The Most Important Opening Novelties From The Modern World Championships

(lr) Kasparov, Karpov, Smyslov, Fischer, Short, Anand

(lr) Kasparov, Karpov, Smyslov, Fischer, Short, Anand

Hello everyone, today I wish to present to you what I’ve been working on the last few weeks: The top 10 most important opening novelties from the Modern World Championships. I was inspired to create this after witnessing what I would perceive to be the death of the modern opening preparation perpetrated by Magnus Carlsen (who I firmly believe is ushering in a new era of chess).

As one might expect it took while to go through around 60 years of chess theory and games. I started with the Botvinnik-Bronstein match of 1951 and went all the way up to the match that just finished between Anand and Carlsen. I reviewed every single game that was played in every single world championship up to this point (using the match style, there aren’t enough hours in the day to review the FIDE Knockout tourist events). I chose these games and novelties based on a few factors including: “Wow factor”, importance (how many subsequent games where played using this novelty), timelessness (was the novelty refuted a few weeks/months/years after it was played) and finally did the person who unleashed the novelty actually win the game. Unfortunately due to the nature of these sorts of lists I had around 30 strong novelties when I started and forced myself to narrow my list down to just 10. This should help explain why there are so few “recent” novelties on this list (namely from guys like Anand, Topalov, Kramnik etc). I chose to exclude them because often their lines were a bit obscure and haven’t been fully flushed out. Perhaps in 5-10 years this could be a different story but for the time being we will wait for the bread that is their ideas to “leaven” as it were.

Perhaps it is not surprising to most chess fans that the most frequent guest on our list is Garry Kasparov who is without a doubt one of the greatest theoreticians of all time. Anatoly Karpov is also a fairly frequent guest on this list which is part of the reason their matches were so exciting and competitive. Without further ado I present the top 10 most important opening novelties from the modern world championships.

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