Theory

 

Nowadays games immediately appear on the Internet and thus the life of novelties is measured in hours. Modern professionals do not have the right to be forgetful - it is 'life threatening'. - Garry Kasparov

 

In almost any position the boundless possibilities of chess enable a new or at least a little-studied continuation to be found.  -  Tigran Petrosian

 

The 'classical' starting position is very harmonious and when you play the random version I felt the positions tend to lead to wing games. You are developing your bishops all the time and the battle becomes rather slow and consequently dynamism is lost. (on FischerRandom)  -  Helgi Olafsson

 

The proponents of Steinitz' theory - Tarrasch and his supporters - tried to express Steinitz' teaching in the form of laconic rules, and as often happens in such cases, they went too far. The laconic tended to become dogmatic, and chess began to lose its freshness, originality and charm.  -  Alexander Kotov

 

Most of all I like "bad" lines, that is those considered bad, in my opinion unjustly, by theory. The reason for the last quotation marks is that most so-called theory is only a collection of examples from master practice.  -  Bent Larsen

 

In chess so much depends on opening theory, so the champions before the last century did not know as much as I do and other players do about opening theory. So if you just brought them back from the dead they wouldn’t do well. They’d get bad openings.  - Bobby Fischer

 

The young people have read my book. Now I have no chance.  - Efim Bogolubow

 

Show me three variations in the leading handbook on the openings, and I will show you two of those three that are defective.  -  Emanuel Lasker

 

… Tarrasch's 'dogmas' are not eternal truisms, but merely instructional material presented in an accessible and witty form, those necessary rudiments from which one can begin to grasp the secrets of chess …  -  Garry Kasparov

 

Chess books should be used as we use glasses: to assist the sight, although some players make use of them as if they conferred sight. -  Jose Capablanca

 

Every great master will find it useful to have his own theory on the openings, which only he himself knows, a theory which is closely linked with plans for the middle game.  -  Mikhail Botvinnik

 

Memorization of variations could be even worse than playing in a tournament without looking in the books at all.  -  Mikhail Botvinnik

 

It must be clearly understood that Soviet players do not seek simple systems in the opening, but try to formulate opening systems in which everything is complicated, distinctive, or new.  -  Mikhail Botvinnik

 

Not infrequently … the theoretical is a synonym of the stereotyped. For the 'theoretical' in chess is nothing more than that which can be found in the textbooks and to which players try to conform because they cannot think up anything better or equal, anything original.  -  Mikhail Chigorin

 

It is the aim of the modern school, not to treat every position according to one general law, but according to the principle inherent in the position.  -  Richard Reti

 

It is said that an ounce of common sense can outweigh a ton of 'variations'.  -  Savielly Tartakower

 

Lasker thought that his rationalism rendered him immune from the surprises of chess theory.  -  Savielly Tartakower

 

Despite the development of chess theory, there is much that remains secret and unexplored in chess.  -  Vasily Smyslov

 

No matter how much theory progresses, how radically styles change, chess play is inconceivable without tactics.  -  Samuel Reshevsky

 

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  -  Aaron Nimzowitsch

 

Ninety percent of the book variations have no great value, because either they contain mistakes or they are based on fallacious assumptions; just forget about the openings and spend all that time on the endings.  -  Jose Capablanca

 

On several occasions I have watched foreign grandmasters annotating games for Chess Informator (they were paid fifteen US dollars per game at the time). They would take a pen and a piece of paper, and within a few minutes they would put all the signs beside the moves and hand the paper in.  -  Liu Wenzhe

 

The true value of opening theory is not generally understood. Studying the opening to such a degree that one may reel off a dozen or 20 moves by rote is, above all, an aid to digestion. Some tournament organisers, for reasons best known to themselves, insist on starting play in the very early afternoon. This presents a stark choice: forgo lunch, risk indigestion by attempting to think too soon after a meal, or rely on opening theory until the meal is digested.  - (in column for The Independent)  -  Colonel Walter Polhill