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Grand-Master Emms - - - on some of ... 
the best chess moves ever played. 

 (Stay tuned for more great chess moves from the 19th Century.) 

  GM John Emms on some great chess moves.   


I recently (late September, 2003) purchased the book: 
 "The Most Amazing CHESS MOVES of All Time,"    
    by  GM John Emms.  (Emms is a top English GM.)

(Copyright © 2000. Published by Gambit Books. ISBN: # 1-901983-29-3)

In this book he attempts to find and rate the 200 best and most amazing chess moves ever played. A friend had this book, naturally I had to get it to be able to write about it and add it to this web page!! Just the idea of being to examine the 200 best moves ... it almost made my mouth water. Actually, I have only seriously examined about 50 of these positions, but it will take time and energy - and besides, I am in no hurry here!!

Emms … on Great Chess Moves
Book Review  by  LIFE-Master  A.J. Goldsby I

Before you read my review, you should know that I am a Life-Master of Chess.

And lately, it seems I have been bashing books – my reviews have generated a lot of e-mail – some has been rather negative. But I am always honest, and I always try to point out any flaws or mistakes that I find. As the man says: "I call ‘em the way I see ‘em."

So it is with a great deal of pure joy that I tell you … 
(In fact, I have created several new web pages … just with the material that this book contains. With a search engine, you should find it easily.)

This book is NOT perfect; I have found quite a few errors. For example: on page # 168, (second column); the note after move after move 35.Ne6, the author gives: "Also losing is 35.Rdb1, Nh3+; 36.Ke1," etc. BUT 35…Nh3 is NOT the best move. (35…Ne4 is MUCH better.) In fact, …Nh3 is NOT even check!! <giggle>

And I do not entirely approve of the author’s "Top Ten." #1 is from a game where the loser said it was, "one of the worst games he ever played." (But all losers might say this!) His number five is almost an exact copy, (in type, AND theme); to his number one. And on it goes. Games from lesser-known players, games of questionable content, moves that are NOT even real double-exclams. (Real mistakes are the lack of some simple, thorough player and position indexes.)

BUT!!!! All these are minor quibbles, really. (The author covers this ground in his intro.) Consider all the really FANTASTIC THINGS that this book offers:

# 1.)  200 of the BEST – and most astounding – chess moves ever played;

# 2.)  EVERY phase of the game is covered. 
(Opening, middle-game, end-game.);

# 3.)  Some really GREAT analysis, I estimate the author worked at least a year on this book. The analysis of some of the moves … is worth the price of the book! The author holds NOTHING back!! In one of the examples, the author points out things like themes, recurring tactics, and opening traps!!

Chess IS tactics. And this book is really all about tactics. And there are no easy ones in here. I had my daughter pick about 30 problems at random. Half of these I knew, there are from fairly well-known chess games. But of the ones I did not already know the answer to, I correctly solved only three problems!! (I don’t count problems where I guessed the solutions.) If a Master needs to work on this area, how about you?

At last – a FUN book, that if used intelligently – will help you get better at chess. And once you have spent some time with this book, you will have a smile almost as big as mine! Outstanding!!

   ---> I gave this book  FIVE STARS!!  (Out of a possible five.) 

See below. The first ten positions of the Emms' book.

EMMS # 1 Greatest Chess Move

   It is Black to play and make his 47th move ... and its a real corker.  (emms_acm-pos1.jpg, 35 KB)

From the game,  GM V. Topalov - GM A. Shirov; 
Linares (ESP), 1998. 

Black to play and win.  (Move # 47... for Black coming up.) 

EMMS # 2 Greatest Chess Move

   White to move, and play a real shocker!! (emms_acm-pos2.jpg, 38 KB)

From the game,  Brzozka - GM David Bronstein;  Miskolc, 1963.

Black to play and win. (Move # 48... coming up.)


An AMAZING game - and combination - that deserves to 
be better known than it actually is. 

EMMS # 3 Greatest Chess Move

   White to move - a truly shocking sequence!  (emms_acm-pos3.jpg, 39 KB)

From the game: GM E. Vladimirov - GM V. Epishin
Chess tournament; Tashkent, 1987. 

Black just played 24...Kf8; Now White played the seemingly 
 normal move 25.Rdg1, when Black responded with the move 
What does White play now? 
the sequence of moves given above!)


White to move and win.  (White to play his 26th move.)

EMMS # 4 Greatest Chess Move

   Kholmov plays a super-brilliant ... and completely UN-expected retort. (emms_acm-pos4.jpg,  37 KB)

From the very famous encounter: 
 GM Ratmir Kholmov - GM David Bronstein
U.S.S.R. Championship, (Kiev) 1964/65. 

White to play and win.  (White to play and make his 18th move.)

EMMS # 5 Greatest Chess Move

 Black to play.  (emms_acm-pos5.jpg, 32 KB)

From the game:  Hindle - Mohring
Tel-Aviv, 1964

Black to play and win (Black is about to make his 69th move.) 

Not a great choice by Emms ... it is
much too similar to # 1.

EMMS # 6 Greatest Chess Move

  White to play ... and make a cool move. (emms_acm-pos6.jpg, 40 KB)

  From the game:  Oren - Dyner;  Tel-Aviv, 1952. 

WHITE to move.  (White's 24th move is next.) 


A questionable game - between two unknowns. 

EMMS # 7 Greatest Chess Move

  Black to play and draw. {This game could be a fake.}  (emms_acm-pos7.jpg, 34 KB)

 From the game:  Fehling - RutschiBiel, 1983. 

 Black to move. 

 Another highly questionable game from players no one ever heard of. 
(This could be a composition. Doubtful authenticity! No game score!)

EMMS # 8 Greatest Chess Move

   White to play and make a nice move. (emms_acm-pos8.jpg, 36 KB)

  From the game:  Bura - Puric´Yugoslavia, 1982. 

  White to move and win.  


Another game from two lightweights - and while interesting ... 
it is NOT worthy of being in the list of the TEN GREATEST. 
(I would give the first move ONLY one exclam!)

EMMS # 9 Greatest Chess Move

   Black to play: What follows now is one of the most amazing sequences in all of chess!!!  (emms_acm-pos9.jpg, 38 KB)

  From the fabulous contest:  
GM V. Ivanchuk - GM A. Yusupov
Candidates (1/4) Tournament/Match
Brussels, BEL;  1991.


  BLACK to move and win.  


  Easily one of the greatest plays of all time ... 
and overlooked by many other writers!

 One of the most amazing chess games ever played!! 

EMMS # 10  Greatest Chess Move

  White to move and play his 36th move. {From one of the most brilliant games ever played.}  (emms_acm-pos10.jpg, 37 KB)


From the unbelievable game: 
GM Garry Kasparov - GM Veselin Topalov; 
Super-GM Tournament/Wijk ann Zee, 1999.


WHITE to play and win.  (White's 36th move is next.)


A great move ... from maybe the greatest  game  ever played!!

Well, that's it for the Emms' book.
(The solutions are near, but you must be willing to look around.)


I wanted to at least have his top ten choices here, 
although I do not agree with all of them.

  I may (later) bring you more positions from this incredible book!  

  Know of an incredible chess move?  Send it to me!  

Return  to my  Home.   Go to (or return)  to my  Best Players Page. 

Go to (or return)  to my  "Best Moves" Page.


   Page created: 10/16/2003.   Page last updated: Thursday; December 02nd, 2004. 

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