50 Greatest Chess Quotes Of All Time

Chess quotes through the ages have helped capture something very special about the game we all love. ichess.net has compiled 50 of the best of all time. Enjoy!

50 Greatest Chess Quotes Of All Time
Best quotes about chess

Chess Quotes About Philosophy

  • “I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” – Marcel Duchamp
  • “Unlike other games in which lucre is the end and aim, [chess] recommends itself to the wise by the fact that its mimic battles are fought for no prize but honor. It is eminently and emphatically the philosopher’s game.” – Paul Morphy
  • “The beauty of chess is it can be whatever you want it to be. It transcends language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. Whatever your circumstances, anyone can enjoy a good fight to the death over the chess board.” – Simon Williams
  • “Chess is the struggle against the error.” – Johannes Zukertort
  • “Every chess master was once a beginner.” – Irving Chernev
  • “Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.” – Ralph Charell
  • “Chess makes men wiser and clear-sighted.” – Vladimir Putin
  • “Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” – Blaise Pascal
  • “Chess holds its master in its own bonds, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom of the very strongest must suffer.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.” – Bobby Fischer

Want to improve your chess today? Sign Up for Damian Lemos’ GM Guide for Beginners!

Marriage is like taking a pawn on b2 in the Sicilian Najdorf blog image

Chess Quotes About Life

  • “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
  • “The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it… Life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “As proved by evidence, [chess is] more lasting in its being and presence than all books and achievements; the only game that belongs to all people and all ages; of which none knows the divinity that bestowed it on the world, to slay boredom, to sharpen the senses, to exhilarate the spirit.” – Stefan Zweig
  • “Chess doesn’t drive people mad, it keeps mad people sane.” – Bill Hartston
  • “In life, as in chess, one’s own pawns block one’s way.  A man’s very wealthy, ease, leisure, children, books, which should help him to win, more often checkmate him.” – Charles Buxton
  • “Chess is life in miniature. Chess is a struggle, chess battles.” – Garry Kasparov
  • “Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.” – Siegbert Tarrasch
  • “For in the idea of chess and the development of the chess mind we have a picture of the intellectual struggle of mankind.” – Richard Réti

Improve your chess quickly with GM Lemos’ FREE Grandmaster Guide for Beginners2.5-hour video!

Chess Quotes About The Game

  • “I don’t believe in psychology. I believe in good moves.” – Bobby Fischer
  • Play the opening like a book, the middlegame like a magician, and the endgame like a machine.” – Rudolph Spielmann
  • “I used to attack because it was the only thing I knew. Now I attack because I know it works best.” – Garry Kasparov
  • “It is my style to take my opponent and myself on to unknown grounds. A game of chess is not an examination of knowledge; it is a battle of nerves.” – David Bronstein
  • “Chess is rarely a game of ideal moves. Almost always, a player faces a series of difficult consequences whichever move he makes.” – David Shenk
  • “When you see a good move, look for a better one.” – Emanuel Lasker
  • “After a bad opening, there is hope for the middle game. After a bad middle game, there is hope for the endgame. But once you are in the endgame, the moment of truth has arrived.” – Edmar Mednis
  • “Give me a difficult positional game, I will play it. But totally won positions, I cannot stand them.” – Hein Donner
  • “There is no remorse like the remorse of chess.” – H. G. Wells

Chess Quotes About Planning

  • “Half the variations which are calculated in a tournament game turn out to be completely superfluous. Unfortunately, no one knows in advance which half.” – Jan Timman
  • “Even a poor plan is better than no plan at all.” – Mikhail Chigorin
  • “Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do; strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.” – Savielly Tartakower
  • “In life, as in chess, forethought wins.” – Charles Buxton
  • “You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.” – José Raúl Capablanca

Fortunately, we have IM Anna Rudolf to help reduce the number of games you must lose before becoming a good player. Learn what it takes to become a master planner in chess.

Planning is an essential part of playing a good chess game, but it is not the only part of the game you must master. Fortunately, Anna has another 14 hours of chess coaching for you to enjoy in her best-selling Master Method course.

Chess Quotes About Pawns

  • “Pawns are the soul of the game.” – François-André Danican Philidor
  • “The passed pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient.” – Aron Nimzowitsch
  • “Modern chess is too much concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it, checkmate ends the game.” – Nigel Short
  • “Pawn endings are to chess what putting is to golf.” – Cecil Purdy

Chess Quotes That Will Make You Laugh

  • “Nobody ever won a chess game by resigning.” – Savielly Tartakower
  • “The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.” – Savielly Tartakower
  • “It’s always better to sacrifice your opponent’s men.” – Savielly Tartakower
  • “One doesn’t have to play well, it’s enough to play better than your opponent.” – Siegbert Tarrasch
  • “Up to this point, White has been following well-known analysis. But now he makes a fatal error: he begins to use his own head.” – Siegbert Tarrasch
  • “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 is beautiful enough to waste your life for.” – Hans Ree
  • “A chess game in progress is… a cosmos unto itself, fully insulated from an infant’s cry, an erotic invitation, or war.” – David Shenk
  • “It will be cheering to know that many people are skillful chess players, though in many instances their brains, in a general way, compare unfavorably with the cognitive faculties of a rabbit.” – James Mortimer
  • “The pin is mightier than the sword.” – Fred Reinfeld
  • “The only thing chess players have in common is chess.” – Lodewijk Prins
  • “Those who say they understand chess, understand nothing.” – Robert Hübner
  • “One bad move nullifies forty good ones.” – Bernhard Horwitz
  • “If your opponent offers you a draw, try to work out why he thinks he’s worse off.” – Nigel Short


We hope you enjoyed this collection of beautiful chess quotes and even gained new perspectives and views on the game we all love. It’s no secret that there are many more. So, what do you think? Any fabulous quotations that we have missed? Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite chess quotes!

Greatest Chess Quotes of All Time

Other Interesting Reads:


23 comments on “50 Greatest Chess Quotes Of All Time

  1. Bob says:

    The ability to play chess is the
    sign of a gentleman. The ability
    to play chess well is the sign of a
    wasted life.
    – Paul Morphy

  2. Mark Hogarth says:

    Famous chess quote missed from list above. When former WCC Boris Spassky was asked by a journalist why his marriage failed, he replied: “we were like bishops of opposite colours”

  3. Taimoor Ali says:

    Infact, chess is game of sacrifice.

  4. Kru says:

    “The pen is mightier than the sword.” – Fred Reinfeld . . INCORRECT!

    {“The pen is mightier than the sword.” This is an adage by the English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton from 1839.”)

    The Fred Reinfeld quote is; “The pin (PIN) is mightier than the sword.” . . A ‘pin’ in chess is a tactic where a piece is attacked but cannot legally move,

    1. Fernando iChess says:

      Sorry for the typo! This has been fixed. A pin is when an attacked piece cannot move without exposing a more valuable piece on its other side to capture by the attacking piece, so it’s not always illegal to move a pinned piece, but most of the time that won’t be a good move.

  5. Romy 4Hire says:

    In Life, we’re all either kings or pawns..

    All Trying to Cross the Chessboard of Life To ascend to something greater than the former..

    In Chess, (And in Life) the Queen holds all the power, and is the tie that binds..

    The Best Tactician evolves around his Opponents’ Tactics..

    And Lastly, In Chess (And in life) The game is won thru showing charity. No Chess player Alive Has beaten the best W/O some Sacrifice.

  6. Rajarshi says:

    My favourite is “Every chess master was once a beginner”.

  7. s. berg says:

    A couple of lines from bob dylan songs:
    he is only a pawn in their game..
    even the pawn must hold a grudge..

  8. john leonard says:

    How about: “The threat is stronger than the execution.”

    “With Alekhine, you never knew what he was going to do. With Capablanca, you knew exactly what he was going to do but you couldn’t prevent it.”

  9. Not Reinfeld says:

    Reinfeld’s quote is “The pin is mightier than the sword.” A pin in chess prevents a piece from moving (pinned against the king) or makes moving it potentially cost a valuable piece (pins against queens, rooks, etc.) The first type is also called an absolute pin.

  10. Vancleve Cantu says:

    Great fun running across these quotes again. Here’s one of Mikhail Tals ‘there are two types of sacrifices, correct ones, and mine.’

  11. Glen Davidson says:

    Like life: Don’t move too quickly.

  12. Judy Ann Cutillar says:

    Chess is an art and i guess the chess players’ mind is the beautiful scenery.

  13. GM says:

    Where did the phrase “Nobody’s pawn” come from? Unlike other pieces, pawns can become queens. In some openings, queens get traded as early as move 4. A pawn often just stands waiting for other pieces to kill each other and open up space for it to march forward and become a queen. I think that better phrase would be “nobody’s horse” because horses get moved all over the board and often are traded after doing so much hard work.

  14. Pushp ahujs says:

    No doubt fruitful and awesome

  15. noah muhindi says:

    It takes real effort to convert an ordinary pawn into a queen.

  16. Mohit says:

    I want to play with a good chess player

    1. what is your personal defitnition of a –good player-?/ im 1700-1800 slow daily ,,and 1871 in blitz currently ,,,if you are compatible -/then hit me up on chess.com my screename is blitz-battle-bro-5 send me a friend request ,we go from there–Victor

  17. Joshua Cave says:

    I don’t know how to play chess

    1. Fernando Broca says:

      But you can start now!

  18. Vihanga Kodagoda says:

    Queen does not matter in the end, if you could safe your own King your the winner

  19. RAvi says:

    can someone post great chess players commenting on other great chess players? for example like how Alekhine said “Never before nor afterwards have I seen such flabbergasting quickness of chess comprehension.” about Capablanca

  20. Joseph says:

    Whow! No doubt, these re chess greatest quote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • No products in the cart.