21 Brilliant Garry Kasparov Quotes Transcending the Game of Chess

Garry Kasparov is considered the best chess player of all time, he is the former world champion and now holds the prestigious title of Grand Master. Which is not an easy feat – especially for someone with an IQ of ”only” 135. For reference, Kasparov’s protégé Magnus Carlsen has a reported IQ of 190, and Bill Gates who was beaten by Carlsen in a matter of seconds during a friendly match on a Norwegian tv-show, is tested at 160.

So in order to become the best of all time, Kasparov’s understanding of the game had to be exceptional. One could even say that it has reached a level where it’s not even about chess anymore. But about psychology. Life. And about anticipating the future, while at the same time changing it.

What this means is that if you take Kasparov’s advice on chess one step further, everything he speaks about has an almost linear analogy to be made to business and to choices in life. From how to evaluate any given situation and deciding whether to apply a strategy or a tactic, via the psychology of who you are, to growing faster by playing with real physical pieces as opposed to online games – effectively making it easier for you to bridge the gap between thought and the physical world.

These profound Garry Kasparov quotes transcend the game of chess, and help you hone your ability to see what’s in front of you, anticipate what’s coming, and create your own way to win.

“Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Tactical solutions are something immediate, almost instantaneous. We assume it’s sharp. […] Something that disturbs the balance of the position, and you can see an immediate outcome. Strategy is of course more long term. So strategy is seeing the outcome of slow maneuvers, and also anticipating what you can do to disturb your opponent’s plans.”

– Garry Kasparov

“When you look at the position you need to identify, first of all, whether this position requires tactical solutions. Or if you have to forget about tactics for a while, not to push too hard, not to rush, and to start playing positionally, building it up, and of course watching for opportunities if the opponent gives you such a chance.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Aggressive decisions playing the big picture and a dynamic style […] or cautious, very vigilant, playing a slower game, gaining small advantages and waiting for the opponents mistakes […]. There is nothing wrong with either approach. It’s very important to realize that no matter what you do, it should fit your personality.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Don’t try to play the game that goes against your natural instincts.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Unless you know who you are, it’s very difficult to identify what is the best strategy for you. Whether it be on the chessboard, or elsewhere.”

– Garry Kasparov

“If you can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, then you can start thinking about designing the game that will be beneficial for you – and will be most annoying for your opponent.”

– Garry Kasparov

“During the match, when you deal with psychology, one player against another one, you have to be comfortable. And you have to make your opponent uncomfortable.”

– Garry Kasparov

“If you play the game that is not making you feel comfortable, if you don’t enjoy it, if you don’t feel that this game can unleash your creative potential, then you’re already on the losing side.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Strong chess players realize patterns and can immediately see opportunities […]. My great teacher Mikhail Botvinnik used to say that the difference between players, when you look at weak players, stronger players, strong players, top players, world champions, at the end of the day it’s about the number of positions – or you may say number of patterns – he or she can recognize.”

– Garry Kasparov

“If you don’t see an immediate win, an immediate breakthrough, just make a few quiet moves. Let your opponent play, give them a chance to weaken their positions. That’s one of my lessons from my early days.”

– Garry Kasparov

“You have to feel the climax of the game. That’s one of the lessons I remember from Boris Spassky, another great world champion who helped me with his unique advice. His theory was that the strengths of the player at the current moment is his or her ability to identify the climax of the game. Because you only have so much time available […] you have x amount of time, hours and minutes allocated for completing all the moves. You have to understand how to spend this time.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Not every move has the same value in terms of determining the course of the events.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Some of the moments are absolutely vital. It’s like reaching a crossroad and if you miss your right turn, it will be like the roads of Arizona. The next one will be in 50 miles.”

– Garry Kasparov

“It’s very important that you recognize that this is the moment, I have to concentrate, I have to use more time. I have to find the move, because this move determines which way the game goes.”

– Garry Kasparov

“You should remember that when you make a move, the opponent makes a move. And anything can change.”

– Garry Kasparov

“If you have your plans, you should try to make sure the opponent doesn’t realize where the danger is coming from too early.”

– Garry Kasparov

“Remember that some of your plans may not work out if your opponent prevents them from happening, so that is why maybe have a psychological distraction on the other side of the board could help you move forward more efficiently.”

– Garry Kasparov

“In many cases you don’t have a winning or losing move.”

– Garry Kasparov

“If you want to change the nature of the game, if you want to make it sharper, if you want to create something that is less comfortable for your opponent, then you move on with the moves that are not perfect by pure chess standards.”

– Garry Kasparov

“If you want to make real improvement, real progress, try to stick with [physical] chess pieces. It’s psychologically easier. Because when you play the game, you play with real pieces. You just feel them better. Psychologically it’s more difficult to combine the knowledge from the computer screen and apply it at the chessboard.”

– Garry Kasparov

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