CHESS MATCHES: FROM LÓPEZ TO KRAMNIK

A file of classical chess games can be downloaded freely. The games are selected from matches, match tournaments and knockout tournaments.

pgn-file of 635 match games from López to Carlsen              zip-file of CBase-files of the same games

New annotations were written by Jan van Reek. The quality of his analyses might be surprising, because chess analysis used to be the domain of over-the-board grandmasters. Chess software made it possible for study composers and correspondence players to analyse at a similar level. Scientific ability has become a more important quality. 

The selected games were thoroughly investigated with modern means. It took me about one day per game. The oldest games have rarely been analysed previously. I do not bother the reader with endless reports about lack of quality in earlier analyses. Authors of important variations are mentioned.

When a game of chess is finished, the need for another game comes natural. Chess players like to play several games successively. If conditions are set, a match is created. When chess players began to travel as businessman or tourist, international competition started. The documented match came into being, when ‘the foreign star’ played against ‘the local hero’ and journalists wrote about it. Technical reports were published in the first chess journals. 

 

Old Slaughter's in London

Café de la Régence in Paris

 

Ruy López lived at the court of Philips II. The Italian Leonardo travelled to Madrid in 1574. The first important international chess match ended in 3-2. Only openings' fragments survived. 

The development of coffeehouses was a great stimulus for chess. The European cafe appeared during the seventeenth century. At first it consisted of a simple room with a counter. It became an important meeting point for the little mobile citizens. Later a specialisation set in. Old Slaughter's was a meeting place for chess players in London. Here, a match between the Frenchmen and the Syrian Stamma was played in 1747. Philidor won (+8, =1, -1). The notation of the games is unknown. Café de la Régence became an important place for the elite in Paris during the eighteenth century. Important visitors were Duc de Richelieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Grimm, Benjamin Franklin, Robespierre and Napoleon. Men of the wealthy middle class became the main customers in the nineteenth century. The interest for the game increased and notation of games began.

Tourism stimulated the organisation of international matches. Many English tourists travelled to the continent after the battle of Waterloo in 1815. They could afford the tourney, because: 1. The industrial revolution had increased wealth faster in England than in continental countries. A rich middle class could afford expensive trips. 2. Travel companies developed during decades of peace. 3. Roads became smooth for the first time since the Romans. Speeds of 20 km per hour for the express coach and 10 km per hour for the diligence were reached. A journey from London to Paris lasted less than a week. 4. In 1821 a crossing from Dover to France per steamship took two hours. Three decennia later, the train travelled 30 km per hours. The steam engine shortened the time of travelling drastically. 5. The hotel came into being. No longer all travellers slept in one room of an inn.

Lewis and Cochrane moved to Paris in April 1821, as tourists. They met the strongest French player Deschapelles. A short match began. The history of completely recorded chess matches had started. 

Hereafter, pictures and a list of selected matches follow. More information about the matches has been added to the games in the files. 

A. Coffeehouse chess

1. Prelude                                           (number of games)

Leonardo - Ruy López, Madrid 1574 (+3, -2)                   1

Lewis - Deschapelles, Paris 1821 (+1, =2)                    2

2. La Bourdonnais - McDonnell, London 1834 (+45, =13, -27)   3-10

3. Staunton

Staunton - St. Amant, Paris 1843 (+11, =4, -6)               11-13

Staunton - Harrwitz, London 1846 (+12, =1, -9)               14

Staunton - Horwitz, London 1846 (+14, =3, -7)                15

4. Anderssen and Morphy

London 1851 (winner Anderssen)                               16-19

New York 1857 (winner Morphy)                                20

Morphy & Barnes - Staunton & Owen, London 1858 (+2)          21-22

Morphy - Löwenthal, London 1858 (+9, =2, -3)                 23-24

Morphy - Harrwitz, Paris 1858 (+5, =1, -2)                   25-27

Morphy - Anderssen, Paris 1858 (+7, =2, -2)                  28-31

Morphy - Löwenthal, London 1959                              32

 

Chess player wants a match in 1661

Paulsen-Morphy in New York 1857

 

Anderssen - Kolisch, Paris 1860 (+5, =1, -5)                 33

Anderssen - Kolisch, London 1861 (+4, =1, -3)                34-37

Bristol 1861 (winner Paulsen)                                38

Paulsen - Kolisch, London 1861 (+7, =18 -6)                  39-40

Anderssen - Paulsen, London 1862 (+3, =2, -3)                41

Paulsen - Lange, Leipzig 1864 (+5, -2)                       42

Anderssen - Suhle, Berlin 1864 (+3, =2, -3)                  43

 

Morphy-Löwenthal in London 1858

Paulsen - Lange, Leipzig 1864

B. Steinitz

1. The young professional

Anderssen - Steinitz, London 1866 (+6, -8)                    1-4

Anderssen - Zukertort, Berlin 1868 (+8, =1, -3)               5

Anderssen - Zukertort, Berlin 1871 (+2, -5)                   6

Steinitz - Zukertort, London 1872 (+7, =4, -1)                7

Steinitz - Blackburne, London 1876 (+7)                       8

Zukertort - Blackburne, London 1881 (+7, =5, -2)              9

 

Anderssen and Steinitz in London 1866

Zukertort and Steinitz in 1886

2. The first world championship

Steinitz - Zukertort, USA 1886 (+10, =5, -5)                  10-18

Steinitz - Golmayo, Havana 1888 (+5)                          19

3. Two challengers

Steinitz - Chigorin, Havana 1889 (+10, =1, -6)                20-23

Chigorin - Gunsberg, Havana 1890 (+9, =5, -0)                 24

Steinitz - Gunsberg, New York 1890 (+6, =9, -4)               25-28

4. Chigorin again

Steinitz - Chigorin, Telegraphic match 1890-91 (-2)           29-30

Steinitz - Chigorin, Havana 1892 (+10, =5, -8)                31-36

Chigorin - Tarrasch, St. Petersburg 1893 (+9, =4, -9)         37-40

 

Lasker and Steinitz in 1894

Schlechter and Tarrasch analyse in Köln 1911

C. Lasker

1. The second world champion

Steinitz - Lasker, USA 1894 (+5, =4, -10)                      1-5

St. Petersburg 1895 (winner Lasker)                            6-9

Chigorin - Charousek, play-off Budapest 1896 (+3, -1)          10

Lasker - Steinitz, Moscow 1896 (+10, =5, -2)                   11-13

Budapest 1898 (winner Charousek)                               14

2. An avalanche of matches

Tarrasch - Marshall, Nürnberg 1905 (+8, =8, -1)                15-16

Lasker - Marshall, USA 1907 (+8, =7)                           17-19

Lasker - Tarrasch, Düsseldorf and München 1908 (+8, =5, -3)    20-23

Capablanca - Marshall, New York 1909 (+8, =14, -1)             24-26

Janowsky - Lasker, Paris 1909, Casual game during first match  27

Lasker - Janowsky, Paris 1909, Second match (+7, =2, -1)       28-30

Lasker - Schlechter, Wien and Berlin 1910 (+1, =8, -1)         31-40

Lasker - Janowsky, Berlin 1910 (+8, =3)                        41-42

Tarrasch - Schlechter, Köln 1911 (+3, =10, -3)                 43-44

Lasker - Tarrasch, Berlin 1916 (+5, =1)                        45

3. A new generation

Rubinstein - Bogoljubow, Göteborg 1920 (+5, =3, -4)            46-48

Lasker - Capablanca, Havana 1921 (+4, =10)                     49-52

 

Lasker and Capablanca played their match in the Casino de la Playa

     

Bogoljubow and Alekhine in 1934

Alekhine and Euwe played in the 'Militiezaal' in 1935

D. Alekhine and Euwe

1. ‘Triumph des Willens’

Alekhine - Teichmann, Berlin 1921 (+2, =2, -2)                  1-3

Alekhine - Euwe, Netherlands 1926 (+3, =5, -2)                  4-13

New York 1927 (winner Capablanca)                               14-22

Capablanca - Alekhine (+3, =25, -6)                             23-31

2. A piece of cake

Bogoljubow - Euwe, Netherlands 1928 (+3, =5, -2)                32-41

Bogoljubow - Euwe, Netherlands 1928-29 (+2, =7, -1)             42-51

Alekhine - Bogoljubow, Germany and NL 1929 (+11, =9, -5)        52-59

Capablanca - Euwe, Netherlands 1931 (+2, =8)                    60-69

Euwe - Spielmann, Amsterdam 1932 (+2, =2)                       70-73

Flohr - Euwe, Amsterdam and Karlsbad 1932 (+3, =12, -3)         74-85

Alekhine - Bogoljubow, Germany 1934 (+8, =15, -3)               86-87

3. Euwe

Alekhine - Euwe, Netherlands 1935 (+8, =13, -9)                 88-117

Euwe - Alekhine, Netherlands 1937 (+4, =11, +10)                118-128

Euwe - Alekhine, Exhibition Netherlands 1937 (+2, =2, -1)       129

Levenfish - Botvinnik, Moscow and Leningrad 1937 (+5, =3, -5)   130-142

 

Levenfish - Botvinnik in 1937

 

Euwe - Keres, Netherlands 1939-40 (+5, =3, -6)                  143-156

Absolute championship Soviet-Union 1941 (winner Botvinnik)      157-166

Euwe - Bogoljubow, Karlsbad 1941 (+5, =3, -2)                   167-176

Ideas about the strategy of chess were developed in the nineteenth century by Staunton, Morphy, Steinitz, Paulsen and Tarrasch. The technical level strongly improved in the twentieth century by Lasker and Capablanca. Impressive and exciting matches are Lasker - Schlechter in 1910 and Alekhine - Euwe in 1935. 

       E. State amateurs

1. Botvinnik

The Hague and Moscow 1948 (winner Botvinnik)                     1-8

Fine-Najdorf, New York 1949 (+2, =4, -2)                         9-10

 

2. Bronstein

Bronstein-Boleslavsky, Moscow 1950 (+3, =9, -2)                  11-13

Botvinnik-Bronstein, Moscow 1951 (+5, =14, -5)                   14-17

 

3. Smyslov

Botvinnik-Smyslov, Moscow 1954 (+7, =10, -7)                     18-23

Botvinnik-Smyslov, Moscow 1957 (+3, =13, -6)                     24-27

Smyslov-Botvinnik, Moscow 1958 (+5, =11, -7)                     28-32

 

4. Tal

Bled, Zagreb and Beograd (winner Tal)                            33-39

Botvinnik-Tal, Moscow 1960 (+2, =13, -6)                         40-44

Tal-Botvinnik, Moscow 1961 (+5, =6, -10)                         45-47

 

Euwe and Botvinnik in Moscow 1948

Tal - Botvinnik 1960

 

5. Petrosian

Curaçao 1962 (winner Petrosian)                                  48-51

Keres-Geller, Moscow 1962(+2,=5,-1)                              52

Botvinnik-Petrosian, Moscow 1963 (+2, =15, -5)                   53-56  

6. Spassky

Spassky-Keres, Riga 1965 (+4, =4, -2)                            57-60

Petrosian-Spassky, Moscow 1966 (+4, =17, -3)                     61-65

Spassky-Geller, Sukhumi 1968 (+3, =5)                            66-68

Spassky-Larsen, Malmö 1968 (+4, =3, -1)                          69-71

Spassky-Korchnoi, Kiev 1968 (+4, =5, -1)                         72-73

Petrosian-Spassky, Moscow 1969 (+4, =13, -6)                     74-79

 

        F. Bobby Fischer

Fischer-Petrosian, Belgrade 1970 (+2, =2)                        1-2

Fischer-Taimanov, Vancouver 1971 (+6)                            3-8

"The worst years of my life began" Boris told me. Petrosian smiled relieved.

Spassky - Fischer, Game 1, Reykjavik 1972

 

Fischer-Larsen, Denver 1971 (6)                                  9-14

Fischer-Petrosian, Buenos Aires 1971 (+5, =3, -1)                15-23

Spassky-Fischer, Reykjavik 1972 (+3, =11, -7)                    24-44

 

        G. The super duo

1. Karpov

Karpov-Spassky, Leningrad 1974 (+4, =6, -1)                      1-4

Karpov-Korchnoi, Moscow 1974 (3, =19, -2)                        5-9

Korchnoi-Spassky, Belgrade 1977 (+7, =7, -4)                     10-13

Karpov-Korchnoi, Baguio City 1978 (+6, =21, 5)                   14-24

Karpov-Korchnoi, Merano 1981 (+6, =10, -2)                       25-28

Kasparov-Korchnoi, London 1983 (+4, =6, -1)                      29-32

Karpov-Kasparov, Moscow 1984-5 (+5, =40, -3)                     33-39

 

2. Kasparov

Kasparov-Karpov, Moscow 1985 (+5, =16, -3)                       40-47

Kasparov-Karpov, London/Leningrad 1986 (+5, =15, -4)             48-55

Kasparov-Karpov, Sevilla 1987 (+4, =16, -4)                      56-79

Kasparov - Karpov, New York/Lyon 1990 (+4, =17, -3)              80-86

 

 

    H. Various champions

Kasparov-Short, London 1993 (+6, =13, -1)                        87-91

Karpov-Timman, Netherlands/Jakarta 1993 (+6, =13, -2)            92-95

Kasparov-Anand, New York 1995 (+4, =13, -1)                      96-99

Karpov-Kamsky, Elista 1996 (+6, =9, -3)                          100-104

Kasparov-Deep Blue, Philadelphia 1996 (+3, =2, -1)               105-107

Kasparov-Deep Blue, New York 1997 (+1, =3, -2)                   108-113

Karpov-Anand, Lausanne 1998 (+4, =2, -2)                         114-116

Shirov-Kramnik, Cazorla 1998 (+2, =7)                            117-118

Khalifman-Akopian, Las Vegas 1999 (+2, =3, -1)                   119-121

Kramnik-Kasparov, London 2000 (+2, =13)                          122-136

Anand-Shirov, Teheran 2000 (+3, =1)                              137-138

Ponomariov-Ivanchuk, Moscow 2002 (+2, =5)                        139-140

Kramnik-DEEP FRITZ, Manama 2002 (+2, =4, -2)                     141

Bareev-HIARCS X, Maastricht 2003 (=4)                            142

Kramnik - Lékó, Brissago 2004 (+2, =10, -2)                      143-150

San Luis 2005 (winner Topalov)                                   151-160

Kramnik - Topalov, Elista 2006 (+3, =6, -3) and (+2, =1, -1)     161-165

Mexico 2007 (winner Anand)                                       166-173

Anand - Kramnik, Bonn 2008 (+3, =7, -1)                          174-178

Anand - Topalov, Sofia 2010 (+3, =7, -2)                         179-185

Anand - Gelfand, Moscow 2012 +2, =11, -1)                        186-191

Carlsen - Anand, Chennai 2013 (+3, =7)                           192-197

Important and exciting matches were Spassky - Fischer 1972, Kasparov - Karpov 1987, Kasparov - Deep Blue 1997 and Kramnik - Kasparov 2000. The Spassky - Fischer match was great news. Internal feuds and the humiliating defeat against Deep Blue led to a declining public interest. Progress in chess remained restricted to the highest level. Botvinnik started a professional preparation. The brilliance of Tal and Spassky gave an entertaining intermezzo. Fischer applied a broader strategic approach. Kasparov advanced the opening preparation by means of computers. Kramnik renewed the importance of prophylaxis. 

Kasparov - Kramnik, London 2000

Bareev - HIARCS X, Maastricht 2003 (game 2)

Topalov, world champion!

 

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