Openings

 

I remember being with a girlfriend who asked me to look over some chess openings with her. I instantly fell asleep. I found that I could always take a nap in any situation by just looking at some opening variation – my eyes would shut right away.  -  Pal Benko

 

By the time a player becomes a Grandmaster, almost all of his training time is dedicated to work on this first phase. The opening is the only phase that holds out the potential for true creativity and doing something entirely new.  -  Garry Kasparov

King's Gambit

 

What the devil possessed me to reply 1. ... e5?? I compltely forgot that Spassky, like Spielmann in the past, very much likes to play the King's Gambit. (on their famous game in the 1960 USSR Championship)  -  David Bronstein

 

Boris Vasilievich was the only top-class player of his generation who played gambits regularly and without fear ... Over a period of 30 years he did not lose a single game with the King's Gambit, and among those defeated were numerous strong players of all generations, from Averbakh, Bronstein and Fischer, to Seirawan.  -  Garry Kasparov

 

It doesn't require much for misfortune to strike in the King's Gambit - one incautious move, and Black can be on the edge of the abyss.  -  Anatoly Karpov

 

It is no secret that any talented player must in his soul be an artist, and what could be dearer to his heart and soul than the victory of the subtle forces of reason over crude material strength! Probably everyone has his own reason for liking the King`s Gambit, but my love for it can be seen in precisely those terms.  -  David Bronstein

 

It would be as naive to study the song of the nightingale, as it would be ridiculous to try and win a King's Gambit against a representative of the old chess guard.  -  David Bronstein

 

Theory regards this opening as incorrect, but it is impossible to agree with this. Out of the five tournament games played by me with the King's Gambit, I have won all five.  -  David Bronstein

 

By what right does White, in an absolutely even position, such as after move one, when both sides have advanced 1. e4, sacrifice a pawn, whose recapture is quite uncertain, and open up his kingside to attack? And then follow up this policy by leaving the check of the black queen open? None whatever !  -  Emanuel Lasker

 

Why are not more King's Gambits played nowadays? Well, in the first place, if you offfered the King's Gambit to a master, eight times out of ten he would decline it, either with 2. … d5 or 2. … Bc5.  -  1914  -  Frank Marshall

 

One of the advantages of the King's Gambit over other, more mundane openings, is that even when you lose it can occasionally be enjoyable.  -  Joe Gallagher

 

Today young people never play romantic openings like the King's Gambit ... They play without feeling. They only know what is written in books.  -  Karl Robatsch

 

The conflict between Black's activity and White's better structure is central to the modern approach to the King's Gambit.  -  Neil MacDonald

 

Even in the King's Gambit … White is no longer trying to attack at all costs. He has had to adapt his approach and look for moves with a solid positional foundation … As often as not, his strategy consists of stifling Black's activity and then winning in an endgame thanks to his superior pawn structure.  -  1998  -  Neil McDonald

 

Quite unique among chess openings, the King's gambit is especially apt for talent, for genius, for heroism.  -  Tony Santasiere

 

Imagine playing the King's Gambit in such a way as to accumulate small advantages! What will they think of next? I prefer the old-fashioned gambit. Let the King - both Kings - tremble with insecurity; and let us, by all means have a solid, spectacular checkmate!  -  Tony Santasiere

 

One of the advantages of playing the King's Gambit in modern times is that the average opponent knows little about the defense.  -  Tony Santasiere

 

Condemned by theory, the Allgaier, certainly one of the most romantic of gambits, is generally successful in practice (and yet so rarely played). Why does the defender often seem hypnotized, quite demoralized?  -  Tony Santasiere

 

King's Indian Defense

 

The KID is sort of back in fashion these days. For some reason, no one bothers to take it seriously and refute it once and for all. (2012)  -  Anish Giri

 

I dropped the King's Indian in 1997 after one too many bad experiences against Kramnik .  -  Garry Kasparov

 

GM Naiditsch reckoned that me playing the King's Indian against Anand was something akin to a samurai running at a machine gun with a sword. - Hikaru Nakamura

 

Live by the sword and die by the sword. Sometimes I wonder just how many of these games I can play in the KID before I die of a heart attack.  (after defeating Viswanathan Anand at The London Chess Classic 2011)  -  Hikaru Nakamura

 

Before Geller we did not understand the King's Indian Defence.  - Mikhail Botvinnik

 

Some pieces in the King's Indian appear on a 'special price' list: the dark square bishops are at the top of that list.  -  David Bronstein

 

Queens Gambit

 

The Queen's Gambit is like a piece of dead fish kept overlong on ice.  -  Tony Santasiere

 

The attack and defence emanating from this classical opening produce some of the most beautiful chess it is possible to obtain. The Queen's Gambit possesses the merit of being the soundest of all the openings.  -  Frank Marshall

 

Ruy Lopez

 

Never in the history of chess have so many moves been repeated so often so quickly by so many people who didn't really understand them. - Michael Stean

 

Playing black, I put great stake in the Ruy Lopez: I liked it, feel it, and understand it; in matches with Hjartarson and Timman it served me well. - on preparing for World Championship versus Garry Kasparov  -  Anatoly Karpov

 

An amusing fact: as far as I can recall, when playing the Ruy Lopez I have not yet once in my life had to face the Marshall Attack!  - Anatoly Karpov

 

Failing to open the center at the right moment - a common error by White in the Exchange Lopez - can allow Black an excellent game.  - Andy Soltis

 

In my opinion the Open variation is absolutely correct - and more interesting than the Closed.  -  Bent Larsen

 

Play the open variation of the Ruy is my advice to all ordinary club players, and I recently even wrote a book about it, seen from Black's point of view. Why does everybody try to copy the grandmasters' strange positional maneuvers in the 5. … B-K2 variation, instead of fighting for the in intiative?  -  Bent Larsen

 

Often, in the Ruy Lopez, one must be patient, wait and carry on a lengthy and wearisome struggle.  -  Boris Spassky

 

To prevent the threatened Marshall Gambit I always play this move. If Fischer on principle always allows the gambit, which has been revived by Spassky, I avoid it - also on principle!  -  upon playing 8.a4  -  Borislav Ivkov

 

This sacrifice of a pawn nowadays is only played for drawing purposes. Especially against the very strongest masters it has proved to be quite useful to this end.  -  1966 on the Marshall  -  Jan Hein Donner

 

All lines of play which lead to the imprisonment of the bishop are on principle to be condemned. (on the closed Ruy Lopez)  -  Siegbert Tarrasch

 

The Ruy Lopez occupied a constant place in my opening repertoire. In it is reflected the classical interpretation of the problem of the centre.  -  Vasily Smyslov

 

Sicilian Defense

 

Had I not played the Sicilian with Black I could have saved myself the trouble of studying for more than 20 years all the more popular lines of this opening, which comprise probably more than 25 percent of all published opening theory!  -  Bent Larsen

 

Having spent alarmingly large chunks of my life studying the white side of the Open Sicilian, I find myself asking, why did I bother?  - Daniel King

 

Black's d5-square is too weak.  -  (on the Dragon variation)  -  Ulf Andersson

 

The main line of the Yugoslav Attack has become just too vast for most players to study in depth, and anyone intending to venture into such tricky waters needs to have an intimate knowledge of all the hidden reefs.  -  John Nunn

 

Dutch Defense

 

Among top grandmasters the Dutch is a rare defense, which is good reason to play it! It has not been studied very deeply by many opponents, and theory, based on a small number of 'reliable' games, must be rather unreliable.  -  Bent Larsen

 

French Defense

 

I have never in my life played the French Defense, which is the dullest of all openings.  -  Wilhelm Steinitz

 

This is the most monotonous and annoying play you can imagine - it rarely gives rise to combinations of some interest.  -  Serafino Dubois