In general I consider that in chess everything rests on tactics. If one thinks of strategy as a block of marble, then tactics are the chisel with which a master operates, in creating works of chess art.
If it is true that a player's style is his person, then everyone plays as he is intended to by nature. I am naturally cautious, and I altogether dislike situations which involve risk.
It is asserted that my favourite player is Capablanca. They have even pinned a label on me: "follower of the Capablanca style". In fact, for me there cannot exist any one idol in principle. Thus if I were to name a few names, I would give Nimzowitsch, Capablanca and Rubinstein.
I repeat, that the first and main difficulty in making a positional exchange sacrifice is a psychological caution: after all, you have to give up a rook for a minor piece. The second difficulty is that the exchange is given up when this is not forced by circumstances. Therefore you must anticipate beforehand, in good time, how events will develop and take the necessary measures.
I played the strongest chess of my career in the period from 1958 to 1963, i.e. In the years when I was fighting for the chess crown. I was inspired by the struggle itself, but when a person has achieved his desire, his ardour cools. This is inevitable. As you grow older you become sated, and the sharpness of your feelings is gradually erased.
Yes, perhaps I like defending more than attacking, but who has demonstrated that defence is a less risky and dangerous occupation than attack? And are there so few games that have found their way into the treasury of chess thanks to a virtuoso defence?
In almost any position the boundless possibilities of chess enable a new or at least a little-studied continuation to be found.
What I value more than anything in chess is logic. I am firmly convinced that in chess there is nothing accidental. This is my credo. I believe only in logical, "correct" play.
They knock me for my draws, for my style, they knock me for everything I do.
As to me, to be quite honest I feel rather ill at ease because against me Benko plays calmly and clearly. - (on opponent Pal Benko)
… today many players, especially young ones, think that the older openings are so thoroughly analysed that nothing more can be tried. This is a serious mistake. The methods of positional play become deeper and finer each year. Being well acquainted with them it is possible even in openings which seem to be fully explored to find ways to create a real fight.
Turning chess into poker and hoping for a 'bluff' is not one of my convictions.
It is easy to play against the young players, for me they are like an open book.
The criterion of real strength is a deep penetration into the secrets of a position.
Even the most distinguished players have in their careers experienced severe disappointments due to ignorance of the best lines or suspension of their own common sense.
Oh, those exclamation points! How they erode the innocent soul of the amateur, removing all hope of allowing him to examine another player's ideas critically!
Occasionally an opening is used against an opponent who is known to favour it himself. The idea is to force him to fight against his own weapons, when he will have to face not only real dangers but very often imaginary ones as well.
In some places words have been replaced by symbols which, like amulets from a witch's bag, have the power to consume the living spirit of chess.
Fischer is the first big-time professional in chess, and, in order to achieve success, he will resort to any means.
If Petrosian played more boldly, he would be the strongest player in the world. (1962) - Booby Fischer
If we look in chess history for a 'double' of Petrosian, we arrive at Capablanca. Petrosian is not a tiger that pounces on its prey, but rather a python, that smothers its victim, or a a crocodile, waiting for hours for a convenient moment to land a decisive blow. - Max Euwe
My games with the 9th world champion broadened my understanding of chess. Had it not been for these two defeats, I would possibly not have reached the top in chess. - Garry Kasparov
Petrosian possesses a distinctive chess talent. Like Tal, he does not aim to play "by position", as it was understood earlier. But whereas Tal aimed to obtain dynamic positions, Petrosian created positions where events developed as though in a slow-motion film. - Mikhail Botvinnik
He is a fine and warm person who carries his responsible and high position as Champion of the World with great weight and dignity. - Gregor Piatigorsky
Nobody likes to play a quiet positional game against the world champion. - Jan Hein Donner
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. - Mikhail Botvinnik
Now how the hell can I be Petrosian's second if it makes me sick to watch how he plays? - Victor Kortchnoi
One cannot help but admire the devilish determination and ingenuity of this man. - Victor Kortchnoi