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And I Quote ...

“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

“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

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

GM and author John Nunn.

“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

“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.

"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

“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

"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

"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

”…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

“Playing for mate is never a good strategy against strong grandmasters.”

GM Kevin Spraggett

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

French General Ferdinand Foch

"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 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

“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

“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 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.

"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

"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

"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)

"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

"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.