Fifty Instructive Chess Games

Updated 3 March 2014
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If you are a beginning player who could learn from an intermediate player (me), and if you like a style of winning quickly by sacrificing pieces (meaning you don't mind losing if your brilliant attack fizzles because you learned something), then you might enjoy playing over some of my best games. Most of them are 25 moves or less, meaning a forced checkmate, not just resigning because one is down a piece! These are listed in order of the number of moves, mostly named by the opening or the lesson they teach. They include at least a dozen different openings

About half of these games have been posted here for over a decade. They are now marked with three asterisks (***) because they are the best games (few blunders, clever foresight). The rest were added on 1 March 2014, using the Chess Game Recorder program listed at the end of this page. Most of the new games are not as good as the first set, but they were included because they teach something.

*** Kostics Trap (7 moves)
A beautiful little trap that can be used against average players.

*** Pratt's Trap (9 moves)
This is my modification of Kostics Trap for Two Knights, which won a game in a tournament.

Two Minute Game (10 moves)
A quick game with someone I had just played in a church tournament.

Merciless (10 moves)
A young neighbor boy insisted on playing our first game with no spotting, so I won as quickly as I could to encourage him that spotting was a good idea.

Habit Causes Blindness (12 moves)
Sometimes players miss a checkmate threat even in tournament play because of playing by habit.

*** 4 Knights: Rubenstein's Defense (13 moves)
My favorite defense against the four knights attack.

*** Queen's Gambit (13 moves)
The Queen's Gambit is a powerful opening.

Underestimating (13 moves)
The player that you thought you knew may no longer be that same player.

*** Giuoco Piano (14 moves)
Black takes a chance sacrificing a knight, but his Back Door attack wins quickly.

*** Morphy's Fried Liver Attack (15 moves)
This exciting attack against the Two Knights Defense is really fun!

*** Diverting Attention (15 moves)
This is a good example of purposely diverting attention to get a surprise win.

*** Bishops Opening (15 moves)
A nice sacrifice opens up the castle to destruction.

Handicap for Equality (15 moves)
When playing beginners, taking off some of your pieces makes a great handicap and makes it much more fun for them to have a chance to win. It can be pretty tough to beat someone who can just march pawns down unopposed to get a bunch of queens!

*** Evans Gambit Accepted (16 moves)
Another example of diverting attention for a surprise win.

*** Evans Gambit (16 moves)
This creative response to the Evans Gambit, with lack of defense, led to a loss to two queens.

*** Danish Gambit Accepted (16 moves)
The raw power of the Danish Gambit is unleashed in this game.

*** Unbridled Offense (16 moves)
This aggressive response to a Danish Gambit turned into an all out attacking game.

Almost Fried (16 moves)
The first game play with my son with no handicap. He did great and I was lucky to win.

*** Queen's Gambit Accepted (17 moves)
Shows what can happen if someone unfamiliar with this opening takes the bait.

*** Four Knights (17 moves)
A nice finish after a weird way to arrive at the standard Four Knights opening.

*** Center Game (17 moves)
The Center Game is a strong opening for White, but is his queen is open to attack.

Premature Attack (17 moves)
Black pulls out a win in spite of a premature attack and losing exchanges. Much offense, poor defense.

*** Queen's Gambit Declined (17 moves)
This game is an excellent example of the power of pawns, pushing the enemy queen away and forcing a checkmate.

*** Bird's Opening (18 moves)
Bird's attack is usually laughed at, so you can use it for a surprise attack against someone unfamiliar with it. It is great against someone who always castles kingside. In this game it worked even though they went queenside.

*** King's Gambit (18 moves)
Again, this is no longer popular, so it is great for a surprise attack.

*** Reti's Opening (18 moves)
This totally defensive opening fails to keep the castle safe from the enemy queen. It also includes a nice rook sacrifice.

*** Irregular Opening (19 moves)
White unwittingly sets up his downfall as he pursues the enemy queen.

*** Pratt Gambit Declined (20 moves)
This is an opening I designed to combine the advantages of the Evans Gambit and Danish Gambit.

Trading Order (21 moves)
A pretty boring, totally even game until the end when the order of trades makes a big difference.

Scotch Game (21 moves)
The Scotch Game avoids the standard Ruy Lopez by attempting to dominate the center. After a lack-luster beginning, this game has a clean forced finish.

Queen Power (21 moves)
Another game showing the complete dominance of the Queen's Gambit, if the defender doesn't play it by the book.

*** Greco's Trap (23 moves)
This game shows Greco's trap, right out of the book, which I fell into.

*** Queen's Gambit (23 moves)
In this game White dominates the center and finally breaks through Black's guard for a clean victory.

*** Sicilian Wing Gambit Declined (23 moves)
The wing gambit is my favorite offense against Sicilian. This game shows why one must be very careful when offering to exchange queens.

Abdication (23 moves)
This was my first game playing an adult in over a year, since pretty much retiring from chess. It is a good example of a panicking queen abdicating her throne next to her king, leading to disaster.

*** Bishop's Opening (24 moves)
Black is able to induce White to weaken his castle, then drives his king to the center of the board, and ends with a surprise finish.

Ignoring Defense (24 moves)
When I knew my opponent was a superior player, why did I entirely ignore defense?

Quick Game (24 moves)
My best quick game, with 5 minutes per player allowed. I actually didn't make any real blunders.

*** Sicilian Wing Gambit Accepted (25 moves)
After the opening, a variation of Morphy's Fried Liver attack exposes Black's king and eventually leads to his downfall.

*** Pratt's Gambit Declined (25 moves)
I couldn't find any case of a quick win with Pratt's Gambit Accepted. Maybe it is best as an option to Evans Gambit Declined, but if accepted, then the Evans approach is better.

Increasing Advantage (25 moves)
White wins the center with the Queen's Gambit and then systematically increases advantage for the win.

Danish Dismantled (25 moves)
The Danish Gambit is my favorite opening, but my nephew had seen it many times. He systematically and patiently dismantled its power.

Bishop's Defense (26 moves)
The Bishop's Defense is my invention, which merely plays the Bishop's Opening for Black.

Jennifer's Opening (26 moves)
My new daughter-in-law invented her own opening and I rather liked it.

King Chase (26 moves)
Black moves his King Bishop Pawn, opening his King to be chased all around.

Trapped Queen (26 moves)
Bringing the queen out early makes her a good target. But beware if the opponent suddenly stops attacking her. He may be laying a trap by closing all escape routes.

Arrogant Bishop (29 moves)
A bishop leaves his defensive post to be a hero and it leads to disaster.

Perseverance (29 moves)
After winning my son's queen, with few pieces left on the board, a funny thing happened while I was mopping up, preparing for a swift finish using my queen. I let down my guard while my son persevered undaunted and won a brilliant victory having only a rook and a bishop.

*** Danish Gambit (32 moves)
This is my favorite opening and I actually beat the highest rated player I've ever played. It has a good opening, but the end only shows how to trade off pieces in order to promote a pawn.

Trades Attacking Queen (34 moves)
Momentum can change if an attacker voluntarily trades queens.

New Opening at Eighty (36 moves)
My only game with an 80-year-old neighbor. He had never seen the Sicilian Wing Gambit before and was really excited to learn a new opening. Not an amazing game but one worth preserving.


Record Chess Games for the Web
I wrote a program to record any chess game to replay on the web (put them on your website).