Great chess quotes

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  • Re: Great Chess Quotes

    Great Chess Quotes

    July 4, 2016

    Tony Hancock was an English comedian featured on Hancock’s Half Hour on BBC radio and then, television. It aired in the 50s and 60s.

    In the episode The Radio Ham (June 9, 1961) he has taken up amateur radio, but is dissatisfied with his conversations with other users. He plays poker, snakes and ladders and chess over the air.

    One of the first conversations we hear is with Jaroslav Mihailovic in Belgrade, to whom Tony relays his latest move in their game:

    KP to QB3 check

    Jaroslav says, “Good move. This needs thinking about.”

    A bit later Tony hears a distress signal from a man whose ship is sinking but for various reasons he cannot give the information to the authorities even though he spends all night trying and one of his lame colleagues does and gets the credit.

    Resuming his usual activities the next morning, he gets this transmission from Belgrade:

    KB to QR4 checkmate

    and tired, frustrated and despondent, his sells his radio transmitter over the air to the highest bidder.

    Can it really be 55 years ago that I enjoyed this?


    • Re: Great Chess Quotes

      Great Chess Quotes

      July 10, 2016

      Nigel Short always has great quotes. He speaks his mind and he is funny.

      This appeared on the English Chess Forum this morning:

      Bandar Anzali, Iran

      Post by Nigel Short » Sat Jul 09, 2016

      I am about to begin a Scheveningen Tournament in this God-forsaken place on the Caspian Sea (getting in some practice for Baku). I have no idea who the players are, what the website is, or why I am here - other than to give my liver a rest.

      Apparently Karpov and the beleaguered FIDE President will attend the Opening Ceremony.

      The English Chess Forum is one of the few websites which I frequent that isn't blocked. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the BBC etc. etc. are all no-go areas.


      Others explain why he is there and what he is doing!

      "The 1st Chess Stars Cup takes place in Anzali Free Zone, Iran from 9th to 21st of July. The event is a 10-round match (in Scheveningen system) between 2 teams consisting of 10 players each.

      "There are 13 Grandmasters participating that represent World team (Sargissian Gabriel, Dreev Aleksey, Short Nigel D, Sokolov Ivan, Edouard Romain, Miroshnichenko Evgenij, Lu Shanglei, Mchedlishvili Mikheil, Vakhidov, Jahongir, Ehlvest Jaan) and Iran team (Ghaem Maghami Ehsan, Idani Pouya, Darini Pouria, Pourramezanali Amirreza, Mafgsoodloo Parham, Firouzja Alireza, Lorparizangeneh Shahin, Gholami Aryan, Khademalsharieh Sarasadat, Mousavi Seyed Khalil)."

      Later: Nigel has further adventures in Iran. Best to follow them on the EC Forum:
      Last edited by Wayne Komer; Sunday, 10th July, 2016, 02:57 PM.


      • Re: Great Chess Quotes

        Great Chess Quotes

        July 18, 2016

        A dealer in used chess books lists some possible defects in the books he sells such as: minor creases, shop worn, off colour or fading pages, embossing stamps, warping, heavily browned pages and staining. If there are too many of these defects, the book is termed unacceptable.

        Here is a description on eBay today of the Hastings 1895 Tournament book:

        Condition is good with cover wear. End papers are split but binding is intact. No loose pages. Hand written name of original owner with his rubber stamp for Boston address. Both done in 1896 (see photo). Rubber stamp appears again in the back.

        Bidding starts at $150 US and so, to prevent an unhappy buyer, its defects are frankly given.

        The temptation with relatively inexpensive books is to give them as brief and simple a description as possible. After all, you want to sell that book.

        That’s why I was amused to see a brutally honest description today of a 1926 Russian chess book, The Chess Move by Yuri Slezkin listed as:

        Condition: satisfactory
        There is no cover: the book fell apart


        Added August 24, 2016

        Truth in an eBay description:

        There is a copy of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, 2nd Printing, 1966 for sale on eBay. It is
        the worst-looking copy of any book I have ever seen on the site for auction.

        The description:

        Heavy Signs of Use & Ware [sic] Front Cover Has Come Apart From Binding Covers & Pages Torn
        & Stained Item Sold As Is

        Starting bid is US $4.99 with shipping US $17.11 to Canada.

        Hardly a bargain, but honest!
        Last edited by Wayne Komer; Thursday, 22nd September, 2016, 03:11 PM.


        • Re: Great Chess Quotes

          Great Chess Quotes

          July 29, 2016

          In his book 100 Selected Games, Mikhail Botvinnik wrote about his preparation methods. This quote from the chapter entitled Nineteen Forty-One:

          “During the first months of 1941 I trained intensively for the match-tournaments for the title of Absolute Champion of the U.S.S.R. It has to be said that after my lack of success in the U.S.S.R. Championship held the previous year certain “experts” were quite prepared to relegate me to the “has-beens,” maybe they even succeeded in convincing me that it was so! But the attraction of becoming absolute champion (i.e. a match champion) was so great that I decided none the less to “try my luck.”

          In my training I was given invaluable assistance by Ragozin with whom I have been in joint training since at least 1936. This time, in addition to training games and joint analysis, we also practiced to accustom me to specific tournament conditions. For instance, in the Twelfth Championship Tournament I had suffered through not being used to tobacco smoke, so we had to resort to “radical” treatment: during our training games Ragozin “smoked” me for five hours in succession. Naturally, I soon got used to tobacco.”

          Well, all very fine for 1941. But that is 75 years ago. What are the modern training methods of the modern grandmaster?

          On Eric Hansen’s Twitter page, there is a hilarious video of Fabiano Caruana concentrating on his analysis on the computer screen for the upcoming Sinquefield Cup and, doing their best to affect his concentration with dancing, are Eric Hansen and Robin van Kampen!


          It’s not exactly the same theme but, on his Twitter page, Eric Hansen has two worthy tweets about the mosquitoes in St. Louis (just to show that the position of Grandmaster-In-Residence is not all beer and skittles):

          - cant sleep because i have accumulated 25(!!) mosquito bites on my feet. dont know how the hell this happened

          - canadian blood must be rare for the mosquitos here or something. anyone got a good recommendation so i stop itching myself to death?
          Last edited by Wayne Komer; Friday, 29th July, 2016, 10:58 PM.


          • Re: Great Chess Quotes

            Great Chess Quotes

            July 29, 2016

            I thought I had seen about everything odd to do with chess but this beats all. I was alerted to it from a post by Christopher Kreuzer in the English Chess Forum.

            I shall give part of the description of the unusual chess set and board and you can go here for the photos:


            Frankly, if I had not seen the photos, I would have considered this the greatest leg-pull of our time:

            Hello! My name is Matthew Napoli and I am a Sophomore Industrial designer at Philadelphia University. My partner Kyara and I began this project with the intention of designing a chess board for adolescents that induces their undivided attention in order to ensure fun and strategic gameplay. Observing countless games of chess revealed that inattentive players make uncalculated moves which result in easily captured pieces and stale gameplay.

            Tour De Force chess entices the players to strategize and invest more thought into the game by introducing consequence in the form of a guillotine that beheads captured pieces. Based on early testing with a rough and ready model we confirmed that this game addition makes the prospect of losing a piece unsavory enough to motivate strategy.

            The foreboding guillotine structure is an easily recognized icon, and the place that it was most commonly used in (Place De La Concorde, France) gave us an excellent setting to draw form direction from.

            The chess board was designed with cues drawn from Louise Quinze style architecture that surrounds the great plaza.

            Tour De Force Chess features a functioning guillotine, a stockade on each side, and a set of magnetic pieces that actually lose their heads when chopped. The board was constructed using a combination of a number of woodworking techniques, 3D printing, and laser engraving.

            Before chopping the head off of their captured pieces, the winning player must first cycle them through both of their stocks. This means that as a player captures their third piece, the stockade becomes overfull and they get to chop the head off of the first captured piece.

            Postponing the beheading of captured pieces allows the losing player time to recognize their mistake and strategize in order to try and save it.

            A player can save a captured piece that has not yet been beheaded by taking a higher value piece with a pawn. That pawn is then substituted with the piece closest to beheading.

            The most satisfying part of this project watching the board in action once I had finally finished building it. I was able to test it on my 6 and 11 year-old cousins. The spectrum of emotions that I observed ranged from glee to dismay and confirmed that this chess board makes a young audience think more about the game at hand.



            • Re: Great Chess Quotes

              Great Chess Quotes

              July 31, 2016

              Paul Morphy’s Legal Practice

              (Wikipedia) - Morphy was unable to successfully build a law practice after the war ended. His attempts to open a law office failed; when he had visitors, they invariably wanted to talk about chess, not their legal affairs. Financially secure thanks to his family fortune, Morphy essentially spent the rest of his life in idleness. Asked by admirers to return to chess competition, he refused.

              There is a little booklet entitled British Chess Magazine 1923-1932: An Anthology with news and articles from a decade 40 years or so after the magazine began.

              In it there is an obituary of Dr. George Haven Putnam (1844-1930), head of the great American publishing firm, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. When 18, he served in the American Civil War and in 1863, when he was with the Northern forces, he saw the great Morphy at New Orleans. In his Memories of a Publisher (1915) he writes:

              In inquiring in regard to one handsome young fellow, who was passing, I was told that it was Paul Morphy, lawyer and heretofore chessplayer. I was told further that he had given up his chess and was not making a success at the Bar. It appeared that he had not been able to convince himself that the cause of the Confederacy was well founded or that Louisiana had a right to secede. He had, therefore, not gone to the front with the men of his own age and social standing. On the other hand, he had no intention of taking up arms against his State. He remained, therefore, between the two great war parties, sympathizing with neither and exposed to the loneliness that must always come in the “in between” man. He ought under the circumstances to have carried himself off to Paris or elsewhere.


              • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                Great Chess Quotes

                July 31, 2016

                A great many books about chess came out after the great Spassky-Fischer Match. I found it to be interesting the way different authors approached the subject.

                Today I was looking at the offerings of a New York City used book seller. Three books received vitriolic criticism, which I give below. I doubt whether he will be able to find buyers. Certainly not Canadians, since he only sells in the United States.

                I will not give his name lest he writes something about me!

                Steiner, George Fields of Force. Fischer & Spassky at Reyjavik. (6) 86pp. New York 1974 OP Nice copy in d-j. An "essential trivial endeavor", being an arrogant literary critic's jaundiced view of the match in particular, and chessplayers in general. Not worth reading, but don't take my word for it--find out what a snotty piece of junk this is yourself! Not scarce enough. $15.00

                Darrach, Brad Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World 240pp. New York 1974 OP VG copy in fair d-j., now quite scarce. An awful book—but some of you won't take my word for it and will have to discover how crappy it is for yourselves! $20.00

                Cockburn, Alexander Idle Passion. Chess and the Dance of Death. 248pp. New York: Village Voice/Simon and Schuster 1974 OP A dreadful book filled with untruths by a man who hates chess. 1st ed., fine copy in d-j. Becoming (justly) scarce. $ 20.00


                • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                  Great Chess Quotes

                  August 10, 2016

                  It has taken months for the organizers to announce the venue for the 2016 World Chess Championship in New York City.

                  Yesterday, amid rumours that it might be moved to Moscow, the word went out that it will take place in lower Manhattan in the historic Fulton Market building.

                  This prompted a tweet from Nigel Short this morning:

                  Just prior to the #FIDE G. A. in Baku, the World #Chess Ch. (without sponsors) has been "confirmed" in an empty building in NY #sleightofhand


                  • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                    Great Chess Quotes

                    August 10, 2016

           has supposed interviews with four of the present U.S. presidential candidates. Of course, they are all courting the ever-important chess demographic.

                    This is the one with Donald Trump.

                    What is your chess rating?

                    TRUMP: A little bit higher than yours. No, a lot higher than yours. What is yours?

                    How has chess influenced your strategy in life and in this election?

                    TRUMP: I’m a pawn guy, mostly. I mean, I’m the king, but I like the pawns. More bluntly: Me equals king, Americans equal pawns. That’s my strategy.

                    What is your favorite chess opening?

                    TRUMP: I like to build a huge pawn wall in the center and then really make my opponent pay for it. So, the four-pawn attack against most anything, especially against the Mexican defense.

                    What message do you want to send to American chess players and voters?

                    TRUMP: I know moves, I have the best moves. People are telling me, I’ve heard, that Crooked Hillary has some moves too. Not true!



                    • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                      Great Chess Quotes

                      August 11, 2016

                      Just when you thought you had seen everything in chess books… This today on eBay:

                      The photo shows a copy of V.V. Smyslov, My Best Games of Chess 1935-1937.

                      The starting bid is US $2.30. Postage is $22.75, but this is not the odd feature I was talking about.

                      In the Description box there is this note:

                      This is a great gag chess book. Due to a mix-up at Dover, the cover says "Smyslov's best games," but the text inside if of an advanced geometry book. Great gag gift! This volume comes from the private library of Allan Troy, late owner of Troy's Chess Shoppe, Torrance, California.

                      The title page’s photo is given and it says:

                      Matila Ghyka
                      The Geometry of Art and Life

                      Great gag gift? To whom would you give it?

                      For chess book contents differing from cover see also:



                      • Re: Great Chess Quotes

                        I found this at Dana MacKenzie's chess blog, 'dana blogs chess', in his 'Chess Wit and Wisdom' section:

                        "Chess is an example of something that is just beyond human mental abilities, but not so far beyond them that we cannot make a decent stab at it. We’re very good at language, no better than rats at mazes, and somewhere in between at chess." - Noam Chomsky


                        • ... chess content remains vital and engaging long after the game is over ...

                          Originally posted by FIDE
                          Chess is not a casual game. Unlike other sports, chess content remains vital and engaging long after the game is over and the results are known.
                          (from the FIDE web site)
                          Dogs will bark, but the caravan of chess moves on.


                          • Great Chess Quotes

                            Great Chess Quotes

                            August 16, 2016

                            Dangerous Chess II

                            Falling Objects

                            Among the tales of gruesome accidents, there is one story about an accident that fortunately did not happen. Hesse (in his book The Joys of Chess) had it from Christopher Lutz, who had it from Artur Yusupov, the lucky escapee of the tale. Yusupov had told Lutz that once in a tournament in the Soviet Union, when his game was adjourned, he thought for a long time about his sealed move, wrote it down, put it in the envelope and left the tournament hall. Just a short time after he had left, a heavy light fell from the ceiling bang in the middle of his board.

                            Chandeliers in Soviet tournament halls could be really big and heavy. So lucky that FIDE had not yet abolished adjournments! With a modern schedule Yusupov would have been playing till the end. His end, that is.

                            I witnessed a similar lucky escape during the Dutch championship of 1969, which was played in a big old hotel in Leeuwarden, the capital of the province of Friesland. About an hour after the start of the round, a big, thick chunk of ceiling fell with thundering noise on one of the little tables in the space for the spectators. Almost all players stood and stared motionlessly, helpless like sheep. Only Donner had the presence of mind to hide under his table.

                            No more chunks came falling. As it was early in the round, the spectators had not yet arrived; if someone had been hit he would certainly have been dead. Later Donner was to write: ‘On April 14th, 1969, J.H. Donner – that’s me – was hit on the head by a piece of falling concrete, which made him lose five games in a row and which enabled Ree to win the title by the smallest of margins!’

                            Hans Ree in NIC, 2011, #5, p.94

                            See also:


                            Reposted September 22, 2016


                            Note added, September 27, 2016

                            A clue as to what may have caused the chandelier incident with Yusupov. This anecdote:

                            When an engineer was visiting in Russia, he checked his rooms for bugs, which were practically guaranteed to be there in the Cold War era. He rolled up the carpet. He found a device he had never seen before, got his screw driver out and started to examine this new device, took the screws off. The chandelier in the ballroom below crashed to the floor.
                            Last edited by Wayne Komer; Tuesday, 27th September, 2016, 12:52 AM.


                            • Great Chess Quotes

                              Great Chess Quotes

                              September 7, 2016

                              Engine Instruction

                              “If I have an engine rated 3300 to review my game or an opening with me, why would I need a strong player or instructor to help me?"
                              Dan Heisman in answers this question with a list of points on which the computer cannot help you:

                              - You are playing too fast (or too slow).
                              - You are not recognizing critical positions and devoting the proper resources to them.
                              - Your thought process is inefficient.
                              - You are not finding all possible candidate moves.
                              - You are looking deep before you are looking wide.
                              - You don't understand how to play this type of position.
                              - You don't understand the concept of breaks (or other important ideas).
                              - You are playing the wrong type of opponents.
                              - You are playing time controls that don't optimize improvement.
                              - You are making visualization errors in analysis.
                              - You are not playing toward the imbalances in the position.
                              - You don't understand WHY you made that tactical mistake.
                              - You are spending too much time trying to find tactics that win material and not nearly enough time trying to prevent your opponent's tactics.
                              - You are not looking up your opening moves after the game.

                              The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. Improvement is not optimized by simply examining engine analysis, even if you are really proficient at interpreting the engine output. That kind of passive feedback has stringent limits. Imagine how much less you would learn in school if teachers never reviewed your homework, did not return quizzes and tests, and never critiqued your work. Feedback is vital for any efficient improvement plan.


                              Reposted September 22, 2016
                              Last edited by Wayne Komer; Saturday, 24th September, 2016, 10:07 AM.


                              • Great Chess Quotes

                                Great Chess Quotes

                                September 14, 2016

                                The deciding factor in the Baku Olympiad

                                Still, the question on everyone’s mind was now that both teams had won their matches, who had taken gold? Incredibly, no one knew.

                                While the first criterion was match points, where both US and Ukraine were tied, the next criterion was not game points, but Olympiad Sonneborn-Berger without the lowest result.

                                The basis of all Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak variants is to weight scores against high ranked opponents higher, which means winning against a team that finishes 5th is worth more than a victory over a team that finished 23rd even if their ratings were the same. Unfortunately that meant that victory for one or the other might lie not in the hands of the American or Ukrainian players, but some other team they had met earlier.

                                (Mike Klein tweet) – Press room report: One person is absolutely certain USA has won, 99 journalists are still not sure.

                                The permutations are manifold as one can imagine, but to overcome the significant tiebreak score between the two teams, some experts wielding laptops and Excel spreadsheets concluded that if Ukraine won their final match by 3-1 and Germany failed to beat Estonia, then Ukraine would take gold.

                                It seemed incredible, but even with both top table matches over, gold was going to be determined by table 28’s result, and it was not obvious. Germany had won their game on board one, but lost on board four, and tied board two. It all hinged on Matthias Bluebaum’s ability to win an endgame that until move 59 engines were declaring a resolute 0.00.

                                Both teams and many others were following this one game with unwavering focus, and one wonders whether Bluebaum knew that the winner’s fate lay entirely in his one game. Move 60 was the decider as the Estonian IM finally went astray, in a decisive blunder the German never forgave.

                                (Hikaru Nakamura tweet) - Matthias Bluebaum with the win of the tournament! Thanks for the help, Germany.


                                Reposted September 22, 2016
                                Last edited by Wayne Komer; Tuesday, 7th February, 2017, 11:33 PM.