Chess and Psychology

Edward Winter


See C.N. 5761.

We list a selection of articles about chess and psychology in old periodicals:

Below is a remark by G.H. Diggle from an article in the December 1981 Newsflash which was reproduced on page 78 of Chess Characters (Geneva, 1984). See too C.N. 7805.

‘Sixty years ago there were dotted around the provinces (either in small struggling clubs or once a week in “private house soirées”) players with only each other’s chess intellects to feed on who would loyally stick to the game without improving one iota through whole decades. ... Many of them were characters of as great psychological interest as a Fischer or a Korchnoi; for to imagine that “psychological motifs” and whatnot are the exclusive monopoly of grandmasters is to fall into the snobbish fallacy of the Sergeant Major who (when a poor Private reported sick with a “pain in the abdomen”) roared at him: “You ’ave a stummick! Only orficers has abdomens!’


Much has been written about Emanuel Lasker and psychology at the chess board; see, for instance, pages 3-25 of Winning with Chess Psychology by Pal Benko and Burt Hochberg (New York, 1991). Réti’s observations on Lasker in Masters of the Chess Board are well known, but when did public discussion begin of Lasker’s ‘psychological’ approach to the game?

Alekhine made some notable comments about chess psychology, including a reference to Lasker, on page 150 of his book Das New Yorker Schachturnier 1927 (Berlin, 1928):



Latest update: 25 March 2019.

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