on Others


If a poor musician had come upon him ... The extreme kindheartedness and absence of Philidor knew no resistance to the appeal for charity, and precluded all discrimination of means. He gave whatever he could lay his hands on - coat, hat, shoes ... (on Philidor) - George Allen


… Pillsbury aspired for the candle of his life to burn constantly at both ends. 'Wine, women, and not harmless songs, but strong cigars' - this was Pillsbury's principle in life.  -  Alexander Alekhine


His play was highly diverse, he was always guided by the demands of the position, he employed a variety of opening variations, and, most important, he was the first prominent player to begin thinking not only in variations, but also schematically.  -  (on Pillsbury)  -  Anatoly Karpov


He played with enormous energy and great fighting spirit. Offering him a draw was a waste of time. He would decline it politely, but firmly. "No, thank you," he would say and the fight would go on and on and on.  -  (on Larsen)  -  Lubomir Kavalek


Rubinstein's games flow along so smoothly and easily, and are so pleasant to play over, that one is apt to forget that they also offer valuable instruction.  -  Irving Chernev


Another of Rubinstein's characteristic features is his dislike for melodramatics. Empty rhetoric and pretentious moves alike shock him to the core!  -  Aaron Nimzowitsch


Judging by his style of play he may be accounted an Epigonus. He had adopted the style of his period, that is to say the scientific chess style, and he brought it to the highest stage of artistic perfection.  - (on Rubinstein)  -  Richard Reti


Rubinstein is the type of man who lives only for his self-appointed task, a veritable ascetic; who denies himself the slightest pleasure, that might have any deleterious influences on his chess playing capacity.  -  Richard Reti


It is not a matter of a fight for him, but the working out of a victory, and so his games create the impression of a great structure from which one stone dare not be shifted.  -  (on Rubinstein)  -Richard Reti


A championship contender in the early twentieth century needed charisma and a knack for cultivating sponsorship, and Rubinstein was the epitome of the shy and unsocial chess player. Now matter how great his chess skills, he lacked the people skills to be a self-promoter and fund-raiser.  -  Garry Kasparov


Larsen is one of the great players against whom it is impossible to make any kind of preparation. He plays sharply in any variation.  - Miguel Najdorf


The successful farmer is said to have a 'green thumb' since everything he touches springs into fruitful bloom. In chess, Najdorf has a similar gift. Combinations blossom in his games like buds in a fertile garden.  -  Hans Kmoch


He approaches the chess board as if about to perform a sacrament, and when one watches his deep concentration at play, even his silence seems different from the silence of the others.  -  (on Portisch)  -  Grigor Piatigorsky


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.  -  Max Euwe


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 up to any task the world of his opponents may present him.  - (on Reshevsky)  -  Max Euwe


Reti is the only grandmaster whose moves are often completely unexpected to me.  -  Alexander Alekhine


Reti is a brilliant type of artist, who battles not so much with his opponents, as with himself, with his own ideals and doubts.  - Alexander Alekhine


Reti studies mathematics although he is not a dry mathematician; represents Vienna without being Viennese; was born in old Hungary yet he does not know Hungarian; speaks uncommonly rapidly only in order to act all the more maturely and deliberately; and will yet become the best chessplayer without, however, becoming world champion.  -  Savielly Tartakower


It is unfortunate for Mr. Staunton's reputation that the plea of bad health was so frequently used by him when opponents appeared, more especially as he is the first to ridicule such an excuse when coming from others.  -  Frederick Milne Edge


We must be on guard for the future how we proclaim as our 'champion' a gentleman who 'retires into private life' the moment a formidable rival appears.  -  (on Staunton's evasion of Morphy)  -  Schack


Spielmann is, in fact, the hardest-working of all the masters, continually searching out the flaws in his game and striving to eliminate them.  -  Aaron Nimzowitsch


The chief characteristics of Geller's creativity are an amazing ability to extract the very maximum from the opening and a readiness to abandon positional schemes for an open game rife with combinations, or vice-versa, at any moment.  -  David Bronstein


As to me, to be quite honest I feel rather ill at ease because against me Benko plays calmly and clearly.  -  Tigran Petrosian


… it is Bird we love. His victories glitter, his errors are magnificent. - H.G. Wells


He was a figure one would least expect to encounter at a chess tournament. Much more likely one could see him as presiding judge of a court, or delivering a philosophy lecture, or in Parliament, depending on the garment he would be wearing.  -  (on Donner)  -  Grigor Piatigorsky