51 Greatest Chess Quotes Of All Time

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Part of becoming a good chess player is learning from better, more experienced players. One great way to do that is by learning and studying some of their quotes.

Whether you’re a seasoned chess player or just a beginner, these quotes are sure to inspire and motivate you to improve your game or at least make you laugh.

From famous chess grandmasters to everyday players, these quotes come from a wide range of sources and offer a unique perspective on the game of chess.

So, whether you’re looking for inspiration, wisdom, or just a good laugh, you’re sure to find something in our list of the greatest chess quotes. Let’s dive in.

  • “Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.” – Ralph Charell
  • “Critical thinking is the most important factor with chess. As it is in life, you need to think before you make decisions.” – Hikaru Nakamura
  • “Chess is not for timid souls.” – Wilhelm Steinitz
  • “In life, as in chess, forethought wins.” (Charles Buxton)
  • “Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one’s opponent will never become a good Chess player.” (Max Euwe)
  • “In chess, knowledge is a very transient thing. It changes so fast that even a single mouse slip sometimes changes the evaluation.” (Viswanathan Anand)
  • “Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.” (Tarrasch)
  • “The human element, the human flaw, and the human nobility – those are the reasons that chess matches are won or lost.” (Viktor Korchnoi)
  • “That’s what Chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.” (Bobby Fischer)    
  • “In chess, you try to do your best, but there are instances where you make mistakes or you try and take risks that you shouldn’t. And I think losing games is a good thing because you learn more from when you lose than when you win.” (Hikaru Nakamura)
  • “In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.” (Isaac Asimov)
  • “The most interesting thing to me in chess is not the gambits. Or the moves. It’s the mental toughness.” (Edward Zwick)
  • “Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” (Blaise Pascal)
  • “Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.” (Bobby Fischer)
  • “I am convinced, the way one plays chess always reflects the player’s personality. If something defines his character, then it will also define his way of playing.” (Vladimir Kramnik)
  • “I spend hours playing chess because I find it so much fun. The day it stops being fun is the day I give up.” (Magnus Carlsen)
  • “There are more adventures on a chessboard than on all the seas of the world.” (Pierre Mac Orlan)
  • “You can only get good at chess if you love the game.” (Bobby Fischer)
  • “When you’re lonely, when you feel yourself an alien in the world, play Chess. This will raise your spirits and be your counselor in war.” (Aristotle)
  • “I prefer to lose a really good game than to win a bad one.” (David Levy)
  • “In life, as in chess, one’s own pawns block one’s way. A man’s very wealth, ease, leisure, children, books, which should help him to win, more often checkmate him.” (Charles Buxton)
  • “Chess is life and every game is like a new life.” (Eduard Gufeld)
  • “Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic.” (Mikhail Botvinnik)    
  • “When the chess game is over, the pawn and the king go back to the same box.” (Irish Saying)  
  • “Chess is played with the mind and not with the hands.” (Renaud and Kahn)
  • “In chess, one cannot control everything. Sometimes a game takes an unexpected turn, in which beauty begins to emerge. Both players are always instrumental in this.” (Vladimir Kramnik)
  • “Life is more than just chess. Though the king dies, life goes on” (Toba Beta)
  • “It’s an entire world of just 64 squares. I feel safe in it. I can control it; I can dominate it. And it’s predictable. So, if I get hurt, I only have myself to blame.” (Walter Tevis)
  • “Pawns are such fascinating pieces, too…So small, almost insignificant, and yet–they can depose kings. Don’t you find that interesting?” (Lavie Tidhar)
  • “Like poetry, chess is also kinda poetic.” (Joshua the poetic penguin)
  • “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
  • “Life is a lot like chess,” he said….”All a matter of choices. Every move you face choices and every choice leads to different variations. It branches and then branches again, and sometimes the variation you pick isn’t as good as it looked, isn’t sound at all. But you don’t know that until your game is over.” (George R.R. Martin, Dreamsongs, Volume 2)
  • “Our parting was like a stalemate….Neither of us won. Yet both of us lost. And worse still … that unshakable feeling that nothing was ever really finished.” (Ranata Suzuki)
  • “As a rule, the more mistakes there are in a game, the more memorable it remains because you have suffered and worried over each mistake at the board.” (Viktor Korchnoi)
  • “In chess, without the king, the other pieces would all be “dead”, so their existence is supported by the king, but they need to serve the king with their capacity for action in order to have a good game.” (Roumen Bezergianov)
  • “Life is short, precious, and should not be wasted. Everyone has a chance at it. We are all equals after all. There are no pawns, no kings, and no queens. We’re all humans and we all have the same value.” (Cristelle Comby)
  • “The art of chess is in knowing which is the most valuable piece in play, then having the courage to sacrifice it for the win.” (Thomm Quackenbush)
  • “The move is there, but you must see it.” (Savielly Tartakower)
  • “The cherished dream of every chess player is to play a match with the World Champion. But here is the paradox: the closer you come to the realization of this goal, the less you think about it.” (Mikhail Tal)
  • “Zugzwang. It’s when you have no good moves. But you still have to move.” (Michael Chabon)
  • “Sometimes, as in a game of chess, we must strategically regress so that we might progress toward our ultimate objective.” (Crystal Woods)
  • “One doesn’t have to play well, it’s enough to play better than your opponent.” (Siegbert Tarrasch)
  • “If your opponent offers you a draw, try to work out why he thinks he’s worse off.” (Nigel Short)
  • “Check your moves well, because it can cost one pawn or lose a lot of just from three moves!” (Deyth Banger)
  • “Chess is everything: art, science, and sport.” (Anatoly Karpov)
  • “The reason I like the game chess is that each move has countless repercussions, but you’re in charge of them. And it’s your ability to see into the future and the effects of the decisions you’ve made that make you either a good or not a good chess player. It’s not luck.” (Bono)
  • “Even a pawn can take down a queen.” (Chanda Hahn)
  • “A relationship is a game of chess.” (Sophie Kinsella)
  • “Of chess, it has been said that life is not long enough for it, but that is the fault of life, not chess.” (William Napier)
  • “Chess teaches foresight, by having to plan ahead; vigilance, by having to keep watch over the whole chessboard; caution, by having to restrain ourselves from making hasty moves; and finally, we learn from chess the greatest maxim in life – that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.” (Benjamin Franklin)
  • “Of course, errors are not good for a chess game, but errors are unavoidable and in any case, a game without errors, or as they say ‘flawless game’ is colorless.” (Mikhail Tal)

Summing Up

As you can see from the list above, chess is a game that has captured the imagination of people for centuries. It is a game that requires a unique combination of knowledge, art, and strategy.

The quotes above highlight the many facets of chess and the different ways in which it can be appreciated. Whether it is seen as a form of mental torture or as a beautiful art form, one thing is certain: chess is a game that will continue to captivate players and spectators alike for years to come.

What’s your favorite quote from the list above? Or maybe it’s one we’ve missed off? Let us know, and we’ll add it in!