Chess Quotes

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A few favorite chess quotes are listed here. If you have some favorites to add, let us know.

ABOUT WINNING, LOSING, and MAKING MISTAKES

Win with grace and lose with dignity.
– GM Susan Polgar. Became #1 ranked woman in the world at age 15. First woman to become a chess GrandMaster (GM).  She is the subject of a National Geographic documentary "My Beautiful Brain," a very interesting 46 minute film.  See our TV/movie section.

You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.
-- GM Jose Raul Capablanca. World chess champion 1921-1927 and one of the greatest chess players of all time.

That's what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.
-- GM Bobby Fischer

What would Chess be without silly mistakes?
-- IM Kurt Richter.  German chess International Master (IM) and chess writer.

Every chess master was once a beginner.
-- NM Irving Chernev.  National Master (NM) and prolific chess author.

GENERAL ADVICE

When you see a good move, look for a better one.
-- GM Emanuel Lasker.

A Chess game is a dialogue, a conversation between a player and his opponent. Each move by the opponent may contain threats or be a blunder, but a player cannot defend against threats or take advantage of blunders if he does not first ask himself: What is my opponent planning after each move?
-- Bruce A. Moon

You sit at the board and suddenly your heart leaps. Your hand trembles to pick up the piece and move it.  But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly and think about whether it’s really a good idea and whether there are other better ideas.
-- Stanley Kubrick

Capture of the adverse King is the ultimate but not the first object of the game
-- William Steinitz.  The first world champion.

ON THE OPENING

Best by test: 1. e4.
-- GM Bobby Fischer

I have added these principles to the law: get the Knights into action before both Bishops are developed.
-- GM Emanuel Lasker

Good offense and good defense both begin with good development.
-- Bruce A. Moon

ON PAWNS

The most important feature of the Chess position is the activity of the pieces. This is absolutely fundamental in all phases of the game: Opening, Middlegame and especially Endgame. The primary constraint on a piece's activity is the Pawn structure.
-- GM Michael Stean.  English chess grandmaster and chess author that learned to play before he was five.

A passed Pawn increases in strength as the number of pieces on the board diminishes.
-- GM Capablanca

The passed Pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient.
-- GM Aaron Nimzovich

Every Pawn is a potential Queen.
-- James Mason.  Famous Irish chess player and writer, who was briefly world number 1.

ON TACTICS

The defensive power of a pinned piece is only imaginary.
-- GM Aaron Nimzovich

Discovered check is the dive bomber of the Chessboard.
-- GM Reuben Fine  - one of the best chess players in the world from early 1930's through 1940's.

Tactics flow from a superior position.
-- GM Bobby Fischer

Chess is 99 percent tactics.
-- CM Richard Teichmann

What is a combination? A combination is a blend of ideas – pins, forks, discovered checks, double attacks – which endow the pieces with magical power. It is a series of staggering blows before the knockout. It is the climatic scene in the play appearing on the board. It is the touch of enchantment that gives life to inanimate pieces. It is all this and more – A combination is the heart of chess.
-- NM Irving Chernev.  National Master (NM) and prolific chess author.

ON PLAYING REAL OPPONENTS or COMPUTERS

Chess is thirty to forty percent psychology. You don't have this when you play a computer. I can't confuse it.
-- GM Judit Polgar.  Trained in her early years by her older sister Susan, she has become by far the best woman chess player in history.  Has been as high as #5 in the overall world rankings.

CHECKMATES AND THE ENDGAME

The King is a fighting piece. Use it!
-- Wilhelm Steinitz

A thorough understanding of the typical mating continuations makes the most complicated sacrificial combinations leading up to them not only not difficult, but almost a matter of course.
-- GM Siegbert Tarrasch