My favorite chess set — immature ebony and boxwood, India 1985
You asked for it! Well, at least a few of you asked for it and I do love to please. So here, selected for your education, enlightenment, elucidation, amusement, and amazement – my ever-expanding collection of...
DISCLAIMER: The culler of these verbal brilliancies has had neither the time nor the incentive (so far) to update dates for chessplayers whose life-flags have fallen but are not so reflected in these listings. I humbly request that if you are both the source of one of the following quotes and also deceased, please fall over. By remaining upright in your seat at the chessboard, you are confusing and confounding your living opponents with your stubborn resistance to resignation.
Famous much-parodied scene from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal
gives rise to serious chess questions; for example... Why is the board not
set up correctly with a light square by the right hand of each player?
And why are the pieces arrayed along the edges instead of in
front of the players? And why are the pieces on the
wrong starting squares? And why are they
playing Scissors Paper Stone?
Hal: Bishop takes Knight's Pawn.
Frank: Lovely move... Rook to King one.
Hal: I'm sorry, Frank. I think you missed it.
Queen to Bishop three, Bishop takes Queen,
Knight takes Bishop, mate.
Frank: Yeah, looks like you're right. I resign.
Hal: Thank you for a very enjoyable game.
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 – Worthy of note is the fact that in this motion picture, as in the concurrent and subsequent Star Trek series, the spacecraft computers respond to old English Descriptive notation, which by the late 1960s was already abandoned by most of the world in favor of the system known as Algebraic Notation. Though there's really nothing algebraic about it, it is by far a clearer, more logical method of annotating the moves of a game. Had the producers of that film and those TV shows been more aware, they would have realized that by the future setting of their stories, English Descriptive notation will have been a historical footnote.
I will sing a song of battle
Planned in days long passed and over.
Men of skill and science set it
On a plain of eight divisioins,
And designed in squares all chequered.
Two camps face each one the other,
And the Kings stand by for battle,
Bent on war the face of each is,
Ever moving or encamping,
Yet no swords are drawn in warfare,
For a war of thoughts their war is.
Abraham ibn Ezra 1089-1164 Philosopher, astronomer, astrologer, poet, and linguist
The foot of the Horse is very light in the battle;
He goes by a crooked path,
His ways are crooked and not straight,
Three Houses are his boundaries.
Abraham ibn Ezra early 12th century
All slaughter each other
Wasting with great wrath each other
...with yet no bloodshed.
Abraham ibn Ezra early 12th century
And their glory is departed, they are annihilated
When they see how their lord is slain.
Yet does the battle begin over again,
And the killed ones once more stand up.
Abraham ibn Ezra early 12th century
Whereas the tactician knows what to do when there is something to do, it requires the strategian to know what to do when there is nothing to do.
Gerald Abrahams Abrahams was an avid Bridge player.
Chess is a matter of vanity.
Alexander Alekhine 1892-1946 Fourth World Champion. Treating them to a club show, one of their patrons, C. Ogle reported, "Capablanca never took his eyes off the chorus, Alekhine never looked up from his pocket chess set."
Chess is not just knowing and logic alone.
Alexander Alekhine 1892-1946 Fourth World Champion 1927-35 and 1937-46. He studied "eight hours a day on principle," but losing the title to Euwe had a sobering effect on Alekhine, literally!
The skills that one must be acquainted with are as follows: Riding, swimming, archery, boxing, hawking, chess, and verse writing.
Petrus Alfonsi on the seven accomplishments expected of a knight. He was court physician to Alfonso I of Aragón. One of many jews who converted to Christianity to avoid persecution in 12th century Spain, he was formerly known as Moses Cohen or Moses Sefardi.
Caliph Ar-Radi was walking in the country, and stopped in a lovely garden, replete with lawns and flowers. His courtiers immediately began to dilate on the wonders of the garden, to extol its beauty, and to place it above all the wonders of the world.
"Stop," cried the Caliph. "As-Suli's skill at chess charms me more."
Al-Masudi 10th century
O thou, whose cynic sneers express
The censure of our favorite chess,
Know that its skill is science' self,
Its play distraction from distress,
It soothes the anxious lover's care,
It counsels warriors in their art,
When dangers threat and perils press;
And yealds us, when we need them most,
Companions in our loneliness.
Abdullah ibn Al-Mu'tazz 861-908 Caliph of the Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad for just one day and one night before his assassination in 908, best known for his romantic poetry, written in his hedonistic youth as a privileged Arab prince.
...d5 is the antidote for the poison in gambits.
Anonymous The elipisis (...) before a move notation indicates that it is a move for the player with the black pieces. The suggestion is that Black should early on move the queen pawn forward two squares.
You had a won game, but I won the game.
Anonymous Chess saying underscoring the difficulty of executing flawless play even in positions considered to embody winning certainty.
The queen whom we call fierge
Takes after Venus, who is no virgin
She is likable and loving
Debonair and hardly proud.
Anonymous though its author vainly attempted to pass himself off as Ovid
...by means of this game emperors consult with demons concerning victory: it is a temptation of Satan.
Anonymous c16th century
The student that needeth chess or cards to please his mind, I doubt hath a carnal empty mind; if God, and all his books, and all his friends, etc. cannot suffice for this; there is some disease in it that should rather be cured than pleased.
Anonymous letter 1680
One of the most curious facts found in the bypaths of chess research is the affected dread of brain ruin on the part of men whom the Fates have made absolutely immune from any such calamity.
Anonymous Doesn't this sound a bit too recent to be the work of Anonymous? But then Apocryphal didn't seem a likely choice either.
"Tell me, how long did it take you to learn to play chess so badly?"
"Sir, it's been nights of study and self-denial."
...but when the rukh gets behind them and attacks them from the rear, he destroys them just as horsemen in war destroy the foot soldiers.
As-Suli c10th century
Thow shalt mate hym with a Pon at v draughtis yf thow play wel affter thy Roke, and if thou knowe itt not thow shalnot mate hym at ix draughtis ffor he woll tel his draughtis for cause of thi Roke.
The Ashmole Manuscript 1470
For surely, of all the drugs in the world, Chess must be the most permanently pleasurable.
I am hopelessly in love with the game.
At chess, before gunpowder, The Queen took only Diagonal steps.
W.H. Auden 1907-1973 Poet and man of letters, a hero of the left in the 1930s. His poems, plays, and essays explored psychology, politics, and religion. Best remembered for Poems 1930 and Look, Stranger 1936.
In answering the question, "Which is the greater game, Chess or Checkers," I must, in all frankness, favor Chess.
Newell W. Banks Blindfold Checker Champion of the World.
Chess is a game of courteous aggression.
Julian Barnes Writer-player with formidable talent in both arenas.
Chess is confrontation.
Chess is a very sexy game.
To free your game, take off some of your adversary's men, if possible for nothing.
Captain Joseph Bertin 169?-173? From his The Noble Game of Chess 1735, the first worthwhile chess textbook in the English language. Bertin had 19 "Rules" to follow during play. 16 of them are thoroughly valid to this day.
The blindfold game contains everything... If one could see what goes on in a chess player's head, one would find a stirring world of sensations, images, movements, passions, and an ever changing panorama of states of consciousness.
Alfred Binet 1857-1911 From his Mnemonic Virtuosity: A Study of Chess Players 1893. He played a dominant role in the development of experimental psychology in France, recording individual differences by standardized tests. He studied writers, artists, mathematicians, and chess players.
Steinitz has been known to grieve much when he has lost at chess. At Dundee, for example, in 1866 after his defeat by De Vere his friends became alarmed at his woe and disappearance. Again, after his fall to Rosenthal in a game he should have won at the Criterion in 1883, news were brought that he was on a seat in St. James' Park quite uncontrollable.
Henry Edward Bird 1830-1908 British chess master who came late to the game (age 25), writing about Wilhelm (later William) Steinitz, first official World Chess Champion. It is wise to be mindful that one's delight in winning or disappointment in losing at anything tend to manifest in direct proportion to one's overall emotional investment in the game at hand. Best to abide by the knowledge that, even in its highest professional expression, a game is nevertheless just a game.
I love the game. It's the players I hate!
Paul Bishop My good friend and occasional opponent, whose terse take on the game holds as true today as when he first uttered it a couple decades back. My absolute favorite chess quote!
Keith Halonen vs Paul Bishop – 24 May 1987
50th Anniversary Golden Gate Bridge Walk
Submitted this photo to the Guiness Book of World Records claiming
we had played the longest game of chess ever played in the exact
center of the bridge. It was, in fact, the shortest game of chess
possible, the classic Fool's Mate, two moves by each player!
Guinness rejected our appeal on the grounds that "No one
else will ever be able to contest your record." What?!
There won't be a 100th Anniversary Bridge Walk?
Considered merely as a chapter in the social history of mankind, chess is equally worthy of admiration.
God moves the player, he, in turn, the piece.
But what god beyond God begins the round
Of dust and time and dreams and agonies?
Jorge Luis Borges Chess 1960
Chess is a game for strong people with strong character.
Mikhail Botvinnik 1911-1995 Sixth World Champion 1948-57, 1958-59, and 1961-63. He did not smoke, but he played many practice games against heavy smokers just to build up his tolerance!
Chess is the art of analysis.
Mikhail Botvinnik 1911-1995 Sixth World Champion. From the 1960's on he was keenly involved developing chess playing programs for computers. He was one of the most disciplined analysts.
Chess is the art which expresses the beauty of logic.
Mikhail Botvinnik 1911-1995 Sixth World Champion. He persuaded Soviet officials to instruct his employer to give him three days off weekly for chess study, so as to insure his chances at the world championship.
The King himself is haughtie care,
Which ouerlooketh all his men,
And when he seeth how they fare,
He steps among them now and then,
Whom when his foe presumes to checke,
His seruants stand, to giue the necke.
The Queene is queint, and quicke conceit,
Which makes her walke which way she list,
Ans rootes them up, that lie in wait,
To worke hir treason ere she wist:
Hir force is such against her foes,
That whom she meets, she ouerthrowes...
Nicholas Breton 1542-1626 from The Chesse Play 1593
After the first move, 1 e4, White's game is in its last throes!
Gyula Breyer 1893-1921 National champion of Hungary 1912. Pioneer of the Hypermodern movement.
Chess is one of the sins of pride.
I have been asked many times if I was obliged to lose the 23rd game and if there was a conspiracy to stop me from taking Botvinniks's title... The only thing I am prepared to say is that I was subjected to strong psychological pressure from various sources... I had reasons not to become the World Champion as in those times such a title meant that you were entering an official world of chess bureaucracy with many formal obligations. Such a position is not compatible with my character.
David Bronstein 1924-2006 When Joseph Stalin's Five Year Plan for Chess took effect, its aim was to seize the world championship from the decadent West. That goal was realized when Mikhail Botvinnik won the title in 1948, giving some credence to the Soviet Union's claims of superiority. However, Bronstein rose to top the list of challengers and the pressure was on in the 1951 title match. It just wouldn't do for Botvinnik to lose that contest to a Jew. Both players fumbled frequently under the stress. In the 6th game, in a drawn position, Bronstein thought for 45 minutes on a single move, which turned out to be a drastic blunder costing him the game! Eventually the match was tied, meaning Botvinnik kept the title. When asked what he'd been thinking about for 45 minutes, Bronstein replied, "I was thinking about what to play."
The essence of chess is thinking about what chess is.
— GM David Bronstein —
Chess is imagination.
David Bronstein 1924-2006 Artist among chess grandmasters deemed the finest player never to have won the world championship. One of the four strongest players in the world from 1948-58, in 1951 he scored +5=14-5 proving himself equal against Botvinnik, but losing the world title in accordance with FIDE rules.
Chess is work.
Walter Browne 1949- Six-time US Champion. His facial contortions during complicated play are testimony to his belief in this statement.
When chess is reduced to mere mathematics, chess will lose its charm.
Robert J. Buckley
It is a game too troublesome for some men's braines, too full of anxiety, all out as bad as study; and besides it is a testy cholericke game and very offensive to him that looseth the Mate.
Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy 1577-1640 English author and clergyman who wrote under the pen name Democritus Junior.
Chess is... a place where I'm going to enjoy myself.
John Cage 1912-1992 Pioneer in aleatory music and other avant garde musical approaches. He invented the "happening," a freeform performance artwork.
There may be an analogy in totalitarian states, or states which are autocratically led even if they are democracies, but in a real democracy there should be no particular resemblance to chess.
Chess is not a game but a disease.
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1836-1908 British Liberal leader, born in Glasgow; Secretary for War 1886, 1892-95; noted for support of Irish home rule, liberal policy toward Boers, stand against House of Lords.
At no time in the history of chess have there been more than fifteen ranking first-class masters, and most of the time ten or twelve would be nearer to the truth.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 Capablanca was a "natural."
There have been times in my life when I came very near thinking that I could not lose even a single game.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 It was said of Capablanca that he had never been checkmated. This is because he had the good sense to resign every time he saw it coming.
I do not have to find... I know.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 Third World Champion. Cuba's goodwill ambassador to the world, much admired by women for his handsome features and charming demeanor. Today's masters might give Capa pause for thought.
Chess is undoubtedly the same sort of art as painting or sculpture.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 Third World Champion 1921-27. It was said he "never learnt to learn," so much did he dislike book study. His nickname, The Chess Machine, was testimony to his natural talent.
— MY CHESS TABLE —
No longer manufactured, this splendid 1986 DRUEKE chess table top
is solid ¾-inch American walnut and white birch, 2¼" squares, 6" border.
It's estimated there may be over 50,000 distinct chess book titles worldwide.
I've reincarnated my long-gone 350-book chess library to a slender 175 volumes
or so. Approximately 100 are practical study manuals while the rest are history,
biography, encyclopedic reference, and a few beginner books for students.
Chess books should be used as we use glasses – to assist the sight, although some players make use of them as if they thought they conferred sight.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 Third World Champion 1921-27. Capa didn't read chess books. He wrote them. But after suffering a humiliating defeat, he decided to buy several recently published chess tomes in an effort to bring himself up to date on the latest analysis. To his chagrin, he found so many errors that he threw them out!
I know at sight what a position contains. What could happen? What is going to happen? You figure it out! I know it!
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 Third World Champion. Asked by a player to point out Capablanca when he arrived, Chernev replied, "No, I won't have to. When Capablanca comes in, you will know he is the champion."
In chess as played by a good player, logic and imagination must go hand in hand, compensating each other.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 Third World Champion.
You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.
Jose Raul Capablanca 1888-1942 This may have not been the case for Capablanca, who learned the game at age four (simply by watching his father and uncle play) and began seriously dominating adults at age 13.
Clothes horse Magnus Carlsen, World Champion 2013, 2014
I find playing computers depressing. I don't like losing.
Magnus Carlsen 1990- World Champion, at a Silicon Valley appearance early 2014
"I wouldn't mind being a Pawn, if only I might join—though of course I should like to be a Queen, best."
"That's easily managed. You can be the White Queen's Pawn.... you're in the Second Square to begin with: when you get to the Eighth Square you'll be the Queen."
Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There 1871
John Tenniel illustration for Through the Looking Glass
"The Eighth Square at last!" she cried... "Oh how glad I am to get here! And what is this on my head?"
Lewis Carroll 1832-1898 Best remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 1864 and Through the Looking Glass 1871. He also wrote books on math and logic.
What chess has in common with science and fine art is its utter uselessness.
Ernst Cassirer 1874-1945 German philosopher, born in Breslau; left Germany 1933; at Yale 1941-44; held use of symbols basic to human culture, author of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, condensed as An Essay on Man.
Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency.
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye 1953 1888-1959 The Chicago-born author of many hardboiled realistic detective novels featuring his tough but honest protagonist, Philip Marlowe.
An ancient writer said that if there were no flowers and moon and beautiful women, he would not want to be born into the world. I might add that, if there were no pen and ink and chess and wine, there was no purpose in being born a man.
John Huss, when in prison, deplored having played at chess "whereby he had lost time and run the risk of being subject to violent passions."
Brian Chapman The Game of Kings 1936
At the ches with me she gan to pleye;
With hir false draughts dyvers
She staal on me, and took my fers.
And whan I saw my fers awaye,
Allas! I kouthe no lenger playe.
Geoffrey Chaucer Book of the Duchess 1369
I am a woman who plays a man's game, so I balance feminine emotions with masculine logic to become the strongest player possible.
Zhu Chen 8th Women's World Champion
Chess is the most exciting game in the world.
Irving Chernev 1900- New York player and chess bibliophile. He wrote many books conveying a mirthful positive enthusiasm for every aspect of chess.
The greatest compliment one can pay a master is to compare him with Capablanca.
Irving Chernev 1900- New York player, bibliophile, and author of many entertaining chess books, including his classic 1000 Best Short Games of Chess 1955. He was known as the Believe-It-Or-Not man of chess.
"Where are you going, mon ami?"
"Why, to the Café de la Régence
to watch Voltaire and Rousseau play at chess."
"Pooh! Mere scribblers!"
"True, but today they play with Philidor."
Winning feels good. Winning feels to me like catching a 100-pound fish feels to a fisherman.
Chess-In-The-Schools trophy winner in the 2004 Girls' Nationals
It's as if we didn't understand how people walk, and someone said, "Let's figure out how they pole vault." That just wouldn't be a sane scientific endeavor. Let's first figure out how they move one leg in front of the other, then maybe someday we'll get to pole vaulting. Playing chess is something way out on the margins of what people do—that's why it's a game. It's too remote from what we understand to make any sense to study. Furthermore, from the very first moment it became clear that the way to win at chess was to deviate radically from the way human beings do it and to use the capacities of computers. That just means it's rotten simulation. If Carnegie Tech's computer program can beat Kasparov, that's about as interesting as the fact that a bulldozer can lift more than some weight lifter. Maybe. Who cares? It doesn't teach you anything about the weight lifter, and it's of no scientific interest. In fact, about its only interest is to take the fun out of playing chess as far as I can see.
Noam Chomsky 1993 Language and Thought
Queening a pawn would be a ridiculous performance if we do not understand it chessonymously by esoteric connotations of the meaning on trans-modifications of force or vitality. There is in exotery literally no Queening a pawn in the Science and art of War—nay!—all kinds of struggles.
Cho-Yo Japanese Chess 1905 Exo-what?
Chess is... a mime of the family romance and the Oedipal drama.
Alexander Cockburn, Idle Passion: Chess and the Dance of Death In this 1974 book, he expresses the following peculiar disclaimer, "...I had better state the extent of my own proficiency at chess. Minimal." Cockburn saw the game as part Oedipus complex, part psycho-sexual father-murder. Some psychologists tend to be "too-deep" thinkers.
Stephen Colbert cheats Death!
A sport or activity where absolute expertise has no convenient slot in society... can produce angst and neurosis.
Alexander Cockburn Idle Passion: Chess and the Dance of Death 1974 Like I said, "too-deep" thinkers. So far as I can see, society's convenient slot for absolute chess expertise is the World Chess Championship.
Chess is an earnest exercise of the mind.
There are two classes of men; those who are content to yield to circumstance, and who play whist; those who aim to control circumstances, and who play chess.
Chess is a great, worldwide fact. Wherever a highway is found, there, we may be sure, a reason existed for a highway. And when we find that the explorer on his northward voyage, pausing a day in Iceland, may pass his time in keen encounters with the natives; that the trader in Kamtschatka and China, unable to speak a word with the people surrounding him, yet holds a long evening's converse over the board which is polyglot... the game becomes authentic from its universality.
M. Conway Atlantic Monthly 1860
So he was, in his youth, a very good chess-player. There were not among his associates, many who could get the better of him. I have heard him speak of "four hour games" with Mr. Madison. Yet I have heard him say that when, on his arrival in Paris, he was introduced into a Chess Club, he was beaten at once, and that so rapidly and signally that he gave up all competition. He felt that there was no disputing such a palm with men who passed several hours of every evening in playing chess.
Eleonora Wayles Randolph Coolidge Granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson c1853
There is no other game so esteemed, so profound and so venerable as chess; in the realm of play it stands alone in dignity.
Ely Culbertson 1891-1955 Political philosopher, writer, and preeminent authority on Contract Bridge who later abandoned the game to work for world peace. Best remembered for Total Peace 1943 and Must We Fight Russia? 1946.
Chess is me.
Salvador Dali 1904-1989 Sir Real, himself. Exquisite photo-realistic painting technique combined with surreal imagery characterize Dali's unique art. He claimed he could clearly remember the moment of his conception.
Chess is a game of skill for two played with figures or men of different kinds which are moved on a chequered board.
Definition Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
Chess is a sport. A violent sport. This detracts from its most artistic connections. One intriguing aspect of the game that does not imply artistic connotations is the geometrical patterns and variations of the actual set-up of the pieces in the combinative, tactical, strategical and positional sense. It is a sad means of expression though—somewhat like religious art—it is not very gay. If it is anything it is a struggle.
Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Surrealist painter, leader in Dada art movement; possibly the strongest artist-player of all time. Drew against Frank Marshall in 1930 France-USA match. Won Paris 1932 ahead of Znosko-Borovsky.
Chess is the movement of pieces eating each other.
Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 His Nude Descending a Staircase 1912 was an early entry in the "motion painting" genre. The description sounds more like PacMan than chess.
My attention is so completely absorbed by chess. I play night and day... I like painting less and less.
Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 He interrupted his painting for 20 years to pursue chess! He solved problems on his wedding night! A week later his wife glued the pieces to his board as he slept! They divorced after three months.
Eve Babitz vs Marcel Duchamp
Pasadena Art Museum 18 October 1963
Also, the milieu of chess players is far more sympathetic than that of artists. These people are completely cloudy, completely blinkered... madmen of a certain quality, the way an artist is supposed to be and isn't, in general.
Marcel Duchamp 1968
Chess has no social purpose. That, above all, is important.
I always loved complexity. With chess one creates beautiful problems.
Chess holds its master in its own bonds – fetters and in some ways shapes his spirit, so that under it the inner freedom of the very strongest must suffer.
Albert Einstein 1879-1955 His 1916 general theory of relativity proposed that gravity is not a force, but a curved field in the space-time continuum that is created by the presence of mass. Got that?
The struggle for power and the competitive spirit expressed in the form of an ingenious game has always been repugnant to me.
The way he plays chess demonstrates a man's whole nature.
Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one's opponent will never become a good chessplayer.
Machgielis "Max" Euwe 1901-1981 Fifth World Champion 1935-37. Chess author. His most important contribution was the Scheveningen Variation in the Sicilian Defense. He was a keen student of chess openings.
The chess master today must have courage, a killer instinct, stamina and arrogance.
Larry Evans 1932-2010 American International Grandmaster 1957, winner US Open Championship 1951, 52, 54; U.S. Chess Champion 1951, 61, 62, 68, 80; contributor for three decades to Chess Life magazine
When he won Game 6, which was the best game of the match, Spassky stood on stage applauding him with the audience. It was an amazing moment. This never happened before. I had never seen a player lose and then start applauding his opponent.
Larry Evans 1932-2010 Grandmaster, five times U.S. Chess Champion, chess journalist, author of Chess World Championship 1972: Fischer vs. Spassky 1973, and several other books on that match
A man that will take back a move at chess will pick a pocket.
I never read a chess book until I was already a master.
Reuben Fine 1914-1993 Grandmaster, psychologist, university professor, and author of books on both chess and psychology, a superior world-class player during the 1940s.
Chess is a contest between two men in which there is considerable ego involvement.
Reuben Fine 1914-1993 International Grandmaster 1950. Analyst author. His Psychology of the Chess Player 1956 suggests chess may be fueled by subliminal undercurrents of homosexuality. Another example of thinking too deeply?
The real lives of dazzling brilliant chess geniuses are sometimes hopelessly dull.
Reuben Fine After Alekhine died in 1946, Fine suggested himself and Keres be declared co-champions, since they tied for first at AVRO, a tournament expected to produce a challenger. FIDE declined the offer.
Combinations have always been the most intriguing aspect of chess. The master looks for them, the public applauds them, the critics praise them. It is because combinations are possible that chess is more than a lifeless mathematical exercise. They are the poetry of the game; they are to chess what melody is to music. They represent the triumph of mind over matter.
Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent's ego.
Robert J. "Bobby" Fischer 1943-2008 Eleventh World Champion. Still fighting that war in 1992, one of Bobby's demands was that the toilet seats in his rooms be raised two inches. Bobby is tall, and his request was met.
Chess is life.
Robert J. "Bobby" Fischer 1943-2008 Eleventh World Champion 1972-1975. Twenty years and one day later Bobby emerged from retirement to dominate his promised return match against Boris Spassky, #100 in the world in 1992!
This little thing between me and Spassky is bigger than Frazier and Ali. It's the free world against the lying, cheating, hypocritical Russians.
Robert J. "Bobby" Fischer 1943-2008 Eleventh World Champion. Bobby's fanaticism on this point has been vindicated by the revelations of more than a few ex-Soviet players.
All I want to do, ever, is play chess.
Robert J. "Bobby" Fischer 1943-2008 Eleventh World Champion.
Others may talk of the Round Table with its fifty Knights, but I greatly prefer the Square Table with only four Knights.
Daniel Willard Fiske 1831-1904 American editor, writer, bibliophile. He willed his chess book collection to the library of Reykjavik, Iceland.
The world is not likely to tire of an amusement which never repeats itself, of a game which presents today features as novel and charms as fresh as those with which it delighted, in the morning of history, dwellers on the banks of the Ganges and the Indus.
Daniel Willard Fiske 1831-1904 American editor, writer, bibliophile. Taken by Iceland he wrote Chess in Iceland and Icelandic Literature 1905. His brother Bill wrote dance tunes Chess Polka 1857 and Caissa Quickstep 1859 (Caissa is the goddess of chess).
Chess, like love, is infectious at any age.
Salo Flohr 1908-1983 International Grandmaster/Arbiter, one of the best eight players in the world in the 1930s. Flohr was an approved challenger to Alekhine's world title, but national events interfered with his funding.
Chess is a forcing house where the fruits of character can ripen more fully than in life.
Edward Morgan Forster 1879-1970 English novelist. His most famous works are Howards End 1910 and A Passage to India 1924. "I play the Evans," he said. He personally subjected the then-popular gambit to in-depth analysis.
The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it.
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 Ardent player. Invented bifocals, lightning rod, pot-belly stove, public libraries, odometer, paved well-lit streets, sewers, the University of Pennsylvania, fire departments, and modern electrical theory.
And lastly, we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs; the habit of hoping for a favorable chance, and that of persevering in the search of resources.
Benjamin Franklin The Morals of Chess 1786.
...That we may, therefore, be induced more frequently to chuse this beneficial amusement, in preference to others which are not attended with the same advantages, every circumstance which may increase the pleasures of it should be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, disrespectful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of both the players, which is, to pass the time agreeably.
Benjamin Franklin The Morals of Chess 1786. Well, Ben, good luck with that!
I see he is in check but I shall not defend him. If he was a good King, like yours, he would deserve the protection of his subjects; but he is a tyrant and has cost them already more than he is worth. Take him, if you please. I can do without him, and will fight out the rest of the battle en republicain.
Benjamin Franklin upon being confronted by his French opponent for making an illegal move after summarily ignoring the fact that his king was in check.
You cannot play at chess if you are kind-hearted.
I remember late one night when Susan was analysing with a trainer, a strong IM (International Master). They reached an endgame and could not figure out how to play it. "There is some trick here," said the IM. So they woke up Judit and carried the girl into the training room. Judit, still half asleep, showed them the win and was put back into her bed.
Frederick Friedel A friend of the Polgar family.
Chess is ludicrously difficult.
Stephen Fry British television comedian and author. In his novel The Liar, one of the characters is a chess master.
OK, OK... GUILTY AS CHARGED!
This Red Rhino tee is definitely inappropriate.
And I really have no legitimate defense. It was
just too funny! My resistance simply crumbled!
Get your Easy Mom Chess Tee from Amazon
Chess is indeed like life.
Stephen Fry Author and television comedian, star of British sitcom Jeeves and Wooster.
Blessed be the memory of him who gave the world this immortal game.
A perfect mate irradiates the mind with the calm of indisputable things. There are mates that linger in the mind like a sonnet of Keats.
The game of chess is the touchstone of the intellect.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832 Germany's Shakespeare. Philosophical author of many books, including a four-volume autobiography. Best remembered for Faust 1831.
Its play has been almost completely indistinguishable from that of a human master... it hasn't made any obvious computer-like moves. Deep Junior has so far passed the chess Turing Test.
Mig Greengard commenting in 2003 on a drawn game between IBM's Deep Junior chess engine and Garry Kasparov. Introduced by Alan Turing in his 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence, the Turing Test evaluates a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
We might escape, ah me! how many a pain, Could we recall bad moves and play again.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832 After meeting Goethe, Napoleon exclaimed, "Now, there is a man!"
I search until I find.
Never offer a draw to an American!
GM Eduard Gufeld Coach of the Soviet women's team, Thessaloniki 1988
The artist (right) takes a licking as the chess clock keeps ticking!
Ahhh, those weren't the days! When you actually wound up
clocks with little keys on the back... and they actually ticked!
L-R: Don Steers, Paul Emerick, Al Einstein, Keith Halonen
At Woodpushers Central the patzers all gather
Where they'd play with care if it weren't that they'd rather
Play skittles with reckless
Abandon so feckless
That each night they leave in a masochist lather!
Keith Halonen 1946- Artist, C-class chess player, poet-at-large, editor of this chess quotes collection, and candidate for Chess Blindness Champion of the World.
Chess is not just a game; it bears an international significance.
Jeremy Hanley MP In a 1989 Kasparov simul in the House of Commons this statesman had the white pieces, but lost to the world champion on the 37th move.
Chess is an innocent and intellectual amusement after the mind has been engrossed with too much care or study.
Hassan of Basra
Chess is a game of skill and not of genius.
William Hazlitt 1778-1830 English author. His The Spirit of the Age 1825 reliably conveyed the conditions of that era. Before he turned to writing, he studied painting for three years.
Chess is a jealous lover.
Chess is in its essence a game, in its form an art, and in its execution a science.
Baron Tassilo von Heyderbrand und der Lasa 1818-1899 He was one of the Berlin Pleiades, seven players who published the first German chess magazine. When Bilguer died, Lasa completed his editor's duties on Handbuch der Schachspiel 1843.
The French Ambassador Paul de Foix, arriving at Court for an audience was show into her presence as she was playing chess... "This game," he observed, "is an image of the works and deeds of men. If we lose a pawn it seems a small matter, but the loss often brings with it that of the whole game."
"I understand you," the Queen replied. "Darnley is only a pawn but he may checkmate me if he is promoted."
Christopher Hibbert The Virgin Queen 1991. The passage recounts the concern of Elizabeth I regarding her arrangement for the marriage of English lord Henry Steward Darnley to Mary, queen of Scots, which union might result in Darnley's promotion to the rank of consort regnant. He did become king of Scotland and his son by mary, James VI of Scotland, became James I of England after Elizabeth died.
He moves on slow, with reverence profound
His faithful troops encompass him around,
And oft, to break some instant fatal scheme,
Rush to their fate, their sov'rign to redeem.
Marcus Hieronymous Scacchia Ludus 1513
She is not merely the soft excitement of war who bids her king go forth with her blessing; no, she is the active, undaunted, indefatigable leader of an army, herself a host!
William Hone The Year Book of 1832
Fair play is nothing less than good faith expressed in play terms. Hence the cheat or the spoil-sport shatters civilization itself.
Johann Huizinga Homo Ludens 1950
The spirit of the professional is no longer the true play-spirit; it is lacking in spontaneity and carelessness. This affects the amateur too, who begins to suffer from an inferiority complex.
Johann Huizinga Homo Ludens 1950
"Seigneur, my abilities are numerous. I know how to skin the sparrow hawk, how to hunt deer and wild boar. I serve well at table during the course of a meal and I am expert in draughts and chess, in which I have yet to meet my equal."
"Stop right there," said the Amir. "I mean to test you in the game of chess. My beauteous daughter is also skilled in chess. No one has yet been able to beat her. You will confront her under these conditions: If she defeats you, I shall cut off your head forthwith. But if you prevail, I shall prepare a bed in my chambers where you will sleep with my daughter all through the night and the young lady will ever after be yours."
Huon de Bordeaux 13th century French epic (chanson de geste) with romance elements. Having slain Charlemagne's son, Huon is granted reprieve provided he go to Babylon and return with some of the Amir's hair and several molars. Further, he must kill the mightiest Babylonian knight and kiss Esclamonde, the Amir's daughter, three times.
Sexy, self-confident, sociable... can we be talking about a professional chessplayer?
Sarah Hurst Journalist, commenting on GM Antoaneta Stefanova.
The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance.
Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-1895 Foremost British champion of Darwin's theory of evolution. Most remembered for An Introduction to the Classification of Animals 1869.
When Sissa invented chess and produced it to King Shihram, the latter was filled with amazement and joy. He ordered that it should be preserved in the temples and held it to be the best thing that he knew as a training in the art of war, a glory to religion and the world, and the foundation of all justice.
Ibn Khallikan 13th century
Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe.
Indian proverb Chess originated in the 5th century Punjab of India.
It is no time to be playing chess when the house is on fire.
Italian proverb c1550
Chess is ouer-wise and Philosophicke a folly.
James I 1394-1437 King of Scotland, poet and constitutional reformer; succeeded 1406 while captive in England; released 1424; murdered by rebel nobles.
When Dr. Franklin went to France on his revolutionary mission, his eminence as a philosopher, his venerable appearance, and the cause on which he was sent, rendered him extremely popular. For all ranks and conditions of men there, entered warmly into the American interest. He was therefore feasted and invited to all the court parties. At these he sometimes met the old Duchess of Bourbon, who being a chess player of about his force, they very generally played together. Happening once to put her king into prise, the Doctor took it. "Ah," says she, "we do not take kings so."
"We do in America," says the Doctor.
Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 Third President of the United States. The French chess term en prise applies to any piece occupying a square under attack by an enemy piece on the immediate move. English-speaking players may say an unprotected piece on such a square is in take.
Chess is one of the noblest inventions of the human mind.
Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad 1891-1953 British philosopher, born in London, England; professor, University of London, 1930-53 Author of Meaning of Life, Guide to the Philosophy of Morals and Politics, God and Evil.
The Pawns are poor men. Their move is straight, except when they take anything; so also the poor man does well so long as he keeps from ambition.
John of Waleys Innocent Morality c1250
The alphins are the various prelates of the church, Pope, Archbishop, and their subordinate bishops... They move and take obliquely three points, for almost every prelate's mind is perverted by love, hatred, or bribery...
John of Waleys Innocent Morality c1250
Marx adored chess and—much to his wife Jenny's exasperation—would disappear with his fellow émigrés for days at a time on chess binges. Despite devoting much time to chess, he never rose above mediocrity.
Daniel Johnson British journalist, author of White King and Red Queen: How the Cold War was Fought on the Chessboard 2007
Chess (tshes, n.s.) A nice and abstruse game in which two sets of puppets are moved in opposition to each other.
Dr Samuel Johnson 1709-1784 From his Dictionary of the English Language 1755 He was the most famous writer in 18th century England, chiefly known for his biography by James Boswell.
It is plain that the unconscious motive actuating the players is not the mere love of pugnacity characteristic of all competitive games, but the grimmer one of father-murder.
Ernest Jones Perhaps philosophers think a bit too deeply, especially about chess.
As to whether a professional chess player would be a more suitable husband, it depends on whether I am still a strong chess player. If not, then a chess player is no use to me.
WGM Xie Jun 1990
Chess is everything – art, science and sport.
Anatoly Karpov 1951- Twelfth World Champion 1975-85. He became champion by default when Fischer refused to play. To his credit, he was the most active world champion ever, playing continually even in non-title events.
Chess is my life – but my life isn't just chess.
Anatoly Karpov 1951- At Baguio, when the other players saw him in a swimsuit, they were taken aback at the pallor of his skin. Behind his back they referred to him as "the fetus."
I myself have been traveling around the world for twenty years, and I have never met a chess player who would agree to join me for a visit to an art gallery.
Anatoly Karpov Karpov on Karpov 1991
Chess is an art.
Garry Kasparov 1963- Thirteenth World Champion 1985 – An interesting comment, considering that his favorite player is Alekhine, the polar opposite to Karpov's more "artistic" choice, the ever-so-natural Capablanca.
Chess is life in miniature. Chess is struggle, chess is battles.
Garry Kasparov 1963- Like Fischer, Kasparov is deeply political. He is more focussed than Fischer in his approach, and Kasparov has become a significant politician in the years that followed his reign as Thirteenth World Champion.
Chess is a gladiatorial contest.
Raymond Keene 1948- A solid, positional player who was British Champion in 1971.
Chess is an almost perfect combination of art, investigative science, knowledge and inspiration.
Raymond Keene 1948- British Champion in 1971. He is the author of several insightful chess books. He has a preference for flank-openings.
Chess is a test of wills.
Paul Keres 1916-1975 Estonian Champion 1934. Seeded as a candidate for the World Championship in 1965, he lost the quarter-finals to Spassky. His face adorns paper money in Estonia, where he is a national hero.
'Tis 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 Khayyám 1048-1131 From his Rubaiyat
We are in truth but pieces on this chess board of life, which in the end we leave, only to drop one by one into the grave of nothingness.
Omar Khayyám early 12th century
If a ruler does not understand chess, how can he rule over a kingdom?
Khusros II c600 "Sassanian King of Kings," 22nd Sassanid King of Persia, possessed a shabestan of over 3,000 concubines and somehow still found time to play chess!
One day when a high officer in a Nazi uniform entered the press room, Nimzowitsch brusquely demanded to see his credentials. When the perplexed officer didn't answer at once, Nimzovich asked him to leave. The other reporters, including myself, were horrified, expecting the Nazi to react violently after receiving such an order from a Jew. But, amazingly, nothing happened. The officer simply left.
Hans Kmoch 1804-1973 International Master and International Arbiter.
At the luncheon, he (Nimzowitsch) demonstrated his usual persecution mania by complaining first about a dirty plate and then about a dirty knife. The Reichminister, seated directly opposite him, pretended not to hear.
Hans Kmoch 1804-1973 Author of Pawn Power in Chess.
Impatience is the enemy of thought.
Georges Koltanowski 1903-2000 Blindfold Chess Champion of the World 1937 (34 simultaneous games). Most remembered as an author of many chess books, a children's instructor, an entertainer (go to his Wikipedia entry and read about his Blindfold Knight's Tour), a raconteur, an organizer, and possibly the best-ever promoter of the game. He authored the chess problem column in the San Francisco Chronicle every day for 55 years (even when the newspaper's workers were on strike) from May 1945 until his death.
Chess is my life.
Viktor Korchnoi 1931- Third strongest in the world after Fischer and Spassky 1967-75. A doggedly tenacious player, he is extremely active in high-category tournaments to the present day.
The amateur sees pieces and movement. The expert, additionally, sees sixty-four squares with holes and lines and spheres of influence. The genius apprehends a unified field within which space and force and mass are interacting valences—a Bishop tears the board in half and a Pawn bends the space around it the way mass can reshape space in the Einsteinian universe.
Charles Krauthammer Writer, psychiatrist, political analyst, commentator for PBS and Fox news, and serious chess player
Those well-cut similitudes of Castles, and Knights, the imagery of the board, she would argue (and I think in this case justly), were entirely misplaced and senseless. Those hard head-contests can in no instance ally with the fancy.
Charles Lamb The Essays of Eliza
Chess is a beautiful mistress.
Bent Larsen 1935- One of the world's ten best players from the late 1950s through the 1960s.
Chess is an international language.
Edward Lasker 1885-1981 International Arbiter 1956. International Master 1963. Engineer author. Schachstrategie 1911 (Chess Strategy 1915) is the first competent methodical teaching approach explaining the whole game.
Chess is a struggle.
Emanuel Lasker 1868-1941 Second World Champion 1894-1921. He wrote books on psychology and math, never intending a chess career. Chess did not dominate his life, as it tended to do for so many champions. This quote is sometimes translated, "Chess is a fight."
Chess is only a game and not to be classed with...science...or the arts.
Emanuel Lasker 1868-1941 Second World Champion. His thesis on geometrical calculus remains pertinent even into the current computer age.
Properly taught, a student can learn more in a few hours than he would find out in ten years of untutored trial and error.
Emanuel Lasker 1868-1941 Second World Champion. Not recognizing him, a novice gave him queen odds! Lasker threw two games, asserting, "You win because you play without a queen!" So he removed his and won two games!
The delight in gambits is a sign of chess youth... In much the same way as the young man, on reaching his manhood years, lays aside the Indian stories and stories of adventure, and turns to the psychological novel, we with maturing experience leave off gambit playing and become interested in the less vivacious but withal more forceful maneuvers of the position player.
Emanuel Lasker 1868-1941 Second World Champion. His specialty was math. He wished to employ it to solve free will problems! He wrote a philosophical book on the subject, The Understanding of the Universe 1913.
Chess is a cold bath for the mind.
Andrew Bonar Law 1858-1923 Wealthy Scot iron merchant and British statesman. Prime Minister 1922.
Chess is one long regret.
Stephen Leacock 1869-1944 Canadian educator, humorist, professor of political economy, biographer of Dickens and Twain, author of books on history, economics, and political science, and many popular nonsensical sketches.
I approve strongly of rational games... for they serve to perfect the art of thinking.
Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 1870-1924 This is, of course, a propaganda-driven attribution. Every chess club in the former Soviet Union sported a banner with this "quote" although there is no evidence that Lenin ever actually uttered this phrase.
Chess is challenging (but bridge is the stuff of life).
Lord Lever 1851-1925 British founder of Lever Brothers soap works with associated companies all over world, and a model industrial village at Port Sunlight near Liverpool; instituted profit-sharing.
We should note that chess has been found not only in excavations of princes' citadels (Grodno, Drutsk, Volkovyst, and Novogorod), but also in excavations around cities (Vitebsk), in semi-dug-out living quarters, and in the courtyards of craftsmen and other simple people (Vyshgorod, Nikolo-Lenivets, Minsk).
Isaac M. Linder Russian historian
David de Bristoll and Juliana wife of Richard le Cordwaner were playing chess together in Richard's home... A quarrel arising between them, David struck Juliana in the thigh with a sword, so that she died forthwith. He at once fled.
London court record late 13th century. I myself have seen grown men come to blows over the chessboard.
...this exertion seems absolutely miraculous, and certainly deserves to be recorded as a proof, at once interesting and astonishing, of the power of human intelligence.
London Morning Post May 28, 1782
Ignorant insolent knight! Not even in chess can a King be taken!
Louis VI King of France, upon being suddenly seized by an enemy knight during the battle for control over Gisors, Normandy, 1110
Men that could only fool at fox and geese
Are new made polititians by thy book
Richard Lovelace 1656 Famed English poet, here praising the published chess games of Greco. Fox and Geese was a popular board game in which one player represents a flock of geese trying to restrict the movement of the other player, who is the fox.
I am told that in the abstract world of mathematics, the methods of one man will reveal his individuality to fellow mathematicians... It is the same in chess.
Desmond MacCarthy Chess 1935
There are more adventures on a chessboard than on all the seas of the world.
It is remarkable, and deserves special mention, that the great masters, such as Pillsbury, Maroczy and Janowski, play against Lasker as though hypnotized.
George Marco Viennese master. Brilliant annotator. He once out-drank Frank Marshall, then beat him soundly in a tournament the next day. Famous for resigning a game while the winning move stared him in the face.
She knew all sorts
Of entertaining games and sports...
Both chess and backgammon she could play.
Marie de France describing an ideal noblewoman in Philomena, late 12th century
The king was having a game of chess
After dinner in her apartment.
He played with a foreign knight and meant
To have him teach his daughter the game.
Marie de France from Eliduc, late 12th century
Chess is a challenge, a battle.
Terry Marsh Former light welterweight boxing champion. At age eleven he was a London schools chess champion.
Chess is a game of intellect and character over the open board... chess is a game of life.
Frank Marshall 1877-1944 American champion 1906-30, one of the world's ten best players of that time. He dressed like an eccentric Shakespearean actor. He loved only chess and family life, but he liked his brandy as well.
Chess is fun.
Luke McShane 1984- World Under Ten Boy's Champion 1992. At age 9 he was the youngest FIDE Master ever.
...an oblique, tedious, barren game hardly worth that poor candle burnt out in playing it.
Chess is a big time sport.
Anthony Miles 1955- An International Grandmaster and contender for the FIDE world championship title in 1995.
Chess is most certainly not my life.
Anthony Miles 1955- First Englishman to become a FIDE International Grandmaster through over-the-board play in 1976.
Chess has this in common with making poetry, that the desire for it comes upon the amateur in gusts.
A.A. Milne 1882-1956 Author of Winnie The Pooh books, adventures of toys belonging to his son Christopher Robin. Also remembered for children's poems When We Were Very Young 1924, and Now We Are Six 1927.
Chess is a dromenon.
The poet praised physical beauty for its own sake. More praiseworthy, then, is intellectual beauty gained by honest toil!
Robert Clyde Moore 1942- Prefatory comment to the author's informative 1986 Two-Move Problems, a collection of 257 orthodox masterpiece two-move compositions by 108 U.S. problemists. Moore himself is the holder of several related world-records in problem composition. Besides serving in the Air Force with distinction for 20 years, he is also a humorist and author of adventure novels. According to his current publisher, Mundania Press, Bob lives in the wastelands of Oklahoma in a trailer with shot guns and attack dogs. His wife Ginny informs him that he is happily married. They have children to the third power. Bob reflects that the dogs have not disappointed him. It is my personal contention that the book mentioned is one of the finest available on its topic. Want to learn how to solve (or compose) chess problems? Seek out this book.
I hate it and avoid it because it is not play enough.
Frank Vigor Morley
Chess has never been and never could be aught but a recreation. It should not be indulged in to the detriment of other and more serious avocations – should not absorb or engross the thoughts of those who worship at its shrine, but should be kept in the background and restrained within the proper province. As a mere game it is deserving of high commendation.
Paul Morphy 1837-1884 Strongest American player in the mid-19th century. In 1858 he defeated three of Europe's leading masters and then retired from chess! He believed it was not a fit occupation for a grown man.
Chess is eminently and emphatically the philosopher's game.
Paul Morphy 1837-1884 Uncrowned World Champion before it was an official title.
It will be cheering to know that many people are skillful chessplayers, though in many instances their brains, in a general way, compare unfavorably with the cogitative faculties of a rabbit.
John Mortimer 1923- English barrister, writer, born in London. Best remembered for his popular short stories and TV shows featuring Horace Rumpole, crusty Brit barrister.
Detail from SQUARE ONE
oil on panel
The game possesses a literature which in contents probably exceeds that of all other games combined.
Harold James Ruthven Murray 1868-1955 His 900-page masterwork A History of Chess 1913 was 14 years in production. The number of distinct chess book titles in the world probably exceeds 50,000.
In the days of the Shocroes, as it was reported, the old town of Naysabur had been originally laid out on the plan of a chessboard with 8 squares to each side.
...he spoke of the fact that all around them was a bright, free world, that chess was a cold amusement that dries up and corrupts the brain, and that the passionate chess player is just as ridiculous as the madman inventing a perpetuum mobile or counting pebbles on a deserted ocean floor.
Vladimir Nabokov The Defense 1929
Chess is a combination of ten games.
Miguel Najdorf 1910- Polish International Grandmaster 1950. Hungarian Champion in 1936, he sought asylum in Argentina in 1939. He was one of the world's top ten players in the late 1940s.
Look at me, I'm laughing, I'm making pleasantries, and I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight.
Miguel Najdorf Comment after losing.
Hikaru Nakamura looking Samurai fierce
I do not play against computers anymore because it is severely depressing to lose every game without even having a chance!
Hikaru Nakamura 1987- Four-time United States Champion (2005, 2009, 2012, 2015), posting on reddit.com 2015
When I first found out that the J in J. Polgar stood for Judit, I was so excited. I didn't even know she was a woman, just that she smashed her opponents like mashed potatoes. After that, I put her games up on my bedroom wall.
Linda Nangwale 1982- Zambian chess expert.
Linda Nangwale sporting Zambia's flag colors
2002 Chess Olympiad – Bled, Slovenia
Some people call me bitch for playing with boys all the time. But it's the only way I can get proper training; so they can call me names until they get tired... they always do.
Chess is too difficult to be a game, and not serious enough to be a science or an art.
Attributed to Napoleon 1769-1821 Of his chess skill it might be said that Waterloo was not his only Waterloo.
First restrain, next blockade, lastly destroy!
Aron Isayevich Nimzowitsch 1886-1935 Unnerved by Vidmar's cigaret case, Nimzo protested. "But he isn't smoking," said the arbiter. Nimzo snapped, "You're a master. You must know the threat is much stronger than the execution!"
The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.
Aron Isayevich Nimzowitsch Third in the world after Capablanca and Alekhine 1925-30. Founder and chief champion of the hypermodern movement, every serious player reads his My System 1929 and Chess Praxis 1936.
The passed pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient.
Aron Isayevich Nimzowitsch Back then the world champion named the stakes a challenger must ante. Nimzo couldn't raise Capablanca's asking price. Alekhine later avoided Nimzo by playing two matches with Bogojulbow.
19th century pendulum chess clock
Thou shalt not shilly-shally!
Aron Isayevich Nimzowitsch An insulted opponent sent seconds to offer Nimzo choice of weapons in a duel. Nimzo was a fitness buff and weight lifter. He rolled up his sleeves, flexed, and said, "Fists!" The duel never came to pass.
Chess is the most intelligent thing in the universe.
David Norwood Pioneer researcher of artificial intelligence.
If you want to lose a miniature, then here are three helpful tips.
First of all, it is a big help if you are Black: losing with White in under 20 moves requires a special talent which few possess.
Secondly, choose a provocative opening, for example an opening in which you try to realise strategic ambitions, but at the cost of backward development and delayed castling.
Thirdly, if something goes slightly wrong, don't reconcile yourself to defending a bad position - seek a tactical solution instead! Don't worry about the fact that tactics are bound to favour the better developed side; just go ahead anyway.
Follow this advice and at least you will get home early.
John Nunn English grandmaster, chess author/publisher, 3-time problem solving world champ, mathematician. One of England's strongest players, once in the world's top 10.
My malediction I utter — May Steini's men fall in heaps! May my fearful incantations bewitch him, so that peril shall beset two or three of his pieces at once! May the Old One [Gamla – the Queen] lose her life! May the wee pawns grow fewer and fewer on the squares, and may he be mated both with the low and high mates!
It's Iceland... or the Philippines... or Hastings... or... or this place!
One Night in Bangkok Chess, The Musical 1985. Or it could be Chess City in Elista, capital of the Republic of Kalmykia in Russia.
There is a certain nobility about chess that appertains to no other game... to imagine a great player otherwise than respectable is difficult; he gives the impression, while at work, of being a stoic philosopher.
Thinking always proceeds in the form of a dialogue,—a dialogue between different phases of the ego,—so that, being dialogical, it is essentially composed of signs, as its Matter, in the sense in which a game of chess has the chessmen for its matter.
Charles S. Peirce 1839-1914 Fin-de-siècle philosopher/scientist, from a 1905 dissertation.
My chief intention is to recommend myself to the Public, by a Novelty no one has thought of, or perhaps ever understood well; I mean how to play the Pawns: They are the very Life of the Game; They alone form the Attack and the Defense; on their good or bad situation depends the Gain or Loss of the Party.
François-André Danican Philidor 1726-1795 French composer and noted chess player, after whom a well-known opening and a specific checkmate are named.
I want to be quiet; I mean to win this tournament.
Harry Nelson Pillsbury 1872-1906 Comment made just before he won the 1895 Hastings Tournament.
Chess is not a science.
Henri Poincare 1854-1912 French mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher of science, also a gifted writer of more than 30 books. He used a straightforward style to make his subject easy to understand.
When men lose against me, they always have a headache... or things of that kind. I have never beaten a completely healthy man!
Susan Polgar 1969- Susan was a Women's World Champion. She is opposed to divisive titles, but she would be remiss to bypass the opportunity to encourage female participation in the game by leveraging the celebrity that accompanies the title. In open tournaments, there are no gender resctrictions. In women's tournaments, only women may compete.
In chess, women can have the same results as men. It is not a physical sport, like swimming. When children study arithmetic, they do not learn separately. I would prefer that there be no women's titles. It is not important to be a women's Grandmaster. I am more happy to be a man International Master.
Susan Polgar 1969- Eldest daughter of Laszlo Polgar and Klara Alberger. Susan and sisters Sofia and Judit show no signs of predicted "flaws" in the Polgar theory. They continue to improve their performance levels.
Our eldest daughter is fifteen years old and an International Master amongst men. If she were a boy, she would be hailed as a genius and given support (trainers and tournaments) so that she could further develop her capabilities.
Laszlo Polgar 1946- Hungarian philosopher, authority on chess pedagogy, master coach. His three daughters are subjects in a behavioral experiment which provides extensive support in their pursuit of chess excellence.
Chess is just a game.
Lajos Portisch 1937- International Grandmaster 1961. Hungarian Champion 1958. One of the world's ten best players in the 1970s.
Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.
Peter Pratt Studies of Chess 1803
Fortune favors the bold, especially when they are Alekhines.
Lodewijk Prins 1913- Dutch International Grandmaster 1982, International Arbiter 1960, national champion 1965. Author of many articles and books on chess, he played in twelve Olympiads 1937-68.
Chess is as much a mystery as women.
Cecil John Seddon Purdy 1906-1979 Four-time national Australian champion. International Master 1951, International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster 1953, winner of the first World Correspondence Chess Championship 1950-53.
Chess players leave their stamp on the world
except not so much in the U.S.
Pawn endings are to chess what putting is to golf.
Cecil John Seddon Purdy 1906-1979 Four-time national Australian champion. International Master 1951. His father-in-law and his son were both champions of Australia.
If chess is an art, it is hardly treated as such in the United States. Imagine what it would be like if music were as little known or appreciated. Suppose no self-respecting university would offer credit courses in music, and the National Endowment for the Arts refused to pay for any of it. A few enthusiasts might compose sonatas, and study and admire one another's efforts, but they would largely be ignored. Once in a while a Mozart might capture the public imagination, and like Bobby Fischer get written about in Newsweek. But the general attitude would be that, while this playing with sound might be clever, and a great passion for those who care about it, still in the end it signifies nothing very important.
James Rachels 1941-2003 American philosopher specialist in ethics, animal rights. He is the father of International Master Stuart Rachels, youngest-ever U.S. Master in 1981 (at age 11 years 10 months), 1989-90 U.S. co-champion with Grandmasters Roman Dzindzichashvili and Yasser Seirawan. The younger Rachels is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa.
Explain, O supereminent in virtue, the game on the eight times eight board. Tell me, O my master, how the Chaturaji may be played.
Raghunandana Tithitattva late 15th century
As organizers and players, we must admit that at times some very real character disturbances are mianifested by our fellow players... After all, what is a chess tournament? A chess tournament is, by definition, an activity in which you spend many hours each day, using your best intellectual and imaginative abilities to figure out how the other player is out to get you. It's a constant exercise of the "paranoid faculty."
Tim Redman FIDE (World Chess Federation) International Arbiter and the only person to have served twice as president of the United States Chess Federation
Chess is beautiful enough to waste your life for.
Hans Ree 1944- Four-time Dutch national champion. International Grandmaster 1980.
Viewed in terms of psychoanalytical theory, the invention of chess expressed the triumph of secondary process thinking over the primary process. Actual warfare is replaced by a struggle which is organized, controlled, circumscribed, and regulated.
Norman Reider At last, a psychologist whom I cannot accuse of being a too-deep thinker! Very refreshing, yes.
Chess is a fighting game which is purely intellectual and excludes chance.
Richard Reti 1889-1929 Hungarian player, theorist, author, and composer. Best remembered for his contribution to the hypermodern school of chess. His Masters of the Chessboard was published just after his death.
The scheme of a game is played on positional lines; the decision of it, as a rule, is effected by combinations.
Richard Reti 1889-1929 Hungarian author and chess problem composer. Pioneer of the hypermodern movement, outlined in his Modern Ideas in Chess 1923. In 1925 he played 25 simultaneous blindfold games.
The pleasure of a chess combination lies in the feeling that a human mind is behind the game, dominating the inanimate pieces with which the game is carried on, and giving them the breath of life.
He has become a fine player at a very young age, but is that because of exceptional innate talent for chess? Maybe not! Imagine yourself in young Magnus' place. You play in your first tournament aged eight, do well, and get noticed by a grandmaster who decides to help teach you. Immediately you believe that you are special, that you have "talent," that you can really shine. This encourages you to work very hard at this game that gets you such agreeable attention... More tournament success and more media attention encourage you to work even harder. At first you work at it for 2 or 3 hours a day. By the time you are ten years old it is more like 4 or 5 hours a day... With that kind of early start and support, wouldn't almost any of us have been a much better player than we are now?
Tom Rose writing about World Champion Magnus Carlsen for chessville.com.
As metaphor, model and allegory, chess performs powerful cultural work.
Martin Rosenberg Social theorist, Pennsylvania State University
— Flemish boxwood king c1760 —
Twist-top hand-carved schadenfreude
for when checkmate simply
isn't punishment enough!
Check and mate and the game is finished.
Do not regard your opponent as a sheep, but rather as a wolf.
Chess and vodka are born brothers.
Chess is a game of war.
Anthony Saidy & Norman Lessing Authors of the fabulous coffee-table compendium The World of Chess 1974. Saidy has actually dreamed entire games of chess, recording them upon awakening for future publication.
Chess is a pursuit crammed with tension and emotion.
Anthony Saidy and Norman Lessing Their 1974 coffee-table book The World of Chess contains a fine general history of the game, accompanied by many excellent illustrations and photographs. It is a very entertaining read.
Chess is the sublimated fight par excellence.
Anthony Saidy and Norman Lessing Authors of The World of Chess 1974. Lessing was a strong master and a regular presence at New York's Stuyvesant Chess Club for more than forty years.
Chess is an exercise full of delights.
The game of chess with its richness, complexity, and barely suppressed violence, is an extraordinary metaphor for the human condition. Some of the most important fiction writers and poets of the last two centuries – Nabokov, Borges, Tolstoy, Canetti, Aleichem, Eliot, and others – have fully recognized the uncanny ability of a chess game to represent the contradictions, struggles, and hopes of human society. Despite the gigantic shadow cast by IBM's supercrunching Deep Blue computer's win over Garry Kasparov, the game of chess continues to offer lessons about what makes us essentially human.
Daniel Schifrin From Chess Midrash, his review of the chess art of Samuel Bak in Tikkun Vol 15, Issue 6 Nov/Dec 2000
Chess is the most interesting game that exists.
Lothar Schmid 1928-2013 German International Grandmaster 1959, International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster 1959, International Arbiter 1975, Chief Arbiter in the original 1972 Fischer-Spassky match. A wealthy publisher, Schmid was reputed to possess the finest personal chess library in the world, consisting of over 50,000 items. It is rumored that he willed this splendid collection to the city of Reykjavik, Iceland, which hosted the 1972 world championship.
Chess is a sad waste of brains.
Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832 Father of the Historical Novel, best remembered for Ivanhoe.
(George is playing chess with girlfriend.)
George: Well, you got no place to go. I'll tell you what your problem is: You brought your Queen out too fast. What do you think? She's one of these feminists looking to get out of the house? No, the Queen is old fashioned. Likes to stay home. Cook. Take care of her man. Make sure he feels good.
George: I don't think we should see each other anymore.
Jerry: And you broke up with her because she beat you at chess? That's pretty sick.
George: I don't see how I could perform sexually in a situation after something like that. I was completely emasculated.
Seinfeld Scene from The Engagement, Season 7 Episode 1.
Chess should be on a higher level than any other sport. The fact that it's on such a low scale is a collective failure.
GM Yasser Seirawan
Chess is the art of human reason.
Gustavus Selenus 1579-1666 His real identity was Duke Augustus of Luneburg, later Duke of Brunswick. He translated an Italian version of Ruy Lopez into German. Two of his three wives were princesses.
Morphy was an artist; and the best way to enjoy an artist is not to dissect him.
Philip W. Sergeant Sergeant is chiefly remembered for his book Morphy's Games of Chess 1915, which he freely admitted was based on Lowenthal's earlier works on Morphy.
Chess is the most beautiful and reasonable of all games.
Mme de Sevigne 1626-1696 The beautiful and witty "Queen of Letter Writers." She wrote over 1,700 letters to her daughter, which profile the character of that era in sharper detail than any history book.
For women it is often problematic to have male role models, since the desire to be like a great man can easily be confused with the desire to be with a great man. As a teenager and rising chessplayer, I remember trying to distinguish between the two. At the time I found strong chessplayers sexy, but wrote in a journal that more than having crushes on them, I wanted to crush them! ...Many women chessplayers find the prospect of dating a player weaker than they unpalatable.
Jennifer Shahade 1980- from Chess Bitch 2005 A significant feminist voice in the chess world, Grandmaster Shahade is also the author of Play Like A Girl! 2010.
GM Jennifer Shahade does a reverse-Duchamp revamp
Amsterdam Sociëteit De Kring 20 November 2011
Learning the rules of chess takes a few hours, but gaming competence in its intricacies and developing a personal style takes years of work. Playing a highly fcused board game for four to six hours is difficult, and neither men nor women are born with the concentration and motivation to excel at it. For that reason, I find the emphasis on women's biological inferiority absurd: when it comes to chess, we are all born inept.
Jennifer Shahade Chess Bitch GM Shahade is twice (2002, 2004) U.S. Women's Chess Champion. She host/is the U.S. Chess Federation website editor-in-chief and a frequent commentator for netcast coverage of world-class chess events, often accompanied by fellow analyst GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley.
Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever.
George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950 Irish essayist and playwrite, best remembered for Candida 1897, Caesar and Cleopatra 1901, Man and Superman 1905, and Pygmalion 1913. Nobel prize for literature 1925.
I would like it best if you played chess!
George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950 While dining in a large restaurant that featured musical entertainment, this was his answer to the bandleader when he approached to ask Shaw what he should play.
Then came Game 6, watched by an estimated 200-300 million people around the world on the sports network ESPN2. For a while, Kasparov did not disappoint. He played a stunning and creative game, eking out what commentators considered a potentially winning position. But then, shockingly, he requested a draw. The audience was dumb-founded. The great Kasparov had caved to the pressure of an awesome and near flawless opponent. Afterward it became clear from his comments that as badly as Kasparov wanted to win, he wanted more badly not to lose; the machine's consistency and intelligence had spooked him, he admitted. Knowing that any tiny mistake would be ruthlessly exploited by the computer, he was simply unwilling to take that risk in front of such a large audience. So he settled for a draw—in the game and the match.
David Shenk The Immortal Game: A History of Chess 2006
Every radio comedian and night-club wit has several entries in his card-index file about the possibility of a woman's becoming President of the United States. The idea that a woman might become our chess champion seems equally comical. Yet both of these possibilities are less remote than they were in, say, 1930...
Mrs. H.D. Sheldon in Chess Review 1950
Chess is my job and fills the main part of my life.
Alexei Shirov One of the strong modern Russian players.
Chess is ruthless; you've got to be prepared to kill people.
Nigel Short 1965- Became an International Master at age 15. In 1995 Short unsuccessfully challenged Garry Kasparov for the Professional Chessplayers Association World Championship.
If I lose badly I will feel like committing suicide.
Nigel Short 1965- Well... fair is fair. No one can accuse Short of being inconsistent.
Chess is the fairest of all games.
Isaac Bashevis Singer 1904-1991 Author whose depictions of Jewish life in Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries are all written in Yiddish, the language of his ancestors. Nobel prize for literature 1978.
Oure days be dated
to be checkmated,
With drawttys of deth.
John Skelton 146?-1529 English satirical poet; ordained priest 1498, but considered "more fit for stage than pulpit"; made many enemies by fierce invective, broad humor.
Chess is a powerful weapon of intellectual culture.
Slogan 1924 All-Union Congress of Soviet Union.
The love of the game has, on occasion, bordered on fanatical mysticism.
Dr. Anton M. Somalai 1980
Chess is a game of bad moves.
Andy Soltis 1947- International Grandmaster 1980. He is the New York Post chess columnist and a contributor to Chess Life magazine. He specializes in gathering and publishing all manner of chess trivia.
Communicating with the outside world is a tricky business... Nonplayers unnerve us.
Andy Soltis Karl Marx Plays Chess 1991
Chess is an art appearing in the form of a game.
Soviet Encyclopedia The former Soviet Ministry of Sport ranked chess first among the five major sports. If you do not think it is a sport, it can only be because you have not immersed yourself beyond its shallows.
Chess is a game.
Boris Spassky 1937- Tenth World Champion 1969-72. Now a French citizen, Boris played tennis occasionally with his old friend, Bobby Fischer, in exile from US authorities for defying an economic embargo by playing chess in the former Yugoslavia.
Chess is like life.
Boris Spassky 1937- Tenth World Champion. He is known to be extraordinarily polite, with a very friendly disposition. He is married to a French diplomat and currently lives in Paris.
At nine I fell in love with the black queen. Now democracy rules in my army.
Boris Spassky 1969
Chess is a blood sport.
Jon Speelman 1956- British Champion 1978. He is the author of several very fine chess books.
Chess is simply a medium through which concentration and a higher state of mind is achieved. It is like contemplating your navel, only better. It is perhaps a way of making love.
Jon Speelman 1956- British Champion 1978. International Grandmaster 1980. Or maybe Speelman is just waxing sillysophical!
Chess is both profoundly trivial and trivially profound... a universe simultaneously closed and unbounded.
George Steiner Philosopher and chess writer.
Chess problems are like masturbation, but playing chess is like making love. The poets lie about the orgasm, compared to the crescendo of triumph in chess.
George Steiner Philosopher and chess writer. The words orgasm and chess in the same sentence...?
Strange as though it may sound, I have found that the inclination of the different nations for chess shows that the chess mind is more closely related to the artistic rather than to the mathematical mind.
Lajos Steiner The Chess Mind 1937
Chess is not for timid souls.
Wilhelm Steinitz 1836-1900 First World Champion 1886-94. Viennese Champion 1861-62. An early architect of hypermodern methods, he was particularly interested in pawn structure weaknesses.
Capture of the adverse King is the ultimate but not the first object of the game.
Wilhelm Steinitz 1836-1900 First World Champion 1886-94.
The refutation of a sacrifice frequently consists in its acceptance.
Wilhelm Steinitz 1836-1900 He was actually champion for 22 consecutive years. It's just that his first 14 years were unofficial. Zukertort lost to Steinitz in 1872 but agreed to a rematch for the first-ever formal title. In 1886, the match was played in New York, St. Louis, and New Orleans, and Steinitz took the title.
The man who does not live according to God and the Christian life... who practices all kinds of diabolical gratifications... plays zerniyu, shakhmate (chess), and tableu... verily they shall all dwell in hell together.
Protohierarch Sylvester c1550 Russian cleric. Talk about strict!
Chess is first of all art.
Mikhail Tal 1936-1992 Eighth World Champion 1960-61. Latvian national champion 1953. He was a combinative genius. An intense player with a burning stare, at 50 he won the first World Blitz Chess Championship!
There are two kinds of sacrifices — correct ones, and mine!
Mikhail Tal 1936-1992 Eighth World Champion 1960-61.
Chess is a form of intellectual productiveness; therein lies its peculiar charm, and intellectual productiveness is one of the greatest joys of human existence.
Siegbert Tarrasch 1862-1934 One of the world's four strongest players 1870s-1890s.
I have always a slight feeling of pity for the man who has no knowledge of chess, just as I would pity the man who has remained ignorant of love.
Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.
Siegbert Tarrasch 1862-1934 Author of several books on chess.
It is not enough to be a good player; you must also play well.
Siegbert Tarrasch after lamentable results in the 1888 Leipzig Tournament. In German, good and well are both gut: "Es ist nicht genug, dass man ein guter Spieler ist, man mussß auch gut spielen."
Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders.
Saviely Grigoryevich Tartakower 1887-1956 At the 1924 New York tournament, he visited the zoo and was charmed by Susie, the orangutan. The next day he played 1.b4 against Maroczy and named this the Orangutan opening. It goes by several other names as well.
Chess is the art of battle for the victorious battle of art.
Saviely Grigoryevich Tartakower 1887-1956 International Grandmaster 1950. He was eighth or ninth in the world 1926-30. Author of several fine chess books. He was considered a champion of unorthodox style.
I now see myself (after fifty years of tournament play) compelled to change my concepts of chess strategy during the years which may still lie ahead.
Saviely Grigoryevich Tartakower 1887-1956 International Grandmaster 1950. He wrote chess books and poetry in French, German, and Russian. He had a doctorate in law. He liked gambling.
The great master places a knight at e5; checkmate follows by itself.
Saviely Grigoryevich Tartakower 1887-1956 Explaining his failure to meet great success in tournament play, he explained that he was "always striving to avoid the well-known openings and taking delight in risky combinations."
Chess is 99% tactics.
Richard Teichmann 1868-1925 One of the ten best 1892-1912. His appearance was formidable; high forehead, bushy beard, eye patch. Lasker described him as being "like Wotan holding forth in the company of minor gods."
She was out to win now. She would hammer at his weakness. She loved it. She loved attack.
Walter Tevis The Queen's Gambit 1983
Chess is a narrow way. I leave all pleasure behind. It is a time without pleasure, yes. You may not really follow this, ja. People normally go for fun, for pleasure, but chess players, through this very narrow way, try to get to God.
Jan Timman 1993
Chess is a fine entertainment.
Leo Tolstoy 1828-1910 Russia's greatest novelist, best remembered for his massive War and Peace 1869 and Anna Karenina 1877.
You castle your way and I'll castle my way...
There is another game
Men cherish, from which much
Sin and shame come easily;
Chess is the game I mean.
Hugo von Trimborg c1300
I played chess with him and would have beaten him sometimes, ony he always took back his last move, and ran the game out differently.
Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi
Fantastic scenes of mimic war I sing,
Undoubted warriors and a routed King;
How two mock realms, their glory to maintain
Marshalled their squadrons on the checkered plain.
Marcus Hieronymus Vida Bishop of Alba, 16th Century
Guests and trouble rarely come in peace
So deliver me from guests
That God may deliver you from chess.
Walther von der Vogelweide c1200 German poet of considerable reknown
Chess is the game which reflects most honour on human wit.
Voltaire 1694-1778 Pen name of Francois-Marie Arouet, poet, historian, essayist, playwrite, philosopher, wealthy businessman and practical economic reformer. Best remembered for philosophical novel Candide 1759.
Even at the best tournaments the players are a ragtag group, sweaty, gloomy, badly dressed, gulping down fast food, defeated in some fundamental way.
Fred Waitzkin Searching for Bobby Fischer 1988
Nature supplies the game of chess with its implements; science with its system; art with its aesthetic arrangement of its problems; and God endows it with its blessed power of making people happy.
Max Ignaz Weiss 1870-1943 Author/composer who wrote more than a dozen books on problems and the game.
The poorest chess player is to be more envied than the most favored servant of the Golden Calf; for the latter grovels all his life long in the mire of materialism; while the former dwells high aloft, in the bright realms of imagination and poetry.
Max Ignaz Weiss 1870-1943
You have, let us say, a promising politician, a rising artist, that you wish to destroy. Dagger or bomb are archaic, clumsy and unreliable—but teach him, inoculate him with chess!
We play chess because we don't know how to play correctly.
Norbert Wiener Founded Cybernetics, interdisciplinary science that studies communication and control systems involving living organisms, machines, even social organizations. Pioneered artificial intelligence.
It is hopeless to try to make a machine to play perfect chess.
Norbert Wiener In his Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine 1948, he asserts that in communication theory information is statistical in nature and has to follow the laws of probability.
Ridiculous! A chessboard that moves its own pieces! Pshaw!
Another pair of legendary lovers, Guinevere and Lancelot, were also linked together by a chessboard. In one of the episodes of The Romance of Lancelot of the Lake, Lancelot played on a magic chessboard where the pieces moved of their own volition. He won the game, was given the board, and sent it as a present to Queen Guinevere.
Marilyn Yalom Senior scholar at the Institute for Women and Gender, Stanford University, from her extraordinary effort Birth of the Chess Queen: A History 2004
DOH! Who'd a-thunk?!
Some three days since, the King long studying how to play a bishop, the Marquis of Winchester blurted out, "See, Sir, how troublesome these Bishops are in jest and earnestly." The King replied nothing, but looked very grim.
York of Lewis Boyle Letter c1640
Given a Geometric Symbol Positive or a combination of Geometric Symbols Positive which is coincident with the Objective Plane; then, if the Prime Tactical Factor can be posted at the Point of Command, the adverse King may be checkmated.
Franklin Young The Grand Tactics of Chess 1896 Say what? Young's entire book features his esoteric revisions of chess terminologies.
Because there are some of the Bishops and clergy who depart from virture and play chess (zatrikion) or dice or drink to excess, the Rule commands that such shall cease to do so or be excluded; and if a Bishop or elder or deacon or subdeacon or reader or singer do not cease so to do, he shall be cast out: and if laymen be given to chess-playing and drunkenness, they shall be excluded.
Ioannes Zonaras c1120 Greek historian, former captain of the Byzantine imperial guard. Under Emperor Alexios I Komnenos he held the offices of head justice and private secretary to the emperor, but after Alexios' death, he retired to the monastery of St Glykeria, where he spent the rest of his life writing books. This commentary on Canon 50 of the Eastern Church constitutes his directive on gambling.
It is not a move, not even the best move. that you must seek, but a realizable plan.
Eugene Alexandrovich Znosko-Borovsky 1884-1954 Professional Russian player, music and drama critic. Author of several How to Play Chess books, and perhaps best remembered for How NOT to Play Chess.
Chess is the struggle against error.
Johann Zukertort 1842-1888 Second in strength after Steinitz 1871-86. He spoke 9 languages, was a fine whist player, skilled swordsman, domino champion of Berlin, and crack pistol shot. He played 6,000 games with Anderssen!