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And I Quote (again) ...

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

World Chess Champion GM Magnus Carlsen

“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.

“Unless you can satisfy yourself that you can derive immediate advantage by an attack, improve your worst-placed piece.”

Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879), probably the strongest European player 1851-1866.

“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

”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

“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

“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".

"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

“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.

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

GM and author John Nunn.

"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 further mistakes.

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

“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

“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

“An attack may be prepared over quite a long stretch of time, but when carrying it out, do so at top speed without letting your opponent get his bearings.”

GM and trainer Lev Psakhis

“Really, chess is mainly about intuition instincts. So when you play classical chess, at least for me, my intuition usually tells me something. It gives me an idea of what I want to play. Then I’ll have plenty of time to verify that and to calculate it in different variations, to see if I’m right. In blitz, we don’t have that luxury. So [you] have to go with what your intuition tells you…”

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

"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

“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

“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

“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

“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.

“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.

"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 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 order to start playing a new opening line with success, you must have a few model games to follow, or at least some guidelines. (…) I firmly believe that it is much wiser to start learning a new line with the basic, fundamental ideas, playing through some model games. Only after, one should begin with a deep theoretical research. Model, sample games will give you a clear picture of the ensuing positions and character of play.”

GM Alexander Delchev

“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

"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

"Write down the critical moments of the game, the things you saw during the game and what you think went wrong. Do this the same evening...
We learn much less from being given conclusions than we do from finding them ourselves. This is why it is so valuable to analyse your own games..."

GM and respected trainer Jacob Aagaard

“A good approach to strategic endgames is to first think schematically and only then specifically.

In such endgames, you should try to consider what you ideally want to achieve in broad terms and only then move on to calculating specific moves.”

GM and author Lars Bo Hansen

"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

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

French General Ferdinand Foch

"My choice of systems was very inflexible. My first move has to be 1.d4, my second move has to be 2.c4, and my third move is 3.Nc3. I need to keep my knight on g1 at home for as long as possible, so I have to make the other three moves first in that order.

If you don't care about keeping the knight on g1 flexible, then you have lots of move order options. For example, you can play 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 or even 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4. It may not sound like much, but I can promise you that Black players go crazy trying to work out how to still get their preferred lines against d4+c4 systems via these move orders...."

GM Matthew Sadler

“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)

“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

“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.

"If your opponent has no counterplay, then before changing the pattern of the game and starting decisive action, you should make all the even slightly useful moves that you can."

The late GM and world-class trainer Mark Dvoretsky (1947-2016).

"When playing with two bishops against bishop and knight, you must demonstrate the strength of the bishop that has no counterpart. "

The well-known Ukrainian chess coach Alexey Kosikov.

"The choice of opening, whether to aim for quiet or risky play, depends not only on the style of a player, but also on the mood in which he sits down at the board."

GM and former World Championship Candidate Efim Geller (1925-1998)

In his prime, Geller was one of the strongest players in the world and the book of his best games (annotated by him) can be warmly recommended.

"It is not very practical to start playing an opening when it is in its first stages, when it's not clear what the main lines are and which plans are the most promising - though it is in exactly this phase that the elite players are thriving. A typical example for this is the Giuoco Piano - there are many plans and move-orders for both players (...). While this leaves scope for surprises and new developments for the elite, it is very confusing for the rest."

GM Alex Colovic

"Always write down the time spent during the game. This is a well known idea and should be followed strictly. Quite simply, when you write down the moves you also write your time, or the time of your opponent. I have found in my work with pupils that this will always reveal where mistakes are quite commonly placed during the course of the game."

GM and respected trainer Jacob Aagaard

"I’ve learned that it’s not just about what you know, but about being able to apply the knowledge in games. (...)

One thing that came across to me over and over again is that players rarely make mistakes based on long variations. It’s usually something they missed early on.

Very often even strong players play the first move they think of without considering other, potentially stronger moves. Or they think they know what an opponent’s response will be, and don’t look a little longer to find another possible idea. Or they don’t recognize moments when tactics are happening, or have a sense of danger to suggest to them to think longer or calculate more deeply."

Author and coach GM Joel Benjamin

"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.

"Form in chess is quite a mysterious thing. It comes and goes, apparently without rhyme or reason, leaving you a winner one month and a miserable loser the next. (...)
I think there are a number of simple practical steps that can be taken which probably contribute towards good form in chess.

The first thing is to make sure you've got a clear head, free from the cares of the world, and it's probably better to be getting a decent amount of sleep and not overdo it on the beer.

Former 3Cs 4NCL player and trainer GM Nigel Davies

"The turning point in my career came with the realization that Black should play to win instead of just steering for equality."

GM Robert "Bobby" Fischer (1943-2008), World Champion 1972-75

"I think it is very important for an inexperienced player to start by playing open positions (including gambits) because these openings greatly accelerate your tactical vision and understanding. To play a closed position well, you need to understand when to open the position in your favour. Closed positions almost always open up, but open positions don't become closed, so to be a strong chess player it's simply essential to be able to play open positions well."

Australian GM and coach Max Illingworth

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

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

"1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 The strength of this move - paradoxically - is that it threatens nothing."

GM, author and journalist Savielly Tartakower (1887–1956), commenting on the Vienna opening.

"Seek a queen trade when you are ahead in material or at risk of attack,or when the enemy queen is more active than yours."

Journalist and author GM Andrew Soltis