Great chess quotes

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  • Great Chess Quotes

    March 21, 2019

    Vladimir Kramnik:

    I found it very funny that in the end AlphaZero, learning chess by itself, discovered that the best defence against 1.e4 is the Berlin

    From an Interview with Vladimir Kramnik, New in Chess, 2019#2, page 49


    • Great Chess Quotes

      March 25, 2019

      Bobby Fischer and Barbra Streisand

      From the Playboy Interview, October 1977, p. 91:

      Playboy: Did you have any interest in boys when you were in school?

      Streisand: You know who I had a crush on when I was in school? Bobby Fischer. He was a year younger than me, but I would have lunch with him every day and he would sit there, laughing hysterically, reading Mad magazine. Right? And he wore these earlaps on his ears. He was always alone and very peculiar. But I found him very sexy. I was 16 and he was 15. He was a chess champion then.

      Playboy: What did you talk about? Did you understand chess?

      Streisand: We talked about Mad magazine.

      Playboy: Did he seem to be the genius he is?

      Streisand: Oh, yeah. I thought so. He was an absolute nut. An eccentric at 15.

      Playboy: And so, it seems, were you.

      Streisand: Well, I didn’t consider myself eccentric I was a poor kid. The wealthy girls moved to long Island. They had pretty clothes and mothers and fathers and they wore their hair nice, they were well-brought-up Jewish girls. They used to call me Colorful, because I had all this color on me. I was pathetically skinny, in these long dresses, I looked funny.

      Chess Note 11267


      • Great Chess Quotes

        March 29, 2019

        From The Saturday Evening Post, Feb. 8, 1964 (pages 18 & 19), from an article entitled “Have Pawn, Will Travel” by Lewis H Lapham

        His description here of the 11thand final game of the 1963/64 U.S. Championship that Fischer won with a perfect score.

        One should see the comments on the game at:

        On the ninth evening, watching Fischer develop a Ruy Lopez opening, Frank Brady, editor of Chessworld magazine, permitted himself a word of unequivocal praise.

        “Nobody can touch the kid,” he said.

        “The kid is very deep.”

        Brady used to be associate publisher of Eros , a magazine which suspended publication after its publisher was convicted on charges of mailing obscenity.

        “Chess is more exciting than sex,” Brady said. “Not so many problems.”

        In his last match Fischer defeated Dr. Anthony Saidy, a 26-year-old staff doctor for the Peace Corps in Jamaica. He won by means of a clever end game, playing a knight and five pawns against a bishop and five pawns.

        Although Saidy’s resignation gave Fischer the most spectacular victory in any American chess tournament since 1893, he showed little emotion. When the game seemed won, he took a cheese Danish out of a paper bag and absently devoured it while analyzing further possibilities. At the end he shook hands with Saidy, acknowledged the discreet applause with an awkward nod of his head and hurried out of the ballroom. Before leaving, he paused briefly and reluctantly to sign autographs for two small boys who had kept scores of the game.
        Last edited by Wayne Komer; Saturday, 30th March, 2019, 10:07 AM.


        • Great Chess Quotes

          April 4, 2019

          In the fifth round of the Gashimov Memorial 2019 in Shamkir, Vishy Anand is tied for second place with Karjakin, ahead of Ding Liren, Navara, Grischuk, Mamedyarov etc.

          He just beat Anish Giri and both were at the post mortem:

          “Today, at the press conference Anand was asked why he is still playing at the highest level, while most of the players from his generation have either quit chess or are much less successful. Was it his labor, or his talent?

          Before he could answer, next to him Giri whispered: "Both!"

          Even an always-modest Anand could only agree there. With a big smile he reacted: "Anish nailed it!"”

          Peter Doggers at


          • Great Chess Quotes

            April 4, 2019

            Alireza Firouzja

            A report yesterday stated that Firouzja of Iran finished with an impressive 19/25, to claim a spot in the 2019 Bullet Chess Championship, where he will face Hikaru Nakamura in the first round of the competition.

            During that tournament, he ran into connectivity issues that appeared to affect his performance.

            Nick Barton at:


            This quotable comment on that report:

            randy296 wrote:

            “Firouzja qualifies here despite connectivity issues (!), wins his last game at the World Team in time to catch a ridiculous flight out, plays 200 points above his rating at the World Blitz, and simply demolishes the blitz field in Manila - like a man among kids, except that he is the kid! 15 y.o..

            Dunno when his slow game (now 2700) catches up with his blitz strength.

            But when he does become the first Iranian World Champion, I will be the least surprised person in the room.”


            • Great Chess Quotes

              April 15, 2019

              Tweet from Jonathan Rowson on April 15, 2019

              Just played through Magnus Carlsen's games from #Shamkirchess where he won with 7/9 and pushed his rating to 2860. For a few years there he was merely the best of the best, but now I think he is back to being superior in historic terms; the best of the best of the best.



              • Great Chess Quotes

                April 20, 2019

                Peter Leko with Jan Gustafsson is commentating on the Grenke Classic 2019.

                The problem with this is that the young man he coaches, Vincent Keymer, is playing in the Masters and in the first round is up against Magnus Carlsen.

                When all your sympathies and concentration are on your pupil, it is hard to talk about other things, though Peter managed it fairly well, but Jan is quite a wag.

                This exchange:

                Peter was saying how he enjoyed the Isle of Man Open

                Jan: Is it true at the Isle of Man they have cats without tails?

                Peter: I haven’t noticed.


                • Great Chess Quotes

                  April 22, 2019

                  Some quotes on the book on Tal by his former wife, Sally Landau:

                  Nigel Short (tweet) - Enjoyed reading "Checkmate!", by Sally Landau (Elk & Ruby), about her loving and yet often tormented marriage to Mikhail Tal. It is one of the greatest privileges of my chess career to have played the maestro. He was a most charming and quick-witted genius.

                  Hans Ree – Tal was very unworldly. He didn't know how to put on the gas lighting if his parents were not at home. Landau writes that he once complained about a strange pain in one foot, and then she saw that he had two right shoes on all day.

                  The book by Sally Landau changes our image of Tal, but it enriches what we know. I found it very touching.


                  and two quotes from the review by Armchair Warrior:


                  The book is replete with things like this from Yakov Damsky writing in Riga Chess, 1986. “He has a wonderful ability with language and always has a sharp wit. I remember, for example, after a lecture some tactless dude asked Tal: “Is it true you’re a morphinist?” to which Tal instantly replied: “No, I’m a chigorinets!”


                  “Chess players talk to each other in the language of notation. I was always amazed at this. Although I understood nothing of it, I listened to them as though they were aliens, observing their emotions. If, for example, Tal, Stein and Gufeld got together, their conversation could flow along the following lines:

                  Gufeld: What would you say to knightdfourfsixbishopg2?

                  Stein: Bishopgsevenfgknightdefivecheck!

                  Tal: Yes but you’ve forgotten about if knightfsixintermezzoqueenheight!

                  Gufeld: Queeneightrookgeightwithcheckandrooktakesheight and you’re left without your mummy!

                  Tal: But after bishopeone you’re left without your daddy!

                  Stein: Bishopeone doesn’t work because of the obvious knighttakesoneecfourdekinggsevenrookasevencheck!

                  And this wonderful chitchat would continue endlessly, with people not “in-the-know” thinking they were in a madhouse.”


                  • Thanks for that re Checkmate. A must read.


                    • Great Chess Quotes

                      April 22, 2019

                      I never get personally involved in these chess quotes if I can help it but today, I could not help it.

                      Jan Gustafsson in a couple of his broadcasts last year talked about winning a game when you were a major piece up. I thought it was a joke because who couldn’t win a game if that were so? But, I decided to ask him in the Chat Room of the 2019 Grenke, Round Three Today:

                      My question and his answer:

                      Que for Jan: Jan has joked about authoring a book entitled "How to Win the Game When You are a Rook Ahead" or "How to Win the Game When You are a Queen Ahead". Which is it?

                      Answer: Rook! Winning, a queen up is easy!

                      This is one of the most underrated skills in chess, the art of winning when a rook up. Just ask Magnus. It is proven not to be simple at all to convert that extra rook, especially in the starter position.

                      Today, with rooks up, we saw another textbook example in this game between MVL and Arkadij Naiditsch, where Naiditsch could not convert his extra rook and had to settle for a draw because the one rook that White had left gave a lot of checks. This is why I always say that if you have two rooks and your opponent has one, you should exchange that very rook and it then it can’t give any checks and you can use your extra rook to roam freely, without worry. The book is not out yet.


                      Jan’s example is from this game:

                      Grenke Chess Classic 2019
                      Round 3, Apr. 22
                      Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – Naiditsch, Arkadij
                      C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defence, open variation

                      1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.h3 Ne7 10.Rd1+ Ke8 11.Nc3 Ng6 12.b3 Be7 13.Ne4 a5 14.Re1 a4 15.Bb2 Be6 16.Nd4 Nf4 17.Rad1 h5 18.h4 Nd5 19.c4 Nb4 20.a3 Na6 21.b4 c5 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.b5 Nb8 24.f4 Rf8 25.Nf6+ gxf6 26.exf6 Bd6 27.Rxe6+ Kf7 28.Rde1 Rd8 29.g4 hxg4 30.h5 Nd7 31.Re7+ Bxe7 32.Rxe7+ Kg8 33.Rg7+ Kh8 34.f7 Rf8 35.f5 Nb6 36.Bf6 Nxc4 37.Rxg4+ Kh7 38.Rg7+ Kh6 39.Rg6+ Kh7 40.Rg7+ Kh6 41.Rg6+ Kh7 42.Rg7+ Kh6 1/2-1/2

                      Black’s extra rook sits on a8 for the whole game


                      • Very interesting about being a rook up. Its similar in odds - play (removing queen, removing rook, or other odds). Giving a queen can only be done with beginning tournament players at best but giving rook odds I have had success up to about 1500.


                        • Great Chess Quotes

                          April 23, 2019

                          All these can be found at:


                          Six Tweets from Nigel Short

                          April 23, 2019

                          - Just lost an online blitz game to someone who played 21 moves in 3 seconds with 98.6% accuracy. Not that I am insinuating anything, mind you...

                          February 24, 2019

                          - Whoever invented three rounds of #chess in a day deserves a special place in Hell - next to the Brexiteers.

                          January 29, 2019

                          - Vladimir Kramnik bows out after a magnificent career. His #chess has been often exquisite, and always instructive. I might add that I know exactly what he means about flagging motivation.

                          January 6, 2019

                          - I can never understand socks; one day they appear happily married, and the next, unexpectedly single.

                          January 1, 2019

                          - It is fascinating how much online cheating occurs on #chess servers. I get messages every few days informing me that one of my opponents has been caught (once 3 in a day!!) and my rating readjusted upwards. All this with no money at stake. How often does it happen in tournaments?

                          December 27, 2018

                          - A theoretical treatise on 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5! - as played by Boris Becker, @GMHikaru and now @MagnusCarlsen - is the most glaring lacuna in the vast literature of #chess. Who will order a copy, if I write it?


                          • Great Chess Quotes

                            May 11, 2019

                            The Grand Chess Tour is on and at present is in the blitz phase at the Côte D’Ivoire.

                            Magnus Carlsen smashed everyone in the rapids phase and is not doing quite so well in the blitz.

                            In any case, Anish Giri, who likes to get a few digs in at the World Champion, still thinks it is a runaway and tweeted this today:

                            The good thing about all those #GrandChessTour events, is that if the rapid didn't go your way, there is always the illusion that the blitz might!#fanboy


                            • Great Chess Quotes

                              May 17, 2019

                              The recent history of the Sicilian

                              From Leonard Barden’s May 17 column in The Guardian :

                              “Long ago the Sicilian was a punchbag for Bobby Fischer’s Bc4, Mikhail Tal’s mazy Nd5 sacrifices and Paul Keres’s g4 attacks. There was an interlude when the solid Nc6/e6 Taimanov and the e6/a6 Kan gained ground, but then came Anatoly Karpov with his anti-Dragon and Be2 anti-Najdorf systems.

                              The pendulum swung again when Garry Kasparov made the Najdorf his principal reply to 1 e4 and remained faithful to it during his long career. There was another interlude when Vishy Anand demolished Sicilians, but for the present the opening is back with a vengeance.

                              Carlsen scares the elite with his Sveshnikov and Kalashnikov, while Vachier-Lagrave scores well with the Najdorf as his main defence. Some time in future there will be new white strategies, and the only safe prediction is that 1 e4 c5 will continue to be keenly debated.”



                              • At the age of 90 (almost) Master Barden still writes great chess columns. I wish him many more years of doing that! (you can quote me on that)