Alekhine quotes

by Bill Wall


“I do not play chess – I fight at chess.  Therefore, I willingly combine the tactical with the strategic, the fantastic with the scientific, the combinative with the positional, and I aim to respond to the demands of each given position.” – Carlsbad, 1923


“The tournament [Baden-Baden] showed me that I was stronger than all the masters who played in it… From the standpoint of general chess technique and methods, I already am full equal with Capablanca’s strength.” – Baden-Baden, 1925


“For my victory over Capablanca, I am indebted primarily to my superiority in the field of psychology.” – Buenos Aires, 1927


“Psychology is the most important factor in chess.  My success [beating Capablanca] was solely to my superiority in the sense of psychology.” – Paris, 1928


“For success I consider that three factors are necessary: firstly, an awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses; secondly, an accurate understanding of my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses; thirdly, a higher aim than momentary satisfaction.  I see the aim as being scientific and artistic achievements, which place the game of chess on a par with other arts.” – Germany, 1929


“Chess, like other arts, must be practiced to be appreciated.” – Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1929


“I do not believe that chess needs any change at present, as it holds new wonders, and will continue to do so for years to come.” Kashdan interview, 1933


When asked to show his passport at the Polish border, Alekhine responded, “I am Alekhine, chess champion of the world.  This is my cat.  Her name is Chess.  I need no passport.” – Poland, 1935


“A lifetime in not enough to learn everything about chess.” – BBC, 1938


“I think the ideal chess player is born. Of course, I look upon chess as an art, and just as you cannot make a great painter or a musician, unless the gifts of painting or music are innate in a person, so also I believe that for anyone to become outstanding at chess the ability must be born with the player. There is something much more in championship chess than just following the somewhat limited rules of the game. To play a really good chess, you must have vision. Vision is something of the same way that a creative artist must have if he would lift his performance out of the common realm.” – BBC, 1938


“I lost my title in 1935 through underestimating my opponent.  I admit that it was a great mistake.” – Madrid, 1941


“Chess has been a minor factor in my life.  It gave me the opportunity to further an ambition and at the same time convinced me of the futility of the ambition.  Today, I continue to play chess because it occupies my mind and keeps me from brooding and remembering.” – Portugal, 1944


“Having devoted my life to chess, I have never been concerned in anything not concerned with my profession.”  Sunday Chronicle, 1945 (written by Alekhine in Madrid)


“The impression that, on ending up in a bad position, I can always think up some unexpected combination and with the help of it, escape from all my difficulties.”


“Chess first of all teaches you to be objective. “ - Alekhine

“Chess for me is not a game, but an art. Yes, and I take upon myself all those responsibilities which an art imposes on its adherents. “ - Alekhine

“Chess is not only knowledge and logic. “ - Alekhine

“I believe that true beauty of chess is more than enough to satisfy all possible demands. “ - Alekhine

“I have had to work long and hard to eradicate the dangerous delusion that, in a bad position, I could always, or nearly always, conjure up some unexpected combination to extricate me from my difficulties.” - Alekhine

“I think that for the highest achievements nowadays... need to have the stable as a rock scientific base. And also need to own modesty. “ - Alekhine

“In my opinion, a master is morally obliged to seize every sort of opportunity and to try to solve the problems of the position without fear of some simplifications.” - Alekhine

“The fact that a player is very short of time is, to my mind, as little to be considered an excuse as, for instance, the statement of the law-breaker that he was drunk at the time he committed the crime.” – Alekhine


"Lasker has been my teacher all my life. But for him I would not be what I am. His book on the Petersburg tournament of 1909 has been a sort of catechism for me all my life. I have studied again and again, every one of the ideas with me day and night. The very idea of chess as an art form would be unthinkable without Emanuel Lasker." – Alekhine