Great chess quotes

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  • Re: Great Chess Quotes

    A bit of a disappointment, for me, finding out that Reshevsky may have been a sleazebag.

    "Sammy Reshevsky was another who engaged in this practice on numerous occasions. Reshevsky’s variation on Gufeld’s theme was to offer a draw when both players were low on time. When the opponent accepted, after using almost every last second of thinking time, he would deny never having made the offer. This left the opponent flustered and with no time to think. This tactic backfired on at least one occasion. At Lone Pine 1981 Reshevsky tried his trick on John Fedorowicz who accepted the draw which Sammy then claimed to have never made. Several witnesses supported Fedorowicz but the Chief Arbiter, Isaac Kashdan, supported Reshevsky ruling that since they were all young they were likely friends of Fedorowicz. Play resumed and this time it was Reshevsky who lost on time, failing to make the last move of the time control before his flag*fell."

    - John Donaldson in a review of Tukmakov's 'Risk & Chess' at
    "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
    "If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination." - Thomas De Quincey


    • Re: Great Chess Quotes

      I wasnt going to comment on GM Reshevsky but then I thought why not? (typical of chesstalk). I was at the Ontario Open in Brantford last year and between rounds was having lunch at Tim's when GM John Fedorowicz approached me and asked me if he could join me. My response: Are you kidding? Of course - please! It was a big thrill for me. Ive always admired John from a distance but I didnt realize how refreshingly down to earth he was and he'll tell it like it is. He regaled me with many anecdotes from the chessworld prompted by my pointed questions. Amongst many others: playing in a round robin tournament at the Marshall Club, last round game which he needed to win to win the tournament - in the game after getting into a losing position Gm Reshevsky had a heart attack and the para meds were called and he was taken away. TD's decision: game remains undecided and stayed that way. The Fed never forgot that - however his lifetime score against Reshevsky 8 wins (or was it nine?) and one loss (and thats with all of Reshevskys shenanigans). Admittedly Reshevsky was older but still very impressive. My question: why did GM Reshevsky get so much favoritism and support from TD's? As far as the anecdote about the heart attack goes you would be better to hear it from John - his description was priceless but Im afraid I would not do much credit to the nuances.


      • Re: Great Chess Quotes

        Great Chess Quotes

        June 6, 2016

        RIP Viktor Korchnoi, who died today.

        An anecdote from Genna Sosonko:

        "When Korchnoi plays chess he forgets about everything. Tal once told me that before a simultaneous display in Havana, Victor was asked (by an official): 'You will be playing Che Guevara. He is a rather weak player, but he loves chess passionately. He would be happy, if he were able to gain a draw...'

        Korchnoi understandingly nodded his head.

        A few hours later he returned to the hotel. 'Well?' 'I crushed them all, all without exception!' 'And Che Guevara?' 'Che Guevara?' 'I also crushed Che Guevara -- he hasn't a clue about the Catalan Opening!'”


        • Re: Great Chess Quotes

          Great Chess Quotes

          June 8, 2016

          I recall once reading of a chess tournament in Scotland, where first prize was a gallon of Glenfiddich whisky. But, I have been unable to find the reference after a search.

          The occasion to bring this up is that there is a French Open tournament where you can win your weight in Medoc wine (a Bordeaux):

          Le 2ème Open des Vins à Hourtin aura lieu du 2 au 9 juillet 2016 !

          Le convivialité, la bonne atmosphère et le
          BON VIN seront au RendezVous !

          Le vainqueur gagne donc encore une fois son poids en vin !

          Date : du samedi 2 au samedi 9 juillet
          Prix :
          1er : le poids du gagnant en bon vin de Médoc
          2ème : la moitié du poids du joueur en bon vin de Médoc
          3ème : un tiers ....
          4ème : un quart ...
          5ème : ...
          6ème : un sixième du poids du joueur en bon vin de Médoc


          • Re: Great Chess Quotes

            Great Chess Quotes

            June 10, 2016

            A condensed quote by Victor Korchnoi from a conversation with Evgeny Surov in April, 2012. (Magnus Carlsen became World Champion in 2013)


            E.SUROV: Victor Lvovich, how did it happen that you settled in Switzerland? Initially, you asked for political asylum in Holland.

            V.KORCHNOI: I was given asylum in Holland. I only got indefinite leave to remain, which is considerably different to political asylum. I moved to Switzerland thanks to Petra, who sorted out the documents.

            E.SUROV: So, was it your wife’s initiative to move to Switzerland?

            V.KORCHNOI: Yes.

            E.SUROV: Nevertheless, they didn’t give you a citizenship for quite a long time: about fifteen years.

            V.KORCHNOI: That’s true. It wasn’t because of the chess players who were trying to stop it. It’s not easy to settle in Switzerland for an average person. Of course, there are people with lots of money who get over these obstacles. But in general, it’s not easy.

            E.SUROV: We see your wife with you all the time; she solves crosswords when you play. Do you like to solve crosswords?

            V.KORCHNOI: I don’t do that; I have enough chess problems as it is. Since my wife doesn’t participate much in chess problems, she solves crosswords.

            E.SUROV: What is your opinion on how the World Champion should be decided these days?

            V.KORCHNOI: I think he is decided correctly now: a Candidates Tournament is followed by a match between the winner and the World Champion.

            E.SUROV: There is an opinion that the system isn’t quite fair, because the world’s strongest chess player is Magnus Carlsen, who wins all the tournaments.

            V.KORCHNOI: I find that quite surprising… Not so long ago I wrote in one of my books that there were three chess players in history who could (or can) read thoughts of their opponents: Tal, Mecking and Carlsen. That’s what, I think, explains the Norwegian phenomenon. He reads thoughts. Some wouldn’t agree with that.


            • Re: Great Chess Quotes

              Great Chess Quotes

              June 12, 2016

              The World’s Worst Chess Obituary

              FIDE reports death of Herman Suradiradja, world's weakest Grandmaster, who bought IM and GM titles in corrupt tournaments in Asia and Europe

              Ian Rogers


              See also:

              which says:

              Unfortunately after he got his GM title he couldn’t manage to support the demands of his title with decent performance. His form and rating declined rapidly.


              • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                Great Chess Quotes

                June 13, 2016

                Viktor Korchnoi in cricket boots

                John Fingleton writing in The Times:

                Viktor Korchnoi

                John Fingleton writes: My principal memory of Viktor Korchnoi (obituary, June 8) has little to do with chess. I handled the PR for the inaugural Phillips & Drew Kings’ chess tournament at County Hall in 1980 when, amongst the galaxy of international chess superstars attending, was Viktor, now in exile (from memory) in Switzerland and whose match against the 15-year-old British megastar Nigel Short was destined to be the media highlight of the event.

                During the course of the tournament, the competitors were given an afternoon off, where no chess was to be played (no chance of getting them to agree to that — even on their machines in the bus) but rather to take part in a wholly informal football match somewhere near Croydon, to which almost all of them travelled in the “team bus”.

                Viktor, who always seemed a tad vague about anything not chess- related, duly missed the bus and so I drove him there in my car. When we arrived, he realised that he had forgotten either to buy or bring any football boots or any other appropriate footwear. I am not involved in football but was, in those days, a madly enthusiastic if wholly unsuccessful amateur cricketer. My cricket kit lived permanently (between washes, of course) in the back of my car. Problem solved . . . the great, leonine Viktor Korchnoi played football — in goal, I seem to recall — in my cricket boots.



                • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                  Great Chess Quotes

                  June 22, 2016

                  As you may or may not know, the British Chess Magazine was started in 1881 and has been published continuously since. There were difficulties in the Steven Giddins editorial era and his departure was announced in May 2011. The whole character of the magazine had changed.

                  In 2016 Chess Informant took over the magazine and there is a new look and new content.

                  The BCM website gives the following potted history of the magazine:

                  Reinvigorated, refreshed, redesigned, relaunched. BCM is back!

                  Founded in 1881 by John Watkinson, from humble origins in Yorkshire, British Chess Magazine has long been regarded as British chess royalty.

                  Don’t just take our word for it — Queen Elizabeth II was pleased to have a chess problem dedicated to her in BCM on the occasion of her wedding in 1948, and we understand that BCM may even have been read by Queen Victoria (known to be a keen chess player). With our two longest serving monarchs, BCM readers are in great company!

                  Published continuously during the reigns of six British sovereigns, twenty world chess champions, twenty-five British prime ministers, and two world wars, BCM has featured the play of every world champion since 1881, from Wilhelm Steinitz through to current world champion Magnus Carlsen.

                  Reading that, I asked myself, “Have we really had twenty world chess champions since 1881?” We have had more if you count both men and women champs.

                  But I put together a list with all claimants to the crown listed once and, indeed, I got twenty.

                  World Champions

                  1. Steinitz
                  2. Lasker
                  3. Capablanca
                  4. Alekhine
                  5. Euwe
                  6. Botvinnik
                  7. Smyslov
                  8. Tal
                  9. Petrosian
                  10. Spassky
                  11. Fischer
                  12. Karpov
                  13. Kasparov
                  14. Khalifman
                  15. Anand
                  16. Ponomariov
                  17. Kasimdzhanov
                  18. Topalov
                  19. Kramnik
                  20. Carlsen


                  • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                    "When you play the Ruy Lopez, it's like milking a cow." (GM David Bronstein, 1924-2006) Quoted from "My 60 Memorable Games'', by GM Bobby Fischer, 1969.

                    GM Bronstein was referring to the very heavily analyzed Ruy Lopez or Spanish Game, which begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. The opening, apparently invented by the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez at Madrid 1574, the world's first international tournament, has been continuously popular at all levels ever since.


                    • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                      Originally posted by Frank Dixon View Post
                      "When you play the Ruy Lopez, it's like milking a cow." (GM David Bronstein, 1924-2006) Quoted from "My 60 Memorable Games'', by GM Bobby Fischer, 1969.
                      Pretty sure we'll never hear a farmer say that milking a cow is like playing the Ruy Lopez, though.


                      • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                        Here's one on early Anatoly Karpov, circa late 1960s, before he became a GM and later world champion.

                        GMs Eduard Gufeld and Efim Geller were discussing Karpov, his chess, and his slender physique:

                        Gufeld: 'This boy will never become a grandmaster, he is too thin."
                        Geller: 'Everyone has their own definitions. For example, you, Edik, became a grandmaster only when your weight surpassed 100 kilos!' :)
                        (From 'The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov', by O'Connell, Levy and Adams, Batsford 1976.)


                        • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                          "Mistrust is the most essential quality for the chess player." :)

                          (Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch, 1862-1934. Tarrasch, a medical doctor, was among the top ten players in the world from about 1890 until about 1920. He may have been the strongest in the world in the early 1890s, but refused a match with the rising star Emanuel Lasker, citing commitments to his medical practice. Lasker then challenged world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, who was 32 years older than Lasker, to a championship match in 1894. Steinitz accepted, as Lasker had found sponsorship for the match, and Lasker won! Tarrasch was an exceptional player, writer and teacher, getting into his fair share of polemical disputes along the way! )


                          • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                            Great Chess Quotes

                            June 28, 2016

                            The Battle of Chess Engines

                            Stage 2 of TCEC, the Top Chess Engine Championship is approaching its middle point. After 11 rounds, Komodo continues to lead. Stockfish was behind and people were wondering why, because it is the favorite.

                            This quotation from chess bomb:

                            MayanKing: What happened to Stockfish?

                            cycledan: SF assumes the other engines are just as good and goes for the draw. Hurts against weaker engines, helps against stronger engines.

                            cycledan: There is a contempt setting that sets whether an engine should go for a win or draw.


                            Since the above, Stockfish has gone into second place. Here is a technical evaluation of what happened:

                            Stockfish – a tablebase save and a direct match win

                            Stockfish showed how important are tablebases in the current state of computer chess software. While endgame knowledge progresses rapidly, tablebases still have the major advantage. In the game Raptor – Stockfish, Raptor tried to win a +4,77 position for 134 moves. Stockfish knew all along that the resulting game is a draw and a 50 moves rule had to be applied. It will be interesting to see how the two engines will handle the same opening with reversed colors in the second part of the TCEC Stage 2 round robin.

                            The game of round 11 was certainly Stockfish – Houdini. Stockfish showed clear technical superiority and replaced Houdini at the second position in the standings.

                            Stockfish next games include a direct match with Komodo and a relatively easy program vs Ginkgo, Protector, and Naum.

                            Great coverage of the event at:



                            • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                              Duel of chess characterizations:

                              "Chess is 99 per cent tactics." (Richard Teichmann, 1868-1925, a strong German GM strength player, blind in one eye. Teichmann came close to holding his own, or better, against everyone from his generation / era, EXCEPT for Emanuel Lasker and J.R. Capablanca.)

                              "Chess is 99 per cent calculation." (American GM Andrew Soltis, 1947--), quoted in 'The Inner Game of Chess', which is one of the very best practical chess books I have ever come across. GM Soltis, one of the most prolific chess authors of all time, backs up his assertion in the book by superbly organizing a great selection of examples, which are well explained. :)

                              I think GM Soltis' statement is closer to the truth! :)


                              • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                                Great Chess Quotes

                                July 3, 2016

                                From Ken Whyld in the British Chess Magazine, Quotes and Queries, April 2003, p.219:

                                While assisting on some research, I came across the following, which might have been the single move in chess that had the greatest repercussion:

                                San Sebastian 1911
                                San Sebastian, Spain
                                Round 5, February 27, 1911
                                Capablanca, Jose Raul – Janowski, David
                                D04 Queen’s Pawn Game

                                1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Nf3 c5 4.c4 e6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.dxc5 O-O 7.a3 Bxc5 8.b4 Be7 9.Bb2 a5 10.b5 b6 11.cxd5 exd5 12.Nd4 Bd6 13.Be2 Be6 14.Bf3 Ra7 15.O-O Rc7 16.Qb3 Nbd7 17.Rfd1 Ne5 18.Be2 Qe7 19.Rac1 Rfc8 20.Na4 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 22.Bxc1 Ne4 23.Bb2 Nc4 24.Bxc4 Bxh2+ 25.Kxh2 Qh4+ 26.Kg1 Qxf2+ 27.Kh2 Qg3+ 28.Kg1 dxc4 29.Qc2 Qxe3+ 30.Kh2 Qg3+ 31.Kg1 Qe1+ 32.Kh2 Qg3+ 33.Kg1 Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Nf6 35.Nxe6 Qh4+ 36.Kg1 Qe1+ 37.Kh2 Qh4+ 38.Kg1 Ng4 39.Qd2 Qh2+ 40.Kf1 Qh1+ 41.Ke2 Qxg2+ 42.Kd1 Nf2+ 43.Kc2 Qg6+ 44.Kc1 Qg1+ 45.Kc2 Qg6+ 46.Kc1 Nd3+ 47.Kb1 fxe6 48.Qc2 h5 49.Bd4 h4 50.Bxb6 h3 51.Bc7 e5 52.b6 Qe4 53.Bxe5 Qe1+ 54.Ka2 Nxe5 55.b7 Nd7 56.Nc5 Nb8 57.Qxc4+ Kh8 58.Ne4 Kh7 59.Qd3 g6 60.Qxh3+ Kg7 61.Qf3 Qc1 62.Qf6+ Kh7 63.Qf7+ Kh6 64.Qf8+ Kh5 65.Qh8+ Kg4 66.Qc8+ 1-0

                                Here Black played 53… Qe1+, “a mistake which affected the destinies of three great chess masters,” claims Edward Lasker, in his book Chess Secrets.

                                After 53..Qh1+, followed by Nxe5 and Qg2 Black wins easily. As it was, Janowski who had completely outplayed Capablanca so far, did not realize the extent of his error. After 54.Ka2 he could have played Nc1+ and forced a draw but he continued looking for the win by 54..Nxe5 and resigned a dozen moves later.

                                Edward Lasker claims that this mistake, by which Capablanca won the tournament made the Cuban “favorite contender for the world championship overnight..”

                                Rubinstein, on the other hand, who had been considered the logical heir to Lasker’s throne, was pushed into the background.”

                                Janowski “lost the courage which had distinguished him throughout his career. He never came back to the front rank.”