#1: Sherwin slid the Rook here with his pinky, as if to emphasize the cunning of this mysterious move.
Bobby Fischer on Fischer - Sherwin, New Jersey Open 1957
#2: It was this position which Geller saw in my room that morning. And yet 25 moves have already been made!
Lev Polugaevsky on Polugaevsky-Tal, Soviet Championship 1969
#3: I often tell my students that good players are like monsters from horror movies. You can shoot them and stab them but they won't lie down and even after they are confirmed dead they keep coming after you. So never relax!
#4: The position is now objectively drawn, but I was very determined to win. My long-term plan consisted of winning the a-pawn, winning the bishop for my pawn and, eventually, winning with rook and bishop against rook. Let us evaluate the position. I will not win the a-pawn, I will not win the bishop and, even if I did, the position would still be a theoretical draw. That would be the objective evaluation.
Real life experience, however, tells us something completely different ....
Jacob Aagaard on Aagaard-van der Berg, Wijk aan Zee 2001
#5: Oh no, not a rook ending. I hate these rook endings, just so you know.
Jesper Hall on Salov-Gligoric, Belgrade 1987
#6: White’s control of the position is so great that he could inscribe his initials on the board with his king if he wanted.
Michael Stean on Botvinnik-Szilagyi, Amsterdam 1966
#7: This is probably the best move in the position if you are of equal strength to your opponent but ... it is often in the stronger player's interest to exchange bishop for knight ....
Jacob Aagaard on Shliperman-Yermolinsky, Philadelphia 1997
#8: If you play the Dutch you have to accept the element of risk. Some years ago I heard a young player moaning to British GM Jonathan Mestel that he had played the risky Sicilian Dragon and been wiped off the board. Mestel, himself a Dragon aficionado replied calmly ‘think of all the draws you have avoided by playing the Dragon’
Neil McDonald on the Dutch Defence
#9: This is the privilege of the attacking player in these situations. Before trying his main winning try, Miles first goes around in circles, giving his opponent maximum opportunity to go wrong.
John Emms on Matulovic-Miles, Birmingham 1975
#10: Thomas Ernst was a big expert on the Dragon, but it was also in my repertoire, so I decided to play it anyway "to learn something". The main thing I learned was not to be naive.
Jacob Aagaard on Ernst - Aagaard, Copenhagen 1991
#11: Were White to play, he would immediately draw after 1 Kg3 and 2 h3.
Jesus de la Villa
#12: At first sight a strong move, but the knight only looks good on d5.
Ivan Cheparinov on Polgar - Topalov, San Luis 2005
#13: The Classical Dutch is a pretty rare bird these days. According to Jan Pinski's 2002 book on the opening (Classical Dutch, Everyman £14.99), I am just about the only top player who would consider playing it. If so, it is in need of new advocates because I abandoned it years ago. Having said that, it is only a little dubious, rather than plain unsound. Furthermore, few White players are familiar with its subtleties.
Nigel Short on Ward - Williams, British Championships 2004
#14: This move, suggested by Hort, was specially prepared by Korchnoi before this match. The plan is to cramp Black's queenside pawns.
Ray Keene on Korchnoi - Spassky (7), Belgrade 1977
#15: Here I had a long think.
Jon Speelman on Speelman - Sokolov. A, Brussels
#16: An important branch of endings of this type is the endgame with the BP and RP pair, which as been met repeatedly in tournament practice. When Marshall drew such an ending at San Sebastian in 1911 against Rubinstein, theoreticians set about a detailed analysis of it. Spielmann, Rabinovich, Belavenets, Maizelis, Zek, Keres and finally Botvinnik together with Ragozin and Flohr discovered many interesting ideas. All the same, far from everything is clear in the assessment of this ending.
Levenfish and Smyslov on rook plus f&h pawns against rook
#17: The tablebase tells us the fastest win starts with 82 Rg7, from a human point of view of course 82 Re7 is much more sensible, preventing the Black king from joining the action.
Jonathan Hawkins on Alekhine - Capablanca, Buenos Aires World Championship 1927
#18: Although it is fairly frequent, even masters go astray: in 1931 Capablanca won two games with it despite the fact that a "book" draw has been reached.
Reuben Fine on the short-side defence
#19: After this move the endgame is drawn according to FinalGen program.
Alex Baburin on Carlsen - Kramnik, Tal Memorial (Blitz) 2013
#20: After Hsu's 24 Kh2, I understand why Alekhine sometimes 'improved' his games by substituting the brilliant finish he had foreseen for the mundane conclusion which actually occurred.
John Nunn on Hsu - Nunn, Manila Olympiad 1992
#21: We're going to join the game forty moves later ....
Jeremy James on Larsen - Donner, Master Game 1980
#22: Either Euwe had not time left to think, or else he considered he could draw as he pleased; in any case, he was not paying sufficient attention to his opponent's plan.
David Bronstein on Gligoric - Euwe, Zurich Candidates' 1953
#23: The interesting part is that White is not lost yet. By Rg8+ he still has an opportunity to save the game but in a more difficult way ... If you do not know the easy way, do not expect anything better the hard way.
[After another six moves] White resigned. He should not regret the loss of a half-point, since he did not deserve it anyway.
Nikolay Minev on Muldavanski - Pipkov, Bulgaria 1963
#24: ... before studying rook endings the reader should acquaint himself with the principles of pawn endings ....
Levenfish & Smyslov
#25: Tempting fate, inasmuch as White is presented with a typical exchange sacrifice opportunity.
Ray Keene on Keene - Toth, Rome 1979
#26: (!!) At many levels, this is undoubtedly a great sacrifice. However, a more human line would be 22 Qe1 Bc2, 23 Bxc6 Qxc6, 24 Qxe5 [White is clearly better]
Viktor Moskalenko on Feller - Williams, Novi Sad, 2009
#27: The triumph of good development and precise play. With an extra pawn and the better position, the rest is a matter of technique.
Miguel Najdorf on Reshevsky - Kotov, Zurich 1953
#28: ... that’s probably a move you’d like to try in blitz
Fabiano Caruana on Carlsen - Anand, Sochi World Championship Match 2014 (11)
#29: A normal exchange sacrifice ....
Botterill and Keene on Spassky - Fischer, Reykjavik World Championship Match 1972 (17)
#30: But why ... err what, err why are you winning?
Yasser Seirawan on Ivanchuk - Jobava, Wijk 2015
#31: The game was adjourned here (remember adjournments, anyone?) and I sealed 57 Kd1.
... now I seemed to hold: 57 ... Kd3 58 Ke1 e2 59 g5 fxg5 60 g4 Ke3 leads to a real stalemate, while 60 ... Ke4 61 Kxe2 Kf4 62 Kf2 Kxg4 63 Kg2 gains White the opposition and draws.
I knew this couldn’t be correct. Korchnoi had played too quickly and confidently and the position didn’t look like it should be a draw. Before leaving the table, Korchnoi looked at me and said, 'I know something about triangles.' I was lost in more ways than one, because I still didn’t see the win. Fortunately Dmitry Gurevich, who was 'classically trained' in the endgame (i.e. he grew up in the Soviet Union) showed me the potential finale ...
I ran after Korchnoi and resigned, apologising profusely for my ignorance. Quite perplexed, Korchnoi told me, 'It is the ABCs of chess!'
Joel Benjamin on Benjamin - Korchnoi, Jerusalem 1986
#32: Only a player with complete confidence in his understanding of pawn endings should consider this move
Joel Benjamin on Al-Rakib Abdulla - Short, Dhaka 1999
#33: While some of the players of the twenties might just have played Black’s first four moves I don’t think anyone but a modern - not even Nimzowitsch - would have played ... P-KR4 so early. Black is fixing his grip on KB4 for his knight and the blocked position means that the loss of time does not matter.
C. H. O’D. Alexander on Honfi - Gurgenidze, Kislovodsk 1968
"My sort" of chess: And so I awoke with a thirst for battle, but not a reckless battle, but one prepared beforehand, like a decisive encounter in a war. Hence the stages in my opening preparation, carried out on the morning of the game.
First I had to decide the question: should I play what I normally play, or should I try to surprise my opponent with my choice of opening? My second made his recommendations to me on both possibilities, and we began considering opening with the king's pawn. In its favour, apart from its surprise value, was the fact that after 1. e4 Portisch feels much less confident...
"But if it should be a Lopez, what then?" I asked dubiously.
"Play the Italian Game!"
"But I never played it even as a child!"
"So much the better! Portisch plays only the variation with ...Bc5."
And I was shown a multitude of variations of primordial antiquity, which had been worked out taking Portisch’s games into account...
I hesitated, and was all ready to agree, when I suddenly sensed: this is no way to play! This is not the way to plan a decisive battle. After all, if I were to fail to gain an advantage from the opening, I would not forgive myself for having betrayed "my sort" of chess.
Lev Polugayevsky on Polugayevsky-Portisch, Petropolis Interzonal 1973
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