Nimzowitsch, Tarrasch, and Tartakower - and my other favorite chess quotables!
Nimzowitsch, Tarrasch, and Tartakower seem to be my 3 favorite quote artists. I've included many others I love, and some that just have me thinking. Please contribute in any way if one of them gets you excited. Or share a great one I don't know about.
"When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogolyubov." - Efim Bogolyubov. I've always loved this quote. Full of flair and early on in chess, it distinguished quickly for me how drastically different it is to play white vs black.
“It is not enough to be a good player... you must also play well” (Siegbert Tarrasch) This Tarrasch quote is very dear to me; I remember having it in my first ICC profile. I still haven't applied it.
“First-class players lose to second-class players because second-class players sometimes play a first-class game” (Siegbert Tarrasch)
“Chess is a terrible game. If you have no center, your opponent has a freer position. If you do have a center, then you really have something to worry about!” (Siegbert Tarrasch) Tarrasch totally gets me.
“One doesn’t have to play well, it’s enough to play better than your opponent” (Siegbert Tarrasch) This guy cracks me up!
“When you don’t know what to play, wait for an idea to come into your opponent’s mind. You may be sure that idea will be wrong” (Siegbert Tarrasch) Especially at my rating level!! Nice one, Siegbert.
“First restrain, next blockade, lastly destroy.” -- Aron Nimzowitsch
“One bad move nullifies forty good ones" (Horowitz) Oh, Mr. Horowitz...that's the story of my life.
“The older I grow, the more I value Pawns” (Keres)
“He who takes the Queen’s Knight’s Pawn will sleep in the streets" (Anonymous) Could someone explain this one? It sounds cute but what's the basis?
“I have never in my life played the French Defence, which is the dullest of all openings” (Wilhelm Steinitz) I remember reading this quote many years ago before I even knew what the French Defense was...and it just added to the mystery of chess.
“No price is too great for the scalp of the enemy King” (Koblentz)
“How is it to be explained that something inside me revolts against the playing of obvious moves? Perhaps we may perceive the underlying reason in the fact that I derive satisfaction from seeking to reveal the concealed meaning of a position by means of maneuvering play and therefore I do not wish to see this satisfaction curtailed by a banal, more or less fortuitous decision. Naturally, this phenomenon is played out beneath the threshold of consciousness. The waking consciousness will, of course, in each individual case, give preference to the more rapid means of deciding the game.”
-- Aron Nimzowitsch
“It’s always better to sacrifice your opponent’s men” ---(Savielly Tartakover)
“To avoid losing a piece, many a person has lost the game” (Savielly Tartakover)
"All Chess players should have a hobby” (Savielly Tartakower). Adorable, Savielly.
“When your house is on fire, you cant be bothered with the neighbors. Or, as we say in Chess, if your King is under attack you don’t worry about losing a Pawn on the Queen’s side” (Gary Kasparov)
“Only sissies Castle” (Rob Sillars) “Castle early and often” (Rob Sillars) Hah!
Even when it is based on defective intel gathering, Mr Nimzowitsch? In that case, my moves are stunning.
“If in a battle, I seize a bit of debatable land with a handful of soldiers, without having done anything to prevent an enemy bombardment of the position, would it ever occur to me to speak of a conquest of the terrain in question? Obviously not. Then why should I do so in chess?” -- Aron Nimzowitsch
“Strategically important points should be overprotected. If the pieces are so engaged, they get their regard in the fact that they will then find themselves well posted in every respect.” -- Aron Nimzowitsch
“Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever when they are only wasting their time” (George Bernard Shaw) Nobody ever says it but the man might be onto something hehe.
“Man is a frivolous, a specious creature, and like a Chess player, cares more for the process of attaining his goal than for the goal itself” (Dostoyevsky) - said Dostoyevsky, the gambling addict.
“Chess strategy as such today is still in its diapers, despite Tarrasch's statement 'We live today in a beautiful time of progress in all fields'. Not even the slightest attempt has been made to explore and formulate the laws of chess strategy.” -- Aron Nimzowitsch