How do you study master games properly?

How do you study master games? Can you explain in detail what parts of the games you focuse on and how do you spot a great move worth understanding and memorizing and distiguish from just a regular move? What do you look for in master games? How do you deeply understand openings and moves?

Depending on your level you will learn different things studying master games, I'm more interested in finding ideas that can be used frequently. Let's say you're interested in endgames with Rook + Bishop vs Rook + Knight and a number of pawns on each side. If you have a database like ChessBase then you can set up a position and search for similar endgame and then filter the results based on highest ELO. After going through 15 or 20 games you should be able to spot similar maneuvers that are being used by top-level players and then using that knowledge when an opportunity presents itself in your own games. I saw a blitz game yesterday where Morozevich played an unexpected G5 pawn sacrifice in the opening as black (Nestor Morozevich) i tested the move with an engine, i also reversed the colors and checked if it was possible to sac this pawn (g4) with the exact same setup but with white.
By doing these small studies, backtesting i slowly gain knowledge of things i haven't seen before. I also compare it to other similar ideas where g5 is involved like a Carlsen - Nakamura game where it was used in The French to break down a white center or 3-g5 in the Rossolimo sicilian also a pawn sac. Learning chess on a deep level is not a sprint more of a marathon it's not the amount of time, but the quality that matters. Good work ethics and patience combined with practical play will improve understanding. Regards Richard

@SucheSchachfreund , Mr Pushwood is saying, he will learn R+B vs R+N from endgame tablebases ( Nalimov and syzgy are most popular Endgame tablebases).

Benefits of Table Bases is that they are 100% accurate ( humans blunders left and right all time) but drawback is limited to 7 men.

The best way to study master games it to cover up the next moves and think what you would play. Then look at the grandmaster move. Did he play the same? Why?

The Nalimov reference earlier is an endgame database, i don't use that tool very much because it's restricted to max 7 pawn/pieces on the board. That means if each side has a couple of pawns on each flank then Nalimov is useless. Its good if you want to look at clean technical endings with none or very few pawns i guess. Regards Richard

(I wrote this about studying your own games. For studying master games I'd add to look at lots of different games within similar pawn structures and look for common motifs. You can also compare your expected move with the actual move in critical positions, and figure out what their move does that yours doesn't and vice versa.)

I would start with positional foundations. After scanning for missed tactical opportunities, consider the positional strategy that leads to those opportunities (for both sides. it's important to understand how your opponent can play better too, so you can learn to anticipate and play against better play in your games)

Look at each one in turn: things like pawn structure and how to play in certain pawn structures (blockading, available pawn breaks, minor piece battle, as well as opportunities to advantageously change pawn structures) . Most aspects of strategy revolve around proper understanding of pawn structures. Consider opportunities to create weaknesses or attack weaknesses that may lead to further weakening of your opponents position. Then in each position, evaluate the pieces and see which pieces are best in certain structures or positions, or how they can be improved. Your piece positioning and activity should also be aligned with the strategy of pawn breaks relevant to the pawn structure. Those are the kinds of things I think about when I analyze.

And you can get incredibly subtle with the positional details. It's important to note that every square difference in piece placement makes a difference in what is attacked and what is defended. Look for ways to exploit those weaknesses in your games, and try to understand how the game would be different if the bishop moved one more square forward or back (for example). Another thing to check is tension - the pressure of pawns that can capture each other, or pieces for that matter. In many cases, taking a piece leads to an increase in activity for your opponent as another piece replaces it. It's often good strategy to keep the tension of pawns and pieces by defending your pieces instead of trading immediately. This can also be a way to preserve your pawn structure, instead of creating weaknesses or holes by pushing or trading - pay attention to which files and diagonals and squares you want open for yourself, and which your opponent wants. Consider ways to even sacrifice a pawn to cover up squares that inhibit his piece activity. When keeping the tension you can maneuver and create optimal situations to release the tension, when your pieces are ready for whatever happens. Lots to think about.

hope this helps!

@intro_bard_bot of course it helps, but this wasn't really the question. The question was how to distinguish important moves from regular ones in analysing master games and how to study them in general. Also: Why is your rating 900? This makes no sense considering how much you know about chess. Is that a bot you are running or you?