Strategy

 

I can’t count the times I have lagged seemingly hopelessly far behind, and nobody except myself thinks I can win. But I have pulled myself in from desperate [situations]. When you are behind there are two strategies – counter-attack or all men to the defences. I’m good at finding the right balance between those.  -  Magnus Carlsen

 

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.  -  Tigran Petrosian

 

The worst enemy of the strategist is the clock. Time trouble ... Reduces us all to pure reflex and reaction, tactical play. Emotion and instinct cloud our strategic vision when there is no time for proper evaluation.  -   Garry Kasparov

 

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?  -  Tigran Petrosian

 

Try to play after your opponent has eaten or drunk freely. - Luis Ramírez de Lucena (c. 1465 – c.1530)

 

Place the board so that the sun is in your opponent’s eyes. -  Ruy Lopez de Segura (c 1530 - 1580)

 

First restrain, next blockade, lastly destroy. - Aron Nimzowitsch

 

When you trade, the key concern is not always the value of the pieces being exchanged, but what's left on the board. - Dan Heisman

 

When everything on the board is clear it can be so difficult to conceal your thoughts from your opponent.  -  David Bronstein

 

The tactician must know what to do whenever something needs doing;the strategist must know what to do when nothing needs doing.  -  Savielly Tartakower

 

While forced play winds through a labyrinth of variations like Ariadne's thread, you have to go in this direction.  -  Igor Zaitsev

 

It is dangerous to maintain equality at the cost of placing the pieces passively.  -  Anatoly Karpov

 

Play on both sides of the board is my favourite strategy.  - Alexander Alekhine

 

One charming characteristic of many flank attacks I could mention is that they do not very often lead to simplification: if the attack is parried, there usually are still opportunities left for initiating action in another sector.  -  Bent Larsen

 

Strategically important points should be overprotected. If the pieces are so engaged, they get their regard in the fact that they will then find themselves well posted in every respect.  -  Aron Nimzowitsch

 

If in a battle, I seize a bit of debatable land with a handful of soldiers, without having done anything to prevent an enemy bombardment of the position, would it ever occur to me to speak of a conquest of the terrain in question? Obviously not. Then why should I do so in chess?  -  Aron Nimzowitsch

 

When I today ask myself whence I got the moral courage, for it takes moral courage to make a move (or form a plan) running counter to all tradition, I think I may say in answer, that it was only my intense preoccupation with the problem of the blockade which helped me to do so.  -  Aron Nimzowitsch

 

Attack! Always Attack!  -  Adolf Anderssen

 

The infallible criterion by which to distinguish the true from the would-be strategist is the degree of originality of his conceptions. It makes little difference whether this originality is carried to excess, as was the case with Steinitz and Nimzowitsch.  -  Alexander Alekhine

 

During a chess tournament a master must envisage himself as a cross between an ascetic monk and a beast of prey.  -  Alexander Alekhine

 

Playing for complications is an extreme measure that a player should adopt only when he cannot find a clear and logical plan.  - Alexander Alekhine

 

It is better to follow out a plan consistently even if it isn't the best one than to play without a plan at all. The worst thing is to wander about aimlessly.  -  Alexander Kotov

 

Once we have chosen the right formation in the centre we have created opportunities for our pieces and laid the foundation of subsequent victory.  -  Alexander Kotov

 

I often play a move I know how to refute.  -  Bent Larsen

 

Concentrate on material gains. Whatever your opponent gives you take, unless you see a good reason not to.  -  Bobby Fischer

 

I maintain that in every position that arises, we should deliberately search, among other things, for pieces which have no retreat. If we see one, we automatically look to see if it can be netted.  -  C.J.S. Purdy

 

To free your game, take off some of your adversary's men - if possible, for nothing.  -  Captain Bertin

 

When you play against an experienced opponent who exploits all the defensive resources at his command you sometimes have to walk time and again, along the narrow path of 'the only move'. - David Bronstein

 

You must be able to handle a variety of move orders during the first 5-6 moves - otherwise you'll find yourself 'tricked' time and time again.  -  Edmar Mednis

 

Only play into a variation in which your opponent is strong if you have your own personal novelty ready!  -  Edmar Mednis

 

When you see a good move, look for a better one.  -  Emanuel Lasker

 

The process of making pieces in Chess do something useful (whatever it may be) has received a special name: it is called the attack. The attack is that process by means of which you remove obstructions.  -  Emanuel Lasker

 

To find the right plan is just as hard as looking for its sound justification.  -  Emanuel Lasker

 

It is not a move, even the best move that you must seek, but a realizable plan.  -  Eugene Znosko-Borovsky

 

A bad plan is better than none at all.  -  Frank Marshall

 

The hardest part of chess is winning a won game.  -  Frank Marshall

 

When your house is on fire, you can’t be bothered with the neighbors. Or, as we say in chess, if your King is under attack, don't worry about losing a pawn on the queenside.  -  Garry Kasparov

 

If once a man delays castling and his king remains in the center, files will open up against him, bishops sweep the board, rooks will dominate the seventh rank, and pawns turn into queens.  -  Irving Chernev

 

Play the move that forces the win in the simplest way. Leave the brilliancies to Alekhine, Keres and Tal.  -  Irving Chernev

 

Half the variations which are calculated in a tournament game turn out to be completely superfluous. Unfortunately, no one knows in advance which half.  -  Jan Timman

 

Daring ideas are like Chess men moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.  -  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has to play the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position.  -  John Watson

 

If a ruler does not understand Chess, how can he rule over a kingdom?  -  King Khusros II AD 580 - 628

 

The proper timing of an attacking plan is a difficult matter which places great strain on a player's nerves. Mastery of this art is required for success in the international arena, but perfect mastery eludes even the very best chessplayers!  -  Leonid Shamkovich

 

An eye for the microscope betokens the master.  -  Georg Marco

 

Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation.  - Max Euwe

 

Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one's opponent will never become a good chess player. -  Max Euwe

 

As long as my opponent has not yet castled, on each move I seek a pretext for an offensive. Even when I realize that the king is not in danger.  -  Mikhail Tal

 

Modern chess is too concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it, checkmate ends the game.  -  Nigel Short

 

When you defend, try not to worry or become upset. Keep your cool and trust your position - it's all you've got.  -  Pal Benko

 

An innovation need not be especially ingenious, but it must be well worked out.  -  Paul Keres

 

Help your pieces so they can help you.  -  Paul Morphy

 

In the opening a master should play like a book, in the mid-game he should play like a magician, in the ending he should play like a machine.  -  Rudolph Spielmann

 

A plan is made for a few moves only, not for the whole game.  - Rueben Fine

 

The first principle of attack - don't let the enemy develop !  -  Rueben Fine

 

The first essential for an attack is the will to attack.  -  Savielly Tartakower

 

Weak points or holes in the opponent's position must be occupied by pieces, not pawns.  -  Siegbert Tarrasch

 

If the defender is forced to give up the center, then every possible attack follows almost of itself.  -  Siegbert Tarrasch

 

Every move creates a weakness.  -  Siegbert Tarrasch

 

Turning chess into poker and hoping for a "bluff" is not one of my convictions.  -  Tigran Petrosian

 

Only the player with the initiative has the right to attack.  - Wilhelm Steinitz

 

Capture of the adverse King is the ultimate but not the first object of the game.  -  Wilhelm Steinitz

 

The task of the positional player is systematically to accumulate slight advantages and try to convert temporary advantages into permanent ones, otherwise the player with the better position runs the risk of losing it.  -  Wilhelm Steinitz

 

Just as it is wrong to work on chess by studying only the first 10-15 moves, so it is wrong to play one and the same opening system, even though it be rich in variations and nuances.  -  Yefim Geller

 

The choice of opening, whether to aim for quiet or risky play, depends not only on the style of a player, but also on the disposition with which he sits down at the board.  -  Yefim Geller

 

Repeating moves in an ending can be very useful. Apart from the obvious gain of time on the clock one notices that the side with the advantage gains psychological benefit.  -  Sergey Belavenets

 

Chess strategy as such today is still in its diapers, despite Tarrasch's statement 'We live today in a beautiful time of progress in all fields'. Not even the slightest attempt has been made to explore and formulate the laws of chess strategy.  -   1925  -  Aron Nimzowitsch

 

When Alekhine recognizes the weakness in his position he has a tendency to become very aggressive. Patient defence is not for him if he can see the slightest chance of creating an attack. Yet sound strategy often demands that you submit to the opponent's will so as to strengthen your weaknesses and get rid of defects in your game.  -  Emanuel Lasker

 

However hopeless the situation appears to be there yet always exists the possibility of putting up a stubborn resistance.  -  Paul Keres