Best chess quotes

If you ever played chess, chances are you have probably heard the famous quote by Francois Andre Philidor: " The pawns are the soul of chess."

Gems such as this represent a priceless part of the rich chess heritage. Numerous chess players, World Champions and famous persons have talked and written about chess and uttered some immortal phrases in the process.

Therefore, I've decided to make a list of most interesting and entertaining chess quotes. And to ruin as many of them as possible with my own thoughts and commentary in the process.

I hope you will enjoy it.

The famous chess player and composer of classical music, Francois Andre Philidor

Quotes about chess

1. " One of the greatest advantages of chess over other sports is that you can always resign." -  Joe Gallagher

     And also one of the greatest disadvantages, since often you refuse to resign and continue to suffer only to realize that it was all in vain in the end.

2. " I prefer to lose a really good game than to win a bad one." -  David Levy

    I personally prefer to win a really good game than to lose a bad one, but what do I know..

3. " You cannot play at Chess if you are kind-hearted." - French proverb

4. " One who has never seen a game of chess is, in my opinion, an unhappy person." -  Anatoly Karpov

Slikovni rezultat za blind chess player

Technically, this guys hasn't SEEN a game.. Yes yes I know I will burn in hell for this one. On the other hand this photo proves that in chess, there are no boundaries whatsoever

5. “ Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make people happy ”- Siegbert Tarrasch

         Unless we are talking about Nicki Minaj's musical escapades, which make me as happy as encountering the London System with the Black pieces.

Quotes about chess players

1. “ Mistrust is the most necessary characteristic of the Chess player ” - Siegbert Tarrasch

2. “No Chess Grandmaster is normal; they only differ in the extent of their madness” - Viktor Korchnoi

3. " There should be as many world champions as there are players, because every chess player lives in his own world." -  Elliott Winslow

              The following Masterclass from the Planet Chucky is tightly connected with the previous two quotes. I can't recommend it highly enough.


4. " It is not enough to be a good player.. you must also play well" - Siegbert Tarrasch

5. “A good player is always lucky” - Jose Raul Capablanca

         The famous clash between Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen is the best evidence (you might remember it from our greatest chess blunders post).

Quotes about chess strategy and thinking process

1. " In order to avoid playing the opening theory, you need to study A LOT of opening theory. " -  Peter Svidler

       This very insightful remark was a response to the question regarding Magnus Carlsen's avoidance of main theoretical lines.

2. "The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move." - David Bronstein

3. "When you see a good move, look for a better one." - Emanuel Lasker

     This quote is rather famous, but also slightly double edged. Whereas it containts the fundamental principle of not hurrying, sometimes looking for a more brilliant win can backfire.


4. " The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake " - Savielly Tartakower

5. " Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine." - Rudolf Spielmann

6. " A player surprised is half beaten." - Proverb

7. "The hardest game to win is a won game" - Emanuel Lasker

    The number of blunders commited by very strong players in winning positions is simply astounding.

8. "One doesn't have to play well. It's enough to play better than your opponent. " - Siegbert Tarrasch

9. “In blitz, the Knight is stronger than the Bishop” - Vlastimil Hort

10. " No one ever won a game by resigning." - Saviely Tartakower

    Another entertaining quote regarding resignation in chess. It often occurs either too early, or too late. But as Tartakower wittily observed, you can gain much more if you chose the latter.

Motivational and "deep" chess quotes

1. " My greatest talent is hard work." -  Garry Kasparov

2. "If you want to succeed, you must brave the risk of failure." - Garry Kasparov


3. " The single most important thing in life is to believe in yourself regardless of what everyone else says." - Hikaru Nakamura

4. " Fickle fortune rules in chess, though is this true only of chess." -  Alexander Kotov

5. “ Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the Chess player, not the Chess piece ” - Ralph Charell

   I think this is getting even more important today when we are getting bombarded by information from all sides.

   Incidentally, sixth World Champion Botvinnik said something similar: " I don't give a damn about the opinion of majority. I'm used to thinking with my own head." 

Standing out

6. " Many have become Chess Masters, no one has become the Master of Chess." - Siegbert Tarrasch

7. " Those who say they understand Chess, understand nothing ” - Robert Hubner

        In chess, as in life, there is something new to be learnt every day.

8. " Chess is my life, but my life is not chess." - Anatoly Karpov

    Very elegant. I am surprised this one hasn't gained much more recognition.

Funny and amusing chess quotes

1. "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

        Touche. No argument there.

2. "Marriage is like a game of chess except the board is flowing water, the pieces are made of smoke and no move you make will have any effect on the outcome. " - Jerry Seinfeld

3. "Marriage is like taking a pawn on b2 in the Sicilian Najdorf. " -  Vassily Ivanchuk

Another brilliancy by the good old Chucky.

The good old Chucky and his "poisoned pawn"

4. " I prefer to be called an ex World Champion. It's the only title they can't take away." - Tigran Petrosian

5. " If you play the Caro-Kann when you're young, what are you going to play when you're older." - Bent Larsen

My guess would be the English opening or the afore mentioned London System.

6. " Some sacrifices are sound; the rest are mine" - Mikhail Tal

7. “A Chess game is divided into three stages: the first, when you hope you have the advantage, the second when you believe you have an advantage, and the third... when you know you’re going to lose!” - Savielly Tartakower

8. " I have never beaten a healthy opponent." - Henry Edward Bird 

        Applicable in different areas of human engagement. I don't remember the last time I didn't have a reliable excuse after losing.

9. “ Winning isn’t everything... but losing is nothing ” -  Edmar Mednis

10. “ The tactician must know what to do whenever something needs doing; the strategist must know what to do when nothing needs doing ” - Savielly Tartakower


The champion of the "funny and amusing chess quotes", Russian master Saviely Tartakower

12. “ A man that will take back a move at Chess will pick a pocket ” - Richard Fenton

          A friend of mine recently used slightly different analogy with the same point. He said that : "People who don't help you during the exam in high school are the very same people who don't warn you about the police by flashing their lights when they are driving in the different direction." 

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