Below are .pgns (text files readable by chess programs) devoted to the games of some of the greatest players in chess history. They are also some of the most interesting / important players for improvement. Every teacher worth their salt recommends the games of the great masters to their students. Here, I’m trying to make it easy for those student to find those games.
The pgn files come from Bill Wall’s Chess Page, a tremendous (if overwhelming) resource for chess data. Almost all of them are the bare game scores from books about the players. While the files are not complete records of the player’s games, they are, generally speaking, handpicked collections of their best games. This means that the games you’ll study here are all worth your attention.
Chess moves cannot be copyrighted, so there is no issue to the games being hosted here. Note that I make no warranty as to the veracity of any of these files, and that I am not the creator of these files. Also note that the data here may not be clean, standardized, etc. You’ll need to buy a professionally curated database to ensure standardization. Thanks to Bill Wall for allowing me to collect and rehost the data here.
The original books, with the original annotations, are certainly preferable to these files. Still, I’m convinced that you can learn quite a bit by going through these games. Engines (usually included in the software packages / apps described below) can help you answer questions you might have about specific moves.
My advice is to proceed chronologically. Begin with Morphy and work your way down the list. Don’t worry about understanding every nuance and detail. You’re trying to get a general sense of these games and players, at least at first, and you can always go back later and analyze in depth. You should also consider buying well-annotated game collections – the insights given there will far outstrip those gleaned from the engines.
To read the data and play through the games, I provide links to a few readers. The list is not exhaustive, but I have used these and can recommend them. All are free to download.
Everyman Chess Viewer
Soltis – Morphy Chess Masterpieces.pgn | replayable version
Neistadt – Steinitz.pgn | replayable version
Adams – Mikhail_Chigorin.pgn | replayable version
Hannak-Lasker.pgn | replayable version
Marshall – Best Games.pgn | replayable version
Soltis – Frank Marshall.pgn
Reinfeld – Nimzovich the Hypermodern.pgn
Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Watts – Pillsburys Chess Career.pgn
Soltis – Pillsbury the Extraordinary.pgn
Kmoch – Rubinstein’s Chess Masterpieces.pgn | replayable version
Tartakower – my best games.pgn
Reinfeld – Tarraschs Best Games of Chess.pgn
Jose Raul Capablanca
Reinfeld – The Immortal Games of Capablanca.pgn
Golombek – Retis Best Games.pgn
Euwe – From my Chess Games 1920-1937.pgn
Denker – My Best Chess Games 1929-1976.pgn
Fine – Lessons From My Games.pgn
Botvinnik-100 Selected Games.pgn
Botvinnik – Best Games _1923-1941.pgn
Botvinnik-Best Games 1942-1956.pgn
Botvinnik-Best Games _1947-1970.pgn
Adams-Boleslavsky Selected Games.pgn
Smyslov – 125 Selected games.pgn
Clarke – Tals Best Games.pgn
Soltis – Tal the Magnificient.pgn
Pyskin – Super Nezh Chess Assassin.pgn
Damsky – Grandmaster Geller.pgn
Rattmann – Leonid Stein.pgn
Soltis – The Best Games of Boris Spassky.pgn
Larsen – my games.pgn
Robert J. Fischer
World Championship Games (1886-2016)