Chess Quotes

What is chess?

  • Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders - Savielly Tartakower
  • Chess is a beautiful mistress. - Larsen
  • Chess is life - Bobby Fischer
  • Chess is like life - Boris Spassky
  • Chess is everything - art, science, and sport. - Karpov
  • Chess is 99 percent tactics. - Teichmann
  • Chess is really 99 percent calculation - Soltis
  • Chess is mental torture. - Kasparov
  • Chess is ruthless: you've got to be prepared to kill people. - Nigel Short
  • Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe - Indian proverb
  • Chess is as much a mystery as women - Purdy

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  • Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy. - Tarrasch
  • You cannot play at chess if you are kind-hearted. - French Proverb
  • Morphy was probably the greatest genius of them all. - Fischer
  • Every chess master was once a beginner. - Chernev
  • Life is too short for chess. - Byron
  • A good player is always lucky. - Capablanca
  • A chess game is divided into three stages: the first, when you hope you have the advantage, the second when you believe you have an advantage, and the third... when you know you're going to lose! - Tartakower
  • When the chess game is over, the pawn and the king go back to the same box - Irish saying contributed by Etienne Goldstein

General Tips

  • When you see a good move wait - look for a better one. -  Emanuel Lasker
  • Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine. - Spielmann
  • All that matters on the chessboard is good moves. - Bobby Fischer
  • The pawns are the soul of chess. - Philidor

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  • The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made. - Tartakover
  • No price is too great for the scalp of the enemy King. - Koblentz
  • The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake. - Tartakover
  • A man surprised is half beaten. - Proverb
  • Chess is 99 percent tactics. - Teichmann
  • There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones and mine. - Tal
  • The defensive power of a pinned piece is only imaginary. - Nimzovich
  • The pin is mightier than the sword. - Reinfeld
  • The combination player thinks forward; he starts from the given position, and tries the forceful moves in his mind. - Emanuel Lasker
  • Discovered check is the dive-bomber of the chessboard. - Fine
  • If the student forces himself to examine all moves that smite, however absurd they may look at first glance, he is on the way to becoming a master of tactics. - Purdy
  • The tactician knows what to do when there is something to do; whereas the strategian knows what to do when there is nothing to do. - Gerald Abrahams
  • Examine moves that smite! A good eye for smites is far more important than a knowledge of strategical principles. - Purdy
  • The scheme of a game is played on positional lines; the decision of it, as a rule, is effected by combinations. - Reti
  • In the perfect chess combination as in a first-rate short story, the whole plot and counter-plot should lead up to a striking finale, the interest not being allayed until the very last moment. - Yates and Winter
  • A thorough understanding of the typical mating continuations makes the most complicated sacrificial combinations leading up to them not only not difficult, but almost a matter of course. - Tarrasch
  • It's always better to sacrifice your opponent's men. - Tartakover
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  • The middlegame I repeat is chess itself; chess with all its possibilities, its attacks, defences, sacrifices, etc. - Znosko-Borovsky
  • Before the endgame, the gods have placed the middlegame. - Tarrasch


  • Every pawn is a potential Queen. - Mason
  • The Passed Pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient. - Nimzovich
  • A Passed Pawn increases in strength as the number of pieces on the board diminishes. - Capablanca
  • Any material change in a position must come about by mate, a capture, or a Pawn -promotion. - Purdy
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  • Even a poor plan is better than no plan at all. - Mikhail Chigorin
  • It is not a move, even the best move, that you must seek, but a realisable plan. - Znosko-Borovsky


  • Methodical thinking is of more use in chess than inspiration. - Purdy
  • Chess is the art of analysis. - Botvinnik
  • Chess mastery essentially consists of analysing chess positions accurately. - Botvinnik
  • Half the variations which are calculated in a tournament game turn out to be completely superfluous. Unfortunately, no one knows in advance which half - Jan Tinman