Thursday, 3 July 2014


by Botvinnik

Chess is the art of analysis.

Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic.

Chess mastery essentially consists of analyzing chess positions accurately.

Suddenly it was obvious to me in my analysis I had missed what Fischer had found with the greatest of ease at the board.  -  (on his game versus Fischer in the 1962 Varna Olympiad)

Chess, like any creative activity, can exist only through the combined efforts of those who have creative talent, and those who have the ability to organize their creative work.

Yes, I have played a blitz game once. It was on a train, in 1929.

Don't worry kids, you'll find work. After all, my machine will need strong chess player-programmers. You will be the first.  -  (to Karpov & students, 1965)

The boy doesn't have a clue about chess, and there's no future at all for him in this profession.  -  (on student Anatoly Karpov)

Before Geller we did not understand the King's Indian Defence.

The future of chess lies in the hands of this young man.  -  (on Kasparov at age 11)

[Capablanca's] phenomenal move-searching algorithm in those early years, when he possessed a wonderful ability for calculating variations very rapidly, made him invincible.

To this day Morphy is an unsurpassed master of the open games. Just how great was his significance is evident from the fact that after Morphy nothing substantially new has been created in this field.

Lasker was perhaps the first of the great masters who understood the importance of preparing for competitions; before him, of course, they studied chess, but only in general, and they were not yet able to prepare concretely …

Great was Lasker's role in the social recognition of chess, the realization of its usefulness. "The game of chess eases our life's struggle", he said.

Capablanca's play produced and still produces an irresistable artistic effect. In his games a tendency towards simplicity predominated, and in this simplicity there was a unique beauty of genuine depth.

Alekhine is dear to the chess world, mainly as an artist. Typical of him are deep plans, far-sighted calculation and inexhaustible imagination.

Every great master will find it useful to have his own theory on the openings, which only he himself knows, a theory which is closely linked with plans for the middle game.

I personally never stood out amongst my contemporaries, because I always had to progress by hard work. Tal, on the other hand, there is an example of someone who did not have to work at it.

Along with my retirement from chess analytical work seems to have gone too.

I claim that nothing else is so effective in encouraging the growth of chess stregth as such independent analysis, both of the games of the great players and your own.

Memorization of variations could be even worse than playing in a tournament without looking in the books at all.

It is peculiar but a fact nevertheless, that the gamblers in chess have enthusiastic followers.

Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic.

The triumph of the analytical movement, which formed in the '30's and '40's, was precisely what earned the Soviet masters the acclaim of chessplayers the world over. Unfortunately, it must also be noted that, for today's chessmasters, the watchword is practicality.

I ... have two vocations: chess and engineering. If I played chess only, I believe that my success would not have been significantly greater. I can play chess well only when I have fully convalesced from chess and when the 'hunger for chess' once more awakens within me.

When my opponent's clock is going I discuss general considerations in an internal dialogue with myself. When my own clock is going I analyse conctrete variations.

A knight ending is really a pawn ending.

With opposite coloured bishops the attacking side has in effect an extra piece in the shape of his bishop.

He is not the most talented or the strongest player but certainly the most inconvenient player in the world! His ambition is not to play actively, but to paralyse his opponents' intentions.  -  (on Petrosian)

... In my match with Bronstein I was frequently confused - I could not immediately understand what my opponent wanted to do!

You have to accustom yourself to practical study at home, you have to devote time to studies, to the history of chess, the development of chess, of chess culture.

If you are going to make your mark among masters, you have to work far harder and more intensively, or, to put it more exactly, the work is far more complex than that needed to gain the title of Master.

There is no better place for learning to work independently and to extend your horizon than in higher school.

Above all else, before playing in competitions a player must have regard to his health, for if he is suffering from ill-health he cannot hope for success. In this connection the best of all tonics is 15 to 20 days in the fresh air, in the country.

If you are weak in the endgame, you must spend more time analysing studies; in your training games you must aim at transposing to endgames, which will help you to acquire the requisite experience.

It is a well known fact that almost all the outstanding chess-players have been first-class analysts.

In Russia the first player to devote all his life to the game, the man who initiated the habit of adopting a profound approach to chess, was Mikhail Ivanovich Tchigorin, and we can only speak of the existence of a Russian chess school from this time onward.

The player's greatest art consists in exploring the possibilities of bringing the game to a position in which the normal relative values cease to exist.

It must be clearly understood that Soviet players do not seek simple systems in the opening, but try to formulate opening systems in which everything is complicated, distinctive, or new.

on Botvinnik

... Tal accepted absolutely all the world champion's conditions with a smile, taking away a very important psychological trump card from him - the harsh, prickly relations with his opponent that were characteristic of all Botvinnik's matches.  -  Genna Sosonko

The match as the ideal test of strength was Botvinnik's conviction, who would say it was the best for chess. But whenever Botvinnik said something was the best for chess, he actually meant that it was the best for Botvinnik. - Mark Dvoretsky

I still remember Botvinnik's reaction to each of my games, right from the opening moves. At first he would express amazement, then annoyance, and, finally irritation.  -  Anatoly Karpov

Botvinnik himself is always right at the front in chess theory; what becomes known to us today, was known to him yesterday. And that means that what will only be understandable to us tomorrow, Botvinnik already knows today.  -  David Bronstein

Botvinnik almost makes you feel that difficulty attracts him and stimulates him to the full unfolding of his powers. Most players feel uncomfortable in difficult positions, but Botvinnik seems to enjoy them.  -  Max Euwe

Where dangers threaten from every side and the smallest slackening of attention might be fatal; in a position which requires a nerve of steel and intense concentration - Botvinnik is in his element.  -  Max Euwe

All told, there is not a single weakness in his armour.  -  Rueben Fine

My studies with Botvinnik brought me immense benefit, particularly the homework assignments which forced me to refer to chess books and to work independently.  -  Anatoly Karpov

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