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  1. 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, RANKED

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    A beauty pageant of chess games! Selected, judged, ranked and (lightly) annotated by the author of the classic "Soviet Chess 1917-1991".

    <How do you pick only 100?>

    I know right? Ok, here's how GM Soltis' choice of the best played games from the last 100 years came to be: Out of thousands of carefully selected games, only 300 proved worthy candidates for the book. Those "chosen few" were judged primarily for their moves, evaluated in 5 categories, and after final rankings... these were the 100 beauties that made the show.

    "No attempt was made to break ties and no particular significance should be attached to the order of games that received the same score. No attempt was made to balance the selection according to period, nationality of players, or opening. The aim was not to achieve mathematical exactitude. Chess is not that simple. The goal was to reduce, as much as possible, the subjective and personal predilections of the person doing the evaluation. Of course, there will be disagreements over the numbers. But I believe that a fair-minded judge would agree that in the main these evaluations are even-handed and unbiased." --The Author

    <Some interesting final "stats" (not found in book)>

    All classical world champions after Steinitz's death are represented here with at least one effort. Congrats to Mr. Kasparov who brought it the most times with 6 victories, more than any other player. Sadly, 2nd world champion Lasker made the list with one defeat, while the great Karpov got served 3 times(!)

    Kasparov 6
    Fischer 4[1/2]
    Botvinnik 4[1/2]
    Capablanca 4[1/2]
    Alekhine 4
    Tal 3[1/2]
    Spassky 3
    Smyslov 2
    Petrosian 2
    Euwe 1
    Lasker -1 (Lasker vs W Napier, 1904 and Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 are overrated acc. to Soltis.) Karpov -3 Consolation prize for Karpov vs Kamsky, 1992 perhaps? Although none his wins made it into the author's 100 best list, this Karpov victory is somewhat praised (and awarded 5 exclams) by Soltis in the intro.

    <Who got the most games?> Capablanca and Rubinstein are the players with the most games. Each are seen in 7 encounters.

    <Games between same opponents>

    Karpov-Kasparov (2)
    Nimzovich-Rubinstein (2)
    Gligorich-Petrosian (2)

    <Game with the most !> A whopping 21 exclams is given by Soltis to <Johansson v Rey-Ardid 1933> (game #15).

    <Top Scorers> Games that received the 20-point maximum in any of the 5 criteria

    (1) <Aesthetics> Polugaevsky-Nezhmetdinov 1958
    Bogolyubov-Alekhine 1922
    Stoltz-Steiner 1952
    Rotlewi-Rubinstein 1907
    Geller-Smyslov 1965
    Larsen-Spassky 1970
    Chekhover-Kasparyan 1936
    Nezhmetdinov-Chernikov 1962

    (2) <Originality> Lilienthal-Ragozin 1935
    Gufeld-Kavalek 1962
    Johner-Nimzovich 1926
    Reti-Rubinstein 1923
    Capablanca-Nimzovich 1928
    Polugaevsky-E Torre 1981

    (3) <Opposition> Keres-Dyckhoff 1935

    (4) <Soundness> Capablanca-Marshall 1918
    Kasparov-Anand 1995

    (5) <Breadth/Depth> Estrin-Berliner 1965

    Total Wht wins 56
    Draws 7
    Total Blk wins 37

    by GM A. Soltis
    McFarland 2000, 2006 (reprint).

    <Soltis concludes with the following note...>

    Will the 21st century produce 100 games this good? The author of another best games collection was not optimistic about the future. He compiled 157 examples of brilliant play from previous decades but concluded that "there has been no first-class play during the past few years." Contemporary masters were too concerned with money, and "emulatory games, formerly so popular and so frequent, are now of rare occurrence." So wrote Henry Bird in 1875. The same might be said of 2000. But we shall see...

    101 games, 1902-1999

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