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  • A man surprised is half beaten. – Proverb
  • All that matters on the chessboard is good moves. – Bobby Fischer
  • 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! – Savielly Tartakower
  • A good player is always lucky. – José Raúl Capablanca
  • Amberley excelled at chess—one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind. – Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"
  • As a chess player one has to be able to control one’s feelings, one has to be as cold as a machine. – Levon Aronian


  • Bishops move diagonally. That's why they often turn up where the kings don't expect them to be. – Small Gods




  • I'd rather have a pawn than a finger. – Reuben Fine
  • It all depends: which pawn and which finger? – Roman Dzindzichashvili
  • If chess is a Battle then Go is War – Anonymous
  • It's the horsey-shape piece that moves in an L shape. It's what makes chess complicated, and why stupid people can't play chess. Go play checkers! Knights are the first piece you look at. They elevate the game. No chess master wants to lose her knights. – Courtney Love



  • Morphy was probably the greatest genius of them all. – Bobby Fischer




  • Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine. – Spielmann


  • The chess-board 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. – Thomas Huxley
  • The center of the chessboard is a magnet, which pulls to itself all the pieces. – Ashot Nadanian
  • The pawns are the soul of chess. – François-André Danican Philidor
  • The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made. – Savielly Tartakower
  • The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake. – Savielly Tartakower
  • There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones and mine. – Mikhail Tal


  • Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves. – Thud!


  • When the chess game is over, the pawn and the king go back to the same box – Irish saying contributed by Etienne Goldstein


  • You cannot play at chess if you are kind-hearted. – French Proverb

Advice on the game of Chess[edit]

  • A good sacrifice is one that is not necessarily sound but leaves your opponent dazed and confused. – Rudolf Spielmann
  • 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
  • All that matters on the Chessboard is good moves. – Bobby Fischer
  • Before the endgame, the gods have placed the middlegame. – Tarrasch
  • Chess is the art of analysis. – Mikhail Botvinnik
  • Chess mastery essentially consists of analysing chess positions accurately. – Mikhail Botvinnik
  • Discovered check is the dive-bomber of the chessboard. – Reuben Fine
  • Examine moves that smite! A good eye for smites is far more important than a knowledge of strategical principles. – Purdy
  • Even a poor plan is better than no plan at all. – Mikhail Chigorin
  • First restrain, next blockade, lastly destroy. – Aron Nimzowitsch
  • 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 Timman
  • He who fears an isolated Queen's Pawn should give up Chess. – Siegbert Tarrasch
  • 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
  • If your opponent cannot do anything active, then don't rush the position; instead you should let him sit there, suffer, and beg you for a draw. Jeremy Silman
  • In positions of strategic manoeuvring seek the worst placed piece. Activating that piece is often the most reliable way of improving your position. – Mark Dvoretsky
  • 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. – Frederick Yates and William Winter
  • It's always better to sacrifice your opponent's men. – Savielly Tartakower
  • It is not a move, even the best move, that you must seek, but a realisable plan. – Eugene Znosko-Borovsky
  • It is not possible to become a great player without having learned how to analyse deeply and accurately. – Mark Dvoretsky
  • Methodical thinking is of more use in chess than inspiration. – Purdy
  • Modern chess is too concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it, checkmate ends the game. – Nigel Short
  • Play the opening like a book, the middlegame like a magician and the endgame like a machine – Rudolf Spielmann
  • Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation. – Max Euwe
  • The choice of moves should not be made on an exact verdict of the final position, but on whether or not your position has improved or worsened. – Jacob Aagaard
  • The combination player thinks forward; he starts from the given position, and tries the forceful moves in his mind. – Emanuel Lasker
  • The defensive power of a pinned piece is only imaginary. – Aron Nimzovich
  • The great master places a Knight at K5 (e5); checkmate follows by itself. – Savielly Tartakower
  • The middlegame I repeat is chess itself; chess with all its possibilities, its attacks, defences, sacrifices, etc. – Znosko-Borovsky
  • The Pin is mightier than the sword. – Fred Reinfeld
  • 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
  • The scheme of a game is played on positional lines; the decision of it, as a rule, is effected by combinations. – Reti
  • To play for a draw, at any rate with White, is to some degree a crime against chess. – Mikhail Tal
  • Training in analysis (like any other form of chess training) should be treated very seriously. – Mark Dvoretsky
  • When you see a good move, look for a better one. – Emanuel Lasker
  • Whenever we see an unprotected piece we must keep our eyes peeled because this is one of the most important ingredients of a combination. – Jacob Aagaard
  • You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one. Mikhail Tal