3, with 21 draws

    Petrosian beat Tal 5 to 4, with 37 draws

    Spassky beat Tal 9 to 7, with 30 draws

    Tal beat Fischer 4 to 2, with 5 draws

    Karpov beat Tal 1 to 0, with 19 draws

    Kasparov beat Tal 2 to 0, with 11 draws

    Anand beat Tal 1 to 0

    67 games, 1954-1989

  20. Torre:NiceOly+Toluca+vsRibli+vsWorldChamps
    Eugenio Torre

    Below are Eugene Torre's games from the 1974 Nice Olympiad (second best performance on board 1, right behind Anatoly Karpov), which made him the first Asian to obtain a GM title, and his 1982 Toluca Interzonal victory (shared first with Hungarian GM Lajos Portisch), which made him the first Asian to get to the Candidates. Eugenio Torre hails from Iloilo, Western Visayas, Philippines; and is the first Ilonggo, Visayan, Filipino, and Asian to become a Chess Grandmaster and a Candidate for the World Championship Title. He also now holds the world record in number of Chess Olympiad appearances- 21 times, and after the upcoming 2014 Olympiad, it will be a mind-boggling 22 times!

    I have also placed in GM Torre's decisive games against the World Champions.

    Torre vs Smyslov (+1 -2 =1) 1.5/4
    Torre vs Tal (+1 -0 = 3) 2.5/4
    Torre vs Petrosian (+0 -0 = 4) 2/4
    Torre vs Spassky (+0 -3 =3) 1.5/6
    Torre vs Karpov (+2 -4 =5) 5/11
    Torre vs Kasparov(+0 -4 =1) 0.5/5
    Torre vs Anand (+1 -2 =2) 2/5

    50 games, 1973-1990

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