Great chess quotes

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Great Chess Quotes

    December 26, 2018

    Grandmaster Ratmir Kholmov (1925 – 2006), speaking to Genna Sosonko in 2004:

    “Can I say that chess game me everything in life? Yes, of course. Now I’m on a pension, the chess federation also gives me something, my wife also has an income, so there’s nothing to complain about. But it’s not only about money, I also have something to do that I enjoy. And not everyone has that. Other people retire and they’re left with nothing to do, so they die quickly, because they don’t know how to occupy themselves. But I have chess, it rescues me to this day. You know, analysis is analysis, but playing, playing is still what I really want to do. Chess is a miracle, of course. A miracle.”

    Quoted by Douglas Griffin


    • Great Chess Quotes

      December 28, 2018

      Getting the chess news

      I can remember being thrilled beyond words to have the daily bulletins of the Second Piatigorsky Cup sent to me air mail from Santa Monica, so that I could have the score of Spassky-Fischer two days after it was played. That was in 1966.

      But that was then and this is now:

      Magnus Carlsen is in St. Petersburg playing in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships and Malcolm Pein tweeted this the other day:

      Malcolm Pein @TelegraphChess - So I get to my hotel in Tenerife, order a drink, sit down and the guy next to me is looking at his phone yup it’s Magnus’s game on Sesse and he’s listening to NRK #WRBC2018@TarjeiJS#norwegianseverywhere

      (Sesse = Norwegian supercomputer)
      (NRK = Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation)


      • Great Chess Quotes

        January 3, 2019

        Numbers One, Two and Three

        Tarjei J. Svensen (tweet) -

        Carlsen, at the age of 28, has now been the World #1 for a total of 103 months, surpassing Karpov for the first time (102 months). Only Kasparov is ahead with a total of 255 months as #1.


        • 255 months is 21 + years. I hope Magnus sticks around that long.


          • Great Chess Quotes

            January 11, 2019

            From the Obituary page in The Times

            Professor Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, Bt

            “As a research mathematician he did important work on the theory of numbers, algebraic geometry, classical analysis and differential equations. He was also a virtuoso computer programmer.

            Swinnerton-Dyer enjoyed and excelled at games, conventional ones such as chess and unconventional ones involving, for example, spiders stalking flies along the ribs of an icosahedron. As a young man his bridge playing was of professional standard and he was often mentioned in Times bridge reports. Yet he gave up serious cards when he entered university politics, declaring that they had much in common and the latter was more exciting.”


            I love the idea of spiders stalking flies along the ribs of an icosahedron.

            Readers of the English Chess Forum point out that if you are interested in chess-playing professors you should start with Professor Jonathan Mestel



            where four of his papers on Fluid Mechanics are cited.


            • Great Chess Quotes

              January 20, 2019

              Proverbial Wolves

              In long chess broadcasts, especially when there are only one or two games going on, there is a lot of air time to fill.

              Today was Round Eight of Tata Chess 2019 at Wijk. After 3.5 hours in the premier chess24 broadcast Peter Svidler and Jan Gustafsson kept dipping into the comments made in the Chat Room and discussed them. One topic was the pronunciation of Polish words, with seemingly a lot more consonants than vowels. Another, was wolf proverbs.

              There are discussions online of these. One useful one is:


              “Russian people have been sharing their habitat with wolves for centuries. Russians observed wolves and learned their habits to cope with such dangerous neighbours. No surprise that there are so many tales, lullabies and proverbs about wolves in Russia. Wolves in the Russian folklore are, first of all, aggressive, but what is more important, they have no compassion. Wolf is a beast that knows no mercy, trusts nobody and, very often, has no friends. According to the Russian songs and tales, wolves are kind of anti-social. Wolves can collaborate and even build some social ties, but their community is always based on the right of the strongest and the only reason for wolves to co-operate is to improve their efficiency in hunting.

              Wolves appreciate their freedom and wildness. Unlike dogs, they can’t be domesticated and can’t serve a man. Dogs are faithful servants, while wolves always pursue their own interests and wouldn’t hesitate a moment to betray their master.

              I don’t know whether these observations are correct and can be used as a guidance for wildlife watchers, but they can definitely help to understand some popular Russian sayings. “Сволкамижить- повольчивыть”(live with wolves, and you’ll learn how to howl) is often seen as the equivalent of “In Rome, do as Romans do”. Well, at some point, those two proverbs look similar, yet, the Russian phrase is not about how wise it is to act in accordance with the social norms of the society you are currently deal with. The Russian proverb is about how society forms your personality. If people around you are like wolves - merciless, selfish, cruel individualists - sooner or later, you’ll become like them, and your soul will cry in desperation (this is how Russians interpreted wolves’ howling -- cry of desperation). As you may see, it has nothing in common with the proverb about Romans.”

              Other proverbs:

              If you are afraid of wolves, don’t go into the forest

              Only when the wolves are fed will the lambs be safe

              The mouth of the wolf and the eye of the priest: never satisfied

              When the wolf shows his teeth, he isn’t laughing

              Be friends with the wolf, but keep one hand on your axe


              Anyway, someone quoted this proverb:

              If you are afraid of wolves, you will go mushroomless

              and Peter said that in his 42 years as a Russian he had never heard that before.

              Presumably, it means that you wouldn’t go into the forest and pick wild mushrooms. And “mushroomless” is a word, I’ve seen it in some online recipes.

              Then Jan said, “I know the proverb ‘When a wolf meets another wolf in the woods…’. But then some analysis came up and I never heard the end of that proverb. If someone does know it, please reply to this posting!


              • Great Chess Quotes

                January 22, 2019

                Today, during the fifth hour of the coverage of Tata Steel, I typed this into the ChatRoom Box:

                The other day Jan said, "When a wolf meets another wolf in the forest.." and never finished the quote. I am dying to hear how it finishes.

                Jan: When a wolf meets another wolf in the forest, he thinks to himself, “Hmmm, probably another wolf”.

                When a man meets another man in the forest, he thinks to himself, “Hmmm, probably a murderer”.


                That’s the first time I have ever heard this. I half-remembered a similarly sounding quote, which turns out to be a Persian proverb:

                When a thief meets another, he hides his stick behind him


                • Great Chess Quotes

                  January 23, 2019

                  Tensor Chess

                  During Round Ten of Tata Steel 2019, the two commentators were talking about the top ten Dutch players of all time and even got around to the top Canadians. Jan Gustafsson said at one point that Canadians are well-liked around the world. Peter:

                  They are the golden retriever–type of humans

                  Then, they got on to chess pieces and Peter talked about his introduction to Tensor Chess. The tensor is a piece with its own moves but it also can act as a billiards cushion and pieces can bounce against it to end up on various squares.

                  Peter read a booklet on Tensor Chess handed to him by Gennady Nesis, who runs the chess school in St. Petersburg and who is very persuasive.

                  Peter read the booklet and, after five minutes, his head was swimming. To his lasting regret, he saw Vassily Ivanchuk and he handed him the booklet and he disappeared for two days and, coming back after that, said, “It is very interesting. I have been studying the possibilities”.

                  A quote then from the chess24 Chat Room about this:

                  Chucky playing an obscure chess variant alone, in some dark room for two days, is probably the epitome of nerdiness.





                  • Quote from Peter: They are the golden retriever type of humans. Is that a compliment?


                    • Great Chess Quotes

                      January 23, 2019

                      Golden Retrievers

                      It was meant as a compliment.

                      "The Golden has a wonderful personality and temperament. It is extremely intelligent and patient. It has a reputation for being a loyal, playful family pet."



                      • Wayne: That is my experience having gone through 3 of them vicariously.



                        • Great Chess Quotes

                          January 24, 2019

                          From an interview with Sergey Karjakin, Nov. 23, 2018:

                          “There is a common belief that chess players are presumably nerds who were ridiculed at school,” Karjakin said.

                          “But I will prove you that this opinion is wrong. I think that chess players are quite cheerful people, we love to have fun. I can tell you that chess players’ hobbies vary from quadricycles to parachute jumping.”



                          • Great Chess Quotes

                            January 25, 2019

                            From Peter Doggers at in a discussion of Round 11 of Tata Steel 2019 (Magnus's opponent was Teimour Radjabov)

                            "Carlsen also commented on the release today of the book Game Changer: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan.

                            Game Changer AlphaZero - "I skimmed through the book yesterday, and it was quite inspirational," said Carlsen. "I was thinking at several points during the game: how would AlphaZero have approached this? Then I thought AlphaZero would have played ...f5, f4, and then very slowly tried to go ...g6, ...h5 and then I realized I'm not AlphaZero and I made a draw!""



                            • Great Chess Quotes

                              February 28, 2019

                              Richard Branson at:


                              I think chess is the best game in the world. I love the fact that I can combine the thrill of risk taking and strategy planning with a cup of tea and a nice chat with a friend.

                              There are several boards dotted around Necker Island, and you can often find yours truly perched over one of them. I had the pleasure of enjoying some great games with Björn Borg at the Necker Cup, and when President Nasheed came to visit.

                              These games reminded me about another game that most people know and love. It also happens to be one of the biggest business ideas that got away from me.

                              I got a call one day in the early 80s from a friend in Canada, who had become obsessed with a new board game and told me it was going to be the next big thing. I took a look and could see it was going to catch on. The developers invited us to travel to Quebec and seal a deal to distribute the game globally - I readily agreed.

                              However, we were incredibly busy with Virgin Records at the time, and due to work commitments I ended up having to postpone the trip. By the time I got there, they had sold the game to another company. It has gone on to sell hundreds of millions of copies. The name of the game? Trivial Pursuit.

                              While we missed out on that one, I’ve never really dwelled on it. As I have often said, opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.


                              • Great Chess Quotes

                                March 9, 2019

                                On the topic of chess book collections in the EC Forum:

                                MSoszynski - On my first visit to a tourney in Poland I was asked about my chess book collection. At that time it was very small. "Eight or nine," I said. The response I got showed we had misunderstood each other. "Eight or nine metres, that's not bad".