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“I’ve been walking every single day for a few months now — I walk close to an hour a day. I feel like that’s improved my fitness in a big way. [...] What I found is that consistency matters a lot. If you go out rain or shine at any time of the day and you get your one-hour walk, it’s gonna add up. I feel really good, I’ve lost close to 20 pounds in the last couple of months.”

 

WGM Irina Krush, interviewed (25.10.2020) after winning the 2020 US Women’s Champion, having suffered from a bad dose of Covid-19 earlier this year

"The point was not to get an advantage, but to get an unbalanced position that I was comfortable with and then to outplay him at some point between move 25 and 40...”

 

The late GM Tony Miles, quoted by GM Jonathan Rowson in his book Chess for Zebras.

"How many delightful combinations I have ruined in my many years of tournament practice, only because of the fact that I noticed a counter-combination for my opponent, a combination which my opponent was not even thinking about and (which was more often the case) which just was not there at all, either on the board, or in his thoughts."

 

GM, World Championship Challenger and author David Bronstein (1924-2006)

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

“I think the improvement in my attitude was a game changer. Before I used to think a lot about ratings and results, but later on I stopped worrying about them and learnt to focus only on the game.”

 

Indian GM, author and trainer Swapnil Dhopade

“We should not believe computer evaluations without understanding them. The test for this is easy: can you explain to another person why it is winning?”

 

GM, author and trainer Jacob Aagaard

“When there is little to analyse by way of concrete variations, I like to make quick decisions, saving my time and energy for later on.”

 

GM Keith Arkell

“The only thing more painful than learning from experience is not learning from experience.”

 

Archibald MacLeish, American poet and writer (1892-1982)

“The pandemic will end sooner or later, and immediately after it ends, we will see who has spent this time more productively. Those who work hard and do not play too much 1-minute blitz on the Internet will rise to the top. Now is an important time for a young chess player: he can lay the foundation on which his entire career will be built later.”

 

Former World Champion GM Vladimir Kramnik

“Any person playing for an opening advantage as White is either misinformed or ill-advised - there is nothing called an opening advantage in the game of chess against good play from Black.

 

What we should aim to do instead is play for an imbalance - something we can handle better than our opponents. The same applies with the black pieces - we should not be afraid of giving White a small objective plus if we know our position well and he doesn't. Human play is after all never perfect.”

 

IM and trainer Sagar Shah

“Vladimir Malakhov is to some extent the inventor of the style we now associate with Magnus Carlsen. He plays very strong technical chess and is able to outplay his opponents in ‘flat’ positions.”

 

GM and author Boris Gelfand

“Curiosity is probably the most important feature of a (fast) improving player. Asking questions and questioning yourself is the key to success.”

 

FM and trainer Helmut Froeyman

“Every five games I don’t let myself play again until I’ve studied the openings.”     https://youtu.be/Eht9v1KY_3Q

 

IM Greg Shahade’s thoughts on using blitz chess as a tool for learning his openings:

“There are no mistakes, only unforeseen events”

 

GM Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956)

“To be champion requires more than simply being a strong player; one has to be a strong human being as well.

 

GM and former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov

“As an ambitious player you should choose openings with Black which give you enough potential to win against opponents of equal strength or worse. At the same time, the opening should be solid enough and comply with the minimum requirements of classical chess lore. In other words: You need a solid opening, where you can create imbalances.”

 

GM, author and trainer Matthias Wahls

”It is a common idea to swap off one pair of rooks in a superior position. The stronger side's remaining rook retains active possibilities, while getting rid of the opponent's second rook eliminates most of his opportunities for counterplay.”

 

FM Dennis Monokroussos

“Even a much better position requires a plan of action and an ability to carry it out”

 

GM and author Maxim Dlugy

“The Smith-Morra (gambit) is a good learning tool for juniors and club players - it will teach you how to attack.”

 

GM, author and trainer Max Illingworth

“The highest art of the chessplayer lies in not allowing your opponent to show what he can do.”

 

Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov

“At the end of the opening, spend a few minutes deciding whether one player has the better long-term chances. (…) The strategy for the two players may then be quite clear: one side must aim to consolidate and contain his opponent; the other must play to stir up trouble quickly.”

 

GM and author John Nunn

“Every great champion, when he sits in front of his opponent, has no fear. He hates to lose, of course, but he is not afraid to lose.”

 

GM Kevin Spraggett

“Remember: chess is a team game!  You need to get ALL your pieces into play!”

 

IM and author Jeremy Silman

“Russian GM Peter Svidler grew up on the games of Bobby Fischer and said he “read the spine off” of Edmar Mednis’s book "How to Beat Bobby Fischer".  Other future-GMs played through collections of the games of José Capablanca, Max Euwe, Vassily Smyslov—and, of course, Fischer’s "My 60 Memorable Games.”

 

GM Andrew Soltis

“The King’s Indian defence is one of the most fascinating openings in chess.  It involves everything I love about the game: risk-taking, attacking, exchanging weaknesses or material for dynamic chances, clever tactics, surprising turnarounds and a deep sense of possibility.”

 

GM Ilya Smirin

“We choose candidate moves (…) based on recognizable patterns from previous experience and analysis. That is why it is so important to devote systematic study to things like combinations, grandmaster games with your openings, and games by the old masters.”

 

GM, author and trainer Lars Bo Hansen

“Nimzowitsch emphasized that the objective of play on an open file is to penetrate to the seventh or eighth rank. The dream scenario is to able to double rooks on the seventh.”

 

GM, author and trainer Lars Bo Hansen

“It's always worth considering forcing moves and the most forcing are checks.”

 

GM, author and presenter Daniel King

“…although I am famous for taking risks, I don’t usually take very much of a risk; unlike Tal – who doesn’t care whether his position is good or bad if only it is complicated enough.”

 

GM and World Championship Candidate Bent Larsen (1935-2010)

“By strictly observing Botvinnik’s rule regarding the thorough analysis of one’s own games, with the years I have come to realize that this provides the foundation for the continuous development of chess mastery”

 

GM Garry Kasparov, World Champion 1985-2000

“I think, in modern chess, for 99% of players the endgame is undoubtedly the most important part of the game. But people do not understand that…”

 

GM, trainer and author Lev Psakhis

“I like the games of Bent Larsen. Sometimes he was way ahead of his time and already played ideas that the engines now recommend in certain positions.”

 

GM Aydin Suleymanli, U14 World Champion and surprise winner of the prestigious Aeroflot Open in February 2020 in Moscow.

“Write down three new things you have learned from the game... After a while it actually becomes more difficult as you will eventually run out of new things to write. However, I am sure that seeing each game also as a stepping stone to new knowledge will benefit your overall performance...”

 

GM, author and top trainer Jacob Aagaard

“Overconfidence and disregard for the opponent’s resources is the source of many losses.”

 

GM Maxim Dlugy

"I believe in attack, but I believe in justified attack. I believe in first put everything correctly and then if I play everything correctly the attack will come to me, I don't have to force the attack somehow. “

 

GM and former World Championship challenger Peter Leko.

“I would argue that the importance of 'surprise value' has gone up in online rapid chess, (well, within reason!) as long as an offbeat idea is plausible and ostensibly tougher for the  opponent to handle! (…) So there seems to be a trend to seek more obscure murky lines, where if the opponent is out of his comfort zone all three results come into the picture.”

 

GM Glenn Flear

“Botvinnik was above all a theoretician of pawn chains. He had a great ability to formulate the laws of positions where pawn chains form a particular structure.”

 

GM Alexander Beliavsky

“In chess, as in military tactics, it is the judicious violation of general rules that more especially marks the master-mind.”

 

Johann Löwenthal (1810-1876)

“Attacks are not dangerous per se, only if they flow logically out of an advantage.”

 

GM, trainer and author Lars Bo Hansen

“If your main habit for chess improvement is to play a new blitz game online, you aren't going to improve much. However, if your main habit is to check every game you play and learn something new and practical from the game (why a move was better, or how to find it, rather than just 'the engine gives this'), it's a whole other story!”

 

GM, author and trainer Max Illingworth

“To the best of our knowledge, Smyslov did not play a single game of chess outside his home until he was 14 but somehow he arrived on the scene already as a well-rounded, complete player. Smyslov was probably the closest that the human race had to the AlphaZero story – he studied at home, mostly on his own, then came out and defeated everyone!”

 

IM Andrey Terekhov, author of The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov

“The goal is to maximize your winning percentage, not to preserve your fragile ego by losing as rarely as possible.”

 

US veteran Frederick Rhine

“To get the maximum results with the London system, it's very important to see it beyond a way of getting the pieces out, and know the concrete ways to put pressure on the opponent.”

 

GM, author and trainer Max Illingworth

“Always go for the most challenging, principled approach when playing higher-rated players. Ideally try to lure them onto your 'playing field' - if you can catch them in your area of expertise then you will start making them feel uncomfortable.”

 

GM David Howell, British champion 2009, 2013 and 2014.

"Usually experienced players are better in positions without queens, whereas younger players are better in positions which require calculations."

 

GM Boris Gulko

“While the game is in progress, you should be concentrating on the current position, regardless of what has happened before.”

 

GM and author John Nunn.

“On principle, avoid playing dubious openings! To make them work one has to sacrifice too much energy, which will be badly missed during the game.”

 

GM Vassilios Kotronias

“Retaining one’s sense of how pleasant a position would be in a practical game, in spite of what the engine may say, is a major challenge for all authors and players nowadays.”

 

GM and author Swapnil Dhopade

“I try to avoid theory and rely on my experience when I cannot prepare, starting with 1.d4 or 1.c4. I still think that 1.e4 is the most principled move and, if Kramnik concluded that the only good defence against 1.e4 is the Petroff, then it is a good move.”

 

GM Jaan Ehlvest

“I’ve trained myself to stop and look, even if there seems to be only ‘one move’, unless it’s a forced recapture. You never know!”

 

GM Robert “Bobby” Fischer, World Champion 1972-75

“A space advantage is a product of the pawn structure. As the old saying goes ‘space is gained by pawns but exploited by pieces’. Advancing pawns grab space, pieces exploit this space by means of their increased mobility.”

 

GM, author and trainer Lars Bo Hanse

“The absolute majority of top players have studied classical games well and it has influenced their chess.

 

Magnus Carlsen is the best example. When he quotes a game like Flohr-Goldberg, played in 1949, in his press-conference, no further comment is needed.”

 

GM and former world championship finalist Boris Gelfand

“In general, it is advisable for young players to play sharp, open lines, so the player develops risk-taking abilities, learns to play for initiative, and appreciates the real value of pieces (as opposed to evaluating the position by simply counting the material on the board). If a player does not learn to take risks from the start, it is likely he may never truly master this important attribute in the later part of his chess career. It is easier for an aggressive player to learn positional chess than vice versa.”

 

GM “RB” Ramesh, 2002 British Champion and nowadays trainer of some of India’s most talented young players.

“The main factor governing the success of an attack on the enemy king is whether you can bring more attacking pieces to bear on his king position than he can muster for the defence.”

 

GM and author John Nunn

“Each position is unique and must be appraised afresh. (…) You must look at each position with new eyes. (…) The last move has changed the position; forget what went on earlier and find out what is happening now.”

 

GM Reuben Fine, one of the strongest players in the world in the period 1930-1950, before his retirement from chess to become a psychologist.

“If a position is bad and you cannot find a freeing move, further thinking about it does not help. Then what needs to be done is to choose the move which does the least damage and keep up your state of readiness and thinking time for a chance which may possibly crop up.”

 

GM Thomas Luther

“In our modern chess you must constantly be thinking of your opponent. (…) You don’t, or at least you shouldn’t, make a move without first considering what the reply will be.”

 

GM Reuben Fine, writing in his 1942 book "Chess the Easy Way".

"There is no such thing as an even trade"

 

GM William Lombardy (1937-2017),

World Junior Champion (1957) scoring 11-0.

“Artur (Yusupov) reminded me that there are always things we do not see, so we should not calculate decisions we do not yet have to make.”

 

GM, author and trainer Jacob Aagaard

“Nothing is more difficult than an attack against a king defended by three unmoved pawns.”

 

GM Reuben Fine

“If you study modern opening theory, you may well conclude that if Black does not want to have to defend carefully during the first part of the game he must give White something: more space, healthier pawn structure, the bishop pair, or simply a pawn!

 

GM Bent Larsen (1935-2010), one of the most successful tournament players of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“At lower levels (...) the quickest way for most players to achieve better results is to improve their tactical ability.”

 

GM and author John Nunn.

“Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent.”

 

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

"Chess is the art of analysis. Regular practice at analysing positions is one of the most effective methods of improving at chess, maintaining your form or even just 'warming up' for a game - don't neglect it!"

 

World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik

My play improved when I started solving endgame studies seriously in 2016, and I'd say that not solving them deliberately from a young age definitely held back my overall chess development.”

 

Australian GM and trainer Max Illingworth

“Contrary to many young colleagues, I do believe that it makes sense to study the classics.”

 

World Chess Champion GM Magnus Carlsen

”My loss (…) taught me that the most important technique of chess improvement is a player's ability to reflect on and extract lessons from his or her own losses and mistakes.

 

GM Daniel Naroditsky

“I insist on verbally telling myself what the problem is, to define the essence of the position clearly. Only then can I properly understand what I need to do. Putting it into words forces me to be exact and makes sure I really pinpoint the core of the issue.”

 

GM Alex Colovic

“The clock is just as much a part of the game as the board and pieces and losing because of time-trouble is no different than losing because of weak play – it’s still zero points on the scoresheet.”

 

GM John Nunn

“Don’t relax too soon, even if it seems to you that the goal is already attained – your opponent may take a completely different view.”

 

Famous GM and trainer Lev Psakhis

“I think intuition is one of my strengths. When I was very young, I studied a lot of classical games. I grew up with Garry Kasparov’s book 'My Great Predecessors,' a bible for chess players, and I think that might be the reason why my intuition is so strong.”

 

GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, the youngest player in the world’s top 20.

“Develop resilience - learning how to handle losing is the key to winning. Defeat should motivate you rather than discourage you.”

 

GM Judit Polgar.

“Intuition is a human chess player’s most valuable skill in complicated positions. (…) Computers are completely without emotion or subjectivity: they calculate all moves with exactly the same perfect, ice-cold machine precision. We humans don’t have anywhere near as good brute-force calculating skills, and so we need to rely on our intuition.”

 

GM and former World Championship Candidate, Kevin Spraggett

“In an ending where you are a pawn up, you should not hurry, but should await a favourable opportunity to win a second pawn.”

 

GM José Capablanca, World Champion 1921-27, quoted by GM Mikhail Botvinnik, World Champion 1948-57, 1958-60, 1961-63.

“The main thing is not to be afraid of losing. Why should I be afraid? If I lose I know two things: first, it is only a game, and second, by taking the risks I do I will win more than I lose”.

 

The late Danish super-GM and world championship candidate Bent Larsen, one of the most successful tournament players of all time.

“Repeating moves (i.e. twice!) in an ending can be very useful. Apart from the obvious gain of time on the clock, one notices that the side with the advantage gains psychological benefit.”

 

Soviet master and author Sergey Belavenets

“It is well known that Botvinnik studied Rubinstein’s games and learned a lot from them. He won many games by squeezing his opponent, just like Rubinstein…”

 

GM and author Boris Gelfand.

My centre is giving way, my right is retreating; situation excellent, I am attacking."

 

French General Ferdinand Foch

"In rapid games, I mostly play main lines that I know well. I know the ideas behind these lines. On the other hand, in classical chess, I try to play new variations, because in the longer format my opponent is prepared for me."

 

GM Sergey Fedorchuk

“The most important part of building a repertoire is to find positions that you enjoy playing. There is a good chance that positions you like will also be the positions you will play well.”

 

GM and trainer Jacob Aagaard

”…You must always try to defend your king with as few pieces as you can, and it is only when attacking your opponent’s king that you must bring forward all the pieces you can.”

 

José Raoul Capablanca (World Chess Champion 1921-7) in his famous book My Chess Career

“It is better to be a pawn down with active pieces than to have material equality with a passive position.”

 

GM Levenfish and World Champion (1957-8) Smyslov, in their famous book on rook endings.

“I think you shouldn’t play only blitz, but playing some blitz is definitely pretty useful, especially when you’re developing as a young chess player. For me, it was very useful to develop my instinct, my tactical eye, and just plain training.”

 

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

“In a rook and pawn ending, the rook must be used aggressively. It must either attack enemy pawns, or give active support to the advance of one of its own pawns to the queening square. “

 

GM Siegbert Tarrasch

"One of the main things we should avoid doing is giving up good openings entirely for emotional reasons due to a bad result. Try as hard as possible to be objective and avoid openings ‘blaming’. By giving up the opening, we also let go of all of the experience we have accumulated in that opening, which we probably will not be able to apply in other openings."

 

IM and popular trainer Eric Kislik

“I would like to reiterate my deep belief that the best way to learn openings is to analyze good games played by great chessplayers. This way not only will you improve your general level of chess, but also learn specific opening ideas.”

 

GM Greg Serper

"A great deal of chess psychology is based on expectation. If you expect to win and then something starts to go wrong, it's easy to become flustered and make other errors.

 

Curiously, something similar can happen if you expect to lose. You may be fighting on but without any real hope that you're going to save the game. Then if, by some miracle, an opportunity arises to avert defeat, it's easy to overlook it, because you have resigned yourself to a loss and are no longer fully alert. Even very strong players are prone to this type of oversight."

 

GM and respected chess author John Nunn

“In general, the game of chess is much richer than is to be gathered from the existing theory, which endeavours to compress it within definite narrow bounds.”

 

The great Mikhail Chigorin, 1850-1908.

"This is a type of position you expect to lose, but you never stop fighting. As long as there are still some chances, as long as there is no clear win for him, I will go on."

 

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

"When you study an opening, it is very important to understand typical positional and tactical ideas and even mistakes frequently committed by chess players. You won't be able to do it using the nearly perfect games of Carlsen and his super-GM opponents."

 

GM Greg Serper

“One of the questions you might find useful is: ‘What would my opponent do if he was to move?’

 

GM, author and trainer Jacob Aagaard

"Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame."

 

Hungarian GM Lajos Portisch (1937-), one of the strongest and best prepared players of his day.

“I have this routine. I tell myself that I’m an idiot, I accept it and I just live with it. Knowing that you’re an idiot is kind of relieving. You relax and you just have to play chess.”

 

GM Levon Aronian (2019)