"Chess is an aesthetic experience – the more you understand, the more you enjoy the beauty of this game."
One of the best ways to appreciate the "aesthetic experience" AND improve at chess is by studying the games of great players. Here are several FREE Internet chess database collections which will give you a wealth of great chess games to explore:
- ChessGames.com. ChessGames.com is a web-based chess database and community. It contains over 400,000 searchable chess games and offers daily features, such as a "Game of the Day" and a "Puzzle of the Day", taken from games in the database. There is also a "Premium Membership" ($25 annually) which adds access to numerous features including a "Guess-the-Move" chess training tool and the Opening Explorer, Endgame Explorer, and Sacrifice Explorer.
- ChessLab.com. A collection of "two million interactive chess games online (1485 - 2006)" which you can search and analyze online. Also included is a puzzle section which includes things like "find mate in 2" and "find the best move."
- ChessBase Online. This is a high quality database of 2.4 million unannotated chess games that is kept updated with new and historic games on a weekly basis.
- NICBase Online. Sponsored by New in Chess, this online database features "over 1.25 million chess games." Online consists of 4 major functions: Searching for a game, Classifying a game, Browsing through NIC-Key Tree, and Viewing a game.
- MonRoi World Databank of Chess Free database of recent tournament games.
If you have a PGN file viewer or a chess database program for managing games (e.g. ChessBase or Chess Assitant) you can also download complete collections of chess games in a PGN file format to your PC. For more recent games, Convetka has a good collection here.