Great chess quotes

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  • Re: Great chess quotes

    Great Chess Quotes

    October 15, 2017

    What do you do on the morning of a big match? Why, you run through lines and variations on your laptop, that is what you do.

    This from Round 7 of the European Club Cup 2017

    Ian Nepomniachtchi wasn't having a fantastic tournament, but also for him personally things ended well. He won a nice game after a somewhat spoilt morning on which he couldn't really prepare. The reason he gave is something many of us can relate to: "My Windows decided to update and it really took ages!"

    (The game if you are interested is Ivan Popov vs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Round 7, Oct. 14, 2017)

    B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Adams Attack

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 e5 7.Nde2 h5 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Qd3 Nd7 12.O-O-O g6 13.Kb1 Nc5 14.Qf3 Bg7 15.Nec3 O-O 16.g4 h4 17.Rg1 Qg5 18.Ne3 Rad8 19.Ncd5 b5 20.Be2 Rb8 21.Qh1 Rfd8 22.Nb4 Rbc8 23.Nf5 a5 24.Nd3 d5 25.Nxc5 Rxc5 26.Bd3 Bf8 27.exd5 Bxd5 28.Qh2 Bf3 29.Rde1 e4 30.Bxe4 Bxe4 31.Rxe4 Qd2 32.Ne3 Rxc2 $1 33.Qe5 Bg7 34.Qe8+ Kh7 35.Nxc2 Qd1+ 36.Rxd1 Rxd1# 0-1


    • Re: Great chess quotes

      Great Chess Quotes

      October 16, 2017

      Pia Fransson met William Lombardy at the Mechanics’ Institutes Chess Club in San Francisco on Sept. 20th, 2017. He had unexpectedly appeared at the club only six days before. He had been homeless for a long time but since then he temporarily stayed with a helpful club member and visited the club every day.

      She wrote a moving memoir of her conversations with Bill from which I draw these quotable extracts:

      Our conversations quickly turned increasingly personal. We discovered that we shared views on what is important in relationships, friends and our appreciation of the true, sincere and genuine. We also had a number of similar experiences both in childhood and adulthood.

      The last time we met was for a couple of hours on the day before my trip back to Sweden. Bill told me about his tough times lately, how he had been evicted from his New York apartment where he had lived for 40 years. He had also nearly lost his life after being knocked down and robbed of a few hundred dollars in New York's subway. It had resulted in months in a hospital. When there, his beloved brother tragically died and Lombardy was sorry for being in the hospital and unable to attend his brother's funeral.

      Inevitably, we mentioned Bobby Fischer (whom Lombardy coached for several years). 1978 was the last time Bill and Fischer met, by pure chance, in a Los Angeles supermarket. After the 1972 World Championship match in Reykjavik against Boris Spassky, which Lombardy contributed to get completed, they had basically no contact. Fischer had reacted negatively to an article by Lombardy in Sports Illustrated after the World Cup. Substantial parts of it had been changed by the editor. The disappointment was great over Fischer's reaction and that the latter did not understand that Lombardy was unable to betrayal after all the years he had been there for him idealistically. Despite the schism, he later helped Fischer with his Icelandic citizenship. The last conversation they had was after Fischer's move to Iceland. After this, Fischer sent him $ 5,000, the only the payment he ever received.

      During one of our conversations he presented a red folder in which he had all his papers and documents. He was not just homeless but without pension, money, computer and telephone. There were phone numbers on post-it stickers to the chess club in San Francisco, as well as to his doctor and closest friends in New York, plus phone numbers to where he lived. I wrote them all down so that I could reach him when back in Sweden. That was the time to ask for an autograph. He took the phone number paper out of my hand and wrote his greeting down, a keepsake for me. There was more in the folder…

      I will never forget the feeling of sitting alone at the club opposite to GM William Lombardy. The whole time he radiated - in contrast to the life situation he was now in - style and class in his brown jacket, purple tie and a jeans shirt with a razor next to the cigars in his chest pocket. It's hard to explain, but his charisma was just so cool - and sophisticated. Yes, I find no better words!

      He put on his turquoise reading glasses and when I complimented him on those, he said that there were only cheap ones that he had found in a supermarket. From the red folder he took out a pile of beautiful handwritten paper sheets. These were his memoirs in progress. He read some selected sections and, as expected, he also had a wonderful language and a captivating way of story telling in writing. I really hope the memoirs will be published in some form. It was a lovely moment. We agreed that I would interview him further later on so that more people could get to know his amazing life story, which I got a glimpse of during the short time we saw each other. He thought it would be fun.

      When we said goodbye, I felt from the depths of my heart that I wanted to do something, something little for him, before I left. I bought him a smartphone with unlimited calls, text and data in the USA until Christmas. I prepped the phone with a mail account, a chess app and the contacts on his list. This present was handed over in the club. He was to turn 80 years on December 4th. He was so happy and grateful and said it felt like Christmas Eve. It warmed me throughout my body and heart. He called me a saint, which meant a lot considering it came from a priest.

      The 8th of October was our last talk over the phone.

      Serendipity in its most beautiful sense. I was starstruck by being unexpectedly presented to a world famous grandmaster and a junior World Champion, but I actually found an amazingly humble man with both heart and brains. He suddenly entered into my life and sadly disappeared in the same way, like a wind.


      • Re: Great chess quotes

        Great Chess Quotes

        October 23, 2017

        In the public library where I went as a teenager, there were a dozen or so chess books in Games. I seem to remember that Evans and Edward Lasker were two of the authors.

        I was surprised to find in the Biography section, a life of Emanuel Lasker by Hannak.

        Emanuel Lasker The Life of a Chess Master by Dr J. Hannak, Translated by Heinrich Fraenkel, Simon and Schuster, 1959.

        Perhaps you are familiar with it – A Foreword by Albert Einstein – then thirty chapters of biography, with most of them followed by annotated Lasker games for the period just discussed. It was a wonderful way to appreciate the life of the master.

        Two things have stuck in my mind after reading that book almost 60 years ago.

        The first was the draining, semi-tropical climate of Cuba, when the World Championship Match with Capablanca was held in the spring of 1921.

        The second was anecdotal. From Chapter Ten, Fads and Fancies:

        “Lasker’s notorious absent-mindedness got him into some amusing trouble one day when he went to Paris. He arrived after dusk and rented a room recommended by a friend in London. He dropped his luggage there and hurried to the Café de la Regence, the most famous chess-café in the world, which used to be frequented by Philidor and Labourdonnais (and even by Napoleon) and which, for centuries had been the centre of chess-life in Paris. Lasker met a good many friends and spent an enjoyable evening. It was long after midnight when he thought of going home, but alas, he had forgotten his address; he could not even remember the name of the street. Still, it did not seem much to worry about. Lasker simply went home with one of his friends to stay the night, and before he did so he made a combination worthy of a chess master. He sent a telegram to the London friend asking for the address he had recommended.

        Unfortunately, though, the combination had a “flaw” of which Lasker would never had been guilty on the chess board. In his telegram he forgot to mention the address where he was spending the night. Worse than that, by next morning Lasker had forgotten that he had not included this vital information. Getting no reply from London, he was deeply annoyed that his friend had let him down, and wouldn’t send him another wire.

        But the situation was now getting serious; he was separated from all his luggage. So there was nothing for it but systematically to comb entire quarters of Paris, in the hope of recognizing the street and the house where he had put up. The search took many hours and at along last – being now extremely methodical about it – Lasker was lucky enough to find the place. His landlady was pleased to see her new tenant. There was a telegram for him. It turned out to be from the London friend, who, for lack of another address, had sent it to the one Lasker was asking for. (I for one cannot help thinking that, had the London friend been gifted with the combinative powers of a chess master, he would have sent the wire to the Café de la Regence).”

        That anecdote would have ended there but Edward Winter took it up again at:

        See Chess Note #9364 – A Lasker Story.

        This casts doubt on some versions of the story and identifies Lasker’s Paris address as a comfortable boarding house at 12 Rue de la Tour.

        (In the hall, he found a telegram addressed to him. Opening it, he read "TO LASKER TWELVE RUE DE LATOUR PARIS YOUR ADDRESS IS TWELVE RUE DE LATOUR PARIS")
        Last edited by Wayne Komer; Tuesday, 24th October, 2017, 12:14 PM.


        • Re: Great chess quotes

          Great story nonetheless.


          • Re: Great chess quotes

            Great Chess Quotes

            October 29, 2017

            David Robertson on the EC Forum commenting on the match England- Norway in Round 2 of the European Team Champs, Crete 2017

            Luke McShane's struggle today provides me with a perverse kind of comfort. It means I needn't feel that bad about the ease with which Benjamin Arvola brushed me off the board in the 4NCL two years back like ash off a young man's sleeve


            The game is

            European Team Championship, Crete 2017
            England-Norway, Board 4
            Round 2, Oct. 29, 2017
            Notkevich, Benjamin Arvola (2458) – McShane, Luke (2647)
            C45 Scotch game

            1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qf6 5.Be3 Bc5 6.c3 Nge7 7.Bc4 Ne5 8.Be2 Qg6 9.O-O d6 10.Kh1 O-O 11.Nd2 Ng4 12.Bf4 Kh8 13.h3 Nf6 14.Bf3 Bd7 15.Re1 Rae8 16.b4 Bb6 17.Nc4 Nc6 18.e5 dxe5 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Qg5 21.Bg3 Rxe1+ 22.Qxe1 Re8 23.Qd1 c6 24.Qb3 Kg8 25.Rd1 h5 26.Qc4 h4 27.Bd6 Ne4 28.Bxe4 Rxe4 29.Bc5 Bc7 30.Nf3 Qg6 31.Qd3 Bf5 32.Qd2 Be6 33.Bd6 Bb6 34.Bc5 Bd5 35.Bxb6 axb6 36.Re1 Rxe1+ 37.Qxe1 Qf5 38.Qe5 Qxe5 39.Nxe5 f6 40.Ng6 Kf7 41.Nxh4 Bxa2 42.Nf5 c5 43.Kg1 Ke6 44.Nxg7+ Kd5 45.Ne8 Kc4 46.Nd6+ Kxc3 47.bxc5 bxc5 48.Nxb7 c4 49.Nd6 Kd3 50.Nb5 Bb3 51.h4 Ba4 52.Na3 c3 53.h5 c2 54.Nxc2 Bxc2 55.Kh2 Ke4 56.Kh3 Kf4 57.Kh4 Bf5 58.h6 Bg6 59.Kh3 Kg5 60.Kg3 Kxh6 61.Kh4 Be4 62.g4 Bf3 63.Kg3 Bd1 64.f4 Kg6 65.Kh4 Be2 66.Kg3 Kf7 67.Kh4 Kg7 68.Kg3 Bc4 69.Kh4 Bf7 70.Kg3 Be8 71.Kh4 Bf7 72.Kg3 Bg8 73.Kh4 Bh7 74.Kh5 Bc2 75.Kh4 Ba4 76.Kg3 Be8 77.Kh4 Bd7 78.Kg3 Bc8 79.Kh4 Bb7 80.Kg3 Bc6 81.Kh4 Bd5 82.Kg3 Bc4 83.Kh4 Bb5 84.Kg3 Ba4 85.Kh4 Bb3 86.Kg3 Ba2 87.Kh4 Bb1 88.Kg3 Bc2 89.Kh4 Bd3 90.Kg3 Be4 91.Kh4 Bd3 92.Kg3 Bh7 93.Kh4 Bb1 94.Kg3 Be4 95.Kh4 Bh7 96.Kg3 Kf7 97.Kh4 Ke6 98.f5+ Bxf5 99.g5 Bg6 100.gxf6 Kxf6 1/2-1/2

            Position after White’s 97. Kh4. Can Black win here?


            • Re: Great chess quotes

              Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
              Great Chess Quotes
              Position after White’s 97. Kh4. Can Black win here?

              Nope. Black cannot prevent f5 followed by g5 forcing the exchange of black's last pawn, except by playing f5 and voluntarily trading off the black pawn.. No mate possible with a lone bishop.


              • Re: Great chess quotes

                Black prevents f5 followed by g5 by playing 97...Kg6! with an easy win. If 98.f5 Kh6 seals the deal.

                Edit - Note that Ke6 doesn't work because f5+ Bxf5 g5.

                God dammit I'm an idiot. If white backs off and doesn't play f5 I don't see a win lol... Will keep working.

                Okay final edit. It's a draw... Black has to stay on g6 or g7/h7 with his king. There's no way to prevent Kh4-Kg3 repeating by white, and if black leaves those squares the f5-g5 idea draws. It's a fortress kind of.
                Last edited by Matthew Nicholson; Sunday, 29th October, 2017, 04:49 PM. Reason: Adding a line :)


                • Re: Great chess quotes

                  Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
                  Position after White’s 97. Kh4. Can Black win here?

                  One more example of a very similar (same) endgame

                  [Event "2017 Aurora Summer Open"]
                  [Site "Aurora"]
                  [Date "2017.07.30"]
                  [Round "5.3"]
                  [White "Rek, Viatcheslav (slava)"]
                  [Black "Chen, Richard"]
                  [Result "1/2-1/2"]
                  [ECO "A00"]
                  [WhiteElo "2286"]
                  [BlackElo "2332"]

                  1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O e5 5. c4 dxc4 6. Qa4+ Qd7 7. Qxc4 Ne7 8.
                  Nc3 Nbc6 9. d3 O-O 10. Ne4 Qd8 11. Bd2 Rb8 12. Rac1 h6 13. b4 Be6 14. Qc2 a6
                  15. a4 Nd5 16. Nc5 Bg4 17. Nxb7 Ncxb4 18. Nxd8 Nxc2 19. Nc6 Rb2 20. Ncxe5 Bxe5
                  21. Nxe5 Be6 22. Bxh6 Rd8 23. Nc6 Re8 24. Bd2 Ra2 25. e4 Ne7 26. Nxe7+ Rxe7 27.
                  Bc3 Rd7 28. Rfd1 Nd4 29. Bxd4 Rxd4 30. Rxc7 Raxa4 31. Bf3 Ra2 32. Kg2 a5 33.
                  Rc3 a4 34. Rb1 Rd2 35. Bd1 Ra2 36. Rb8+ Kg7 37. Ra8 Rb4 38. Rc2 Ra1 39. Rd2 a3
                  40. d4 Rbb1 41. d5 Bd7 42. Be2 Rb2 43. Rxa3 Rxd2 44. Rxa1 Rxe2 45. Kf3 Rb2 46.
                  Ra3 Kf6 47. Ke3 Bb5 48. h4 Re2+ 49. Kf3 Ke5 50. Rb3 Bc4 51. Re3 Rd2 52. Ra3
                  Rd3+ 53. Rxd3 Bxd3 54. Kg4 Bxe4 55. h5 gxh5+ 56. Kxh5 Kxd5 57. Kg5 Ke5 58. f4+
                  Ke6 59. g4 Bf3 60. Kh4 Bd1 61. Kg5 Bb3 62. Kh4 Kf6 63. Kh5 Bc2 64. Kh4 Bg6 65.
                  Kg3 Ke6 66. Kh4 f6 67. Kg3 Bc2 68. Kh4 Bb1 69. Kh5 Bd3 70. Kh6 Bc2 71. Kh5 Bd1
                  72. Kh4 Be2 1/2-1/2

                  ~57 moves it became 2 pawns vs Bishop and a pawn.

                  I noticed the idea of pushing f5 and g5 when walking around.


                  • Re: Great chess quotes

                    Great Chess Quotes

                    November 1, 2017

                    The Goldilocks Problem in Chess Books

                    In the November 2017 issue of Chess Life, John Hartmann reviews The Scotch Gambit by Alex Fishbein and these are his introductory remarks:

                    “Astronomers and Astrophysicists often speak of a “Goldilocks Problem” when discussing the origins of life in the universe and the search for life beyond our own solar system.

                    There seems to be a fairly narrow “habitable zone”—neither too hot nor too cold, neither too close to their home stars nor too far away —if planets are to be able to support life. Lucky for us, the Earth is juuuust right in its relation to the sun!

                    Chess authors have their own version of the “Goldilocks Problem,” and we see it most clearly when we consider the competing difficulties in writing an opening book.

                    It’s a tricky balancing project. Authors have to include enough analysis to make their case, but not so much that they overwhelm their readers.”

                    Fishbein's book passes the test because, Hartmann concludes: It avoids all the extremes of the opening book genre, and, by so neatly tying together analysis and exposition, Fishbein has written the rare book suitable for both amateurs and masters.


                    • Re: Great chess quotes

                      Great Chess Quotes

                      November 4, 2017

                      There is a discussion about the quote:

                      Having a knight posted in your game at e6 is worse than a rusty nail in your knee


                      See: Chess Note 10635

                      It has been attributed to Tarrasch, Steinitz, Anderssen and Bogoljubow.


                      • Re: Great chess quotes

                        Great Chess Quotes

                        November 4, 2017

                        The time control for most classic games is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves. Many a player has come a cropper by changing the pawn structure during time pressure.

                        Today, Jan Gustafsson was commenting on Round 7 of the European Team Crete 2017 and said during the broadcast:

                        Don’t push a pawn on the 40th move

                        Andy Soltis has written this in “The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess”:

                        “Don’t begin decisive action before a time control.

                        This warning of Botvinnik’s was cited in 64 (March 1995), which recalled how the former world champion delayed changing the pawn structure during time pressure in one of his last games. Instead, Botvinnik made five “pass” moves just before move 40 and waited until he had ample time, at move 42, to make sure the critical move would decide the game strategically.”


                        • Re: Great chess quotes

                          Great Chess Quotes

                          November 12, 2017

                          Michael Farthing in the EC Forum:

                          I remember playing a game where I decided to let my opponent complete his elegant mating combination and he rewarded me by delaying the finish while he set about mopping up my remaining material!



                          • Re: Great chess quotes

                            Great Chess Quotes

                            November 15, 2017

                            Do you know the story of Curt Schilling pitching for Boston against the Yankees in 2004? In Game 6 of the ALCS he pitched an impressive game with a bloody sock because of a sutured ankle tendon.


                            During the recent Champions Showdown in St. Louis, (November, 2017), Wesley So’s clock had a smear of blood on the top bar.

                            The game was stopped, So bandaged and the blood removed.

                            “GM Wesley So had a callous on the middle finger of his clock-hitting hand. During his 28th game in four days, it re-opened during a time-trouble frenzy.

                            When the disinfectant dried, GM Wesley So completed an improbable comeback against GM Leinier Dominguez.

                            "You gotta do what you gotta do!" So said about the spilled blood (if baseball has a "Bloody Sock" game then chess now has a "Bloody Clock" game). So told later that in the melee of moving rapidly, he wasn't even aware it was his blood until he checked his hand after the game. After a quick bandage, he went back out and clinched the match the next game.”

                            Mike Klein at


                            See also post #11 at:



                            • Re: Great chess quotes

                              Great Chess Quotes

                              November 22, 2017

                              The Anti-Cheating Commission Report

                              Delivered at the FIDE Congress in Antalya, 2017.

                              This report, Annex 83, is full of good quotable things.

                              You’ll recall that groundless accusations of cheating were made against WGM Mihaela Sandu by most of her opposition in the European Women’s Championship


                              that an attempt was made to stop and search Nigel Short on the way to the washroom while a game was in progress in the seventh round of the Baku Olympiad


                              in short, a period of witch-hunts and confrontation.

                              From Annex 83:


                              - Mrs Zhukova was sanctioned with a 3-month ban (suspended for one year under proviso that no reckless accusations are made in the period) for «making unjustified accusations of cheating against WGM Mihaela Sandu, thereby injuring and discrediting her reputation as an honest chess player»

                              Inspections during play

                              This has proven to be an overly sensitive topic in Baku. While some of the concerns by Mr. Short need careful assessment, the ACC still feels that the possibility of randomly inspecting a player during play should be in the regulations, as this is the THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY to catch any person who is suspected of cheating.

                              Of course, this has to be done cum grano salis, and the random check strategy should be carefully evaluated by the OACC Board and Chair. Here are a few

                              - No random checks should be performed during the last hour of play.

                              - No player in time trouble should ever be randomly checked. Arbiters could distribute ‘green pass’ to players whenever the player is in time trouble (say, less than 2 minutes per move). When asked to be searched, the player can show the green pass and be exempted. If a player does not have a green pass, he can still claim time trouble and the OACC will then be entitled to check with the match arbiter whether this is the case, with appropriate sanctions to be established in case of misrepresentation.

                              - Mandatory check-points should be established at each toilet. This does not mean that everyone entering will be searched, but the players will know that upon entering or leaving the toilet there is a high chance that they will be searched. These check-points should be manned at all times, and scans (which do not need to be thorough) should in no case be longer than 10 seconds.

                              and finally, this rather cryptic reference and the lovely expression "the exercise of extreme moderation":

                              The ACC wishes to thank Ethics for its hard work, especially in the case regarding the Chavki 2015 incident, which required the exercise of extreme moderation and a ground-breaking ruling on the subject of witch-hunting that set an important precedent for future cases.


                              • Re: Great chess quotes

                                Great Chess Quotes

                                November 24, 2017

                                The winter weather at Wijk and St. Petersburg

                                Peter Svidler being interviewed by Anastasiya Karlovich after his game with Ding Liren in Round 8 of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix:

                                AK: Did you make the decision to play at Wijk this year during the tournament?

                                PS: The negotiations took place a week before the tournament. I accepted. I haven’t played there in ages. It will be nice to remember when I played there when I was younger and suffered horribly. I like suffering, so why not do it again?

                                AK: It seems like chess is about suffering.

                                By the way, your compatriot, Alexander Grischuk, refused to play there because of the weather conditions.

                                PS: It is a very difficult tournament. I think, in order to enjoy it, you have to do well - like fighting for first. If you are not, it is an extremely long and extremely difficult tournament, in weather conditions, which are very similar to St. Petersburg, which is to say, horrible.

                                I would be willing, at this point, to pay money not to spend winters at home (in St. Petersburg).