Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation.
Whomever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one's opponent will never become a good chess player.
Poor Capablanca! Thou wert a brilliant technician, but no philosopher. Thou wert not capable of believing that in chess, another style could be victorious than the absolutely correct one.
… at the chessboard he was mighty, away from chess … he was like a little boy who would get up to mischief and naively think that no one was watching him. - (on Alekhine)
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.
If the distinguishing feature of a genius is that he is far ahead compared with his epoch, then Morphy was a chess genius in the complete sense of the word.
As a person Alekhine was an enigma. He was focused on his chess and on himself to such a degree that in our countries he was jokingly called 'Alein-ich' (in German 'I am alone'). With such a frame of mind he could not have any real friends, only admirers and supporters.
Not without reason is he famed as a conaisseur of opening theory. To gain some advantage from the opening is vital to him, and he is willing to risk any difficulty or even hazard to attain, as quickly as possible, a position in which he feels at home. - (on Alekhine)
Alekhine's real genius is in the preparation and construction of a position, long before combinations or mating attacks come into consideration at all.
The essence of Capablanca's greatness is his rare talent for avoiding all that can complicate or confuse the conflict.
He can be regarded as the great master of simplification. The art of resolving the tension at the critical moment and in the most effacious way so as to clarify the position as desired is Capablanca's own.
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.
Reshevsky is the exception - he is an all-round player with an all-round temperament. He has no partiality for any special type of position; he likes and plays every sort of game equally well; it is this which distinguishes him from his fellow-masters.
He is a poet who creates a work of art out of something which would hardly inspire another man to send home a picture postcard. - (on Alekhine)
Capablanca did not apply himself to opening theory (in which he never therefore achieved much), but delved deeply into the study of end-games and other simple positions which respond to technique rather than to imagination.
The 'chess machine,' by which admiring title he had been known, revealed the great drawback of a machine: it had not sufficient flexibility to adapt itself to altered circumstances. - (on Capablanca)
Capablanca plays very superficially sometimes, in a way that can only be ascribed to lack of concentration. This is an integral weakness of his make-up and can only be partially compensated by his employing his time allowance to the full.
Fortified by strong nerves, devout optimism, great self-confidence, a philosophical temperament and a tremendous weight of experience, he feels confident in any position that is even remotely presentable, and is up to any task the world of his opponents may present him. -(on Reshevsky)
Euwe's chess talent is in origin purely tactical - unlike that of such masters as Steinitz, Rubinstein, Capablanca, and Niemtsovitch. But he is a tactician who is determined at all costs to become a good strategist, and by dint of a great deal of hard work he has had some measure of success. - Alexander Alekhine
Euwe will go down to chess history as the apostle of method. He is a Doctor of Mathematics, a qualified actuary, licensed to teach book-keeping, an accomplished boxer, swimmer, aviator. He has written more books than any three other living masters put together. - Hans Kmoch
As a result of his perhaps too versatile life, Euwe has been able to build up no reserve of habit, no ability to judge a position by second nature. - Hans Kmoch
Has he some psychological antipathy to realism? I am no psychologist, and cannot say. The fact remains that Euwe commits the most inexplicable mistakes in thoroughly favorable positions, and that this weakness has consistently tarnished his record. - Hans Kmoch
Method rules his training, which blends the physical with the mental. How many chess masters put in, prior to an important match, an allotted time daily to bicycling and shadow-boxing, followed by a cold douche and a brisk rub down? - Hans Kmoch