Great chess quotes

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  • Great Chess Quotes

    July 11, 2019

    The EC Forum has a running thread about chess bookstalls at chess tournaments.

    These comments today by Geoff Chandler about chess book purchases and one’s spouse:

    Chess Essentials are running a well-stocked book stall this weekend at The Scottish Championship in Edinburgh.

    Just came back with a few books I have to smuggle past Mrs. C.

    How do women do it? I have 100's of chess books scattered all over the house yet she can spot new additions within seconds.

    It's got to the stage when I'm hunting for a book I just ask her where it is.


    • Great Chess Quotes

      July 19, 2019

      Mr. Dodgy

      Mr. Dodgy is a pseudonym for a frequent contributor to the Chat on He has his own web page and is somehow also associated with horses. What he says is often worth a good laugh.

      Three of his recent comments:

      Magnus goes a year without a loss and everyone praises him. I go TWO years without a loss and I'm just "inactive" and "not playing chess". #doublestandards #wheresmyparade

      I prefer to play the opening like a confused toddler, the middlegame like a deer caught in headlights and the endgame like a monkey who has discovered a watch.

      A 15 minute break between 15 move draws seems kind of like rubbing salt in the wound #GrandPrixFIDE


      • "Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
        Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
        Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
        And one by one back in the closet lays."

        Omar Khayyam (1048-1131), Rubaiyat
        Dogs will bark, but the caravan of chess moves on.


        • Great Chess Quotes

          July 23, 2019

          World Chess

          I have often been critical of World Chess/Agon because of their poor marketing skills. They have stuff on their web site that few people would want because the things are expensive, always in black and white and there is no variety.

          They came out with a logo for the World Championship in 2018 which has two figures playing chess while sitting in each other’s laps. This soft erotic symbol was a prelude to offering a dating app for chess players.

          A recent Armageddon tournament they sponsored was not covered in the West. News coverage on their site appears to always be old – never up-to-date.

          I am always eager to see what new idea their marketeers come up with. This is it for today:

          Algorand to Become the Official Blockchain Partner of the FIDE Grand Prix Series. An open-source software and blockchain technology company will be the first blockchain partner for chess:

          The significance of this completely escaped me but the reference just above hastened to explain:

          Chess has been a sandbox for technology, from the first computer game to the latest artificial intelligence solutions. With Algorand joining the World Chess Championship cycle as a blockchain partner, chess has a chance to become a permanent part of this new and exciting technology,” said Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of World Chess, the organizer of the FIDE Grand Prix Series . “We see a lot of overlap among chess fans and blockchain enthusiasts, and also unlimited opportunities to develop blockchain solutions and projects that chess can test and adopt.”


          • Great Chess Quotes

            July 23, 2019

            Sarah Hurst

            Sarah Hurst is a journalist, author and Russian translator. She was born and raised in England, has lived in Russia, Azerbaijan, China and Alaska.

            Sarah Hurst was a regular contributor to CHESS magazine in the 1990s and also edited the British Chess Federation’s newsletter, ChessMoves. She wrote Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld . Since 2002 she has been translating articles and books for New in Chess, ChessCafe and other chess publishers. She has also worked in mining journalism, intercultural training and reality TV.


            She has a book entitled “A Shrimp Learnt to Whistle” (1997) from which the following is taken:

            Chess made Minsk less monotonous. I sought out a game at the city chess club. A woman in her early thirties smiled at me across the table, introducing herself as Sveta, an accountant who also taught chess at one of the local youth clubs. She was a candidate master. “But in your country, I would be a master”.

            She offered to give me chess lessons in return for English lessons, which I readily agreed to. I’ll be a candidate master by the time I got back to England, I thought somewhat optimistically

            The problem with our ‘lessons’ was the highly influential presence of beer in them. The first thing I learnt from Sveta was that chess players and beer are inseparable. Strangely, it seemed to equalise the standard of our English, but not our chess. She won every time no matter how much we both drank. Except once. It happened when my thinking was so blurred that I didn’t know what opening I was playing. On her first move, as White, Sveta pushed her king’s pawn forward. I confused it with the queen’s pawn; it didn’t help that Russian pieces were of a different design to British pieces, and the king and queen were very similar. I brought my knight out believing I was playing the Kings Indian, which I knew moderately well. ‘Alekhine’s Defence!’ Sveta exclaimed. ‘Interesting.’ It turned out to be extremely interesting - without having a clue what I was supposed to do, I won the game. That’s the only time I’ve ever beaten a candidate master, and it was also the source of a lasting personal attachment to Alekhine’s Defence.

            pp.133-4, A Shrimp Learnt to Whistle , Elephant Publishing (1997)

            See also:



            • Great Chess Quotes

              July 31, 2019

              The Paul Truong Interview

              This interview first appeared on March 17, 2007 and was conducted by Susan Polgar on the Chess Café site. Because Nigel Short found parts of it incredible and wrote about it, Nigel has been criticized.

              Just a few excerpts so that you can judge for yourself


              Susan Polgar - This month’s article with Paul Truong is a little different. I decided to treat you with something very unique, special, and inspirational. I decided to interview one of my best friends, for almost two decades, who also happens to be my business manager and trainer as well (we got married at the end of 2006).

              Susan Polgar: Why are you so passionate about changing the face of chess in America?

              Paul Truong: Well, it is a very good question and one I don’t think I have ever talked about before. It started from circumstances I had to deal with throughout the early part of my life. Growing up in Saigon, Vietnam, I became a chess icon at a very young age. I won the first National Junior (under 21) Championship when I was only 5 years old, unexpectedly. All of a sudden, I became a sensation, a child prodigy. I defended this title for the next three years. At the age of 8½, I stunned the country by winning my first national championship and defended it successfully for four consecutive years. My celebrity status skyrocketed.

              I was invited by the late President Marcos of the Philippines to attend the Fischer vs. Karpov match in Manila in 1975 (which of course never took place). I also qualified for the World Junior (under 21) Championship in Manila that same year. At that time, I thought I had a chance to showcase my talent on a world stage. Then, my life came crumbling down. The communists from North Vietnam took over my country on April 30, 1975. I was no longer allowed to travel. I was no longer allowed to play chess freely.

              (My father and I escaped by boat from Vietnam but were recaptured.)

              We had to go through this five different times with five different pirate ships.

              SP: So how did you get to safety?

              PT: During the fifth attack, the pirates could not find any valuables because the previous four groups took everything. They were angry so they sunk our boat. We were in the middle of nowhere in shark infested waters. Many people could not swim and drowned. Other died of exhaustion. And some died from you know…

              SP: You mean from shark attacks?

              PT: Unfortunately, yes. My father and I were lucky enough to live through this. An American oil tanker happened to go by, saw us and rescued us. We then were brought to Malaysia.

              (He and his father were again set adrift on a boat with other refugees. They spent 5-6 months on a wild deserted island but finally got to New Jersey).

              PT: At the age of 17, I had to make a very hard decision. Do I want to continue to play chess and be a professional, and to fulfill my dream of being a grandmaster and even world champion? Or do I just give it up and go to college and have a normal career? I chose to leave the game. How could I be a world class player if I did not even have the opportunity to train or play?

              So I went to college. And during college, I did the same thing. I had 7 part-time jobs while taking over 21 credits per semester. I also took winter courses, summer courses. I needed to graduate as quickly as possible.

              SP: So what happened after college?

              PT: I began working professionally. I worked very hard. I put in 16-18 hour days, seven days a week. I became very successful. I did that every day for 15 years.


              Paul Truong was born June 2, 1965.

              I hope that I have quoted enough for you to form an opinion of Nigel Short’s suspicions of Truong’s exaggerations.


              • Great Chess Quotes

                August 4, 2019

                Yugoslav Chess

                After the Second World War, the country second to the Soviet Union most active in chess was Yugoslavia. The well-known Yugoslav masters were Gligoric, Ivkov, Parma, Pirc, Planinc, Rabar, Trifunovic, Velimirovic, Vukcevich, Fuderer, Damjanovic etc. Bobby Fischer enjoyed playing in Yugoslavia perhaps because of Portoroz, Bled, Zagreb, Belgrade, Skopje and Vinkovci tournaments.

                But nothing last forever. This eulogy by Zoran Ilic to head an article in New in Chess, 1997-1998:

                Older generations of chess players with nostalgia will remember that Yugoslavia once used to be a chess paradise. The greatest training ground for chess players from all over the world. Almost any provincial little town in the country had its grandmaster tournament where even chess players with modest titles were treated with all the respect and honour given to celebrities.

                The historical winds of change turned the Yugoslav chess paradise into a desert.


                • Great Chess Quotes

                  August 8, 2019

                  Tatev Abrahamyan was one of the commentators at the 2019 US Senior and Junior Championships in St. Louis in July.

                  She lives in Glendale, California.

                  She will be commentating at the 2019 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz that starts August 10

                  Joyous Reunion

                  T.A. (tweet) - Off to Saint Louis for the rest of the month. Very much looking forward to a reunion with my good make up brushes and skincare that were left behind



                  • That is what chess is about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one. - Bobby Fischer


                    • Great Chess Quotes

                      August 21, 2019

                      This is a comment by a solver of The Times Daily Quiz for August 22, 2019. I am not sure that I understand it entirely.

                      Nelle wants know if Train Chess can be made into an Olympic event. Yesterday she sacrificed her pawns at New Street, used her Knight to Lichfield, her Bishop from Lichfield to Crewe and finally her Queen to Liverpool and announced Checkmate as she got off!



                      Birmingham New Street is the largest and busiest of the three main railway stations in the Birmingham City Centre, England. It is a central hub of the British railway system.


                      • Originally posted by NY Times on Pal Benko
                        But he said that the reason he liked to study endgame was that it was the purest form of chess.

                        “It doesn’t change in theory like openings,” he said. “It is permanent. Opening theory is not real chess, I think.
                        "Opening theory is not real chess, I think."
                        Dogs will bark, but the caravan of chess moves on.


                        • Great Chess Quotes

                          August 26, 2019

                          Today, the passing of Pal Benko was announced.

                          Chess Life On-line featured this quote in their obituary:

                          The last two or three times I had visited, I had brought with me an autographed copy of Grandmaster Pal Benko’s endgame book, a volume that Benko had published himself and which he had asked me to give Kasparov. I believe there were a hundred copies or so in this new edition. Each time I came, I forgot to give it to Garry, or his mood was so bad that I thought that he wouldn’t notice it. …

                          When Garry came back in the room to sit among the boxes, I handed him Benko’s self-published book, half-expecting him to drop it at his feet. But instead, he started reading. “This is very important,” he said, as he slowly turned a page. Garry’s face softened. He moved his lips and smiled as he calculated a witty move. For the next hour or so, he lost himself in Benko’s book, which contained interesting and instructive endings culled from numerous games, along with Benko’s sharp analysis. Garry was enjoying chess for the first time since the start of the match.

                          — Fred Waitzkin (Mortal Games: The Turbulent Genius of Garry Kasparov, Putnam, 1993.)

                          Last edited by Wayne Komer; Tuesday, 27th August, 2019, 10:13 AM.


                          • Great Chess Quotes

                            August 28, 2019

                            Strange Happenings and Sam’s Duck

                            The EC Forum recently had several postings on pets with their owners playing chess. A sampling:

                            Phil Neatherway - I have been playing in tournaments since the mid 1970's. In my current tournament, I have seen something I have never seen before. One of the players brings his dog into the tournament hall. I have to say it is a very well behaved dog. It lies down under the table and stays there quietly. I played its master and forgot it was there. But there is all sorts of scope for issues to arise, e.g. allergies, and what if somebody steps on it (accidentally or otherwise!)?

                            Should the arbiters permit the dog in the tournament hall?

                            Alex McFarlane - Before my time but the arbiter was the late Richard Furness. I was told the story by David Welch.

                            If I have the story correct the player wanted the stuffed toy to sit on the table watching his game. The opponent objected so Richard produced a chair for the toy to sit at but that was not good enough. (After all it was too small to see the board from there.) Richard decided it should not be on the table so it had to sit on the chair if anywhere.

                            The player refused to move until Teddy was restored to its 'proper' place and after an hour lost on time.

                            Neil Graham - Some time ago I had a game with a blind player whose guide dog sat under the table. Unfortunately the dog suffered from severe flatulence which did not help my concentration on the game.

                            Paul Buswell - Club colleagues and I pop over to northern France two or three times a year for Sunday rapidplays. One of the regular local participants always has his small dog with him in the playing hall; it is completely well-behaved and no one seems to bat an eyelid. Rather more distracting was the young father who had his baby on his lap for one round.


                            All this is just a prelude to a tweet from Sam Shankland. On a quick first reading I thought he had a pet duck that he was going to bring to tournaments!

                            Closer inspection showed that he recently had surgery on the flexor tendon of his left hand. With the bandages and an open guard over the hand, it much resembled a duck. There is a photo with Sam grinning and holding up his repaired hand, looking much like a duck.



                            and the chess quote:

                            Sam Shankland - Meet my new pet duck! His name is Spot, and he will be traveling to the World Cup and possibly the FIDE Grand Swiss with me. I promise he is a terrible chess player and will only give me bad advice, but he will hopefully help my flexor tendon heal. Surgery went well.


                            • Great Chess Quotes

                              September 6, 2019

                              Eating at the Board

                              There are some chess books which only exist as ebooks. A couple by John Donaldson are updates of his published books. One other that intrigued me is entitled “My Opponent Is Eating a Doughnut: Tall Tales, Legends, Gossip, and Rumors from the World of Tournament Chess”.

                              One of the anecdotes is about an elderly gentleman, who approached the TD at a tournament and said that his opponent was annoying him by eating a doughnut at the board.

                              “The TD walked over to check out just how big a distraction the opponent was causing. When the TD arrived, he observed the opponent sitting there, concentrating on the position. There was no evidence of food, not even a crumb. And then it happened. The opponent leaned back from the game and reached under the table. From his lap, he pulled out a half-eaten doughnut. He took a bite and returned it to his lap. Not even a crumb had fallen onto the table. The TD ruled that the opponent was not engaging in annoying behavior. The veteran player objected. “No one should eat at the board,” he claimed. “Your decision is wrong!” He appealed the TD’s decision to the top official in the tournament room. He was denied. He appealed the decision to the chief TD. He was denied and very displeased. He returned to his game disgruntled. The tournament staff didn’t have the heart to tell him that the organizer had ordered doughnuts for everyone — yes, every player to be delivered to the tournament room in just a few minutes.”

                              Just, Tim; Clark, Wayne. My Opponent Is Eating a Doughnut: Tall Tales, Legends, Gossip, and Rumors from the World of Tournament Chess Kindle Edition.


                              • Great Chess Quotes

                                September 7, 2019

                                Chess Addiction

                                From Chess Life, May 1961

                                By Sydney J. Harris

                                Chess is not, and can never be, a hobby. It is a disease or nothing. It is an obsession, an affliction, an addiction. But it is not a hobby.

                                Not long ago, Cleveland Amory came to Chicago for a few days of the most strenuous activity. His book, “Who Killed Society?” is high on the best-seller list; his anthology, “Vanity Fair,” is crowding the leaders.

                                During his brief visit here, Amory was scheduled for several literary luncheons, receptions, dinners, radio and TV interviews, and the whole depressing gamut of modern publicity. Every hour of his time was rigidly scheduled.

                                Yet – owing to the evil machinations of my publisher – Amory spent five yours at my house, involved in two ferocious games of chess with me.

                                He ignored phone calls – including one piteous call from his wife awaiting his return at their hotel – curses, threats, promises, and cold looks from our other guests who were waiting to go out for dinner with us.

                                Like the lush who can’t stop with the conventional two before a meal, he would have stayed all night locked in mortal combat over the chessboard. We finally had to load him into the car and drive him down to the TV station for his appearance on a panel show. He cried like a baby.

                                It is not a hobby, unless you look upon opium-smoking as a harmless diversion. I thought I had kicked the habit, until Amory pulled me back into the pit.