What's up with thumbing one's chin whilst playing chess!?


Has anyone noticed the thumb to chin habit of some chessplayers?

Kramnik and Tal:

Mikhail Tal in the positureVladimir Kramnik in the positure


What's up with that!? Is it just a normal thing, resting one's head on one's thumb?

Sounds a bit weird... Are there any other chessplayers whom does this? If you have a picture of this "Tal-Kramnik Positure"-habit, please post them here! Laughing

I want to statistically see how many people that uses this utter psychologically killing "Tal-Kramnik Positure".


I always thought it either..

1. To make the other person nervous by doing the "Stare" while doing the thumb thing at the same time..


2. To rest the head.


well from the sample it appears that the posture doesnt relate to playing style...Tal very tactical kramnik very positional both world champions though...


I think we can logically deduce from the information presented that resting one's head on either the left or right thumb increases the strength of one's game exponentially.


Notice that kramnicks looking at the board, tal his opponent


Their brains are so heavy, they need extra support. I don't have this problem.


Kasparov does it as well.


heres a few more examples, with the Spassky-smoking-thumb variation included


jpd303 has lots of pics on his hard drive!

I'll see if I have any as well.


I remember Walter Browne resting his chin on his hands that were on the table. He was getting a king's eye view of the board.




Najdorf vs. Robert Byrne ...thumbing it a little if not quite on his chin.


I knew it!

It is now nearly confirmed! I will do the "Kramnik-Tal" posture in every game now!

Maybe we should differ the two.. Kramnik style is looking at the board at the same time, whilst Tal style is to stare maliciously at his opponent! I like the Tal-posture best! Laughing


Oh! And... Maybe there's a correlation between the hand you're touching the chin with, and your playing style!

Notice how both Tal and Kasparov does it with their left thumb, implying tactical brilliance; and Kramnik and Benko does it with their right, implying positional brilliance!

Fischer does both... Maybe he's an uber-genius! Surprised


And Tal looks freaking scary when playing chess!

goldendog wrote:

Najdorf vs. Robert Byrne ...thumbing it a little if not quite on his chin.


Just for some recognition, this man have beaten both of them (Najdorf and his sicilian in 20 moves): http://blog.chess.com/Paranoid-Android/rafael-vaganian-vs-albin-planinc


De-emphasises weak chins??


Hey Rainbow Rising (great album BTW too), great obersvation about Tal and Kramnik.


And thanks to everyone for sharing such great pics! 


I like to scratch the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin. While i play OTB. I have had people tell me to stop before as they find it annoying. Perhaps I need to use my thumb like these GMs did/do. 


It reminds me of a certain statue of someone thinking. :D Maybe there is something to that ha.


maybe they're doing a thumbs up to their opponent for making a good move :)


i tend to do the same... perhaps it's instinct?