Psychology

 
Any experienced player knows how a change in the character of the play influences your psychological mood.  -  Garry Kasparov
 
The aim was simple: to deprive Karpov of his favourite occupation - standing at the board, staring straight at his opponent. While I was wearing these glasses, all he could admire was his own reflection.  -  Viktor Kortchnoi
 
My most difficult opponent is myself. When I am playing I often involuntarily make a world champion out of a candidate master.  -  Lev Polugaevsky
 
... Tal accepted absolutely all the world champion's conditions with a smile, taking away a very important psychological trump card from him - the harsh, prickly relations with his opponent that were characteristic of all Botvinnik's matches.  -  Genna Sosonko
 
Viewed in terms of psychoanalytic theory, the invention of chess expressed the triumph of secondary process thinking over the primary process. Actual warfare (is replaced by) a struggle which is organized, controlled, circumscribed and regulated. - Norman Reider
 
The psychological effects of having to hold a prospectless position for what might seem an infinite amount of time does nothing to aid the defender's concentration. - Michael Stean
 
Sometimes I even say that I have surpassed Lasker in using psychology. How? Well, sometimes I use psychology with a portion of risk. That is something else, something that Lasker wouldn`t allow.  -  Viktor Kortchnoi
 
How vain are our fears! I thought to myself. Sometimes we fear that which our opponent (or fate) had never even considered! After this, then, is it any longer worthwhile to rack one's brain to find new ghosts to fear? No, indeed: All hail optimism!  -  upon playing Hermanis Mattison after he overlooked an unusual knight manouevre.  -  Aaron Nimzowitsch
 
Question to Rubinstein: "Who is your opponent tonight?" Answer: "Tonight I am playing against the black pieces."  -  Akiba Rubinstein
 
For my victory over Capablanca I am indebted primarily to my superiority in the field of psychology. Capablanca played, relying almost exclusively on his rich intuitive talent. But for the chess struggle nowadays one needs a subtle knowledge of human nature, an understanding of the opponent's psychology.  -  Alexander Alekhine
 
(My first tournament victory) endowed me with a curious psychological weakness which I have had to work long and hard to eradicate - if indeed I have eradicated it! - the impression that I could always, or nearly always, when in a bad position, conjure up some unexpected combination to extricate me from my difficulties. A dangerous delusion.  -  Alexander Alekhine
 
Psychology is the most important factor in chess.  -  Alexander Alekhine
 
You must not let your opponent know how you feel.  -  Alexander Kotov
 
Could we look into the head of a Chess player, we should see there a whole world of feelings, images, ideas, emotion, and passion.  -  Alfred Binet
 
All that matters on the chessboard is good moves.  -  Bobby Fischer
 
I don't believe in psychology. I believe in good moves.  -  Bobby Fischer
 
I like the moment when I break a man's ego.  -  Bobby Fischer
 
I like to make them squirm.  -  Bobby Fischer
 
Psychologically, you have to have confidence in yourself and this confidence should be based on fact.  -  Bobby Fischer
 
Nowadays grandmasters no longer study their opponent's games so much, but they study his character, his behaviour and his temperament in the most thorough fashion.  -  David Bronstein
 
One of the objectives of opening play is to try to surprise your opponent.  -  Edmar Mednis
 
He who has a slight disadvantage plays more attentively, inventively and more boldly than his antagonist who either takes it easy or aspires after too much. Thus a slight disadvantage is very frequently seen to convert into a good, solid advantage.  -  Emanuel Lasker
 
With each success the ability to change is reduced. My longtime friend and coach, Grandmaster Yuri Dokhoian, aptly compared it to being dipped in bronze. Each victory added another coat.  -  Garry Kasparov
 
Few things are as psychologically brutal as chess.  -  Garry Kasparov
 
You can't overestimate the importance of psychology in chess, and as much as some players try to downplay it, I believe that winning requires a constant and strong psychology not just at the board but in every aspect of your life.  -  Garry Kasparov
 
Never make a good move too soon.  -  James Mason
 
I love all positions. Give me a difficult positional game, I will play it. But totally won positions, I cannot stand them  -  Jan Hein Donner
 
If your opponent cannot do anything active, then don't rush the position; instead you should let him sit there, suffer, and beg you for a draw.  -  Jeremy Silman
 
Most strong players are completely self-centered…. They are blind to how other people feel or else simply don't care.  -  Joel Lautier
 
When you sit down to play a game you should think only about the position, but not about the opponent. Whether chess is regarded as a science, or an art, or a sport, all the same psychology bears no relation to it and only stands in the way of real chess.  -  Jose Capablanca
 
As a chess player one has to be able to control one’s feelings, one has to be as cold as a machine.  -  Levon Aronian
 
I am trying to beat the guy sitting across from me and trying to choose the moves that are most unpleasant for him and his style.  - Magnus Carlsen
 
It is very important to learn to weigh up objectively (or assess intuitively) the totality of the competitive and psychological factors. -  Mark Dvoretsky
 
Emotional instability can be one of the factors giving rise to a failure by chess players in important duels. Under the influence of surging emotions (and not necessarily negative ones) we sometimes lose concentration and stop objectively evaluating the events that are taking place on the board.  -  Mark Dvoretsky
 
You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.  -  Mikhail Tal
 
I believe most definitely that one must not only grapple with the problems on the board, one must also make every effort to combat the thoughts and will of the opponent.  -  Mikhail Tal
 
Naturally, the psychological susceptibility of a match participant is significantly higher than a participant in a tournament, since each game substantially changes the over-all position.  -  Mikhail Tal
 
… on the right occasion a bold choice of opening can unnerve even the most steely opponent.  -  Neil McDonald
 
If your opponent offers you a draw, try to work out why he thinks he's worse off.  -  Nigel Short
 
There is no doubt that Bronstein's shrewd understanding of chess psychology was crucial to his success. Without it, his impetuous style and technical flaws might have relegated him to a minor career.  -  Pal Benko
 
Sometimes players need to gain time on the clock by repeating the position, but most often its purpose is to wear down the opponent psychologically.  -  Pal Benko
 
I had a slightly inferior endgame that probably should have been drawn, but Kortchnoi kept torturing me with little threats until finally, exhausted and exasperated, I made a losing mistake.  -  Pal Benko
 
There is nothing wrong with trying to exploit the natural human tendency to become impatient when forced to play a boring position. -  Pal Benko
 
A man that will take back a move at chess will pick a pocket.  - Richard Fenton
 
Sit your opponent with the sun in his eyes.  -  1561  -  Ruy Lopez
 
Mistrust is the most necessary characteristic of the chess player.  - Siegbert Tarrasch
 
Psychologically, the choice of an appropriate opening is of the utmost importance for a player's success in a tournament.   - Savielly Tartakower
 
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.  -  Tigran Petrosian
 
In chess, as in life, a man is his own most dangerous opponent.  - Vasily Smyslov
 
It is important that you don’t let your opponent impose his style of play on you. A part of that begins mentally. At the chessboard if you start blinking every time he challenges you then in a certain sense you are withdrawing. That is very important to avoid.  - Viswanathan Anand
 
Psychology plays a big part but I always say psychology will only be a differentiator when the players are of equal technical strength. -  Viswanathan Anand
 
Part of my preparation for the World Champion match against Kasparov was to be ready for his off-board tactics. I did not to react to them at all. Once you start thinking about these things during the game, even analysing them, you’re caught.  -  Vladimir Kramnik
 
How come the little things bother you when you are in a bad position? They don't bother you in good positions.  -  Yasser Seirawan
 
It is impossible to ignore a highly important factor of the chess struggle - psychology.  -  Yuri Averbakh
 
Look at the catastrophic record Vishy Anand has against Garry Kasparov. Kasparov managed to beat him almost everywhere they played, even though Vishy Anand has belonged to the absolute top players in the world for fifteen years. This difference cannot be explained purely in chess terms, there must have been some psychology.  -  Vladimir Kramnik