From page 112 of The Bright Side of Chess by Irving
Chernev (Philadelphia, 1948 and London, 1952):
It requires only a moment’s attention to realize that whereas the
‘The Pawns are the soul of the game’ is validly ascribed to
Philidor, the eighteenth-century master had nothing to do with the
preceding quote, about skittles chess. Since not all chess writers
can spare a moment’s attention, the lay-out of the ‘Epigrams’
chapter of Chernev’s book has resulted in much confusion, and here
we take that chapter page by page and quote by quote:
‘Lasker’s style was like ...’: The remark was made by
Mieses, and not Spielmann. See C.N. 7697.
‘In the opening a master ...’: Again, because of the
lay-out of Chernev’s book this remark has frequently been
attributed to Spielmann. It antedates him, having appeared as an
anonymous quote on page xiv of The Games of the St
Petersburg Tournament 1895-96 by J. Mason and W.H.K.
Pollock (Leeds, 1896). See page 182 of Chess Explorations
the Need for Sources.
‘From Anderssen I learned ...’: The question of whether
this quote should be ascribed to Spielmann was discussed in C.N.
‘Place the contents of the chessbox ...’: This quote
has a murky background. See page 12 of Hans Renette’s monograph
on Bird (Jefferson, 2016).
‘Of chess it has been said ...’: The quote has been
misattributed to Napier, the next name in Chernev’s book. See ‘Life’s
too short for chess’.
‘It is astonishing how much hot water ...’: For an
exact source for this remark by Napier, see our feature
article on him.
‘Commenting on the game Keres-Fine ...’: See page 105
of the September-October 1946 American Chess Bulletin.
‘Many have become chess masters ...’: No relevant
citation has yet been found. (See C.N.s 5525 and 11419.)
‘Lasker played 1 P-K4 ...’: See C.N. 9329.
‘First-class players lose ...’: This observation (with
‘frequently lose’ instead of ‘lose’) was one of six on page 119
of the American Chess Bulletin, June 1907. The source
specified was merely ‘Johannesburg Sunday Times’.
(Another quote from the same source was discussed in C.N.s 5308
‘As Rousseau could not compose ...’: Tarrasch’s quote
was documented in our feature article on Jean-Jacques
‘Buckle, chess player as well as eminent historian ...’:
Regarding the first two quotes, see page 10 of the April 1868 Westminster
Chess Club Papers, and page 50 of the August 1869 Westminster
Papers respectively. One of many places where ‘Chess
begins where he leaves off’ can be found is page 9 of A New
Treatise of Chess by George Walker (London, 1841).
‘The chessboard is the world ...’: The passage is
widely documented in the anthologized writings of Thomas Henry
‘Although Chess is classed ...’: The Napier text
(slightly different) is on page 21 of the American Chess
Bulletin, February 1906:
‘I can comprehend Alekhine’s combinations ...’: See
C.N.s 8579 and 8603.
‘A win by an unsound combination ...’: See C.N. 7308.
‘Every game of chess is ...’: This Réti quote comes
from his book Masters of the Chess Board.
‘Chess books should be used ...’: See page 182 of Chess
Explorations, page 246 of Chess Facts and Fables
and C.N.s 3741, 4157, 4209 and 10959, as well as Chess:
the Need for Sources. Misattribution of this quote to
Capablanca (the next name in Chernev’s book) is still common.
In some cases, readers may be able to provide better citations,
and such assistance will be much appreciated. We are also grateful
to the Cleveland Public Library for high-quality scans of the
Epigrams chapter in Irving Chernev’s book.